Silent No More

 

If you were beaten and bullied as a child, if you lived for nine years in constant fear of being tortured or killed, if you and your family fled your home, losing everything, and were forced to live in a tent, would you call yourself ‘lucky’?

I used to be somewhat ambivalent about the “celebration” of Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27; in one sense, I felt it was important to remind the world that six million Jews and six million other folks were killed by the Nazis and their enablers. The phrase, “Never Forget” is embedded in my psyche. On the other hand, I wonder if this particular memorial day serves as a devastating reminder to many people—survivors and their families–who want to forget that horrific time. And ironically, I also wonder if it is an irritant to those people who experience resentment or even hatred toward the Jews, exacerbating their negative perspective.

Still, Abraham Pizam is the man described at the beginning of this post by a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel. Today he is the founding dean of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. He survived the Holocaust and gave a presentation at the January 27 event about his own experience. It was the first time he had spoken publicly about the Holocaust. Here’s a report on part of what he shared:

When Pizam was 8, his father took him to a local cemetery and had him open a coffin. Inside were brick-like bars engraved with initials that his father said meant ‘Pure Jewish Fat.’ They were, the boy was told, soap that the Germans had made from the bodies of murdered Jews.

In accordance with Jewish law on human remains, the soap had been given a burial.

‘Imagine the shock I had as an 8-year-old,’ he said.

For decades, the soap story was embraced by Holocaust survivors throughout the world. And though Pizam would later learn it was a myth — propaganda, perhaps, to further terrorize the Jews — that day has stayed with him.

To me, the word “propaganda” was a key part of his comment. We live in a time when we are bombarded by our own version of propaganda; it’s nearly impossible to separate truth from fiction, rumors from fact. The propaganda we are told goes beyond anti-Semitism; it pervades our government, our schools, our healthcare–nearly every aspect of life in this country. Even though Pizam had refrained from telling his story publicly, because he preferred to leave his experience in the past, he now sees that times have changed, and not for the better. Where he once believed that the world had turned a page into a new and enlightened time, he now worries about the future:

‘Finally, I am relieved I can share my story,’ he said. ‘Silence is an enemy.’

Where once he was optimistic, though, now his outlook is tempered by doubt.

‘This can happen here, believe it or not,’ he said. ‘Looking at the news, look at what’s happening right now as we speak, looking at our country, with both the right and the left becoming more and more antisemitic, I start questioning my hope. And I hope that I’m wrong. And I wish that I’m wrong.’

I, too, hope he is wrong.

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  1. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    This can happen here, believe it or not,’ he said. ‘Looking at the news, look at what’s happening right now as we speak, looking at our country, with both the right and the left becoming more and more antisemitic, I start questioning my hope. And I hope that I’m wrong. And I wish that I’m wrong.’

    Is there evidence that the right is becoming more antisemitic ?

    My spidy sense tells me this guy is a lefty. To leafy’s all of us on the right are racists .  
    Curious what his views on Trump supporters is.  

     

     

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    This can happen here, believe it or not,’ he said. ‘Looking at the news, look at what’s happening right now as we speak, looking at our country, with both the right and the left becoming more and more antisemitic, I start questioning my hope. And I hope that I’m wrong. And I wish that I’m wrong.’

    Is there evidence that the right is becoming more antisemitic ?

    My spidy sense tells me this guy is a lefty. To leafy’s all of us on the right are racists .
    Curious what his views on Trump supporters is.

     

     

    I don’t know about anti-Semitism of the right. But the facts show that many on the Right are silent when these actions occur. Just look at Congress; several people on the Right protested Omar’s remarks, but not nearly enough.

    • #2
  3. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    This can happen here, believe it or not,’ he said. ‘Looking at the news, look at what’s happening right now as we speak, looking at our country, with both the right and the left becoming more and more antisemitic, I start questioning my hope. And I hope that I’m wrong. And I wish that I’m wrong.’

    Is there evidence that the right is becoming more antisemitic ?

    My spidy sense tells me this guy is a lefty. To leafy’s all of us on the right are racists .
    Curious what his views on Trump supporters is.

     

     

    I don’t know about anti-Semitism of the right. But the facts show that many on the Right are silent when these actions occur. Just look at Congress; several people on the Right protested Omar’s remarks, but not nearly enough.

    Congress is a poor example. Republicans in Congress fear the left more than their base. 

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kevin, I found this interesting article in the Washington Examiner (a conservative paper) and think it has a fair perspective.

     

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    The myth about the soap is interesting.  There was a similar claim made by British propagandists about the Germans extracting fat from their own (German) dead soldiers, during WWI.

    I don’t know about the story of soap being made from Jewish fat.  It does seem strange to suggest that the motivation behind that myth was anti-Semitism.  It seems more plausible that it was anti-Nazi propaganda, to bolster the narrative of people making accusations of anti-Semitism, but I don’t know.  This is strange, as there was no shortage of truthful material demonstrating that the Nazis were appallingly horrid to the Jews.

    • #5
  6. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin, I found this interesting article in the Washington Examiner (a conservative paper) and think it has a fair perspective.

     

    Well, I don’t wish to be argumentative. However, the issue is if it is “growing” on the right. Of coarse there are and always will be anti semites of all stripes. On the right included . 

    It is my belief that the right is the holder of the most pro or neutral Zionist’s . Especially in Christendom, and that the anti semites are few in numbers.  

    If the pro is shrinking or the anti is growing It would be news to me .

     

     

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It seems more plausible that it was anti-Nazi propaganda, to bolster the narrative of people making accusations of anti-Semitism, but I don’t know. 

    Oh sure, that must be it. The Jews must have made it up, creating bars in the shape of soap and putting them in coffins, since nobody would believe the Nazis were all that bad . . .

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    If the pro is shrinking or the anti is growing It would be news to me .

    I don’t think there are numbers on this idea. And the Christian community has shown itself to be very generous toward the Jews. But not everyone on the Right is a Christian.

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It seems more plausible that it was anti-Nazi propaganda, to bolster the narrative of people making accusations of anti-Semitism, but I don’t know.

    Oh sure, that must be it. The Jews must have made it up, creating bars in the shape of soap and putting them in coffins, since nobody would believe the Nazis were all that bad . . .

    Neither hypothesis makes much sense to me, Susan.  But the story apparently exists, so there must be some explanation.  I have seen exaggerated, even false, claims of anti-Semitism before, but I have no idea about this instance.  It’s not clear how the story got started.  There is a possibility that Nazi camp guards made it up to terrorize Jews in the camps, but who knows?

    By the way, I did not claim that Jews created the bars of soap.  The Wikipedia entry, for what it’s worth, recounts the story of the initials, which some claimed meant “pure Jewish fat” but which apparently actually meant “National Center for Industrial Fat Provisioning” — the initials were something like “RIF” and the German “I” is very similar to the “J.”  So it looks as if there were bars of soap with these initials, and some Jewish people (and maybe others) thought or claimed that they meant “pure Jewish fat,” and some Jewish people later buried the bars of soap, apparently in accordance with Jewish funeral practices.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I have seen exaggerated, even false, claims of anti-Semitism before, but I have no idea about this instance. 

    So let’s leave it that, rather than wildly speculating. 

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    On another point in the OP, I do not like the regular discussions of the Holocaust, or the claims of widespread anti-Semitism (which I think are greatly exaggerated).  My inclination is to be deeply insulted by the claim, made in the quote from Pizam in the OP, that “[t]his can happen here.”

    Really.  He thinks that our country might slaughter millions of Jews.  I find that to be quite defamatory.  It does not generate sympathy on my part.  Quite the opposite.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    On another point in the OP, I do not like the regular discussions of the Holocaust, or the claims of widespread anti-Semitism (which I think are greatly exaggerated). My inclination is to be deeply insulted by the claim, made in the quote from Pizam in the OP, that “[t]his can happen here.”

    Really. He thinks that our country might slaughter millions of Jews. I find that to be quite defamatory. It does not generate sympathy on my part. Quite the opposite.

    I’m tired of your attacks on comments about anti-Semitism; you go out of your way to discount them whenever you have the opportunity. Perhaps you should reflect on your motivation for doing so. Pizam didn’t say our country might slaughter millions of Jews; you foolishly inferred that. Even I could tell he was speaking of the many things that are occurring in this country that suggest attacks on our freedom and our democracy.

    Given your attitude, I’m sure he wouldn’t be the least bit interested in your sympathy.

    • #12
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    On another point in the OP, I do not like the regular discussions of the Holocaust, or the claims of widespread anti-Semitism (which I think are greatly exaggerated). My inclination is to be deeply insulted by the claim, made in the quote from Pizam in the OP, that “[t]his can happen here.”

    Really. He thinks that our country might slaughter millions of Jews. I find that to be quite defamatory. It does not generate sympathy on my part. Quite the opposite.

    I’m tired of your attacks on comments about anti-Semitism; you go out of your way to discount them whenever you have the opportunity. Perhaps you should reflect on your motivation for doing so. Pizam didn’t say our country might slaughter millions of Jews; you foolishly inferred that. Even I could tell he was speaking of the many things that are occurring in this country that suggest attacks on our freedom and our democracy.

    Given your attitude, I’m sure he wouldn’t be the least bit interested in your sympathy.

    Susan, you are plainly incorrect.  You quoted Pizam.  According to your quote, he said:

    Susan Quinn: [quoting Pizam]: ‘This can happen here, believe it or not,’ he said. ‘Looking at the news, look at what’s happening right now as we speak, looking at our country, with both the right and the left becoming more and more antisemitic, I start questioning my hope. And I hope that I’m wrong. And I wish that I’m wrong.’

    He’s a Holocaust survivor.  What else is the “this” that he says “can happen here,” if not the Holocaust?

    That is absolutely outrageous and insulting to our country, and our fellow Americans. He said it.  You quoted it, though I don’t know whether you agree.  I hope not.

    I go out of my way to discount claims of anti-Semitism because they are often as baseless as the lies of BLM.   Wilfred Reilly’s book, Hate Crime Hoax, is quite instructive on this issue.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    On another point in the OP, I do not like the regular discussions of the Holocaust, or the claims of widespread anti-Semitism (which I think are greatly exaggerated). My inclination is to be deeply insulted by the claim, made in the quote from Pizam in the OP, that “[t]his can happen here.”

    Really. He thinks that our country might slaughter millions of Jews. I find that to be quite defamatory. It does not generate sympathy on my part. Quite the opposite.

    I’m tired of your attacks on comments about anti-Semitism; you go out of your way to discount them whenever you have the opportunity. Perhaps you should reflect on your motivation for doing so. Pizam didn’t say our country might slaughter millions of Jews; you foolishly inferred that. Even I could tell he was speaking of the many things that are occurring in this country that suggest attacks on our freedom and our democracy.

    Given your attitude, I’m sure he wouldn’t be the least bit interested in your sympathy.

    Susan, you are plainly incorrect. You quoted Pizam. According to your quote, he said:

    Susan Quinn: [quoting Pizam]: ‘This can happen here, believe it or not,’ he said. ‘Looking at the news, look at what’s happening right now as we speak, looking at our country, with both the right and the left becoming more and more antisemitic, I start questioning my hope. And I hope that I’m wrong. And I wish that I’m wrong.’

    He’s a Holocaust survivor. What else is the “this” that he says “can happen here,” if not the Holocaust?

    That is absolutely outrageous and insulting to our country, and our fellow Americans. He said it. You quoted it, though I don’t know whether you agree. I hope not.

    I go out of my way to discount claims of anti-Semitism because they are often as baseless as the lies of BLM. Wilfred Reilly’s book, Hate Crime Hoax, is quite instructive on this issue.

    Given his history, your lack of compassion is very sad. But predictable. Many people are saying that people will be singled out for many reasons if the Left continues to have its way: being on the Right, resistance to the propaganda of the day, attacks for using our rights to free speech, protesting education of children, fighting for gun rights, attacking CRT. Even people who are religious, including Christians, could be targeted. Are you unconcerned that if things get bad enough, you might be targeted because you are a Christian? Fortunately it’s been a long time since Christians were killed as a group (although it happens in some Muslim countries). Pizam’s experience of being targeted is much more recent and personal. Do you think that Jews could be targeted along with all the other potential groups, just because they’re Jews? Or do you think claims of anti-Semitism are a hoax? 

    • #14
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    This can happen here, believe it or not,’ he said. ‘Looking at the news, look at what’s happening right now as we speak, looking at our country, with both the right and the left becoming more and more antisemitic, I start questioning my hope. And I hope that I’m wrong. And I wish that I’m wrong.’

    Is there evidence that the right is becoming more antisemitic ?

    My spidy sense tells me this guy is a lefty. To leafy’s all of us on the right are racists .
    Curious what his views on Trump supporters is.

     

     

    I don’t know about anti-Semitism of the right. But the facts show that many on the Right are silent when these actions occur. Just look at Congress; several people on the Right protested Omar’s remarks, but not nearly enough.

    Not me! When I see it, I point and laugh.

    • #15
  16. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan, further to your #14.

    I am addressing facts.  Facts don’t care about anyone’s feelings.  Asserting a lack of compassion is a non-sequitur.

    I actually do feel compassion for this poor guy, assuming that his claim of being a Holocaust survivor is true, which I have no reason to doubt.  But this should give us less reason to take his claims seriously, as a factual matter.  He may be suffering something like life-long PTSD.  It certainly looks like he has reason for this.  It is still wrong of him to hurl such accusations against our country — a country that evidently gave him refuge after the terrible experiences of his childhood.

    I think that it’s pretty hateful to make such unfounded accusations.

    I have demonstrated, over and over again with statistics, that the claims of anti-Semitic violence are factually unsubstantiated.  I can do so again.  You can check the Hate Crime statistics here.  

    Do you know how many reported anti-Semitic homicides there were in 2019 and 2020, combined?  Two.  Aggravated Assaults?  9.

    Over the past 10 years?  15 homicides, 17 aggravated assaults.  Less than 2 per year, on average, in the entire country.

    My recollection is that there are about 12,000-20,000 homicides each year — a number that is up quite a bit recently — and well over a million aggravated assaults.

    There is simply no evidence of widespread anti-Semitic violence.  It is a tiny drop in the bucket of overall violent crime in this country.  It’s close to dying-by-a-bee-sting rare. 

    So why do people make unfounded accusations that something like a Holocaust could happen here?  I find it not only factually unsupported, but insulting.  It is a terrible thing to think about our country, and it’s not true.  

    I do know that it’s not just Jewish people who make such accusations, and that not all Jewish people make such accusations.  I think that such accusations are irresponsible, and the claims of significant anti-Semitism are manifestly false, as false than the claims of BLM about some epidemic of cops killing innocent black fellows.

    Susan, you’ve recently noticed, on another issue, that we can be manipulated by the media.  It’s hard to figure out who is behind such activities.  I suspect that there is a group of people — maybe more than one group — who has some political motivation (or set of motivations) behind such accusations.  The claims of anti-Semitism are different than most others, as they seem to come from both political sides, so I suspect different motivations at play for different (shadowy) groups.

    Overall, though, I think that the news is good.  I don’t think that you have anything to worry about, and this is borne out by the crime statistics.  We should all be happy about this.

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    So why do people make unfounded accusations that something like a Holocaust could happen here?  I find it not only factually unsupported, but insulting.  It is a terrible thing to think about our country, and it’s not true.  

    I won’t be answering anymore of your comments. You have completely ignored my comments and I’m done exchanging comments with you. If anyone else wants to take you on, fine.

    • #17
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    So why do people make unfounded accusations that something like a Holocaust could happen here? I find it not only factually unsupported, but insulting. It is a terrible thing to think about our country, and it’s not true.

    I won’t be answering anymore of your comments. You have completely ignored my comments and I’m done exchanging comments with you. If anyone else wants to take you on, fine.

    That is not true, Susan.  I addressed your comments, on the merits.

    I think that you don’t like the answers, and you don’t have any rebuttals, and you’re not sure what to do.  This is understandable, and I sympathize.  I think that you’ve accepted a false narrative, and you should think about that.  Just a week or two ago, in another post, you noted how you had been misled.  It is possible that this is another such instance.

    This is an unpleasant situation.  I wonder if you’d be willing to imagine something.  Imagine that someone said that Israel might perpetrate a Holocaust against the Palestinians.  How would you react?

    I think that you’d be outraged and insulted.  Justifiably so, in my view.  I may be incorrect about this.  You tell me.

    I think that the reaction to such an accusation against our country should be the same.

     

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I think that you’d be outraged and insulted.  Justifiably so, in my view.  I may be incorrect about this.  You tell me.

    I think that the reaction to such an accusation against our country should be the same.

    Outraged and insulted that a man is concerned for his wellbeing because of his life experience and what is happening in this country?

    Let’s get down to the truth, if you think I’m following a false narrative. Why don’t you tell us the truth about how you feel about Jews, since you are so passionate about discounting our concerns about anti-Semitism?

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I go out of my way to discount claims of anti-Semitism because they are often as baseless as the lies of BLM.   Wilfred Reilly’s book, Hate Crime Hoax, is quite instructive on this issue.

    I have seen with my own eyes a Jewish cemetery a few blocks from my house desecrated with tombstones uprooted and monuments spray painted.  I’ve never seen that at a Christian cemetery.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Flicker (View Comment):
    I have seen with my own eyes a Jewish cemetery a few blocks from my house desecrated with tombstones uprooted and monuments spray paints.  I’ve never seen that at a Christian cemetery.

    Thank you for this, Flicker. I suspect Jerry would think the example doesn’t count since it doesn’t involve aggravated assault or a homicide.

    • #21
  22. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    From the UNESCO website:

    Every year around 27 January, UNESCO pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945. It was officially proclaimed, in November 2005(link is external), International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by the United Nations General Assembly.

    The Holocaust profoundly affected countries in which Nazi crimes were perpetrated, with universal implications and consequences in many other parts of the world. Member States share a collective responsibility for addressing the residual trauma, maintaining effective remembrance policies, caring for historic sites, and promoting education, documentation and research, more than seven decades after the genocide. This responsibility entails educating about the causes, consequences and dynamics of such crimes so as to strengthen the resilience of young people against ideologies of hatred. As genocide and atrocity crimes keep occurring across several regions, and as we are witnessing a global rise of antisemitism and hate speech, this has never been so relevant.

    I think it’s important for people who lived through it to speak about it – if they wish – and to share their thoughts freely – nobody has to agree with them.  Soon they’ll all be gone, so hearing them while we still can is precious.

    People say that the Holocaust didn’t begin with murder but with words – I think, however, it also began with silence.  Not just of the watching world but of Jews who (for whatever reason) censored their own fears.

    Jerry – clearly you have one very strong opinion of America and maybe it isn’t shared 100% by everybody.  People come by the opinions and their fears based on their history – why take this disagreement so personally?

     

     

    • #22
  23. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    I find scant evidence of pro-Israel sentiment among the conservative punditariat:  Victor Davis Hanson for one, and http://powerlineblog.com, where a flag of Israel together with a US flag are displayed together on the home page, for another.

    I think it’s fairly well established by now that critique of Israel or silence when Israel is subjected to missile attack are signs of indifference toward the fate of Jews who live in that country and, perhaps, toward the fate of Jews in general.  Is indifference, in this context, the same as hatred?  In the end, it does  not really matter since both lead to the same result.

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    I think it’s important for people who lived through it to speak about it – if they wish – and to share their thoughts freely – nobody has to agree with them.  Soon they’ll all be gone, so hearing them while we still can is precious.

    People say that the Holocaust didn’t begin with murder but with words – I think, however, it also began with silence.  Not just of the watching world but of Jews who (for whatever reason) censored their own fears.

    Jerry – clearly you have one very strong opinion of America and maybe it isn’t shared 100% by everybody.  People come by the opinions and their fears based on their history – why take this disagreement so personally?

    All beautifully said, Zafar. He does seem to take it personally, doesn’t he?

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):
    Is indifference, in this context, the same as hatred?  In the end, it doe not really matter since both lead to the same result.

    Thank you, Joshua. Articulate as always.

    • #25
  26. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    I admire your courage, Susan.  Keep telling it like it is.

    Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    I admire your courage, Susan. Keep telling it like it is.

    Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

    Thanks, Joshua. I really needed that right now.

    • #27
  28. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    I think it’s important for people who lived through it to speak about it – if they wish – and to share their thoughts freely – nobody has to agree with them. Soon they’ll all be gone, so hearing them while we still can is precious.

    People say that the Holocaust didn’t begin with murder but with words – I think, however, it also began with silence. Not just of the watching world but of Jews who (for whatever reason) censored their own fears.

    Jerry – clearly you have one very strong opinion of America and maybe it isn’t shared 100% by everybody. People come by the opinions and their fears based on their history – why take this disagreement so personally?

    All beautifully said, Zafar. He does seem to take it personally, doesn’t he?

    He does, Susan, but that doesn’t automatically make him an antisemite. He may be hearing something you’re not saying but you might also be hearing something he’s not saying. Call me Pollyanna, but I think being more generous hearted in listening would be a good thing – it certainly usually is for me.

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):
    He does, Susan, but that doesn’t automatically make him an antisemite. He may be hearing something you’re not saying but you might also be hearing something he’s not saying. Call me Pollyanna, but I think being more generous hearted in listening would be a good thing – it certainly usually is for me.

    Fair enough. It’s just that Jerry makes the same kind of statements on any post about the Holocaust. And they are frequently less than generous. 

    • #29
  30. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    It is increasingly less an issue of forgetting than replacing history with lies. That is separate from ‘forgetting’ per se.

    A lot of self-described victimized people envy the extent to which the Jews keep the memory of the Holocaust in the wider public consciousness.  A black Army buddy has said for years that he believes that disproportionate attention to the Holocaust rather than to American slavery is itself an injustice, just deference to white victims.

    Talking about the extent to which Jews have kept that memory alive in books and movies, George Will once said that it is always a mistake to persecute a highly literate people.

    I recall when Elie Weisel led criticism of Reagan for laying a wreath at the Bitburg German military cemetery.  With cameras on, Wiesel waved them away as if to say he was in too much pain to speak.  I don’t question the experiential basis for such feelings but it seemed a bit staged and mannered at the time and I recall thinking: Does he want me to remember the Holocaust so as to join him in decrying that horror so it is never repeated or does he want me to become a surrogate defendant now that the Nazis are all dead?  Does he want and need allies or does he need a new generation of people to blame?

    Another way to frame that is who owns the Holocaust?  If gentiles don’t identify with the victims or otherwise invest in the memory, its preservation devolves into a particular ethnic heritage, not a window into and a preventative against evils that always lurk for all of us.  Is the best way to defeat anti-semitism a tacit accusation or an express invitation?

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