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Holocaust Archive
September 15, 2005 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Remember.org is a huge archive of the Shoah. It contains sections on the accounts of survivors and liberators (here is an account by Helen L. of her childhood in Auschwitz, here is Harry Herder's account of liberating Buchenwald, here is Jacques Lipetz account of WWII in Manila, here is part of a history of life in the Warsaw Ghetto), images from the camps and pictures of artwork produced by survivors (here is Mauthausen then and now, here is a picture of a prisoner at Dachau from this extensive archive of historical images, here are some drawings by Jan Komski, an Auschwitz survivor), and an extensive sections of excerpts of books written by survivors. Many of the images and accounts on this website are quite disturbing.
posted by OmieWise (65 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
O Porrajmos. This site discusses the Roma (Gypsy) perspective on the same events. Also frequently disturbing, not least because it is so unfamiliar.

Lacking financial or national power, the Roma victims of the Holocaust have generally not been well treated, or even remembered. The number of Roma dead has never even been counted, and is therefore disputed, often in surprisingly offensive ways by people who should know better, as this site begins to document.
posted by cleardawn at 7:36 AM on September 15, 2005


Do the 6 million Slavs killed by the Nazis have a website? Why do we have such an awareness of the Holocaust in this country, but so little about the tens of millions of other people who were persecuted and murdered during the same time? Does it have anything to do with the cold war? The victims of the Shoah have no monopoly on the suffering of WWII.
posted by letterneversent at 7:44 AM on September 15, 2005


No one has claimed that they do, and I find your post rather offensive.

There is, however, a qualitative difference in what happened to European Jews (and perhaps Roma... I don't know enough about it) compared to other victims of the war. For example, before the war Poland had a thriving Jewish community with a great deal of history and culture. There were around 3.3 million people in that culture.

Three million of them were killed. The entire community of millions of people with a rich history was wiped off the map. It's just... gone.

That's something that you can't understand just by looking at numbers.
posted by Justinian at 8:07 AM on September 15, 2005


ha ha letterneversent thats a good one! oh man j00s pwnd am i rite letterneversent or what?
posted by naxosaxur at 8:15 AM on September 15, 2005


Justinian, you are of course correct that the horror of the Holocaust is difficult to comprehend. It's absolutely worthwhile for everyone to look it in the eye, to look at themselves, and ask, What is it in me, what is it in humanity, that made it possible to do such evil? How can I avoid permitting myself to do such evil in the future? What action can I take to prevent this happening again, ever, to anyone?

However, to focus exclusively, as our school history books often do, on the suffering of one ethnic/religious group, while ignoring other people such as homosexuals, communists, Roma, Slavs, and so on who suffered just as much, in just the same way, is a dangerous over-simplification, and is something in itself that encourages racism.

Today, the Israeli Government's treatment of Palestians and Arab Israelis is one of the most disturbing reminders of the fact that not all the lessons of Auschwitz have yet been learned by everyone. The anti-Jewish rants of people like Bin Laden, or the neo-Nazis in France, Germany, America and elsewhere, are another such obscene reminder.

When we focus on ethnic groups, rather than on humanity itself, we dangerously miss the point.
posted by cleardawn at 8:29 AM on September 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


cleardawn wins. Holocaust to Palestine in 6.0 posts. Nice work...jerk. Perhaps you'd care to exemplify how the "lessons of Auschwitz" pertain to the suffering of the Palestinians.

Omiewise, thanks for the detailed and thoughtful post.
posted by felix betachat at 8:54 AM on September 15, 2005


oh man this thread keeps getting better and better...cleardawn you are at the top of your game: don't stop get it get it rock the spot on and on 'til the breaka breaka dawn...the beat elevates and the scratch excels rawk the bells.
posted by naxosaxur at 8:57 AM on September 15, 2005


letterneversent writes "Do the 6 million Slavs killed by the Nazis have a website?"

Have you made one? Have you searched for one and posted it to MeFi if it qualifies? Your comment is troubling because you seem to think that recognition of jewish suffering is mutually exclusive with a recognition of slavic suffering. Your seeming offense at the FPP is also disturbing, as if there were anything to be offended about from a website that simply houses Shoah memories.

The butcher of the balkans.

Genocides in Europe.

Propaganda uses of WW2 death figures in the Yougoslav wars of the 90s.
posted by OmieWise at 8:57 AM on September 15, 2005


oh man this thread keeps getting better and better...cleardawn you are at the top of your game: don't stop get it get it rock the spot on and on 'til the breaka breaka dawn the beat elevates and the scratch excels rawk the bells.
posted by naxosaxur at 9:00 AM on September 15, 2005


...so good i had to repeat myself...
posted by naxosaxur at 9:02 AM on September 15, 2005


naxosaxur: What do you think is "good" about the deaths of millions of people?

Incidentally, how old are you? Have you experienced the deaths of any close friends or relatives yet? How did that make you feel? And how about racism, have you experienced that yourself? How did it make you feel?
posted by cleardawn at 9:09 AM on September 15, 2005


Ok, ok... It looks like we've got another patented MeFi screaming match over the j00z and those wacky love 'em/hate 'em Israelis again.

So here's my two cents: My mother's family are Holocaust survivors. They left Poland after the war knowing their entire world was gone.

My grandmothers village? Before WWII it was +/- 5000 people, the vast majority of 'em Jewish. After the war, there were 20 people left (not living in the village. SURVIVORS. in DP camps, elsewhere in Poland or scattered wherever they could escape to). The Catholic Poles in her part of the country were very clear they didn't want the Jews back. There was nowhere for them to go.

Before WWII, Eastern European Jews had a thriving culture that for better or worse was different from their Christian countrymen. The majority of them spoke a different first language and spoke Polish/Ukranian/Russian/Romanian/whatever with a pronounced Yiddish accent. Street signs in cities like Vilinus in Lithuania and Minsk in Belarus were written bilingually in Yiddish. There were entire trans-national political movements like the Labor Bund and Zionism. Yiddish-language theatre and literature. People living in a distinct world.

After the war? Poof. Gone. Yiddish went from having as many speakers as Swedish to just barely edging out Esperanto. Survivors were scattered to the wind and the ones in Israel? Well, they just had to get used to switching Yiddish for Hebrew, 1000 years of heritage be damned.

So yeah, us Eastern European Jews got to join a special little club with the Roma, Armenians, Native Americans and a few others... The Genocide Club (TM).

All we had after the war was a comparative handful of traumatized survivors and expatriates. Catholic Poles still had their nation and their culture, however war-ravaged it was. Us? We got fuck all.

Just wanted to share that.
posted by huskerdont at 9:14 AM on September 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


felix betachat: If calling someone a jerk is your idea of a great post, then yeah, well done! Personally, I think that rather tends to makes you look like a jerk, but then, perhaps that was your intention?

If I said something you disagree with, then please, politely point out what exactly it was, so that we can politely debate it, and I can withdraw it if necessary.

Since the Israeli Zionists used the Holocaust as the primary justification for their murderous actions in 1948 (what the Palestinians describe as "the Catastrophe") and various subsequent activities, it's entirely reasonable, and completely predictable, that a discussion of one is going to lead straight into a discussion of the other. There's no reason to get angry about that.

If you'd like to have a genuine debate, with the intention of informing each other and trying to reach a reasonable consensus, then I'm willing. Neither of us are batshit insane, so it should be perfectly possible to do so.

Incidentally, I looked around OmieWise's site, and could find no discussions of Gypsy, communist, gay, or other victims of the Holocaust - just the Jewish victims. While the Jewish victims are certainly entitled to as many books and web sites as possible, and their stories are moving and worth reading, I continue to find it troubling that there is so little recognition from Jewish sources of the non-Jewish victims.

Also troubling (to me) are the Jewish scriptures, which claim, for example, that the Jews are "God's chosen people", and repeatedly urge genocide as God's preferred means for His chosen people to deal with other races.

Not all Jewish people agree with that, of course: I would hope the vast majority reject it completely. Certainly, a great many do reject it - probably an increasing number. But not all do reject it, sadly. Not all have learned the lesson of the Holocaust.

What's your opinion on those scriptural teachings, felix? Do you support them, or oppose them, in theory, and in practice?
posted by cleardawn at 9:32 AM on September 15, 2005


huskerdont, I wanna thank you for that. I never had this matter put in that perspective before.

Yet, I'm perfectly sympathetic to the the feeling that the Jews act like Holocaust was an exclusively Jewish event. I was in my late 20's before I ever even heard that gay people had been also shipped off to the camps. And I'm gay.

A Gay friend once told me about visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Some old man asked him if he had family that were there. He pointed at a pink triangle, and explained that his people wore that. The man became angry, and loudly proclaimed "Your people got what they deserved!"

So pardon me if I don't find anything wrong with people pointing out that more than the Jews suffered at the hands of the nazi death machine.

I've never seen Jews persecuted in America, directly. I've rarely even heard comments or jokes. I've seen quite a lot of persecution of gay people, suffered quite a bit of that myself. Goodness, some people even still kill people, in America, just for being gay!

In Europe, I've never seen Jews persecuted, and rarely heard comments. But even today, its still acceptable in polite, wester-European society, to voice slurs against the Romany.

So seriously, do you really think its reasonable to take issue with someone because they feel it appropriate to point out the Jews weren't suffering alone? If so, you are bigot.
posted by Goofyy at 9:50 AM on September 15, 2005


We definitely need that "trainwreck" flag, Matt.
posted by callmejay at 9:50 AM on September 15, 2005


Also troubling (to me) are the Jewish scriptures, which claim, for example, that the Jews are "God's chosen people", and repeatedly urge genocide as God's preferred means for His chosen people to deal with other races.
Judaism, as practiced, doesn't really have a tradition of direct biblical literalism. Therefore, to attempt to discuss Jewish law & religious practice, without dealing with the way scripture has been interpreted by the talmudic/halakhic/rabbinical tradition (which is, in traditional Judaism, considered to by legally binding), is sheer inanity. Jewish religious thought has been grappling seriously with issues like chosenness, and the commandment to 'remember amalek,' for thousands of years - and nothing in your post suggests even the faintest awareness of this.

There are, indeed, some largely fringe streams and movements in Judaism with some extremely unpleasent beliefs. However, to claim that anything approaching mainstream Judaism "calls for genocide" or anything of the sort is simply a slur.

On a side note, this was a good post. Shame people had to ruin the thread like this.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:00 AM on September 15, 2005


I'm not sure this is a trainwreck yet -- sometimes a poor comment can bring out very good ones that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. huskerdont and Goofyy's comments were worth reading and I don't know if we'd seen them without the predictable hobbyhorse comments that provoked them.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:01 AM on September 15, 2005


Seems like a reasonable debate to me, not at all a trainwreck. Particularly compared to a lot of the discussions about this subject, which end up as "Your a racist - no your a racist - no you are". Of course, if the naxosaxur's of this world had their way, we'd do that too.

I thought huskerdont and Goofyy both made excellent and unusual contributions. And even if mine are somewhat predictable, there will still be a few readers who haven't seen these things talked about openly before.

MeFi is a good place to talk about this stuff.
posted by cleardawn at 10:02 AM on September 15, 2005


Please, everyone, stop commenting, you're interfering with cleardawn's favorite activity: hearing his own voice.
posted by jonmc at 10:03 AM on September 15, 2005


Oh, and by the way, people might actually consider looking over the site before trotting out their rote bitchin' on whatever the topic happens to be.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:07 AM on September 15, 2005


kickingtheground, I agree with you that
to claim that anything approaching mainstream Judaism "calls for genocide" or anything of the sort is simply a slur

... and I didn't make that claim. I merely asked Felix's opinion on those scriptural ideas.

Of course, there are a great many ultra-Orthodox voices who do call for the complete ethnic cleansing of Palestine on religious grounds, and it isn't hard to find those voices on the Web. Here's a (relatively) sane example who claims that Palestinians don't exist and that God gave Palestine to the Israelis.
posted by cleardawn at 10:08 AM on September 15, 2005


Huskerdont, why do you hate the Esperanto?! :)

I think the Jewish reaction, as a whole, to the holocaust, was understandable and in many commendable. They made a point of reminding the world of what had happened to them. This is not bad.

However, I do think that some people tire of this "reminding" and rightly point out that other ethnic groups have suffered. This goes back to cleardawn's point that as long we focus on the ethnic groups as opposed to humanity, we might be just echoing the original problem.

So what do we do? I don't know. Judging from Hurricane Katrina, we're all about 6 meals away from tearing each other apart.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:09 AM on September 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


http://remember.org/witness/wit.vic.gyp1.html--that opn gypsies
1. to state or believe that Jews care mereely for Jews killed during this period is to show a lack of reading up in the subject: all the books I have taught on the subject and the Holocuast Museum etc show how non-News were also effected.
2. The gypsies were considered, like the Jews, a people without a land of their own and hence worthless-the Nazis hadd some notion about land, roots...and thus, ironically, now that Jews have a homeland, we get dumb posters comparing Israel to the nazis..the Nazis had an organized, systematic program to exterminate every Jew they could get hold of, and thus to wipe out the entire race. See the difference? No. Not yet?
3. The Jews had always been a people of the book, and thus in ghettoes, camps, etc they kept records, brief histories and in so many of them the expressed need to let the world know. The gypsies (Romany) by contrast, did not believe very much in written expression, history, etc and thus it was the methodical German accounts that tell us about them and their ordeal
4. Among other doomed peoples: communits, gays, criminals...
5. If you truly believe, still, that we have an anamoly iln this massive killing of peoples in our century, you need only look at what took place under Stalin and Mao, and later in Africa...But the German thing again is startling because on the one hand Germany was one of the most enlightened and advanced nations in Europe (literature, music, philosophy) and yet they wrought this.
6. I see no useful purpose served in badmouthing this or that in comments. Providing further info or links would serve a much wiser cause toward helping us see and perhaps even learn.
posted by Postroad at 10:27 AM on September 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


Was the Nazi persecution racist in nature or more a form of paranoid, nationalistic xenophobia?
posted by letterneversent at 10:35 AM on September 15, 2005


The Jews had always been a people of the book

And this is where I believe the root of the trouble lies. Jewish culture is part of mainstream Western culture to a much larger degree than any other "comparable" group. From that perspective, it's easy to see how the problems quickly compound to a sorry state of affairs.
posted by magullo at 10:41 AM on September 15, 2005


Um, I wanted to say that I thought that this was a good post and I think that the site linked is an excellent resource and I'm glad OmieWise pointed me to it. Are we still allowed to do that here or do I have to express outrage at something?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:44 AM on September 15, 2005


cleardawn writes "Since the Israeli Zionists used the Holocaust as the primary justification for their murderous actions in 1948 (what the Palestinians describe as 'the Catastrophe') and various subsequent activities,"

This is factually incorrect, although a popular canard on the internet. The Holocaust as such was not discussed much during the founding of Israel, nor the subsequent wars with the Palestinian residents of the area. Almost all reputable histories agree that either 1) the trial of Adolf Eichmann or 2) the 1967 war mark the start of discussions of the Holocaust as a political moment and (possible) justification for the state of Israel. Even Novick and Finkelstein, who have each written books highly critical of the "use" of the Holocaust for modern political ends, agree on this general understanding of when the Holocaust became rhetorically important.

cleardawn writes "Incidentally, I looked around OmieWise's site, and could find no discussions of Gypsy, communist, gay, or other victims of the Holocaust - just the Jewish victims."

It's not my site, and I don't believe that you've looked at it. In addition to the page that George_Spiggot links to, the banner at the top left of the home page says:"remember.org 6 million, and 5 million, often forgotten," perhaps you forgot that part. In addition, there are pages on:
* T4 Medical Killing Program;
* "Euthanasia" Estimates;
* On Gypsies;
* Gypsies in Auschwitz;
* Gypsies in Auschwitz - Part 2;
* Homosexuals;
* Polish Jews & Citizens;
* A poem, Babi Yar;

so bullshit on your hypocritical bullshit.

cleardawn writes "Also troubling (to me) are the Jewish scriptures, which claim, for example, that the Jews are 'God's chosen people', and repeatedly urge genocide as God's preferred means for His chosen people to deal with other races.
"Not all Jewish people agree with that, of course: I would hope the vast majority reject it completely. Certainly, a great many do reject it - probably an increasing number. But not all do reject it, sadly. Not all have learned the lesson of the Holocaust.
"What's your opinion on those scriptural teachings, felix? Do you support them, or oppose them, in theory, and in practice?"


Now this, my friend, is a red herring; it has nothing to do with the issue at hand, and yet you introduce it with a clause that makes it appear as if it is related, "Also troubling...". Jewish scripture is completely beside the point, unless your point is, in fact, to slur jews. When kickingtheground called you on this you claimed that you were just curious about felix's opinion on the matter, but the context indicates that's not the case. You want to extend your concern over supposed omissions in a Shoah archive to an argument about Zionism, and from there, the "troubling" aspects of Judaism as a whole. But I like your chutzpah in suggesting that not all Jews have "learned the lesson of the Holocaust," which in another context might easily be read as a threat.
posted by OmieWise at 11:03 AM on September 15, 2005


letterneversent writes "Was the Nazi persecution racist in nature or more a form of paranoid, nationalistic xenophobia?"

Which persecution? The lebeschraum persecutions of Slavs was nationalistic and xenophobic, the slaughter of Jews was most definitely racist in nature.
posted by OmieWise at 11:06 AM on September 15, 2005


I agree with Postroad. There, I said it.

Was the Nazi persecution racist in nature or more a form of paranoid, nationalistic xenophobia?

A little from column A, a little from column B. In Helen L.'s story, linked above she says that at the end of the war an German officer (not knowing she was a Jew) told her in frustration over Germany's failure: "if I had here one Jew I would take him and just tear him into two pieces because they are the ones responsible for this war and the predicament that we were in"

I think for the upper echelons it was what you said, some bizarre nationalistic paranoia. For the common folk it was just simple racism.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:47 AM on September 15, 2005


Could you imagine this smack in the center of Berlin for the Roma victims? Why does a genocide memorial relate to Jews only? Monopoly!

Ride the hollercauster... Auschwitz has become a theme park. in all other historical research, a website dealing so casually with the facts as remember.org would have been scorned. Again: monopoly.
posted by Bravocharlie at 11:58 AM on September 15, 2005


By the way, this image is in the image archive, with an explanation of the categories. I don't think anyone anywhere was denying that there were more than Jews killed, this just happened to be a Jewish site.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:59 AM on September 15, 2005


Po'macho, true... but the general image is one of Jewish suffering only.
posted by Bravocharlie at 12:04 PM on September 15, 2005


From the FAQ on your link:

1. Why is the Memorial dedicated solely to the memory of the murdered Jews?

The decision to dedicate the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe was taken by the German Bundestag in 1999 after a lengthy debate. It makes it clear that the recognition of the singularity of this crime and German historical responsibility are part of the core of the identity of the German nation-state. However, the Foundation also has the task of acknowledging and preserving the memory of all victims of National Socialism. This also involves building memorials to the Sinti and Roma and to homosexual victims, which has already been decided upon by the Federal Government.

posted by Pollomacho at 12:49 PM on September 15, 2005


Germs' being PC. Politics, schmolitics.

I am still asking: smack in the center of Berlin? I think not
posted by Bravocharlie at 12:54 PM on September 15, 2005


This thread is very depressing. I'm pretty bummed I read it, actually.

Look. My mother has a very rare form of cancer. (This is true, not a hypothetical). After her diagnosis, I spent a lot of time educating myself about that cancer, which lead me to learning a lot more about cancer in general. My understanding and empathy about what cancer patients and their families experience has increased exponentially.

Similarly, I am a Jew whose grandmother was the only survivor from her extensive family. Learning about the holocaust lead me to an interest in history, specifically the history of race- or religion-based persecutions, which led me to a specific interest in Irish history, so much so that at this point I know more about that than the holocaust.

So what's the point? That knowledge leads to understanding of all peoples. The allegation that Jews should just shut the fuck up about the holocaust for whatever reason-of-the-week (palestinians, their god's an asshole, other people were killed too, the concentration camps are now theme parks, they deserved it because they're so fucking self-centered) just misses the goddamned point. Millions of people were herded up, sent to camps, and systematically murdered. We should all remember that, and remember the horrors of slavery, and the armenian genocide, and cromwell's slaughter of the irish, and the crusades.

Anyone who says jews, or anyone else, should stop talking about any of this stuff for any supposedly 'rational' reason is just using that 'rational' reason to cover up their own hatred or anger. There can never be too much knowledge about what we humans are capable of doing to each other. Period.
posted by miss tea at 12:56 PM on September 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


So, Bravocharlie, just out of curiosity did you sign up for MeFi just for this? Why? Because at this writing your three comments above are the entirety of your contribution since joining today. It's clear that you dislike holocaust reminders that don't pay proportionate attention to non-Jewish victims. Would you approve of ones that did? Or do you just not like holocaust reminders at all, and this provides a handy pretext? Like I said, just curious.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:26 PM on September 15, 2005


I would like to give miss tea a cookie since she summed up my opinion of this thread so eloquently.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:35 PM on September 15, 2005


Could you imagine this smack in the center of Berlin for the Roma victims? Why does a genocide memorial relate to Jews only? Monopoly!

Actually here are some pictures of the location of the Roma memorial under construction in the Tiergarten next to the Reichstag.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:44 PM on September 15, 2005


This happens every bloody time. For fuck's sake, if someone links to a Jewish Holocaust memorial, they're not denying other Nazi suffering. Complete logical fallacy. And as miss tea elegantly said, the other suffering doesn't mean we can't have posts on this suffering. Again, not logical.

Flag, flag, flag. Oh, and cleardawn, way to get pwned by naxosaxur, who's a long-standing MeFi member, very smart, very thoughtful, and clearly just showing you what a freaking moron you were being. Oh no, I called you a moron! Guess what, I'll also back up the jerk allegation.
posted by livii at 2:11 PM on September 15, 2005


And in my extreme grumpiness, I forgot to note: nice post, OmieWise, I hadn't seen this site before, and it's a good one.
posted by livii at 2:12 PM on September 15, 2005


Curious George: well, I did see this coming. To answer your question: sort of.

I've been af guest here for ages, but Paypal was certainly never a friend of mine - til today when I finally found out what the security number on my Visa card was. Wohoo...
Being a teacher of history, mainly focusing on genocide, I guess this thread made me try that one last time.

I am always in favor of Holocaust memorials! However, it has to be academically sound, and remember.org just doesn't cut it. That was my reason for posting, G.
posted by Bravocharlie at 2:21 PM on September 15, 2005


Enough already. Wasn't there a post yesterday on this very subject?

Anyone who says jews, or anyone else, should stop talking about any of this stuff for any supposedly 'rational' reason is just using that 'rational' reason to cover up their own hatred or anger. There can never be too much knowledge about what we humans are capable of doing to each other. Period.


Um, no. This endless reiteration of Jewish suffering serves a blatant political purpose. Period. And catching Holocaust fatigue has nothing to do with hatred or anger. Period. Or did you mean any criticism of the endless Holocaust Industry is implicitly anti-semitic or sociopathic? I call bullshit.
posted by undule at 3:39 PM on September 15, 2005


I have to say - half Polish, the son of someone who (just) survived the slave labour camps, with a couple of relatives in Katyn, and a smattering in Siberia - I do think that there is something different about the slaughter of the Jews during WWII that deserves special commemoration. The deaths of Poles were wartime atrocities turned up to 11 (as it were), but the systematic execution of the Jews as Jews, with all the dreadful paraphernalia of racial categories, half-Jews, quarter-Jews etc., was more dreadful, more calculating - and a more serious challenge to our humanity.

Perhaps the analogy is with someone going on a gun rampage. If they shot 100 people at random, it would be dreadful. If they went through the town, carefully selecting 100 black people, and then killing them, that would make the crime worse both in itself and in what it said about society as a whole.

Longer-term, I hope that we will be able to see those Jews who were also Polish citizens as part of a double tragedy - the tragedy of the Jewish people, but also the tragedy of Poland, which lost a whole culture and a large part of its history.
posted by athenian at 4:25 PM on September 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


livli, calling me a moron and a jerk is fine, I don't mind at all. Since you don't provide any evidence to support your claim, it's particularly welcome, since it merely reflects on you.

Miss Tea said:
The allegation that Jews should just shut the fuck up about the holocaust for whatever reason-of-the-week (palestinians, their god's an asshole, other people were killed too, the concentration camps are now theme parks, they deserved it because they're so fucking self-centered) just misses the goddamned point. Millions of people were herded up, sent to camps, and systematically murdered. We should all remember that, and remember the horrors of slavery, and the armenian genocide, and cromwell's slaughter of the irish, and the crusades.


I agree. And I'd add the Irish famine, which is the genocide my ancestors suffered particularly from.

However, as far as I noticed, nobody here suggested "that Jews should just shut the fuck up". And that's a good thing.

Perhaps we can all agree on two things:

1) Anti-Jewish racism is unacceptable and evil. The Holocaust was one of the worst crimes humanity has ever committed against itself. It is good that the Holocaust was stopped by the combined action of the USSR, USA, UK, and other countries.... and any attempt to restart it should again be met with extreme force. I would willingly enlist to help stop such a crime.

2) Anti-Palestinian racism is unacceptable and evil. The crimes Israelis have committed against Palestinians - such as stealing their land and preventing them from organizing their own state - while not as bad as the Holocaust - are still entirely unacceptable and should stop happening, as soon as possible, please.

If anyone disagrees with either 1 or 2, let's talk.
posted by cleardawn at 4:45 PM on September 15, 2005


I hate to get into an argument about Israel/Palestine, but as far as #2 goes, um, cleardawn do you understand that due to their religious beliefs Israeli Jews can't acknowledge a Palestinian state? They can't just sit down and start playing nice because they believe that their God gave that land to them.

Yes, it's unacceptable what's going on over there, but since both sides believe that the land was given to them by their God, how exactly do you propose to solve it?

(Full disclosure : I'm a Jewish descendent of Germans who left the country in 1938 because being Jewish was not exactly popular at that time.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:56 PM on September 15, 2005


grapefruitmoon: Not all Jews have the extreme views you suggest, and nor do all Palestinians.

It's not really my job to solve the argument, happily for me. It's up to the Israelis and Palestinians, negotiating in good faith - which is not impossible, whatever the extemists on both sides may claim.

One possible basis is the two-state solution proposed by the UN in 1947.
posted by cleardawn at 6:40 PM on September 15, 2005


grapefruitmoon: Not all Jews have the extreme views you suggest, and nor do all Palestinians.

It's up to the Israelis and Palestinians to resolve their differences by negotiating in good faith - which is not impossible, whatever the extemists on both sides may claim.

One possible basis for a solution is the two-state solution proposed by the UN in 1947.
posted by cleardawn at 6:52 PM on September 15, 2005


I must say I'm surprised, having never before even looked into a Metafilter thread about the Holocaust. The level of anger here about the Holocaust and its relation to Judaism is something I've only previously experienced with Holocaust deniers and anti-semites. Particularly disturbing is the insistence from some people on the Left that the Holocaust has somehow lost its relevance, and can only be understood, in the light of subsequent history. Not only is this the worst kind of sloppy thinking, it's very very difficult for me not to wonder about it's relation to a kind crypto anti-semitism which is careful to couch its objections to Jews in strictly political terms. Having a hard time acknowledging the unique nature of the Holocaust for Jews seems like a pretty good indicator of a lack of reflection bordering on inhumanity. I've been more angry before about things I've read on Metafilter, but I've never felt the kind of dread and hopelessness that some of the comments in this thread have engendered in me.

Bravocharlie-I just don't believe you. You haven't mentioned even one reason why remember.org does not meet your standards, nor have you even identified those standards. You tried to derail the thread with your suppositions about a Roma Holocaust memorial, and then dismissed the evidence that you were completely wrong in your suppositions when Pollomacho provided it. It will be interesting to see where else at Metafilter you choose to contribute now that you've solved the mystery of your security number (which, by the way, is explained everywhere and by everyone).

undule-Um, no. I've made two posts about Jewish history in the past week, and I can assure you that you have no idea what my politics are if you think they serve a political purpose. Is it only multiple posts about Jewish subjects which you find so exasperating, or are there other subjects, like, say, computers, Apple, Katrina, Bush&Co, photography, genetics, Flash, astronomy, and internet culture that are also a problem? If it's the former, I don't care and you should probably examine your conscience; if the latter, you should probably consider whether or not MetaFilter is really a good place for you to spend time, unless you enjoy being exasperated. I'm surprised you overcame your "fatigue" long enough to comment in this thread.

cleardawn-You keep wanting this discussion to be about something other than Jewish deaths in the Holocaust, and yet the FPP is pretty clearly predominantly about Jewish deaths in the Holocaust. Your insistence that this has something to do with Palestine is puzzling since the people who died in the Death Camps were not from Palestine. Your failure to answer questions about your previous points in this thread indicate that you're not to be taken seriously; and your comments in this thread in general, especially those which seek to generalize the Holocaust in order to deny its particularity make it clear that your brand of leftist politics is poorly grounded and unconsidered.
posted by OmieWise at 8:34 PM on September 15, 2005


Jesus Christ, dudes.

I was looking at those pictures, just fucking horrified, and I expected most of this thread to be made up of "." with the occasional thoughtful comment and possibly someone linking to this thing for the sheer terrifying irony of it.

But, like, what on here the fuck is going jeezus?

This reminds me of the threads on female circumcision that get turned into screaming matches about the "holocaust" of male circumcision. But this shit, it's even less understandable. You can read a soldier's account of walking through bodies stacked like cordwood and giving chocolate to a kid who spent his entire life in a concentration camp, you can read that and then complain because the dead people weren't the proper race to satisfy your politically-correct sensibilities?

You can argue that they don't deserve recognition, or deserve less recognition, or something because of what other members of their ethnic group have done since then? Isn't that like saying because there are racist black people everyone should really stop emphasizing slavery already, I mean, look at what the black people are doing now! You know they just talk about slavery all the time to garner sympathy for political purposes. Just get over it already!

Other people suffered under the Nazis. The site OmieWise linked to discusses them. But just because you think they haven't received as much attention as the policies against the Jews doesn't mean the Jews should get less attention, those groups should just get more.

Fuck me, I don't even know why this fucking rant is necessary, you goddamn fucking fuckers have no fucking heart--goddammit! They're human goddammit! These were fucking humans who suffered and died in the most unimaginably disgusting ways possible, the fucking lampshades made of skin, and you want to fucking bitch about the politics of people who have nothing to do with them? Do you fuckers start bitching about G.I.s who died during torture if some fucker whose beliefs you don't agree with incorporates his veteran status into his political campaign? If you're going to bitch about something, bitch about the exploitation, but don't bitch about the fact that people need to remember that this shit happened. And that these people died like this and we can't let their memories just fucking rot there because you've got a boner against Sharon.

For the record, I'm gay, not Jewish, and think Sharon's an ass, so your paranoid conspiracy theories and assumptions of social bias can go fuck themselves.
posted by schroedinger at 10:51 PM on September 15, 2005


undule-Um, no. you should probably consider whether or not MetaFilter is really a good place for you to spend time, unless you enjoy being exasperated. I'm surprised you overcame your "fatigue" long enough to comment in this thread.

My fatigue is not Metafilter related as such, thanks for the advice, tho. If I don't dig Holocausting, I should simply tool? I'm just tired about hearing how G*d's chosen people were murdered by evil Nazi's. Hey, turns out I have history channel too, dude. I know the lesson about murdering people -- don't you? WE GET IT.

And I say that not as HOLY SHIT an anti-semite - which would imply some kind of racism. It's not race at all, it's religion. So, I'm tired of hearing about the State sanctioned murder of the Chosen Race, when this shit is going on for non-Jews all around the world RIGHT NOW. This fascination with Hebrew suffering is a culture-distortion.

And don't get me started on the Christians either - though at least membership in that club is not defined by race.
posted by undule at 1:20 AM on September 16, 2005


These were fucking humans who suffered and died in the most unimaginably disgusting ways possible, the fucking lampshades made of skin

You know that's not true, right? And the candles made of human tallow? Soap? WTF.
posted by undule at 1:27 AM on September 16, 2005


Having a hard time acknowledging the unique nature of the Holocaust for Jews seems like a pretty good indicator of a lack of reflection bordering on inhumanity. I've been more angry before about things I've read on Metafilter, but I've never felt the kind of dread and hopelessness that some of the comments in this thread have engendered in me.

I'm with you, I'm afraid. It seems as if the language of political expediency is so total these days that literally everything is open to accusations of advocacy. As a teacher, it's particularly depressing, since I still hold out some hope for the transformative power of education and dialogue. It gets harder and harder, though, just to present facts, to discuss them dispassionately, and to consider possible causes and effects. Basic intellectual acts upon which Enlightenment culture was founded are routinely shouted down by Know-Nothings and nihilists. It's not just the Shoah, either.

I'm in the process of writing a pretty difficult essay on my complex reactions to the new museum at Yad va-Shem. I'm striving for a balanced voice that acknowledges the way it continues Yad va-Shem's mission of commemoration while critiquing the space for ceding too much to a simplistic, pro-Zionist narrative of the Holocaust. It's really hard, and realizing that idiots like cleardawn could turn it into something I never intended it to be makes me want simply not to write it. Talk about depressing.

With regard to your post, maybe it's the extreme level of abstraction that's part of the cause. You'll recall that I made a post some months ago about Bruno Schulz, one particularly gifted victim of the Shoah, in which I tried to introduce both remembrance and critique as ways of framing the discussion. I'm not sure if it was successful or not, but we were both happy with it. I suppose we can't avoid the fact that to discuss the destruction of Ashkenaz will provoke these sorts of attempts to derail the conversation. My most charitable explanation would be that otherwise kind people are so overwhelmed by the enormity of the crime that they balk. Maybe if we try to tell more individual stories and to trace particular complexities in the course of their presentation, it'll be harder for some to graft their own politics onto the discussion.

To cleardawn: if you're so concerned about the Palestinians, please, make another post about the nakhba. Tell us something we didn't know. Provoke a thoughtful discussion of your own. Maybe start by reading Genet's Prisoner of Love and telling us why or how the Palestinian refugee problem became such a concern for post-WWII European leftists. I'd like to read that. More bullshit about how the Hebrew scriptures authorize genocide? Not so much, thanks.
posted by felix betachat at 2:26 AM on September 16, 2005


Felix, do you really believe that the crimes of the past should be discussed endlessly, and the crimes of the present quietly ignored?

To do that, simply because it seems in the short-term interest of your preferred racial group, is pure and simple racism.

Palestinian children are starving and being shot at today. For forty years the Palestinian farmers have been living in desperate conditions in refugee camps, driven from their homes, deliberately humiliated every day, bombed and strafed and massacred again and again.

That is the reason it is of concern to European leftists. Humanitarian concern. Opposition to racism. Not some bizarre anti-Semitic plot. Why would leftists be anti-Semitic? A great many European Leftists are from a Jewish background, and we all owe a great deal to Jewish notions of justice, mercy, and tolerance.

A more relevant question is: Why are the sufferings of Palestinians apparently not of much concern to many Israelis? Or to you?

Why are you not willing to distance yourself from the violent racism which is spelled out in the Hebrew scriptures? Denying that it is there is not going to work. We can all read the Old Testament.

People using the Holocaust as an excuse to deny and hide the modern racist crimes occurring in Palestine need to take a long hard look in the mirror.
posted by cleardawn at 6:49 AM on September 16, 2005


Undule, dude, wtf? "Holocausting"? "how G*d's chosen people were murdered by evil Nazi's"? "I'm tired of hearing about the State sanctioned murder of the Chosen Race[...] This fascination with Hebrew suffering is a culture-distortion"? And then you go on to say you're not an anti-semite?

I'm not big on replying to flame bait, but fucking a... I don't know where to start on this.

OK, Jews were a bit peeved about losing the vast majority of their co-religionists and that Eastern European Jewry was annihilated. They were kind of pissed off that it wasn't just the black hats, but that it also included intellectuals, blue-collar not thinkin' about religion types and any poor Christian who had the bad luck to have a Jewish parent. Oh, they killed Jews who converted to Christianity for that matter.

And, note for all the compare-the-Holocaust-to-Israels-mistakes-to-the-Palestineans folks: Not driven into exile. Not dispossessed. Not put under shitty military rule. SYSTEMATICALLY KILLED IN FUCKING GAS CHAMBERS OR SHOT UP AGAINST A FUCKING WALL, HOUSE BY HOUSE, VILLAGE BY VILLAGE. Capeesh?

Using G*d sarcastically? That's just how Jewish tradition spells God. Big whoop. "Chosen Race"? Buddy... Uhmm... First off, to the Jews, that means "chosen" to be burdened with all the extra commandments of the Torah and "chosen" to be persecuted. Buddy, trust me.... Mr. Feinberg over at the insurance agency doesen't think he's king and overlord to the goys.

This thread just makes me want to dry-heave, cough up nuclear vomit and drive my fucking head against a wall. So this culturally Jewish, agnostic, Lenny Bruce & Joey Ramone loving blond-haired asshole is going to go back to work. Thanks y'all for shattering my belief mankind has, like, empathy and stuff.
posted by huskerdont at 7:29 AM on September 16, 2005


cleardawn, for fuck's sake ... implying that remembrance of the holocaust denies the possibility for acknowledging present day problems/atrocities at the same time is simply trolling. The fucking post is about the holocaust. Take your insinuations, your rampant thread hijacking, your condescension and that fucking attitude and fuck off.

And this is coming from a someone who is largely ignorant about Jewish history and indeed didn't venture into the links in this FPP. I do have some empathy for those who moan about overexposure with respect to the holocaust but I don't ever agree sufficiently to voice the opinion because it's not subject matter about which I wish to offend anyone. I have seen enough in the past to permanently etch the terrible realities of that era on my mind. For me, that's as much 'study' of it as I can handle mostly. It's not that it doesn't interest me, it's that it/what appalling things mankind is capable of, just depresses me. This is one of those threads where I was just wanting to read an intelligent discussion. That partly happened. (Oh I remember that great Schulz post felix betachat - it's bookmarked at del.icio.us)
posted by peacay at 7:45 AM on September 16, 2005


cleardawn wrote:"Felix, do you really believe that the crimes of the past should be discussed endlessly, and the crimes of the present quietly ignored?"

Oh, there, see, you've finally learned what a straw man argument is. You've done very well in this thread, you've used at least two logical fallacies and still haven't said a damn thing. You, sir, are an asshat.
posted by OmieWise at 8:03 AM on September 16, 2005


It's not race at all, it's religion.

undule: The Nazi definition of "Jew" rested on biological, not religious, criteria. Jews who had converted to Christianity were also targeted, and even third-generation descendants of converts were targeted, regardless of what racial/ethnic or religious group they considered themselves to be a part of.

See more here under "Why Were Jews Killed? A Point of Clarification."
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:04 AM on September 16, 2005


cleardawn, it's hard to tell whether you just don't get it, or you're being purposely obtuse. dude, I am a Jew who feels very strongly that current Israeli policy is wrong, I vote for candidiates who are willing to put pressure on Israel, I want Palestinians to be able to have their own lands and self-determination. So what, though? You said that nobody in this thread is saying "shut the fuck up already" to Jews who talk about the holocaust, but YOU are by your attitude: you're saying "shut up because until the Palestinian people have a homeland the fact that your culture and history have been wiped off the map is irrelevant."

Do you go into threads remembering the victims of slavery and demand that their topics be changed to murders committed by black men in the united states? Do you go into threads about the potato famine and say that remembering the crimes of the english is ignoring the latter-day victims of the IRA? Not that I've ever noticed. As felix said, discussion of one does not preclude discussion of the other. Do an FPP. Start your own topic. Why do you feel so strongly about hijacking this one?

Incidentally, I feel strongly that although I am a JEW Israel does not speak in my name; I know a lot of American Jews who feel the same. Probably almost all of us have family members lost in the holocaust. A lot of us are left politically, condemn the settlers & Israeli policy. But we don't need your fucking permission to mourn. Can't you understand that?

And undule, you make me sick. At least the KKK and neo-Nazis have the balls to stand up for their beliefs. You're just a pitiful snake.

PS to grapefruitmoon- thanks for the cookie. Chocolate chip?
posted by miss tea at 10:14 AM on September 16, 2005


MetaFilter: this thread makes me want to dry-heave, cough up nuclear vomit and drive my fucking head against a wall.

Miss tea: you're saying "shut up because until the Palestinian people have a homeland the fact that your culture and history have been wiped off the map is irrelevant."

Respectfully, no, I didn't say that, or anything like it. Nor did I "hijack" this thread, I merely commented in it - as did you.

You certainly don't need my "fucking permission to mourn".

Nor do I need your permission, fucking or otherwise, to post my opinions, thanks. Feel free to point out any errors I might make - politely, for preference, but rudely if you must.

OmieWise: You got me. That was indeed a Straw Man argument. They can be quite effective sometimes, if the Straw Man actually does correspond to what the person really does believe. It can sometimes make them reconsider. At least, one can hope.
posted by cleardawn at 10:28 AM on September 16, 2005


cleardawn : Wow. If you think that my saying that the Israelis and Palestinians each believe that the land was given to them by God is an extreme view of the situation, then there's absolutely no way to carry on a rational discussion with you on this subject.

That's not extreme in the least, that's THE FACTS.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:50 AM on September 16, 2005


miss tea : From one left leaning Jew to another, chocolate chip it is.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:54 AM on September 16, 2005


Incidentally, I feel strongly that although I am a JEW Israel does not speak in my name; I know a lot of American Jews who feel the same. Probably almost all of us have family members lost in the holocaust. A lot of us are left politically, condemn the settlers & Israeli policy. But we don't need your fucking permission to mourn.

miss tea's post almost entirely sums up my position (as well as that of most liberal Jews that I know, including my rabbi).

Additionally, all of my Holocaust education has included information about the mass-murder and persecution of non-Jews as well.
Also, the education has been contexualized in reference to other genocides (including the on-going ones). I don't know of a single Jew who considers the Holocaust to be an event that pertains exclusively to Jews. What we, and many historians, believe to be unique about the Holocaust (as opposed to other mass-murders) is the particular beaurocracy, deliberation, methodology, and systematic approach that went into committing atrocities as well as the priority that the extermination was given by government at the time. The only other genocide that I can think of that had that much infrastructure and industry assigned to its perpetuation was that of the American slave trade.
posted by Jon-o at 12:07 PM on September 16, 2005


grapefruitmoon: The view that "God gave US this land" is extreme. Not all Palestinians, and not all Israelis, hold such extreme views.

There are many moderate Palestinians and moderate Israelis who would be happy to share the land along the lines of the two-state solution proposed by the UN in 1947.

So, to go back to what I said before, perhaps we can all agree on two things:

1) Anti-Jewish racism is unacceptable and evil. The Holocaust was one of the worst crimes humanity has ever committed against itself. It is good that the Holocaust was stopped by the combined action of the USSR, USA, UK, and other countries.... and any attempt to restart it should again be met with extreme force. I would willingly enlist to help stop such a crime.

2) Anti-Palestinian racism is unacceptable and evil. The crimes Israelis have committed against Palestinians (such as stealing their land, preventing them from organizing their own state, and depriving them of access to hospitals and schools) are not quite as utterly evil as the Holocaust, but are still evil, still entirely unacceptable, and should stop happening, as soon as possible, please. I support all nonviolent measures to pressure Israel to recognize the human rights of Palestinians.

If anyone disagrees with either 1 or 2, let's talk.

Full disclosure: I'm English, and I believe that Lord Balfour's Declaration, "giving" Palestine to the Jews, is the root of much of this problem. Palestine never belonged to the British, it wasn't "ours" to give away, but Empires do that to people. They mess with your thinking, empires do.
posted by cleardawn at 2:37 PM on September 16, 2005


What we, and many historians, believe to be unique about the Holocaust (as opposed to other mass-murders) is the particular beaurocracy, deliberation, methodology, and systematic approach that went into committing atrocities as well as the priority that the extermination was given by government at the time. And cheese laded cunt flaps filled with sperm and blood.
posted by snoktruix at 3:53 PM on September 17, 2005


I disagree with 2. What do you want to talk about?
posted by loquax at 6:36 PM on September 26, 2005


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