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November 22, 2004 4:23 AM   Subscribe

"...I should like someone to remember that there once lived a person named David Berger"
posted by PenDevil (99 comments total)

 
perhaps the saddest thing to me about the Holocaust is that the people who died at the hands of the Nazis cannot be mourned without at least a fleeting consideration of the fact that their grandchildren are now slaughtering the Palestinians. when we learned in grade school about Nazi Germany, the message attached was that we must understand history in order to learn from and avoid the mistakes of those who came before us. but what have we learned? will nothing ever change in this world?

i've just registered although i've been a long-time reader of the site. hello.
posted by radiosig at 4:57 AM on November 22, 2004


I think this is a wonderful project. Thanks, PenDevil.
posted by malaprohibita at 5:06 AM on November 22, 2004


where are the homosexual and "gypsy" sections?
posted by wah at 5:28 AM on November 22, 2004


Gosh, to me, the saddest thing about the death of my innocent family members is the death of my innocent family members. There's 101 instances of my (unusual) surname in that database.

My relatives who did not die now reside in America, Canada, Argentina. We have no family in Israel at all. We don't support or send money to Israel, and we don't slaughter anybody.

Thanks for injecting your grade school pap, though.
posted by xowie at 6:03 AM on November 22, 2004


On Preview: Xowie, you said that a lot better than me and with a lot less vitriol. I'm scratching the really ugly nasty thing I just wrote.
posted by TTIKTDA at 6:23 AM on November 22, 2004


xowie: look, i realize my statement isn't a literal account of the actions and nationalities of every grandchild of every Holocaust victim. as a descendant of some of those victims, aren't you at all disheartened by the inhumanity of the nation founded to represent them? is this what your murdered family members would have wanted?
posted by radiosig at 6:24 AM on November 22, 2004


look, i realize my statement isn't a literal account of the actions and nationalities of every grandchild of every Holocaust victim. as a descendant of some of those victims, aren't you at all disheartened by the inhumanity of the nation founded to represent them? is this what your murdered family members would have wanted?

I think that's a pretty fair question.
posted by 327.ca at 6:28 AM on November 22, 2004


Actually, I don't support Israel in any way. But I really don't support your hijacking of this thread with OT insipid remarks.

Have some mercy, and disappear.
posted by xowie at 6:29 AM on November 22, 2004


ignore him, xowie. He seems like someone who can't happily get through the day unless he's fighting someone. Congrats, radiosig, worst. mefi. debut. ever.
posted by jonmc at 6:33 AM on November 22, 2004


I should like someone to remember that there once lived a person named Rachel Corrie

never again should not justify again and again.
posted by three blind mice at 6:37 AM on November 22, 2004


tbm: That's how you do it.
posted by xowie at 6:45 AM on November 22, 2004


look, i realize my statement isn't a literal account of the actions and nationalities of every grandchild of every Holocaust victim. as a descendant of some of those victims, aren't you at all disheartened by the inhumanity of the nation founded to represent them? is this what your murdered family members would have wanted?

Do I hate the fact that Israel as a state does not act ethically or morally toward the Palestinian people? Absolutely. Do I speak out against injustice? Absolutely. Do I, as a Jew, feel I have a moral responsibility for acts committed in a country across the world just because that country was founded by other Jews? I do not, any more than dutch people in the 1960s were responsible for apartheid.

Do I resent the facile dismissal of the murder of 6 million people, whatever their religion or background (and yes that includes Gypsies and gay people) on the basis of the acts of a few of their relatives? YES.

I have maybe once or twice heard anyone use the holocaust to justify the murder of Palestinians. I have heard people like three blind mice dismiss the moral and historical tragedy of the holocaust literally hundreds of times. Who is really justifying anything, here? Except the deaths of millions of innocents who never did anything to anyone except want to live their lives.
posted by miss tea at 6:48 AM on November 22, 2004


xowie, not quite.

i should have linked here.

on preview... miss tea your point is well-taken, but if you choose to disconnect the state of israel from the holocaust than i submit that you are the one in denial.

I should like someone to remember that there once lived innocent palestinian children who also never did anything to anyone except want to live their lives.
posted by three blind mice at 7:14 AM on November 22, 2004


on preview... miss tea your point is well-taken, but if you choose to disconnect the state of israel from the holocaust than i submit that you are the one in denial.

So, then it follows that any rememberance of the holocaust must be interrupted by strident proclamations about Palestine?

Please. You'd show up at a neighbors funeral to remind his relatives that he owed you 10 bucks, I guess.
posted by jonmc at 7:17 AM on November 22, 2004


I clicked on the pictures of the children and I'm sitting there, tears welling up, and I click on the comments here and you fucktards are arguing about Palestine.

radiosig - welcome. Now go set up a site remembering those unjustly slain in the Occupied Territories. I will visit, and most certainly get misty there as well. Until you've set it up, go piss somewhere else.
posted by jalexei at 7:28 AM on November 22, 2004


jonmc, i was speaking out against genocide, my friend, and remembering the innocent victims of it.

it seemed to me to OT, but i see now that this thread is restricted.

please continue. sorry for the interruption.
posted by three blind mice at 7:33 AM on November 22, 2004


on preview, jalexei, go here.

Nizar Aida, 16,
of Ramallah,
killed by Israeli forces gunfire to chest.

Khaled Bazyan, 15,
of Nablus,
killed by Israeli forces gunfire to head.

despite your profane comments, i suspect that even a tought guy like you believe that palestinians and jews are human beings of equal worth and that reading the names of these children (without photos) will make your eyes just as misty.
posted by three blind mice at 7:58 AM on November 22, 2004


i suspect that even a tought guy like you believe that palestinians and jews are human beings of equal worth and that reading the names of these children (without photos) will make your eyes just as misty.

You obviously don't since you seem to believe that a rememberance of Jewish suffering can only be validated by shrill accusations. I can only assume that you believe Palestinian suffering to be more important and thus their lives of more worth.

Maybe you should go bother your neighbors family for that 10 bucks. Use it to buy a self-improvement tape and maybe people wont have the urge to hit you in the head with a brick.
posted by jonmc at 8:11 AM on November 22, 2004


Nothing about the Holocaust justifies the death of even one Palestinian. It's just that I'm having a little trouble blaming 4-year old Marina Smargonski (the one on the main page holding herself up in the white dress - in the picture she looks just a few months older than my daughter is now) for the current situation in the Middle East.

Tough guy? Hardly. In fact, I'd like to thank you for the link. I'll explore it with the same disgust and sadness that I have with man's inhumanity to man I get looking at the remembrance site. You have a very valid issue, but rushing to trumpet it here strikes me as disrespectful. I just don't think this thread is the place, and if you disagree that's your right.
posted by jalexei at 8:16 AM on November 22, 2004


Does anyone actually believe "that perhaps the saddest thing to me about the Holocaust is that the people who died at the hands of the Nazis cannot be mourned without at least a fleeting consideration of the fact that their grandchildren are now slaughtering the Palestinians?" There seems to be surfeit of sad things about the Holocaust, and, regardless of your political views, that is a pretty nasty, and bombastic, first post (in both senses of the word).

Radiosig and Three Blind Mice - I look forward to your continual crossposting about the Palestinians to any topic that mentions the Holocaust, Jews, or juice. That will certainly be helpful.

In the meantime, and on topic: on the Gypsies (Sinti and Roma). A list of names seems sadly impossible, as there was little knowledge of who they were before the Holocaust, and no one even knows whether it was 250,000 or 500,000 who died.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:23 AM on November 22, 2004


I don't think any thread in Mefi has made me sadder than this one. The rush to shut down the discussion (in the name of "respect") is truly discouraging.
posted by 327.ca at 8:37 AM on November 22, 2004


What a lot of bother this "remembering" business causes. Perhaps there's something to the "forget" half of "forgive and forget" after all.
posted by wobh at 8:38 AM on November 22, 2004


I don't think any thread in Mefi has made me sadder than this one. The rush to shut down the discussion (in the name of "respect") is truly discouraging.

Give me a five-cent break. You want to discuss the current situation in Isreal & Palestine, start a new thread about it, because heaven knows we don't have enough of those.

Perhaps there's something to the "forget" half of "forgive and forget" after all.

Yes, Holocaust Remembrance is so last year darling. Palestine is the hip, happening, now tragedy.
posted by jonmc at 8:42 AM on November 22, 2004


The rush to shut down the discussion (in the name of "respect") is truly discouraging.

NTM, the discussion was about remembrance of the Holocaust. You want to talk about the current conflict, that's a valid topic, but this is neither the time nor the place. So the hijacking of a thread to push your agenda is far more discouraging.
posted by jonmc at 8:49 AM on November 22, 2004


Give me a five-cent break.

It's the implicit "shut-up-I'm-right-you're-wrong" that depresses me, jonmc. What hope is there for peace when the discussion is so difficult?
posted by 327.ca at 8:53 AM on November 22, 2004


It's the implicit "shut-up-I'm-right-you're-wrong" that depresses me, jonmc. What hope is there for peace when the discussion is so difficult?

Discussion is not the problem. What you and others are doing here is the equivalent of bringing up an old quarrel at a memorial service for a family friend. The purpose of the thread was obviously to point out a great resource for finding information about holocaust victims. Injecting a divisive and contentious issue into the discussion uninvited is inappropriate and quite frankly insulting and disrespectful.
posted by jonmc at 9:05 AM on November 22, 2004


That site is amazing. Through one old-country relative I found my family's pre-Ellis Island surname and from there, the village we came from and on to several dozen relatives exterminated systematically by Nazi Germany. I think when I'm together with the family for the very minor Channukah this year, I'm going to remember them to each other. Thanks for posting that.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:15 AM on November 22, 2004


johnmc, shut up shut up shut up! hehe
posted by ericrolph at 9:18 AM on November 22, 2004


I don't think it's easy to separate the plight of the Jews and others in the Holacaust with the plight of Palestinians today. The irony that the Jewish homeland should be the site of such oppression today is inescapable.

It may be bad manners to (again) point it out, but surely that's less offensive than watching the years roll by with mounting violence and death, and no end in sight.
posted by 327.ca at 9:19 AM on November 22, 2004


I don't think it's easy to separate the plight of the Jews and others in the Holacaust with the plight of Palestinians today.

Please, give it a rest. You wanna ride your hobbyhorse some more. That's your prerogative. But do it in your own playroom.
posted by jonmc at 9:24 AM on November 22, 2004


Please, give it a rest. You wanna ride your hobbyhorse some more. That's your prerogative. But do it in your own playroom.

I think Mefi is, for better worse (and at Matt's discretion), "our" playroom, jonmc. Not yours and not mine. As far as I know, invitations to take part in a discussion are not required.
posted by 327.ca at 9:34 AM on November 22, 2004


Thanks for the post pendevil. I found my father's name there.
posted by semmi at 9:40 AM on November 22, 2004


Without requiring invitations there is rightly some policing of OT jackasses here.

The dead Jews of Eastern Europe are the last people who should be blamed for the present horror. They perished before Israel was founded.

I happen to think tbm is right, and his contributions were interesting. You, like others who mindlessly equate Israel with world Jewry, are just a bore.
posted by xowie at 9:41 AM on November 22, 2004


Maybe you should go bother your neighbors family for that 10 bucks. Use it to buy a self-improvement tape and maybe people wont have the urge to hit you in the head with a brick.

jonmc, maybe this is very insulting in hebrew, but when i translate it to swedish the only thing that i find offensive is your threat of violence.

rachel corrie was working to prevent another holocaust and she was crushed under the treads of an israeli bulldozer for her efforts.

maybe you don't think it is appropriate to remember ms corrie in a thread about remembering innocent victims of the holocaust, but i respectfully disagree.

your violent response in this thread is a little too coldly reminsicent of how the IDF used tear gas and stun grenades to disrupt her memorial service.
posted by three blind mice at 9:44 AM on November 22, 2004


The dead Jews of Eastern Europe are the last people who should be blamed for the present horror. They perished before Israel was founded.

I happen to think tbm is right, and his contributions were interesting. You, like others who mindlessly equate Israel with world Jewry, are just a bore.


If you're referring to me, please don't put words in my mouth. I've neither equated world Jewry with Israel and (hardly!) blame those who perished in the Holacaust for the present horror.

I do think that the present horror is another -- ironic -- example of history repeating itself. And I question the assumption that it is somehow not polite to discuss.
posted by 327.ca at 9:49 AM on November 22, 2004


327.ca. I'll try and use small words so you can understand me.

The initial post was about a resource for identifying (and thus memorializing and honoring the memory of) Holocaust victims. One comment in, somebody decides they want to make the thread about the current Iraeli-Palestinian conflict. This is what's known as thread hijacking and derailing.

The"your own playroom," means this. You want to talk about the current conflict, that's fine. It's a valid topic, although we've had literally dozens of threads on the topic and all we've gotten is more contentiousness. But make a new thread or get your own blog.

Even if you want to make the case that there is a connection between the current conflict and the Holocaust (and I grant you, there may be however tenuous), bringing it up in a thread about a memorial site is simply disrespectful and obnoxious.

on preview: maybe you don't think it is appropriate to remember ms corrie in a thread about remembering innocent victims of the holocaust, but i respectfully disagree.

nice try. But nowhere did I mention Rachel Corrie in this thread. Freud called it projection. Debaters call it a "strawman," but I digress.

jonmc, maybe this is very insulting in hebrew, but when i translate it to swedish the only thing that i find offensive is your threat of violence.

Actually aside from a few Yiddish curses, I don't know any hebrew, since as a Irish Catholic, I didn't have much use for it. And the "brick" comment was to let you know just how angry you were making me (and I suspect others). But, I suspect that was your intent to begin with.
posted by jonmc at 9:50 AM on November 22, 2004


The dead Jews of Eastern Europe are the last people who should be blamed for the present horror. They perished before Israel was founded.

actually xowie, the state of israel was founded in 1917 by the Balfour Declaration.

the borders of present day israel are a result of the 1967 6 day war and the 1979 peace treaty between israel and egypt when israel returned the sinai peninsula.

certainly the 6 million who were murdered by the nazis cannot be blamed for what is happening today, but the legacy of this terrible human tragedy still has resonance - both negative and positive - to this day.

i regret if my focus on the negative resonance has in any way diminished the positive benefits of remembering.
posted by three blind mice at 9:58 AM on November 22, 2004


Didn't Balfour just establish the British Mandate? I have to admit, I didn't pay much attention in Hebrew school. But I thought there was something about 1948 in there.
posted by xowie at 10:02 AM on November 22, 2004


327.ca. I'll try and use small words so you can understand me.

That's not necessary. And condescension isn't helpful.

Even if you want to make the case that there is a connection between the current conflict and the Holocaust (and I grant you, there may be however tenuous), bringing it up in a thread about a memorial site is simply disrespectful and obnoxious.


I didn't bring it up. I posted in response to people (like you) who wanted to shut the original commenter down in terms that were, to use your words, "disrespectful and obnoxious". ("Congrats, radiosig, worst. mefi. debut. ever.")

I'm sorry you're so angry, jonmc. Frankly, I've never posted anywhere about what you call "my hobbyhorse". I just find your sense of "make a new thread or get your own blog" entitlement disheatening, given Mefi's usual tolerance and appetite for divergent opinions.

tbm says: i regret if my focus on the negative resonance has in any way diminished the positive benefits of remembering.

Well said. I agree.
posted by 327.ca at 10:04 AM on November 22, 2004


jonmc, thank you, as always, for your equanimity in the face of moral cretins.

"perhaps the saddest thing to me about the Holocaust is that the people who died at the hands of the Nazis cannot be mourned without at least a fleeting consideration of the fact that their grandchildren are now slaughtering the Palestinians."

radiosig, I'm going to agree with jonmc here--worst. mefi. debut. ever.. A long-awaited database of three million names (out of a possible 5.5 or 6 million names) goes online, a MeFi thread is started about it. The names just happen to be of people murdered for their religion/ethnicity, not because of any actions they took, but in part because of their perceived political ties ("Judeo-Bolshevism", etc.). And the very first thing you do here is...shit on the same group for their grandchildren's perceived political ties?

I'm sure you feel you're in the moral right here, but even leaving aside a full rebuttal to your inane attitude, does it not occur to you that you're being, I dunno, exquisitely disrespectful to several million murder victims?

There are plenty of "oh boo hoo, let's dump on Israel" threads on MetaFilter, and I'm sure many of us will have a grand old party discussing relevant issues over there in those threads. This thread is about millions of gassed, cremated, starved, and shot people finally having their names be known to the world.

We've had MeFi threads announcing the opening of other genealogical databases before, yet I don't recall even one commentor in our discussion of the 1880 Federal Census talking about whether some of the people in that database had been slave-owners, or killed Native Americans. It wasn't the point of our discussion. And that was a census, which must be of the living, not the Yad Vashem database, a necrology of the dead, which you'd think would garner a tad more respect.

"So, then it follows that any rememberance of the holocaust must be interrupted by strident proclamations about Palestine?"

Alas, jonmc, it's not just him. Did you hear what happened to Norway's Kristallnacht commemoration last month? Overtly Jewish symbols, such as magen david's or Israeli flags, were banned, as were the people who displayed them--because they somehow might have been construed to be supportive of Israel, and thus were considered unacceptable. Jewish symbols were banned at a march about Jewish murders. And look, here's a MeFi thread where the very first comments about victims of the largest, the most systematic, the most thorough, the most minutely planned, the most successful genocide in world history--are about Israel, and specifically linking the dead Jews named in the database to Israel.

on preview:
"jonmc, maybe this is very insulting in hebrew..."

Wow. When did the ability (or perceived ability) to speak Hebrew, a 5,000 year-old language, turn into some kind of a smear? Oh, that's right. You were trying to call him a Jew.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:06 AM on November 22, 2004


As far as I know, invitations to take part in a discussion are not required.

No they are not, but there's a basic expectation that said participation at least acknowledges the content of the post. And I'm not saying there isn't a valid way to discuss the Israeli/Palestinian conflict against the backdrop of this post. I'm more annoyed at the way it developed, with radiosig's first, bombastic comment (yes, that's the saddest thing about the Holocaust. Give me a f*cking break) trampling the thread from moment one.

maybe you don't think it is appropriate to remember ms corrie in a thread about remembering innocent victims of the holocaust, but i respectfully disagree.

Ms. Corrie's death was abhorrent, and I was disgusted over the relative lack of outrage over killing. Still doesn't belong in this thread.

your violent response in this thread is a little too coldly reminiscent of how the IDF used tear gas and stun grenades to disrupt her memorial service.

You've got to be kidding me. You belittle Ms. Corrie with such a ridiculous assertion.
posted by jalexei at 10:11 AM on November 22, 2004


I just find your sense of "make a new thread or get your own blog" entitlement disheatening, given Mefi's usual tolerance and appetite for divergent opinions.

Believe it or not, I understand and even to an extent share your opinions on the current conflict. If this was a thread about the current situation, they would be most welcome. It is not, so they are inappropriate.
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on November 22, 2004


I just find your sense of "make a new thread or get your own blog" entitlement disheatening, given Mefi's usual tolerance and appetite for divergent opinions.

Okay, I'll try to keep this real simple:

1) Divergent opinions are awesome about the topic being discussed, the point of the thread. Dragging hosannahs for Rachel Corrie into a thread about Dachau victims is not just tasteless, it's out-of-bounds and is an attempt to radically change the nature of the discussion about the link at hand.

2) Generally speaking, MeFi does not have a lot of tolerance for those divergent opinions, especially if they were of, say, the pro-Bush or pro-war in Iraq or pro-Christianity variety, or some other opinion that would a-ok with 60% of the American population, but not so much with the acceptability round these parts.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:16 AM on November 22, 2004


Believe it or not, I understand and even to an extent share your opinions on the current conflict. If this was a thread about the current situation, they would be most welcome. It is not, so they are inappropriate.

OK, I apologize. For me, this is a "elephant in the room" issue. I find it hard to compartmentalize and be polite when "the present horror" (as we delicately refer to it) continues to unfold all about us. I truly did not intend to undercut the intention of the post.
posted by 327.ca at 10:18 AM on November 22, 2004


Generally speaking, MeFi does not have a lot of tolerance for those divergent opinions, especially if they were of, say, the pro-Bush or pro-war in Iraq or pro-Christianity variety, or some other opinion that would a-ok with 60% of the American population, but not so much with the acceptability round these parts.

OK, Asparagirl. Now you're bringing your hobbyhorse into the ring. While it's true such opinions might not be popular around here. Nobody's ever seriously suggested that they not be tolerated or allowed as part of the discussion. The issue here is not the opinions being presented, but whether this thread is the appropriate place.

That said, thanks for having my back.

On preview: 327.ca, fair enough. It wasn't really you who made people the most angry, methinks, but rather radiosigs initial blast, which kind of derailed things from the get go.
posted by jonmc at 10:22 AM on November 22, 2004


on preview: maybe you don't think it is appropriate to remember ms corrie in a thread about remembering innocent victims of the holocaust, but i respectfully disagree.

nice try. But nowhere did I mention Rachel Corrie in this thread. Freud called it projection. Debaters call it a "strawman," but I digress.

yes, but "I" did mention her. you digressed right past the point i was trying to make to defend with threats of violence to make this discussion what YOU thought it should be.

freud has another word for that referring to a son's unhealthy relationship with his mother, but i've had enough of being blasted for OT comments so i'll just leave it at that.

nice chatting with you.

on preview aspargirl, what i meant was what i said.

slandering someone by accusing them of being pecuniary - as jonmc did to me - might be an insult in hebrew, or when directed towards a jew - but it is meaningless to a scandinavian agnostic.

why don't you just call me an anti-semite and then we can end any semblance to civilized debate here. that IS the best way of discrediting anyone who disagrees with you.

c'mon. you know you want to. go ahead and throw your literary stun grenade and disperse the thread so we can all go home.

or do you prefer crushing us under the treads of your intellectual agility.
posted by three blind mice at 10:27 AM on November 22, 2004


slandering someone by accusing them of being pecuniary - as jonmc did to me

No, I accused you of being oafishly & obliviously inappropriate: You'd show up at a neighbors funeral to remind his relatives that he owed you 10 bucks, I guess.

you digressed right past the point i was trying to make to defend with threats of violence to make this discussion what YOU thought it should be.

If anybody's tried to force this discussion into what they wanted it to be, it's you and radiosig. You've managed to turn a post about a Holocaust Remembrance site (something most people would consider a good thing, I'm guessing) into yet another go round on I/P.

And as far as the current discussion goes, I believe that both Sharon and the PLO can go eat an economy sized bucket of extra-crispy dicks. But that's not what PenDevil was trying to get at by posting this, I'd wager.
posted by jonmc at 10:35 AM on November 22, 2004


Terrorism and the senseless slaughter of the innocents is a two-way street. Let's not forget these children.
posted by worbid411 at 10:38 AM on November 22, 2004


jonmc, fair enough. i've been accused of oafishly inappropriate before and i am sure it won't be the last time.

actually this thread was not "yet another go round of I/P", it was yet another go round in the even more contentious issue on Mefi of what is OT and what it not OT for a particular thread.

one line FPPs leave a bit too much lattitude and perhaps if PenDevil laid down a little more rail to begin with, this thread would have stayed on the right of way.
posted by three blind mice at 10:55 AM on November 22, 2004


if you choose to disconnect the state of israel from the holocaust than i submit that you are the one in denial.

Indeed.

jonmc, please stop moderating. It's misguided and inappropriate. You've made your views clear here.
posted by rushmc at 10:57 AM on November 22, 2004


i've been accused of oafishly inappropriate

i've also been accused of not reading my posts carefully before pressing the post button....

*insert being after of*
posted by three blind mice at 10:58 AM on November 22, 2004


You've made your views clear here.

Not clear enough. Since it took so much "moderating" to get them across.
posted by jonmc at 11:01 AM on November 22, 2004


worbid411, while I thank you for trying to provide parity here, anti-Israeli terrorism is also NOT THE SUBJECT OF THIS THREAD. You're missing the point just as surely as the other clowns in this room.

*sighs, buries head in hands*

Okay, let's start again. Fresh breath of air, new start to the thread. Do-over. I'll go first.

==============================================================

Thanks, PenDevil, for posting this link. I've actually had access to the database for about four months now--I subscribe to a few genealogical mailing lists that passed around a tester ID and password so we could all take a sneak peek at the system. Between using it then, and using it now, I see that a few bugs may be present (some searches time out or don't page correctly between results pages), but perhaps this is just due to the massive traffic the site has been experiencing since officially going live.

Further enhancements might be an updated user interface (the one they have is so-so and a tad confusing) and an explanation of what, exactly, to do if you find a Page of Testimony that you're interested in. For example, if you find that John Doestein was the person who submitted the data on a relative of yours, how do you track down Mr. Doestein for further information, if he's even still alive?

Yad Vashem is an excellent resource, but please keep in mind that it's also not even remotely complete. For example, there are many Yizkor book necrologies--online, at that!--which list people who are not in the Yad Vashem database.

For a good supplemental Holocaust victim (and survivor!) database, I would recommend this free online database, which is still being added to on a fairly regular basis.

I'd love to hear what MeFi member arco, who works at a certain very-well-known Holocaust-related library, thinks of the database. He might be better able to answer questions about the number of Gypsy/Sinta/Roma and homosexual and Jehovah's Witness and Communist members in the database.

And my condolences, semmi. It's emotionally hard enough for someone like me to browse the site, and I didn't lose any direct ancestors to the Holocaust like you did, much less a parent.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:11 AM on November 22, 2004


Found many family members, and, most fascinating, my grandfather's signature on forms declaring his dead siblings and parents.

Also, for those interested -- a quick query for 'Antschel' brings up one Leo Antschel, whom I suspect to be Paul Celan's (German-Jewish poet) father.
posted by ori at 11:15 AM on November 22, 2004


Not to digress too much from this highly enlightening discussion, but I have to say that any effort to bring forth the horrible results of ignorance, irregardless of current events or held beliefs should be regarded as a positive step.

The only way to learn from the past is to make it accessible. This is one excellent idea, as I'm sure it will spur many more in the future for any number of different reasons and/or historical events (because everything is history).

Bravo for the cause, bravo for the intention. Putting faces to atrocities narrows the divide between actuality and supposition. In no way should an effort like this be demeaned or disregarded (not that I'm saying that has happened here, but come on people.. let's get on topic).
posted by purephase at 11:15 AM on November 22, 2004


a perfectly valid ironic observation by radiosig, interpreted in a knee jerk fashion by those too ashamed or self-righteous to acknowledge the irony. good job, radiosig. keep it up.
posted by quonsar at 11:37 AM on November 22, 2004


a perfectly valid ironic observation by radiosig, interpreted in a knee jerk fashion by those too ashamed or self-righteous to acknowledge the irony. good job, radiosig. keep it up.

GO TO "Perhaps the saddest thing..."
posted by three blind mice at 11:46 AM on November 22, 2004


the rush to confine "discussion" to a narrow canal of holocaust remembrance astounds and sickens me. it's childish, and it's ostrich-like. you know what? those people are fucking DEAD. the vicious snarls of xowie and others hint at a darker side to their "remembrance" - the desire to slaughter more people in the name of those already slaughtered. you know what? i don't give a fuck what anyone did in WW2. it's time to start behaving ourselves.
posted by quonsar at 11:51 AM on November 22, 2004


From Quonsar: the vicious snarls of xowie and others hint at a darker side to their "remembrance" - the desire to slaughter more people in the name of those already slaughtered

From Xowie; Gosh, to me, the saddest thing about the death of my innocent family members is the death of my innocent family members. There's 101 instances of my (unusual) surname in that database.

Quonsar, I am not reading the same thread you are. I think it is acceptable to mourn one's dead grandparents, and that one can do so without having ANY IMPACT on "behaving ourselves." Can you let the people who want to mourn, mourn? I appreciate that saying "those people are fucking DEAD" is your tribute. That does not have to be the way I choose to remember my family as well, though.

Forget Israel and Palestine for a moment and just read over your comments from the perspective of someone who has lost a family member. Can we calm down a little?
posted by blahblahblah at 11:58 AM on November 22, 2004


'snot true in my case. I appreciated the references to Rachel Corrie. But it's ignorant to suppose that every dead Shoah Jew has an Israeli or even pro-Israeli descendant or that every commemoration of these dead Jews is inherently pro-Israeli or that the manner of their death has any relationship to the existence or present policies of Israel, which are more a result of the Cold War than of Nazism.
posted by xowie at 12:01 PM on November 22, 2004


quonsar, not everybody who participated in WWII or who was interned in a concentration camp is dead. and my remembrance of those who are dead certainly does not imply my wish to see others undergo the same fate.

yes, this thread has been a haven of thread-jacking and kneejerk hyperbole, but your last comment doesn't help.

(also, don't most metafilter threads of interest exhibit this sort of behavior?)

a brief but nicely done history of Israel from the bbc

"the world seemed to be divided into two parts—those places where the Jews could not live and those where they could not enter"
posted by auslander at 12:08 PM on November 22, 2004


and xowie, i didn't see that supposition ANYWHERE in radiosig's comment. he was pointing up an irony in a broad fashion, you leapt to the conclusion that he was "[supposing] that every dead Shoah Jew has an Israeli or even pro-Israeli descendant or that every commemoration of these dead Jews is inherently pro-Israeli or that the manner of their death has any relationship to the existence or present policies of Israel."
posted by quonsar at 12:09 PM on November 22, 2004


a perfectly valid ironic observation by radiosig, interpreted in a knee jerk fashion by those too ashamed or self-righteous to acknowledge the irony. good job, radiosig. keep it up.

I believe quonsar coming to your defense is what we'd call a pyrrhic victory.
posted by jalexei at 12:10 PM on November 22, 2004


This thread has literally made me physically ill. Way to go.
posted by jonmc at 12:13 PM on November 22, 2004


jalexei and xowie are blinded by thier passion. when i say that it's ironic that 9/11 bolstered the persecution of muslims, i am not supposing that each victim's relatives are now actively engaged in hate crimes against muslims.
posted by quonsar at 12:14 PM on November 22, 2004


I see nothing inherently pro-Israel on the site, nor any mention of the current situation in the Middle East at all.

It's the exhaustive work of an organization that was setup to do what the site purports, and that is to remember the victims of the Shoah.

Take it from it what you will, but try not to distort it's true intentions.
posted by purephase at 12:16 PM on November 22, 2004


But it's ignorant to suppose that every dead Shoah Jew has an Israeli or even pro-Israeli descendant or that every commemoration of these dead Jews is inherently pro-Israeli or that the manner of their death has any relationship to the existence or present policies of Israel

Precisely, xowie. I came to this thread out of interest in the Holocaust, specifically with regard to the way it has changed the face of the Netherlands, and couldn't believe what I was reading. I don't understand how it follows that those who care about people who died in the Holocaust don't care about those who died, or continue to die, in other conflicts.

It's pretty obvious to me that precious little sensible discussion of the resource that was linked to is going to take place here (though thanks for the links, Asparagirl), so I'll bow out.
posted by different at 12:16 PM on November 22, 2004


q, that was quite clearly the supposition of radiosig's banal comment. As a pro-Palestinian atheist, I was annoyed by being told I cannot mourn my own dead relatives without at least a fleeting remembrance of the present horror. The logic there was stupid.

Whereas tbm's contributions didn’t piss me off, because they weren't corny or clichéd, and had the aroma of activism, rather than quacking OT.
posted by xowie at 12:23 PM on November 22, 2004


well, i'm just an irish mook, i had no relatives that i know of die in the holocaust, most people don't. i didn't understand the vehement reaction to radiosig's remarks, i don't beleive he meant them at all in the manner in which you have interpreted them. i'm truly sorry it offends your sensibilities, but i think many many people might make the same observation he did. i thought that your reaction was overblown. i think your insistence that there is a correct "tbm-like" way to make the point is picayune, and i think the overall demand in the thread for hushed, respectful "mourning" (this isn't a goddam wake!) with a strict, blindered focus away from any related or unrelated suffering in the world is just so much crap.
posted by quonsar at 12:40 PM on November 22, 2004


semmi: You have my condolences.

It's easy to forgot that for some people it's not a chapter in a history book.
posted by Yossarian at 12:41 PM on November 22, 2004


also, i'm not trying to stir up ugly things. i was truly surprised at the reactions to his comments. i'm NOT saying they were wrong, but only that they seemed wrong to me. obviously i have things to learn. perhaps you do too.
posted by quonsar at 12:46 PM on November 22, 2004


Exploring the ossuary is always a delicate business.
posted by xowie at 12:51 PM on November 22, 2004


The world doesn't need yet another Holocaust remembrance site, particularly one that ignores all the gypsies, homosexuals, and, yes, communists, pinkos and other leftists who were slaughtered at the same time.

Since 1945, we've had massive ethnic slaughter in China, Indonesia, Burundi, Rwanda, the Balkans, the list is endless.

Yet the Holocaust continues to completely dominate the media, to the point where the coverage of all these other ongoing genocides put together was a fraction of the coverage of the historical non-homo, non-gypsy, non-pinko victims of Nazi Germany.(*)

There's only so much of people's attention to go around. There is only so much of people's energy and money that can be committed here and yet it appears that the vast majority of this is being spent on dead people who are three generations beyond our help, while the plight of our contemporaries is swept under the rug.

"Never again" is a statement about the future, not about the past.

(* -- there was a good study three or four years ago about this -- but I couldn't find it on the 'net... any takers?)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:51 PM on November 22, 2004


There's only so much of people's attention to go around.

So why didn't you just skip this thread?
posted by gwint at 12:56 PM on November 22, 2004


Yet the Holocaust continues to completely dominate the media

Isn't this a little vehement for an online database? Dominates the media? The only Holocaust reference regularly heard or read in the media I peruse is generally in the vein of "the holocaust was horrible and we said never again and look how the current horrors in {insert horror-sticken country here} are being ignored/swept under the rug by our government." Not "well, it's not as bad as the holocaust, let's just ignore the millions dead in the Sudan."

And don't you think it's just a wee bit arrogant for you to make the decision for the world that we all know enough about the holocaust, thank you? I mean, couldn't I just as easily say the world doesn't need another music collective of dubious merit, which appears to be something you hold dear (in your bio)? Wouldn't that be awfully presumptuous? Well, i think it is awfully presumptuous for you to say that this database, which enabled me to look up information about my great-grandmother who I am named after and never met, is superfluous to the world's needs.

Never again is a statement about the future, true. But one of the reasons that the Holocaust is an important event to study is that at the time nobody believed that the Final Solution was really happening, and that in the modern world such a wholesale slaughter was imaginable. The fact the it is KNOWN that such things are possible should, theoretically, lead to fast responses and ending of slaughter as it occurs where it occurs.

Of course, as you note, our track record hasn't been good as world citizens, as people have been murdered in Rwanda, the Congo, Palestine, while our governments stood/stand idly by. But to lay the blame at the feet of an excessive study of the holocaust is just ridiculous, and makes me wonder what your actual agenda is.

And for all those who seem to believe that the holocaust should never be discussed without prolongue mea culpas from all the Jews in the room, fine. As I said before, I abhor the actions of Israel with regards to the Palestinians and aver that those action are not done in my name. I vote for candidates who support human rights. I donate money to relief organizations.

And I shouldn't have to say a single thing about that to be able to mourn my murdered relatives. How hard is that to understand?
posted by miss tea at 1:24 PM on November 22, 2004


The world doesn't need yet another Holocaust remembrance site ... Since 1945, we've had massive ethnic slaughter in China, Indonesia, Burundi, Rwanda, the Balkans, the list is endless.

Yet the Holocaust continues to completely dominate the media, to the point where the coverage of all these other ongoing genocides put together was a fraction of the coverage of the historical non-homo, non-gypsy, non-pinko victims of Nazi Germany.(*)


Rightly or wrongly, the Holocaust owes its domination of the media to its fundamental differences from all those other horrible events you mention. It occurred in a place that was considered a civilized, modern Western country, and it used all of the modern conveniences that those places have.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:28 PM on November 22, 2004


Good god. This is even more depressing than that awful MeTa thread about angry_modem. I'd like to thank jonmc for doggedly upholding the standards of decent behavior while being gnawed by weasels, and I share his sentiment:
This thread has literally made me physically ill. Way to go.

And quonsar, I'm truly sorry to see you lying down with dogs; I'm glad you've started to brush off the fleas. I know it's fun being reflexively contrarian, but this ain't the place.

This is just... awful:

Did you hear what happened to Norway's Kristallnacht commemoration last month? Overtly Jewish symbols, such as magen david's or Israeli flags, were banned, as were the people who displayed them--because they somehow might have been construed to be supportive of Israel, and thus were considered unacceptable. Jewish symbols were banned at a march about Jewish murders.

What the fuck is wrong with everybody? I'm going to go see if the dogs will let me join the canine race.
posted by languagehat at 1:49 PM on November 22, 2004


i've just written something and then lost it, but i feel the need at least to sincerely apologize for anyone i've offended by the parallel i've drawn. i don't mean to tell those who've lost family in the Holocaust how to mourn their dead. i respect and appreciate the efforts and intentions of the site linked from PenDevil's post.

at the risk of delivering more 'grade school pap' though, i would like to offer that for me, i feel that all human beings are brothers and sisters and a death at the hands of fear and hatred is a bitter loss. perhaps there are times and places to remember specific incidents, and i have violated the sanctity of this particular memory. again, i am sorry.
posted by radiosig at 2:01 PM on November 22, 2004


This is such a valuable project. I cannot imagine what it would mean to me if I were a survivor or descendant of survivors.

I can't look at the photo sites though. I know it's inhumanly bad. Anything else I write is trite.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:20 PM on November 22, 2004


Thanks for saying that, radiosig -- it definitely makes me feel better about you.

And man, was that an incoherent comment I left right above radiosig's: first I refer to the commenters I don't like as "weasels," then as "dogs," and then I turn around and use dogs as a symbol of some better species I'd rather join. I can only say the subject and the discussion disordered my rational faculties.

Oh, and: great post, PenDevil. Thanks.
posted by languagehat at 2:54 PM on November 22, 2004


again, i just fail to see how noting that people who were treated horribly are now treating others horribly is in any way dishonoring the memory of those who died, or "lying down with dogs". the whole assertion makes me suspicious.
posted by quonsar at 3:13 PM on November 22, 2004


Let's not forget the 3 million Catholic Poles who died in Nazi concentration camps along with the others.
posted by romanb at 3:25 PM on November 22, 2004


people who were treated horribly are now treating others horribly

Would you care to explain how exactly those five million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust are "now treating others horribly"? 'Cause if I can learn how to mistreat people after I'm gone, I may want to try it.
Cut your losses, q-man.
posted by languagehat at 3:46 PM on November 22, 2004


that's silly in the extreme, languagehat and you know damn well you can't pull that semantic crap off! you are acutely aware that by "people" i meant not only "jews", not only a particular set of dead folks, but "humanity", i don't understand your pretended confusion. you also know damn well radiosig didn't mean that in his remarks either. his was an expression of dismay at the inability of humans to learn from the past, and somehow it's being portrayed as some sort of anti-semitic statement. that's really fucked.
posted by quonsar at 4:00 PM on November 22, 2004


It's not really ironic or clever to compare dead Jews with living Israelis. Less than 1/3 of the world's Jews live in Israel. Of the rest, some support Israel's horrific policies, some don't. Why are you lumping us all together? It's puerile.

You know what's ironic? The massive support Israel gets from Christian fundamentalists. Because, you know, all those Shoah Jews were killed by Christians.
posted by xowie at 4:06 PM on November 22, 2004


ok. clearly, i'm in over my head. my inner klaxons are finally blaring 'YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP' so i think i will.
posted by quonsar at 4:14 PM on November 22, 2004


ok. clearly, i'm in over my head. my inner klaxons are finally blaring 'YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP' so i think i will.

Let's all take a breather, learn more, and argue another day.
posted by 327.ca at 4:20 PM on November 22, 2004


my inner klaxons are finally blaring ...

I always thought you were the one and only person here who had no inner klaxons to inhibit you. I think everyone in this thread shares your dismay, though. They (and I) simply disagree with the way this dismay was framed as a comparison of human suffering past and present.

You know what's ironic? The massive support Israel gets from Christian fundamentalists. Because, you know, all those Shoah Jews were killed by Christians.

That support is ironic in its own right, since Christian fundamentalists provide it because they think it brings us closer to the end times, not because they have any specific warm feelings for the state of Israel.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:55 PM on November 22, 2004


Since 1945, we've had massive ethnic slaughter in China, Indonesia, Burundi, Rwanda, the Balkans, the list is endless.

Lupus, last I looked there was no one stopping you or anyone else interested in doing something to make these (also terrible) ethnic slaughters more visible and understood. Of course its a lot easier to just complain than do. So from someone whose four grandparents all came from shtetls that were essentially eradicated by the Nazis, stuff it.
posted by billsaysthis at 6:13 PM on November 22, 2004


Perhaps this entire bit of vitriol between both sides could have been accomplished with a more dispassionate observation, namely how interesting it is that the cycle of history leads a race/religion who was persecuted and conquered, to become conquerors in their own right once the opportunity arises.

Its a pattern often repeated in history. When I used to study Christian history, I always found it interesting how the Christians severely persecuted pagans once they achieved some measure of power in the Roman world.

I don't think it serves as an insult to the dead. In many respects, I think Israel serves the dead well. With the hard work of the settlers, they created a (mostly) safe haven which has a vibrant culture and is a democracy.

The Holocaust was a historical event and I think its perfectly valid to discuss its long term effects, especially as it concerns the Jewish state which was founded in the shadow of the Holocaust. In my case, no offense is meant, but it is an interesting subject.
posted by pandaharma at 6:37 PM on November 22, 2004


Wow. I'm surprised at this reaction. I guess I can tell where it's coming from, but it's not what I expected at all.

Political nerves here are so raw.... Everything is doomed to become about politics, I suppose.

Anyway, it got me thinking, and I really believe that one of the saddest aspects of our contemporary perspective on the Holocaust is the fact that "never again" seems like a lost dream. That slogan represented the hopeful attempt to build something positive from the horror; to take strength from tragedy. It should have been the ultimate, grim lesson of the twentieth century. And it just seems to me that it has lost all meaning. Sixty years later, and the world is as horrid and vicious as ever, and those in power do nothing to stand in the way of genocide. It's hopeless, and it makes reading these names and looking at these pictures so much sadder.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:12 PM on November 22, 2004


Can you let the people who want to mourn, mourn?

I don't see anyone unwilling to do this.

What I do see is some people unwilling to let those who wish to do more than just mourn do that. So be precise about where you lay the charge of intolerance.
posted by rushmc at 7:24 PM on November 22, 2004


Unfortunately, "Never again" is a jingoistic slogan popularized in the 1960's by the militant anti-Arab racist Meir Kahane. It is shorthand for "Never again will Jews passively accept death at the hands of non-Jews".

It is hardly a universal condemnation of genocide, and sounds silly when you try to use it that way.
posted by xowie at 8:05 PM on November 22, 2004


Don't diss "never again" by associating it with racists.

Though Kahane did use the slogan, he wasn't the originator, he instead borrowed it from another source. It is actually the Polish phrase "Nigdy wiecej,"* used as a slogan during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It can be found on monuments from the 50s on, before Kahane got his hands on it.

It means "Never again" should there be another genocide - of Jews or anyone else. The fact that we do not live up to it is our fault, but the slogan still has a good ring to it.

* No, I can't pronounce it.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:32 PM on November 22, 2004


i think that everybody involved in this discussion would be more than willing to discuss any and all aspects of genocidal behavior, no matter where it occurs and no matter who is involved.

but the OP wasn't about that. it didn't mention politics. it didn't mention other genocides, be they in the past or current. not that they shouldn't be mentioned, but I don't think this is the place.

I have views regarding current Israeli settlement, regarding Darfur, regarding Kosovo, Rwanda, East Timor, the Armenians, et al (yes, apparently, we, as humans, suck at this).

but this ain't the place.

somebody found a resource on the web, some people think it's extremely useful, some people don't, let those of us that do discuss it. You want to discuss Israeli oppression of Palestinians, do some research, make a front page post, and we'll all (I'm damn sure) discuss our asses off.
posted by auslander at 9:00 PM on November 22, 2004


There's a time and place to discuss the very valid question of what might be called 'Holocaust exceptionalism', and its impact on the politics both of the Middle East and of genocide around the world. But not on this thread, I think.

Remember Stalin's grotesque line that 'a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic'? Hitler had the same idea: that to be rid of all those for whom, he presumed, such single deaths were tragedies would make them disappear.

Well, Yad Vashem and the other memorials Asparagirl linked to are a profound fuck-you to that notion: by documenting those murdered in the Shoah, those millions of deaths are, as they should be, millions of tragedies.

And for those who say 'but this doesn't include...' or 'but what about this other time, this other place' (too many times, too many places): well, it sets a standard by which past genocides should be remembered, and their victims individualised, and sets a standard for present and future action.

Does Yad Vashem, per se, establish some kind of precedent by its scale and detail that 'can't be matched'? Perhaps for some who embrace that kind of exceptionalism, and for some who project and resent it. I see it more as a model of emulation, and a testament to the power of family and memory and history: the human spirit burning like a fucking oxy-acetylene torch against those who'd try to snuff it out.
posted by riviera at 3:22 AM on November 23, 2004


Thank you, auslander and riviera.
posted by languagehat at 7:18 AM on November 23, 2004


Thank you for this post, pendevil. I had not heard that this was online. I plan to do genealogical work on my mother's family at some point (when I feel psychologically capable of dealing with it), and I will bookmark this site as well as the others ones from asparagirl (thank you as well!) to do that.

Pointing out this resource is truly "best of the web".
posted by livii at 7:55 AM on November 23, 2004


but the OP wasn't about that

You can't moderate a Metafilter post. You writes them up and sets them free and the people do with them what they will.

This is as it should be.
posted by rushmc at 8:50 AM on November 23, 2004


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