Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Kinder Face of Discrimination

"I don't wish them any harm. They just don't belong here. They should go back to their natural habitat." I hear this a lot about chimpanzees. But did you know that the same arguments have been made in the past by seemingly well meaning people, about other human beings?

One example is Henry Clay, and his organization, The American Colonization Society that was instrumental in setting up American freed blacks in Liberia. I have written about this before on one of my blogs, here:

The Example of Liberia

It is all very well and good to set up a State where a group of people can live in freedom and be the majority in power. But it is quite another thing to insist that all members of an ethnic minority leave for that safe haven, and that those who don't leave should be sent to camps where they will be exterminated. That is what happened when the Nazis came to power in Germany. On the one hand, they supported Zionism as the solution to the "Jewish problem". On the other hand, they sent everyone who did not choose to become a Zionist to death camps. These were two sides of the same coin, and in fact a medallion was printed with a star of David on one side and a swastika on the other, to illustrate the point.


Leopold von Mildenstein  was a member of the German nobility, who while working as  a leader of the Nazi Party in the 1930s, showed great support for Zionism, as a mutually beneficial solution to what he saw as the problem of the presence of Jews in Germany.  Von Mildenstein showed a genuine interest in Zionism and even attended Zionist Conferences in order to learn more about the movement. In 1933  Mildenstein and his wife toured Palestine, accompanied by Kurt Tuchler, of the Zionist Federation of Germany, and his wife. They became lifelong friends.

On his return, Mildenstein's suggestion that the solution to the Jewish problem lay in mass migration to Palestine was accepted by his superiors within the SS. From August 1934 to June 1936 Mildenstein was put in charge of the Jewish Desk with the title of Judenreferent (Jewish Affairs Officer) in the headquarters of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the Security service of the SS, Section II/112; his title meaning that he was responsible for reporting on "Jewish Affairs," under the overall command of Reinhard Heydrich.[8] During those years Mildenstein favoured a policy of encouraging Germany's Jewish population to emigrate to Palestine, and in pursuit of this policy he developed positive contacts with Zionist organizations. SS officials were even instructed to encourage the activities of the Zionists within the Jewish community, who were to be favoured over the assimilationists, said to be the real danger to National Socialism. Even the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws of September 1935 had a special Zionist provision, allowing the Jews to fly their own flag.[2][6]Source:

When Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine turned out to be proceeding too slowly for the Nazis, von Mildenstein's milder methods gave way to those of  Eichmann, his replacement as an expert on the :"Jewish problem". After the war, when millions of German Jews had been exterminated, the von Mildensteins, then living in West Germany, and the Tuchlers, who now lived in Tel Aviv,  continued to correspond. Their relationship remained cordial until the very end.

When we think about Jane Goodall and her expertise on chimpanzees, we should keep the example of Leopold von Mildenstein in mind. One does not need to be filled with hatred for a minority in order to do great damage, and a few images of grateful chimpanzees hugging Jane Goodall for her kindness to them should not blind us to the fact that the Jane Goodall Foundation has as its goal the return of all chimpanzees to Africa, and the elimination of all chimpanzees not in the wild.  In pursuit of this goal, they plan to have any chimpanzees living in private homes or research facilities sent to camps called sanctuaries, from which they will never emerge, and where they will never be allowed to reproduce. That is their final solution to the chimpanzee problem.

How we feel about Leopold von Mildenstein should ultimately determine our attitude towards the Jane Goodall Foundation and its efforts on behalf of chimpanzee repatriation in Africa and their elimination outside of  their native habitat.


  1. It is a mistake to declare that all animals need to go back to where they came from, the same it is with people. Sometimes people and animals are perfectly happy with where they grew up, and would not want to go to a distant place their ancestors once lived. It is a non-sensical thought, actually. People should be allowed to go where they want, but telling people where to go is another thing.