May 07, 2005

Holocaust possessiveness

Critics say Germany's Holocaust memorial forgets some victims

By Matthew Schofield, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Fri May 6, 6:28 PM ET

BERLIN - Kurt Julius Goldstein, a German Jew who survived 18 months of slave labor in the mines at the Auschwitz death camp, would seem to be the target audience for his country's new Holocaust memorial. So why does he despise it?

Goldstein, 90, survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald and lost 38 of 50 family members to Nazi murder. But he says he can't shake the feeling that the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe that will be unveiled here on Tuesday is unfair to the Nazis' many other victims.

"You know, I was here, and they (the Nazis) didn't begin and end with the Jews," he said. "How can we focus on our own suffering and ignore that of the physically and mentally handicapped, the gays, the gypsies, the communists, those who opposed them? This should be a place to unite us. Instead, just like before, it divides."

Still, as the honorary president of three survivors and resistors groups, Goldstein will attend the opening ceremony. "I thought about not going, but I have to pay respect to those who died," he said.

I could not believe I actually read that line.

Now before I everyone gets all uptight and starts screaming "fascist historical revisionism!" let me say one thing: The murder of nearly 6 million Jews during the course of Nazi tyranny will forever be one of history's darkest moments, and mankind's greatest atrocities---but the Holocaust does not belong solely to the Jews.

You never open a history book and look at pictures of the concentration camps and say, "My God...look at the terrible suffering of those ______ (insert Catholics, Protestants, homosexuals, Gypsies, mentally/physically challenged, intellectuals, communists, and plain anyone Hitler did not like)!"

It just doesn't happen that way.

I'll bite my tongue about how many Jews head big media and publishing outlets. You make up your own mind about that---but no matter how you slice it, most Jews tend to claim sole possession of the Holocaust rememberence and education efforts.

Jacob Schulze-Rohr, however, disagrees,

"There must be memorials to all who suffered, and they must be in Berlin," said Jacob Schulze-Rohr, a member of the memorial board of directors. "But they must be separate. A gypsy could become a Nazi. A lesbian could deny her sexuality. Jews were separated from the rest of humanity by the simple fact that they were born Jews. That alone was their death sentence."
Must be in Berlin, eh? Well how about building one in Moscow? Oh wait, because Marx was a Jew so the Soviets wouldn't dare harm one, right? Or was it because Stalin's arbitrary (read: paranoid) murdering execution of purging of anyone he feared was against him, including a predominantly-Jewish Bolshevik party is excused by the fact that it was just that, arbitrary, right?

I guess the only difference between Stalin's paranoia and Hitler's insanity (advanced Parkinson's? Syphillis? Drug-addiction? Who knows?) is that Hitler premeditated the slaughter of Jews, and everyone else falls under the domain of Stalinist collateral damage, right?

Posted by Kyer at May 7, 2005 02:13 PM

5 million Eastern Europeans were slaughtered in the camps. Hitler hated the Slavs as much as he hated the Jews.

Stalin's forced famine in the Ukraine killed so many that the Ukrainians welcomed the Germans as liberators.

The Axis is generally referred to as Germany, Italy, and Japan. Did you know that Bulgaria also joined? I believe that Hungary,too, was an Axis country, but my little brother has my Chronological History of World War II, so I'm not exactly sure on that one.

No one seems to remember that when Hitler invaded Poland from the west, Stalin invaded at the same time from the east. Ever hear of the Katyn massacre?

So much history isn't taught anymore. I wasn't even taught in school what I just wrote. I had to read on my own.

Sorry for the long comment.

Posted by: Eric at May 9, 2005 02:26 AM

Absolutely agreed.

I was never aware Stalin invaded Poland from the east.

The most staggering statistic ever ignored in common historical conversation is the approximately 25 million people that died under Stalin's rule.

I found this here:

Prime Minister PAL TELEKI's policy of maintaining political neutrality worked until Germany in April 1941 offered stretches of Yugoslav territory in the Vojvodina in case Hungary joined in the attack on Yugoslavia. President HORTHY overrode his prime minister and accepted the German offer; Prime Minister Teleki committed suicide. Hungary, which had gained northern Transylvania in June 1940 (Rumania's protector France had surrendered to the Germans; Rumania had no option but to comply with German, Russian, Hungarian and Bulgarian demands), now gained the Vojvodina west of the Tisza.
Hungary now clearly was a junior partner of Germany.

Why were Hungarians targeted by the SS? Because contrarian to popular ignorance, Hungarians are not Slavs.

They don't even speak a remotely Slavic language.

My beloved Hungary was regretfully torn between two evils.

Long comments are always welcomed. Better long comments than no comments. heh.

Posted by: kyer at May 9, 2005 10:11 AM