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August 18, 2000
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'An investor has obtained permission to operate a discotheque in a former tannery where Auschwitz inmates worked and died, an official said yesterday, and a TV report said it was already open for business.' I'm not even outraged by this. it just makes me numb.
posted by rebeccablood (15 comments total)

 
Big deal, here in America they've built entire *cities* on lands of slaughtered indiginious people. The only real problem I see is the noise and that Europeans are comforable going to places called Discotheques. A bit too 70's for my tastes.
posted by skallas at 11:27 AM on August 18, 2000


Well I would surely prefer to go to a discoteque - so why not?
posted by joedrescher at 11:41 AM on August 18, 2000


to places called Discotheques. A bit too 70's for my tastes.

The fact that American English took the french term discotheque (originated in the 50s and which literally means "record library", but more commonly refers to a hall or club where you dance to pre-recorded music) and shortened it to "disco" and further bastardized it to denote a style of music popular in the late 70s does not mean that Europeans can't use the word in its original sense comfortably.
posted by daveadams at 12:16 PM on August 18, 2000


Yeah, but Auschwitz?

Maybe the whole place shouldn't be preserved for all eternity or anything, but the revellers dancing on the graves of the victims? I gotta admit it gives me the creeps.
posted by chicobangs at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2000


With any luck a vortex will open in the middle of the dance floor and all the little disco dancers will be devoured by the outraged spirits of the dead. Tell me that wouldn't kick ass!
posted by Nyarlathotep at 1:33 PM on August 18, 2000


"Dancing on the graves of the victims"? Please. The tannery is not on the grounds of the Auschwitz camp. It's a mile from the camp. It's an abandoned building, one of many abandoned buildings in that area apparently, and only incidentally one that housed a business during the war that was supplied with slave labor by the SS. The people of Oswiecim are trying to go with their lives, and I for one think we should leave them alone do so. You don't think the forced maintenance of the camp itself a mile out of town isn't lasting punishment enough?
posted by m.polo at 1:37 PM on August 18, 2000


You don't think the forced maintenance of the camp itself a mile out of town isn't lasting punishment enough?

I think every spot ever trod upon by anyone who has died should be preserved forever. We can coat everything with diamond and move to Ganymede. Then we won't have to worry about it.
posted by daveadams at 3:07 PM on August 18, 2000


Nobody's making that point, dave. But there are some places that, while some of the people who were there are still alive, maybe deserve a little more respect than others. And Auschwitz is probably the most notorious such place in living memory.

A mile, whatever. It was a part of the camp. I'm not saying it should be banned or closed down or whatever. It does seem, however, to be in really, really bad form.
posted by chicobangs at 3:59 PM on August 18, 2000


I don't see any problem with taking something negative (like a Nazi death camp) and turning it into something positive (a place for people to hang out, communicate, dance, etc.). But that's just me...a lot of other people would feel differently.
posted by jkottke at 6:29 PM on August 18, 2000


As long as it's not pro-nazi or anything, I think the historical connotation of the place is irrelevant. I'm sure if there was a Japanese internment camp in Soma it would have been converted to lofts by now... Certainly time will tell with this; if it bothers Holocaust survivors and they make their voices heard it will go out of business sooner or later.

And Auschwitz is probably the most notorious such place in living memory.
After waiting for 5 hours to get my driver's license today (and not getting it), I would say any DMV could challenge this title :). btw, my grandparents are holocaust survivors, so that isn't meant to have any implications that it might appear to have.
posted by kidsplateusa at 6:50 PM on August 18, 2000


Skallas' point is quite appropriate as the genocide of the Native Americans in the US is thought by experts to be the worst genocide in history. You don't see any discotheques cropping up on reservations in South Dakota, but then again, I haven't been there in awhile. Not to diminish the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust, but it IS an interesting parallel. Poor judgment rarely stops commercial ventures if they think they can make a buck out of it.
posted by evixir at 10:17 PM on August 18, 2000


... but at any rate, it'd be intriguing to see what kinds of people patronize this establishment. At any rate, the outcry has just begun.
posted by evixir at 10:22 PM on August 18, 2000


interesting then, given the point by evixir, that there is a German Holocaust museum in Washington, DC, but no such building to mark the Native American genocide, or the slave trade-- two tragedies that happened on US soil and involved future and current US citizens.
posted by chaz at 1:14 PM on August 19, 2000


Indeed... perhaps that's due to the fact that world outcry over the Holocaust was so prominent after the camps were discovered (we won't go into the fact that the US knew about the existence of the camps *long* before, as did the other superpowers, most likely), and you don't hear anyone clamoring to force America to come to terms with its own history of racism. Also, it's due in large part to the fact that we're still unable to properly deal with our historical behaviour -- history books not being properly updated to reflect the facts of what the Europeans did to the Native Americans or more detailed analysis and discussion of the slave trade and history of racism against African Americans in the US. Til we have the kids in our schools do more than just skim over these chapters in a matter of a couple weeks, and study them in depth and discuss them, I don't forsee any change.
posted by evixir at 11:40 PM on August 19, 2000


[me] I think every spot ever trod upon by anyone who has died should be preserved forever.

[chicobang] Nobody's making that point, dave.

I know! It was a joke! Plus a sly reference to 2061: odyssey three by Arthur C. Clarke. Alas, I've been misunderstood.
posted by daveadams at 8:42 AM on August 21, 2000


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