With due humility, I know more about the most enduring social pathology in history, antisemitism, and about the Holocaust than most. Not as much as some. And, incomparably uninformed compared to some legitimate scholars who have invested significant shares of their intellectual beings studying both. I read some of them. Marvel at the dedication they had – and some continue to have – to dwell into those subjects to the depth and breadth they have.
One of my childhood friends is a phenomenally accomplished academic, educator, an amazing and prolific scribe. A world-scale uber-brain and thought-leader. I recently reconnected with him after many decades. I reckon he communicates with comparatively-pedestrian-thinker-me principally because of our shared early childhood. Both children of Holocaust survivors.
And communicate he does: with amazing alacrity, thoroughness, tremendous historical perspective. With spellbinding intelligence.
Our conversations: all email. How many exchanges? THAT many! Each of his responses, most of the time multiples to mine, are all loaded with so much to read, digest AND study! The references, no, bibliographies that accompany most emails, would require a lifetime of reading for me. Even “speed-reading” those, if that were possible. No worries, though. Most “most important” references are accompanied by the “most important reviews of those works” by the “most important thought-leaders” who reviewed those. For real…
Ahhhh. Imagine that incredible machine that adorns the top of his neck.
He read Pimps Whores And Patrons Of Virtue. He reads everything I send him. Of course, everything receives a thorough review, replete with, you know it: academic treatments and immense amounts of suggested reading on MY topic. Truly WOW stuff.
With the Holocaust top of mind for most Jews and many non-Jews as well, because of the Jewish holidays, the Holocaust remembrance day, genocide in Ukraine and in China (The Fourth Reich (China) And Nike), we exchanged some email on all that. WOW stuff from the man. And more WOW stuff on relevant pieces I sent to him:
Obviously, I have but scratched the surface on antisemitism and the Holocaust. To a great extent, limited because of my inadequate intellectual wherewithal. And then, perhaps sad, I thought that being somewhat superficial would make my short pieces something other than poor attempts at lecturing my readers. You all “got this” before I would attempt to “learn you.” OK. OK. With some exceptions.
Clearly I feel a need to study more and write more.
I aim to write another piece, more on genocides and holocausts preceding and following the German Holocaust in modern history. I define that as the 20th and 21st centuries. Astounding in scope/size AND the rationale for those. Many of them: I count 25! Incredibly tribal and price-tagged.
Amoral and immoral. There is no limit to cruelty of people to people.
The Banality Of Evil: The Holocaust. How And Why… scratches the surface of the genesis of the Holocaust.
To digress a bit, when I write AND talk about antisemitism and the Holocaust, I do so with pathos and pessimism. Parenthetic to this soon-to-reach opus size short piece, I also write and talk about antisemitism as that ties into racism in the US of today.
No better life lesson on antisemitism than getting bloodied over and over just for being a Jew. Me as a young boy.
I ponder and then speak to – when I work up the courage – a fundamental mistake establishment Jews (NOT SURVIVORS) have made in presenting the Holocaust as a plague that befell Jews.
Inasmuch as so much of the world remains rabidly anti-Semitic, more focus on the five million non-Jews exterminated during the universally recognized “holocaust”, and likely total of eleven million non-Jews during Nazi persecution of the Holocaust – might have brought more sympathy for ALL who perished, not just the so widely reviled Jews.
My friend whom I wrote about herein-above, asked me if I cared to be summarily cancelled by most Jews for that perspective, if public.
Forging ahead courageously—perhaps foolishly—I put that theory forth a couple times. One time, an otherwise “enlightened” pseudo-intellectual, a near-orthodox Jew, asked me what kind of Jew am I to utter such blasphemy?
I ponder if my purpose is as much being situationally ethical as intellectually honest. Pushing that reality as a means to make the Holocaust more relatable to now six generations of both Jews and non-Jews whose knowledge, interest, sympathy, and lastly anxiety over history repeating itself, has receded way in their intellectual rear view mirrors. For too many, it has disappeared.
That would be the real rub.
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