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Author Topic: Discussions of the Holocaust  (Read 4878 times)

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Offline JatedTopic starter

Discussions of the Holocaust
« on: May 08, 2011, 09:23:41 PM »
I was once asked , (recently as well) if there was one thing I could change about history, what would it be.


I simply answered the Holocaust.  I would eliminate it completely.  I know that most of the world learned that you just can't kill people, and get away with it.  But what really gets me, is the vast number of people that were killed.  Hundreds of thousands, if I remember right.  There have been times in my life when I really thought I was getting the shaft, and a picture of the women and children suffering, and my mind immediately changed it's focus. 


I was wondering if there was anyone who had thoughts on this as well, and if you might feel that what happened recently with Bin Laden kinda fits into the same category?

Offline Lynette

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2011, 09:40:10 PM »
Only to play devil's advocate (because I agree the Holocaust was a terrible, awful thing), would we be able to look upon the Nazi's and that era of history with the same amount of horror and revulsion, which I think helped many people to re-consider and avoid similar mistakes, if the Holocaust had not occurred?

It is late here and I am missing the connection to Bin Laden.

Offline JatedTopic starter

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2011, 10:08:17 PM »
There is some debate going on about how Bin Laden was killed.   The reference lies in the fact that he was killed.  That's pretty much it.


I am not sure that it would change history, or if we, as a people, would have learned that "killing and racism is not okay."


Offline Major Major

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2011, 10:15:20 PM »
I feel it's important to note that, while about 9 million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, there were also a further (depending on how it was counted) 2 to 8 million other victims as well; Homosexuals, Romani, Russian and Polish soldiery and civilians, and it goes on and on. As such, it would ring false to ignore them and just focus on the Jewish side.

Offline JatedTopic starter

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2011, 10:20:17 PM »
Hence the reason I said, racism.  Racism in any manner is considered morally wrong. 

Offline Shjade

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2011, 10:25:40 PM »
I'm curious about how you'd choose to change/remove the Holocaust. Alter the Nazi party's goals? What would they do instead?

Maybe prevent World War 1 from happening, preventing the conditions that led to World War 2?

Offline Saerrael

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2011, 10:28:31 PM »
If I recall my history lessons correctly (which is a big if, I'm quite flaky), WWI and WWII were bound to happen, one way or another. The conditions in Europe at the time were so dire, the people as a whole were looking for someone/ something to blame/ get better over the backs of others.

Edit : Often you hear in debates like this to remove Hitler from the equation, but that wouldn't have any effect on the 'need' back then for a war.

Edit two : I'm too tired.. I forgot to add WWII >.>'
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 10:34:34 PM by Saerra »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2011, 10:45:28 PM »
With bin Laden, I think the media failed in the way they would describe him as bit of a James Bond supervillain, a kind of islamistic Hugo Drax, who would sit in his bunker or tent, commit his heinous crimes on long distance and pull people in simply because of hunger for power and a splendid sadistic madness that supposedly appealed to young people in the Muslim world. The guy always had a tendency to come across as a bit cartoonish, because what he did and said was so outlandish - but this way of sizing him up as just a villain maniac misses the fact that he won over his converts by appeal to martyrdom and duty, a moral or religious duty. So there would have been a real sense of grievance, on more than one level, that he could exploit, or his appeals would have been totally ineffective. People don't line up to put on a bomb belt on or to kill a hundred people plus themselves in a vacuum. If those guys tended to think of themselves as martyrs there ought to be more discussion about just why they could hit on that idea and what kind of a role the concept of martyrdom plays to those people. That is not the same as accepting what they would be doing, or their rationale for doing it.

I don't see that discussion happening now either and I really don't think bin Laden's death will mean any cutting off of the flow of new people to al-Qaeda and similar movements.  It's okay to celebrate his death, in a way. I can see it brings a sense of closure to his victims and their families and friends. The guy was responsible for a number of atrocious attacks; obviously they were a shock to so many people, but there's no reason to feel his death has changed the game.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 08:07:00 AM by gaggedLouise »

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2011, 07:10:37 AM »
Millions were killed in the concentration camps and forced labor camps by the Nazis.  Joseph Stalin killed an estimated 17 million Russians during his regime.  Down through recorded history purges and genocide have been carried out by one race or nationality after another because the belief is that eradicating the enemy is the most effective way to beat them. 

Offline Tamhansen

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011, 07:37:16 AM »
If I recall my history lessons correctly (which is a big if, I'm quite flaky), WWI and WWII were bound to happen, one way or another. The conditions in Europe at the time were so dire, the people as a whole were looking for someone/ something to blame/ get better over the backs of others.


world war 2 was only bound to happen because of the idiot demands made by the french after world war 1. It collapsed Germany into a state of guilt slavery. The Deutsch mark seeing inflation figures of over 600% in some years. Add to that the '29 crash, and you get a people who'd follow anyone who'd provide food.

As for the holocaust, I do not believe this was racism on the Nazi part. It was more likely a brilliant (albeit horrifying) politicostrategic move to unify the German people against a common enemy, a scapegoat iyw.

In that respect it shows many similarities to earlier and later exclusions or prosecutions of minority groups. For example what is now taking place with Muslims in Northwestern Europe.

Wars are never fought over ideas, they are fought over power and wealth. Is it a coincidence that the first codename given to Dubbya's invasion of Iraq was Operation Iraqi Liberation?

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2011, 08:22:10 AM »
I would say 1914 was 90% bound to happen, though nobody at the time was truly clear how long and devastating the war would become. And though it was an abysmal disaster - the defining "root disaster" of modern times, in a way - it also helped push through democracy and pull down a great deal of outdated imperial paraphernalia - not just in central Europe and Russia. When millions were fighting and dying for their countries it became impossible, in the end, to hold back the wave of democracy.

Offline Shjade

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2011, 02:13:27 PM »
Is it a coincidence that the first codename given to Dubbya's invasion of Iraq was Operation Iraqi Liberation?
Yes.

Offline Branwen

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2011, 08:50:00 PM »
I feel it's important to note that, while about 9 million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, there were also a further (depending on how it was counted) 2 to 8 million other victims as well; Homosexuals, Romani, Russian and Polish soldiery and civilians, and it goes on and on. As such, it would ring false to ignore them and just focus on the Jewish side.
That's an important point to make, Major Major.  The Shoah is a hugely complex bit of history, and to focus strictly on the atrocities committed against the Jewish People is to diminish the entire episode.

Part of what troubles me so much of late is the growing class divide in America coupled with the casual abrogation of our basic Constitutional rights.  We're allowing an underclass to be established, just as in pre-WWII Europe, and are slowly but surely removing the ability of the individual to protest and protect themselves legally.  Which group(s) will be the targets this time?

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2011, 09:06:17 PM »
Part of what troubles me so much of late is the growing class divide in America coupled with the casual abrogation of our basic Constitutional rights.  We're allowing an underclass to be established, just as in pre-WWII Europe, and are slowly but surely removing the ability of the individual to protest and protect themselves legally.  Which group(s) will be the targets this time?

Does it matter?

"And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."
-Martin Niemöller

Offline Branwen

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2011, 09:13:09 PM »
A wonderful point and quote, Oniya.  Thank you for that.

A student asked me the other day for a good book about the Shoah.  Night by Elia Weisel, really moved something in her soul and I've been trying to find a good one to give her.  She's sixteen, so I don't want to hit her with anything too big.  Have you or anyone else read Whispers from the Ghettos?  It has good reviews but without browsing a copy in person I don't know if I should buy it for her.

Offline Sure

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2011, 09:25:22 PM »
Six million Jews died in the Holocaust. Eleven to eighteen million people died in the Holocaust. Jews get much more attention than the rest, for whatever reason.

Of course, a few years later the Nabkah occurred, the irony of which I will never quite get over.

Quote
Part of what troubles me so much of late is the growing class divide in America coupled with the casual abrogation of our basic Constitutional rights.  We're allowing an underclass to be established, just as in pre-WWII Europe, and are slowly but surely removing the ability of the individual to protest and protect themselves legally.  Which group(s) will be the targets this time?

... I really have no idea what you're talking about. Seriously, I can't think of any underclass we're targeting in any way comparable to Nazi Germany. Could you elaborate a bit?

Night is not particularly good at anything other than basically repeating over and over again how horrible the experience was. It's also a bit Judeo-centric. If you want to teach her about the Holocaust I would suggest an actual historical book. It's not as if it's some monumental task to make the leap of 'Killing tens of millions of people is bad' from historical evidence.

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2011, 09:26:30 PM »
I'm afraid the only book I've read on the topic was The Diary of Anne Frank.  I know it's more about the pogrom than the Shoah 'proper', but it should be appropriate for a 16-year-old.  (It's on the 'Advanced Reading' list for the local middle-school, at any rate.)

Offline Wyrd

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2011, 09:31:18 PM »
Millions were killed in the concentration camps and forced labor camps by the Nazis.  Joseph Stalin killed an estimated 17 million Russians during his regime.  Down through recorded history purges and genocide have been carried out by one race or nationality after another because the belief is that eradicating the enemy is the most effective way to beat them.

^This.  Plus, some 20 million Russian troops lost their lives in WW2. I think thats a bit more dire then the 8 million people who were killed by the Nazi's. If people want to learn the true face of the horrors of history, Joseph Stalin will always be a bigger monster then Hitler 

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2011, 02:59:14 AM »
Part of what troubles me so much of late is the growing class divide in America coupled with the casual abrogation of our basic Constitutional rights.  We're allowing an underclass to be established, just as in pre-WWII Europe, and are slowly but surely removing the ability of the individual to protest and protect themselves legally.  Which group(s) will be the targets this time?

The present (in Europe, but could also be in America) is more like the 1920s than people like to think. There's a lot in common: high unemployment, class barriers, sharp generational conflict for space and money, a jumpy and a bit gamble-oriented economy, fashionization of the media, a very pronounced "cult of the young" all over the place. Both ages come on the heels of major political and technological shifts (WW1, the radio, the car back then; the end of the Cold war, 9/11, the rise of the Asian tigers and the internet now), both are plagued by fear and xenophobia if you scratch a little. We can't afford the future to be like the 1930s again, that's for sure.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 03:08:42 AM by gaggedLouise »

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2011, 05:16:27 AM »
A wonderful point and quote, Oniya.  Thank you for that.

A student asked me the other day for a good book about the Shoah.  Night by Elia Weisel, really moved something in her soul and I've been trying to find a good one to give her.  She's sixteen, so I don't want to hit her with anything too big.  Have you or anyone else read Whispers from the Ghettos?  It has good reviews but without browsing a copy in person I don't know if I should buy it for her.

Have you considered Maus?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maus

Offline Branwen

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2011, 05:28:00 AM »
That's a great idea, Hairy Heretic!  I don't know how I missed it, but that's why I asked.  :)  Thank you!

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2011, 06:18:37 AM »
Two outstanding survivor's memoirs:

Jerzy Einhorn's Recollections of the End of an Era: Poland 1919-1945 - the original title was Chosen to Live - tells the story of his childhood in Poland before WW2 and the rapidly increasing pressure after 1939. Einhorn saw forced labour, ghetto life and prison camp - he notes that jail camp could never be compared to the extermination camps proper but the conditions were lousy anyway. In the years before landing in that one he witnessed on-the-spot executions, selections of people who would be sent to an "unknown camp" (the gas chambers), hunger and day-to-day degradation. Excellent book, it brings an entire era alive, not just the war but the tight-knit and active Jewish culture before the war. In 1945 it turned out that his immediate family had also survived but many relatives had been killed. He left Poland soon after the war ended and came to Sweden, where in time he would become a leading cancer surgeon and, late in life, an MP.

Wladyslaw Szpilman's The Pianist. Amazing book, if you saw the film you know what this is about. Szpilman, a concert pianist, saw Warsaw being bombed to bits and later had to go underground to survive. He was saved in 1944 by - an SS officer who found him in a deserted house and realized that he was a Jew but helped him (and others like him) at the risk of his own life. Szpilman is candid about how anti-semitism was a fact of life in Poland already before the war, and even after the war: his book was suppressed soon after it had been printed in 1946 and for many years it was simply a lost book, it wasn't even reprinted in Israel. It's also a story with great immediacy and very clear, kind of resigned, it reads like he is still under the spell of what he's gone through and not looking back at it but recounting it with the muted clarity of a dream he is still inside of.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 06:20:40 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Lynette

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2011, 06:57:59 AM »
^This.  Plus, some 20 million Russian troops lost their lives in WW2. I think thats a bit more dire then the 8 million people who were killed by the Nazi's. If people want to learn the true face of the horrors of history, Joseph Stalin will always be a bigger monster then Hitler 

Is it easier to think of millions of men being killed in battle or by General Winter or starvation, than the pre-planned and methodical genocide? The Nazi's efficiency is the horrific part for me and why, I am sad to admit, the Holocaust looms larger in my mind then any other genocide.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2011, 07:26:29 AM »
Is it easier to think of millions of men being killed in battle or by General Winter or starvation, than the pre-planned and methodical genocide? The Nazi's efficiency is the horrific part for me and why, I am sad to admit, the Holocaust looms larger in my mind then any other genocide.

Agree it doesn't make sense with those Soviet/Russian soldiers and civilians who were killed in action or simply murdered by the SS, to write those many millions of deaths on Stalin's bill. Hitler was clearly out not just to exterminate the Jews but to kill as many Slavs as he could: in the eyes of the Nazis the Russians, Czechs and Poles were of an inferior race.

Stalin may have been a very poor strategist sometimes but he was not intent on making the German army kill as many Russians as possible. And the Soviet regime was not genocidal or racist in its basic premises. It didn't act on plans for true extermination of particular peoples or religions.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 07:28:16 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Branwen

Re: Discussions of the Holocaust
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2011, 07:27:09 AM »
Thank you very much for the suggestions, Louise.  I may pick those up just for me.  :)