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Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005
September 20, 2005 4:22 AM   Subscribe

Goodnight, mr. Wiesenthal
posted by matteo (68 comments total)

 
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posted by matteo at 4:22 AM on September 20, 2005


Wiesenthal spoke often of a Sabbath dinner he had spent at the home of another survivor of Mauthausen, who had become a wealthy jeweler. The man speculated that Wiesenthal could have become a millionaire if he had gone back to architecture instead of hunting Nazis.

"When we come to the other world," Wiesenthal said he responded, "and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps, and they ask us, 'What have you done?' there will be many answers.

"You will tell them, 'I became a jeweler.'

"Another will say, 'I smuggled coffee and American cigarettes.'

"Another will say, 'I built houses.'

"But I will say, 'I didn't forget you.'."
posted by matteo at 4:23 AM on September 20, 2005


Wow, I haven't gotten to that yet, matteo. But wow.

I'm partway into the article and I saw this quote:
No less a personage than novelist Elie Wiesel, who survived Auschwitz and won the Nobel Peace Prize 40 years later, challenged him on his position that non-Jews slaughtered by the Nazis should be counted as Holocaust victims.
This confuses me. Was Elie claiming that only Jews were Holocaust victims? And if so, how on earth could anyone make that claim with a straight face?
posted by Malor at 4:29 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by unrepentanthippie at 4:41 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by zpousman at 4:44 AM on September 20, 2005


Ok, it appears that Elie was claiming exactly that, and that this view is apparently fairly widespread. I won't talk about it here, out of respect for Mr. Wiesenthal, but I plan to bring this up again in some other thread.
posted by Malor at 4:53 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Meatbomb at 5:05 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by amberglow at 5:15 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Smart Dalek at 5:18 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by moonbird at 5:24 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by walla at 5:30 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by OmieWise at 5:38 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by alumshubby at 5:39 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by unreason at 5:44 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by RavinDave at 5:48 AM on September 20, 2005


"For me was the Holocaust not only a Jewish tragedy, but also a human tragedy. After the war, when I saw that the Jews were talking only about the tragedy of six million Jews, I sent letters to Jewish organizations asking them to talk also about the millions of others who were persecuted with us together - many of them only because they helped Jews."

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posted by anastasiav at 5:50 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by yhbc at 6:01 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:19 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:20 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by SisterHavana at 6:20 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Thoth at 6:24 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by picopebbles at 6:26 AM on September 20, 2005


Let's hope that it doesn't mean governments can use his death as an excuse not to hunt down the surviving Nazi scum. They should never feel that they are safe, regardless of how old they are.
posted by Pericles at 6:27 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Eekacat at 6:30 AM on September 20, 2005


Godwin?

Let's hope that the next generation of war crimes hunters from the current war crime infested campaign live twice as long, and are just as tenatious.
posted by Balisong at 6:35 AM on September 20, 2005


There should be some kind of magnificent memorial for this man.
posted by snoktruix at 6:38 AM on September 20, 2005


May the Lord comfort his family among the others mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.


Glorified and sanctified be God's great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:40 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by NationalKato at 6:42 AM on September 20, 2005


One fitting memorial would be to take some time today read the material from the Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance. The Wiesenthal Center also has material on his life.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:46 AM on September 20, 2005


Amen.

Thanks Pollomacho. Nothing like some aramaic to comfort mourners.
posted by zpousman at 6:49 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Kiell at 6:51 AM on September 20, 2005


*salutes*
posted by jonmc at 6:53 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by fleetmouse at 6:54 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by TheDonF at 6:59 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by kalimac at 7:03 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by googlebombed at 7:06 AM on September 20, 2005


Thanks Pollomacho. Nothing like some aramaic to comfort mourners

I think that the Kaddish is usually recited in Hebrew, but I could be wrong.

Interesting note, during the holocaust, Jews often recited the Kaddish to each other upon parting as they assumed that they would never see each other again in this world.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:09 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by AJaffe at 7:44 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by snark9 at 7:51 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Pendragon at 7:54 AM on September 20, 2005


His experiences with Kohlrautz and Gunthert would later influence Wiesenthal to reject collective guilt. Jews "are the eternal scapegoat," he wrote in "The Murderers Among Us." "We know that we are not collectively guilty, so how can we accuse any other nation, no matter what some of its people have done, of being collectively guilty?"
posted by Pendragon at 8:02 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Soliloquy at 8:17 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Ber at 8:21 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by pinky at 8:26 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by whatnot at 8:27 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by killy willy at 8:43 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by ninthart at 8:50 AM on September 20, 2005


He was a great man.

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posted by gai at 8:54 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by deborah at 9:10 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by cass at 9:16 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by Rothko at 9:20 AM on September 20, 2005


A stage version of [The Diary of Anne Frank] opened in Linz. Young Austrians picketed the play. Wiesenthal confronted a boy who claimed that there was no evidence the Franks had ever lived. "Nobody will believe you," the boy told Wiesenthal, according to Pick, "unless you find the man who arrested her."

This is backwards. I have Wiesenthal's book "Murderers Among Us" (got it off eBay), and according to him, he was the one who asked the boys "what if I find the man who arrested her and her family? then will you believe that it really happened?" and the boys had to reluctantly conclude that yes, that would do it.

It's an amazing book, and I haven't even read all of it. I could never finish it, just read bits and chpaters here and there , because it's way too powerful to take in all at once. The theme that repeats over and over again is the complete un-caring--not disbelief as much as nonchalance--of people in the 1950's and 1960's towards what had happened in Europe. Again and again, Wiesenthal ran into people who just didn't give a damn that such atrocities had happened. Hence the title of the book.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:28 AM on September 20, 2005


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(It's definitely Aramaic, btw)
posted by greatgefilte at 9:41 AM on September 20, 2005


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The Mourner's kaddish is written in Aramaic, except for the last line, which is in Hebrew and of biblical (as opposed to Rabbinic) origin.
posted by kosem at 9:51 AM on September 20, 2005


Yis'ga'dal v'yis'kadash sh'may ra'bbo, b'olmo dee'vro chir'usay v'yamlich malchu'say, b'chayaychon uv'yomay'chon uv'chayay d'chol bais Yisroel, ba'agolo u'viz'man koriv; v'imru Omein.

Y'hay shmay rabbo m'vorach l'olam ul'olmay olmayo.

Yisborach v'yishtabach v'yispoar v'yisromam v'yismasay, v'yishador v'yis'aleh v'yisalal, shmay d'kudsho, brich hu, l'aylo min kl birchoso v'sheeroso, tush'bechoso v'nechemoso, da,ameeran b'olmo; vimru Omein.

Y'hay shlomo rabbo min sh'mayo, v'chayim alaynu v'al kol Yisroel; v'imru Omein.

Oseh sholom bimromov, hu ya'aseh sholom olaynu, v'al kol yisroel; vimru Omein.
posted by luriete at 9:51 AM on September 20, 2005


Mourner's kaddish is written in Aramaic, except for the last line, which is in Hebrew (and is of Biblical, as opposed to Rabbinic origin).
posted by kosem at 9:54 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by scody at 10:43 AM on September 20, 2005


Wow, I just assumed. Learn something new every day. I just knew it in English because I was curious what it said from reading holocaust stories.

Another interesting note about Aramaic: When I was in Syria I went to a village where they spoke the same dialect of Aramaic as ancient Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee area (Jesus's mother language). A nun recited the lord's prayer for us in that language. It was a rhyming verse poem with meter. The church was dedicated to two saints, some of Jesus's personal friends, a gay couple that were martyred by the Romans. OK derail over, that was my little knowledge of Aramaic.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:40 AM on September 20, 2005


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posted by darsh at 12:07 PM on September 20, 2005


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posted by cookie-k at 2:45 PM on September 20, 2005


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posted by klausness at 3:29 PM on September 20, 2005


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posted by malpractice at 3:53 PM on September 20, 2005


Let's hope that the next generation of war crimes hunters from the current war crime infested campaign live twice as long, and are just as tenatious.

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posted by Decani at 3:57 PM on September 20, 2005


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posted by reality at 6:42 PM on September 20, 2005


Blessed be his memory.
posted by Dreama at 7:59 PM on September 20, 2005


some quotes: "Technology without hatred can be a blessing. Technology with hatred is always a disaster."

"For your benefit, learn from our tragedy. It is not a written law that the next victims must be Jews. It can also be other people."

posted by amberglow at 8:09 PM on September 20, 2005


"For me was the Holocaust not only a Jewish tragedy, but also a human tragedy."

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(And I'd like to second Malor's request about bringing up Elie Wiesel again somewhere else.)
posted by MoralAnimal at 11:02 PM on September 20, 2005


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posted by vac2003 at 2:33 AM on September 21, 2005


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