The Holocaust has been on my mind, well, it is often. With Ukraine having been set ablaze by Putin—a legitimate 20th and 21st centuries competitor to Stalin, Mao and Hitler—my mind has been preoccupied a lot with it, perhaps accounting for some loss of sleep and occasional headaches therefrom.
It is intellectually disingenuous to address the Holocaust, without addressing the Ukrainian Holocaust. The murder of one and a half million Jews, a pre-amble to the German Holocaust. Also it is equally disingenuous to do that without a discourse on anti-Jewish pogroms, movements, national sentiment thereafter. And where the Ukraine has finally arrived at now, in regards to the million and a half Ukrainian Jews who were exterminated.
This is a subject others have and are presently writing massive articles and books on.
Most certainly, although small, and this is absolutely a perverse quantifier, however accurate it is in absolute numbers, there is no way to reference Ukraine and Jews, without a special mention of Babyn Yar: the 30,000 Jews massacred there. Including many children who were buried alive because of standing orders that bullets not be wasted on the young. To this very day, an enduring event in the history of Ukraine.
I have been writing “snippets” about the Holocaust for a week. Not much beyond kinda beefy thesis sentences/phrases.
I have been exchanging challenging and disturbing communications with friends and acquaintances who share both experience and knowledge on both anti-Semitism, the most enduring and resilient social pathology of all time, and the Holocaust. And with a couple uniquely well informed, introspective and, ultimately extrospective people I communicate with who share intelligence—uniquely theirs—and a great deal of wisdom (theirs) with me. One of those, a childhood friend, an academic, with whom I share a very similar Holocaust history, has written extensively on the subject.
I have been doing a deep-dive into the genesis of antisemitism. Repeating: likely the oldest social pathology on earth, astounding in its endurance, longevity and resilience.
And as to Jews, a most ready and willing fuel for white-hot burning moral-destitution furnaces, still, in the world!
Have dug just some—admittedly somewhat superficially for now—into the Holocaust and WWII, to attempt to grasp the “how is this possible” part. Particularly, post WWI, on uber-enlightened European soil, with Germany marching in the forefront. And Italy, Spain, Russia, Greece. Currently reading 500 more pages on the rise of fascism from the late 1920’s through the incomprehensible Hitler P.R. success.
The Holocaust, the most grotesque demonstration of antisemitism.
But for the savior of the world’s Jewry, Israel, there might go we.
I remain amazed and sickened that the Germans operated all other concentration camps well beyond the liberation of Auschwitz! In fact, until the last day of April, when the U.S. Army liberated Dachau. In the intervening months, they significantly stepped up their extermination efforts, to meet extermination quotas! A maximum murder paradigm.
Not parenthetic to this, best not delve into the dearth of perpetrators of that mass murder who were legitimately punished for their deeds. How many gallows can you unearth?
My future father-in-law, a survivor of labor camps, traveled from South America to witness the Nuremberg trials. Years later, he remained as angry as he was when compelled to go there!
The balance sheet, he offered, on one hand: 177 defendants, 24 were sentenced to death, 20 to lifelong imprisonment, and 98 other prison sentences. Twenty five defendants were found not guilty. Many of the prisoners were released early in the 1950s as a result of pardons.
On the other: likely 8 million Jews and others.
Astounding balance, is it not?
When we speak, I can relate a brief story of Gene Roberts, our SVP Human resources, a man I worked with for years. He was among the very first U.S. GIs to walk into Dachau.
Last and only time I talked with him about that was in 1985. That sophisticated, world-wise, well-educated and fine man, as befitting his job and craft, literally threw up in my office one early morning. Had to do with the new carpet that the company just laid down in my building over the weekend.
It was grey, black and white stripes, with some purple accent lines. You can figure out what those colors triggered in the man’s memory.
Thought about my mother: a survivor of Auschwitz. Threw about my considerable weight as a senior executive in our big company and had that carpet ripped out throughout.
Benjamin Ivry just wrote an excellent treatment in the Forward: In Ukraine, a long history of Russian crimes against Jews. I spent hours digesting that piece. Many more hours following and reading contents from the 23 links in his piece.
The piece the resistance is NOT the breadth and depth of his writing. Rather, the remarkable last paragraph. Quoting that in its entirety: “May current lethal conditions be resolved peacefully, and future ones avoided, in Ukraine and vicinity.”
Clearly written by an eternal optimist.
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