Two days ago, April 11, 2010 was Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is a very tough subject to deal with, riddled with duplicity of a most disrespectful and unfortunate variety. Whenever we hear mention of the Holocaust, the “6 million” figure is consistently the fashionable number quoted; it has become common awareness, via historical revision, that the death toll in the Holocaust was “6 million”. However, this figure refers to the Jewish toll only, the group which suffered the largest numerical loss. For those who are unaware (which seems to be a large majority these days), the total death toll in the Holocaust ranges from about 11.5 million (the lowest estimate) to as many as 17 million, and perhaps even 26 million (the high estimate).
In addition to Jews, many other groups were targeted by the Nazis, including blacks, gays, academics of all variety, physically and mentally handicapped people, Soviet POWs, the Romani, Slavs, Poles, Jehovah’s Witnesses, communists, socialists, the unemployed, non-comformist youth, Freemasons, prostitutes and beggars. It has been estimated that the Romani (Gypsy) community might have suffered the largest *proportional* loss.
We must never forget about this, one of the most horrific events in human history. Sadly, the most visible parties associated with keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, (the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti Defamation League) have relegated, ignored and forgotten the other Holocaust victims to the extent of pursuing a form of selective "Holocaust Denial". Does this lack of acknowledgment imply that the non-Jewish victims are “less worthy of mention”, or represent some kind of “off-message inconvenience?
The double standard is breathtaking, and the implications are ugly. Anyone recall what happens to those who are considered "inferior"?
Because the Jewish people bore the brunt of the Holocaust, obviously there is far greater general awareness amongst the Jewish community as a whole regarding the nature of the Holocaust and the extent of the Nazi regime's gross inhumanity. Unfortunately, a large section of public at large do not share this knowledge; the viewpoints cover a spectrum of ignorance, ranging from the simple unawareness of non-Jewish victims, to cancerous idiocy, such as belief that the "Holocaust never happened".
Despite the unspeakably horrific deeds planned and executed by the Nazis, the fact remains that these people were human beings, like you and I, and anyone else. They had homes and jobs, owned businesses, tended their gardens, they had wives, and families, they had friends and acquaintances, and essentially they led normal lives. Psychopaths were no more common in Germany than in any other nation.
Then, Hitler took the stage, and over a period of some 10 years or so, he built his Nazi party and political platform, with considerable support from American and European/British businesses and prominent families. The slide towards brutal fascism didn't happen overnight, but rather in a gradual process, a parallel of "immersing a frog in water, heating the water very slowly and gradually so their frog isn't aware that he is about to die from being boiled alive". The German public, decent ordinary people, unwittingly permitted a tyrant to take the reins and take the world into six years of hell.
One of Hitler's many obsessions was "national security". One of his methods of exercising such was the gradual erosion of civil rights; this program got a big boost when the Nazi party staging a "false flag" event on their own nation, the firebombing and destruction of the German "Reichstag" Parliament Building, for which they blamed the Communists; the German and world's media echoed the regime's explanation, and the German public were utterly duped. Hitler's evil agenda grew by deliberate marginalization of those groups targeted by his regime, for example, the forced and violent rehousing of Jews in ghettos (which eventually culminating with the systematic extermination of millions). He started invading nations which represented no threat. He maintained power by playing on the fears of the German people, using the threat of terrorism as a big stick. The rest is ugly history, which we still appear doomed to repeat.
Herman Goering was even arrogant enough to admit what they were doing, when he uttered these (in)famous words:
........... “Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” ............
If we are to make sure that such events "never happen again", as is allegedly the mission of those committed to Holocaust remembrance, then we must become aware of that most disquieting part of the Holocaust, which, unlike the actual Nazi perpetrators, is still very much alive. Humanity is no different in the 21st Century to what it was in the 1940s, or the 1300s, or at any time in recorded history. If such an appalling debacle could happen to a long established European democracy in the 1930s and 1940s, then what is to stop a similar thing happening elsewhere, in modern times, in a democracy, and all in the name of some misappropriated version of patriotism, and where the mainstream media dupes the public wholesale into supporting and believing a tyrant?
We are all human beings, flawed, susceptible beings with fears, and we are all equally at risk.