The Nazis killed something like 11+ Millions in those camps. Besides Jews, there were also Slavs (either POWs or those rounded up during the invasion of Russia), Gays, Gypsies, Political dissidents, leaders of the prior non-Nazi governments in occupied territores, and so forth. Some have estimated more Slavs died in the various camps than Jews. These "others’ often get little or no mention when “the Holocaust” is talked about. And, at least for the Gypsies, they were also rounded up and died “simply” because “they were Gypsies”. I have heard estimates as high as 1 million Gypsies, but most come up with a number less than that.
I haven’t read this thread, because it’s a bit of an emotional topic for me. I also won’t be reading the responses because this is the kind of thread that gets people like me in trouble, so–at least as far as my plan goes now–this is all you’ll hear from me on this.
Historical revisionism is the great tradition of using new facts to overturn historical beliefs long regarded as obviously true. It is a practice which uses the scientific method and the disciplines of responsible social science to challenge history’s dogma.
Some people and groups claim to apply these scientific principles to a revision of the traditional historical account of the Jewish Holocaust. However, responsible historians call this “Holocaust denial”, not “Holocaust revisionism”, because the practice is generally devoid of scientific rigor and based solely on racism, hand-waving, and deception.
The holocaust is such a well-documented fact, appearing in history books, people’s recollections, etc. If somebody denies that the holocaust happened, they must mean that all that documentation and evidence is false and faked. This further implies that there must be some huge conspiracy to convince the world that this holocaust actually happened, and, of course, the conspirators are The Jews. So holocaust denial entails this anti-semitic conspiracy-theory paranoia - that’s why it’s such a bad thing.
If the holocaust were an obscure event that few people had heard of, holocaust denial could be excused as just ignorance; but as it is, you really can’t deny the holocaust without positing some kind of worldwide jewish conspiracy.
Certainly non-Jews were targeted too. No debate. But the number was 100,000 non-Jews of Polish descent killed in concentration camps. Across all of Europe the number of Romani murdered was perhaps a few hundred thousand. Sizable and 25-50% of the Eoropean Romani population, but not the “millions of Poles”. Polish culture was targetted but Poles as a group were not targetted for extermination. Slavs also were not targetted as part of racial purity, but as a political matter, to the best of my knowledge. I am open for a cite that educates me otherwise.
But obviously I agree with the point. Jews just happened to be a majority of the “other” targetted.
And Wes, German Jews were in a very similar position as American Jews for many years. Antisemitism is alive and well. Do not fool yourself otherwise. Hate always survives.
Agreed. I don’t think people expected quite this degree of savagery from Europe. I mean, this was Europe, supposedly the apex of civilization. Germany – a land that had given us Bach, Beethoven, Goethe, Luther, Kant, Durer, Heidegger – reduced to being a land of savage mass-murderers? Such were – and, unfortunately, still are – more expected in other parts of the world.
I think, too, that of all the genocide victims listed, the Jews in the Holocaust are seen as being the most similar to us today. That requires a selective memory, though, and that reflects the way a lot of people think about the Holocaust. Generally speaking, when people think of the Holocaust, they don’t think of the millions of poor, Eastern European Jews who were slaughtered – people with unpronounceable names who lived in hovels and wore long beards and funny clothes, who ate strange food and spoke a strange language. They think of the highly assimilated Jews in Western Europe. They think of Anne Frank, a girl who dressed and looked pretty much like we do today, a girl who could speak English, who listened to records, and who hung pictures of still-popular movie stars on her bedroom walls. That’s frighteningly close to modern life as most Westerners know it. Poor Eastern Europeans (be the Jews or gentiles), Rwandans, Soviets, and Cambodians are all much further from our day-to-day existance, and thus easier to ignore.
That and they also use it to paint Jews as lying, sneaky, conniving, trying to invent a horrible tragedy to gain sympathy and to manipulate others.
The first time I ever heard about Holocaust deniers, I think I was about 12 or 13, and since all I heard was that people say it wasn’t nearly as bad as described, or that only a few thousand died, etc. I got the impression that these people were engaging in wishful thinking. Saying, “That’s so horrible, I refuse to believe it happened, it couldn’t have, I don’t want to hear of anything so vile!”
It wasn’t until I realize the agenda behind the denial that I realized why it’s so awful.
Plus, the whole “those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it” comes in. We can’t ignore the horrors in our past-whether we’re talking about the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the Rape of Nanking, Jim Crow, Rwanda, etc. I went to college with a very good part of our student body coming from foreign countries. Many were from Africa, specifically Rwanda. And the horrors that these people faced still goes on today. How are we going to stop it? How will we recognize it?
The primary motive behind Holocaust denial is really quite simple.
The Holocaust presents a gigantic impediment to the furtherance of anti-Semitism by providing a dramatic modern example of where such hatred leads.
This frustrates the haters, so their strategy is to deny or minimize the Holocaust.
On the one hand, sure, it’s much better for Jews now than it was decades ago. On the other, you can still find people using “Jew” as a verb meaning “to cheat.” So I think your view of things is too rosy to be realistic.
A survivor on Mark Gloeb’s L’Chaim program was adamant that only JEws should be counted. He stated that the first occupants of Auschwitz were “real” German criminals. The only cite I can find states
That doesn’t sound like much of a reason to me, but then this gut was there.
I wish I could remember the guy’s name and find a better cite.
But if someone said ‘Hitler wasn’t trying to wipe Gypsies off the face of the earth’ or ‘Stalin wasn’t trying to wipe Kulaks off the face of the earth’ I doubt there’d be as much protest.
Dseid - Yeah antisemitism still exists. But I don’t think it begins to compare to the world of 100 years ago and I don’t think that Jewish people are held back in life because a handful of extremists that nobody takes seriously run a few websites. A jewish person can go where they want, work where they want, go to school where they want, etc. That link kezami listed just shows my point. Antisemitism is something the developed world at large is revolted by. It isn’t legislated into our culture like it was 100 years ago, it is legislated out now.
It’s somewhat disconcerting then to read that Iran’s President routinely entertains holocaust deniers. While anti-semetism certainly still exists in the West, it’s spawning in the Middle-East.
I think that you’d hear protest, although probably not as much is right. Gypsies … there are not enough left, and certainly not enough well enough placed, to raise voices as loudly. Most Americans don’t know any Romani and think of gypsies as characters from folktales, not as a real people. And in Europe it is still acceptable to hold horrible stereotypes about the Romani. The Kulaks … well they were not an ethnic group, they were a class of people who had been former larger land-owners. And they died with millions of others in a famine aided and abbetted by Stalin’s policies. I think if you tried to claim that Stalin was not responsible for the deaths of millions, you’d hear an uproar, but you could possible get away with debating whether or not it was an attempt at genocide.
You do miss the point about the insecurity of many Jews. History is full of periods of apparent acceptance of Jews followed by pograms. In the 19th and early 20th centuries German Jews were fairly assimilated. They were part of society like never before. They had rights legislated into place. They fought and died in German wars. They intermarried. German Jews were much more likely to listen to Wagner than to klezmer. They created Reform so they could fit in better. But antisemitism was still smoldering, and given harder economic times, “the Jews” were blamed.
Now we’ve had a few decades of acceptance in the main. Mind you, hulking idiots have tried to pummel me for being Jewish only 25 years ago, and I have been asked by a sweet young thang if I had horns. And while we can go most places now, our acceptance is really only provisional. You travel in particular circles. The better educated American knows many Jews. We are over-represented in intellectual circles, and at the higher levels of business and many other structures. People who travel in those realms see enough different sorts of Jews to have dismissed many stereotypes and to recognize that we could never agree with each other enough to participate in any conspiricy. But most of the country doesn’t travel in those circles, Wes. Most of America has never met a real Jew. Most of America can easily be convinced that this is a Christian nation and that Jews really do control the media and conspire in business.
You can believe that history has no chance of repeating itself, that 1500 plus years of Jew-hating has just stopped on a dime. I am not so sure of that though. And the fact that only 60 years after HaShoah people are asking “Why denying the Jewish Holocaust is such a bad thing” makes me fairly confident that HaShoah’s horror will fade fairly quickly. And as it does, and as economic times get worse, overt Jew-hating will become fashoinable again. I hope I am wrong, but don’t blame me for looking around corners cautiously. As they say, just because I am paranoid, doesn’t mean the world is not out to get me.
This statement isn’t supportable. The Poles suffered horribly; this should never be minimized. However, while Poland lost about 10% of its population (including the Polish Jews that were slaughtered),
If your looking for a philosophy of evil, then there is one big difference that separates the Jewish holocaust from others: it was the PURE evil—evil for evil’s sake. It had no rational basis. The nazis invested enormous energy to murder millions when they had no need to do so. They could have ruled Germany without building concentration camps.
Stalin built the massive gulag because he needed to get rid of opponents and induce fear into the masses so they would submit to his rule. Mao’s cultural revolution had similar reasons. There was a logical reason for them to work so hard to kill so many: it was the only way they could control their countries. They were evil because it was necesary for their own survival.
Ethnic cleansing in Serbia, Rwanda, and Turkey also had a logical reason.The perpetators felt threatened by foreigners, and commit mass murder to defend the purity of their own culture. It’s disgusting, it’s evil;- but it is not intended to destroy entire ethnic groups for no reason.The goal is to preserve your own rule, and force others out of the country and go somewhere else. (The Serbians didn’t prevent Albanians from leaving–they ‘encouraged’ it , at gunpoint)
The Jewish holocaust was evil, but on a different philosophical level. It was unnecessary. Hitler could have simply announced that all Jews must leave the country.Instead he actively prevented them from leaving, and then built a massive death machine . The Hitler’s own generals asked him to stop the genocide because they needed the railroad cars for their own troop movements.
But the evil continued even when it no longer served Hitler’s own interests. That is a “pure” form of evil which makes the Jewish holocaust unique in human history
Fitting in in Germany meant pleasant company, good food fine wine and the theatre. Fitting in in POland meant associating with guys who regularly got drunk and beat their wives.
I lost it in a bookstore in Brookline during my conversion. I saw the cover of a Holocaust book and realized that despite America being the safest best place since Spain in the 15th century, there are folks who wanted to kill me who didn’t the day before.
Gee, would you like to throw out a few more baseless stereotypes?
Gee, I think we need to hear the rest of this story.
Can you expand on the statement; I didn’t understand the last piece?
Wesley: You seem to think anti-Semitism is under control now and will stay that way. I see the rise in power of the religious right as a gnawing and troublesome worry for any group that is not WASP.
The Jewish people have seen movements that started this way before.
Myself I am an agnostic of RCC parents and I have heard many “Christians” say Catholics are not Christian.
If I were non-white or non-Christian I would be a little worried. I think we will get through this period okay. My Wife is Jewish and thus my kids are Jewish by some silly religious method of determination. We are non-religious and thus we are simply Americans, but I do fear the ignorant gaining power. This is what leads to pogroms and genocide.
I struck me when I saw a photograph of some Holocaust statuary that some people in American want to kill Jews. I didn’t really believe that until I became one.