Implications of the Holocaust
The Holocaust has always been a hard topic to speak about, read about, and understand the why’s and how’s. Rarely is it spoken of the implications it had on the people who survived it, their posterity, and the world as a whole. Upon further examination of numerous online articles and biographies there are several mainstream affects that have afflicted all that have lived and will ever live in the limelight of the Holocaust.
During the time that the Holocaust was happening, none of the victims even thought about how their experience would affect the lives of future generations. They were focused on surviving at all costs. Forcing them to mentally, emotionally, psychologically shut down and block out the atrocities that were happening to them and all around them.
The effects of this type of mental survival is now labeled as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) (Fogelman, 2008). Basic psychological functioning tells us that during extreme times of survival we emotionally detach and try to bury the horror deep into the recesses of our minds. During the time of the Holocaust few people spoke about it, few believed that it happened, and even fewer wanted to remember it. This societal denial propelled the survivors to bury their emotional burden even deeper, but what they couldn’t bury were the effects of the atrocities on their mental well-being (Fogelman, 2008).
In an article written by a daughter of a Holocaust survivor she states, We are all survivors of humanity’s lowest point; survivors of the trauma our parents and grandparents experienced first-hand. And so too, we are survivors of the trauma they transmitted to us, which continues to permeate our lives. Invisible to most, it’s always there with us. We carry with us a feeling that nothing we experienced”or ever will experience”is worth complaining about because what they went through was a thousand times worse. (Wanderer-Cohen, 2017). She continues to elaborate on American society’s views of the survivors, how her mother was older than her peers, spoke with an accent, and did not fit in with the normal American ideal. She states that her childhood was stolen because her mother had had hers stolen by the Nazis, she didn’t know how to give her daughter anything more than what she had experienced. She states, We just wanted to be normal, American kids. But we couldn’t be–because we weren’t. (Wanderer-Cohen, 2017). The trauma of the Holocaust, quite obviously, did not end at the liberation, but seeped its way into the next generations.
An interesting shift of self-perception seems to happen within the third generation (grandchildren of survivors). Due to the 40 plus years after the Holocaust the third generation has grown up in a different society, detached from the unspeakable history. They do not feel ashamed of their ancestry in fact they are proud and in awe of the survivors, they don’t fear antisemitism, they are yearning to understand the past but to also make the future better. Time does rot away the emotional connection, yet hopefully it does not erase the memory (Fogelman, 2008).
There have been three major societal changes the Holocaust caused that has an effect on society even to this day. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Genocide Convention, and the Catholic Church made milestone changes to their theology concerning Jews (Admin.,2017). This is the most dramatic change, a change that has had both positive and negative consequences for the Jewish people.
According to internationally acclaimed anti-Seitism scholar Manfred Gerstenfeld, The Catholic no longer hold Jews responsible for the murder of Jesus. It was a lie from the beginning for the Jews could not kill anyone under Roman rule. But according to the New Testament, all of the Jews are responsible for what their ancestors didn’t do. However, in 1965, the Pope published a document where he stopped blaming the Jews for the crucifixion. So this idea was abandoned in 1965 and it is because they saw that it led to the Holocaust. (Admin., 2017).
Despite these efforts to turn around the history of mass genocide and become a world people there are movements and groups that have gained many followers and power to once again bring anti-Semitism and anti-Israel to the forefront of the people’s mind. Today it is popular in Europe to be anti-Israel, Gerstenfeld noted in response to the recent development of a radical Zochrot organization (a leftist group working to eliminate the State of Israel and seeking to implement a Palestinian right of return.) In the EU, there are 150 million people who think Israel is exterminating the Palestinians. The EU Council blames Israel for what is happening in Gaza. (Admin., 2017). So despite the groundbreaking progress that the world has made to understand and accept the Jewish people there are still large groups who see them as an inferior race that needs to be exterminated.
The impact that Elie Wiesel and his lifelong journey of educating the public about the Holocaust has caused many generations to not forget. It has led to museums being erected to the remembrance of the victims, books written by survivors who have given us a stark glimpse of a harsh reality, and educational curriculum being taught in schools that keep the Holocaust as a current historical atrocity to never be forgotten (Martin, 2016).
Lessons of the Holocaust speak very powerfully because they are lessons about the fragility of freedom, the dangers of hatred, and the consequences of indifference. Elie often said, indifference is the greatest sin in the world. There will always be evil people, but they will count on the indifference of others. The challenge that the Holocaust is to all of us is never to be indifferent. Never be a bystander. (Bullard, 2016) When we see or hear about groups of people who are being indifferent, not standing up for a fellow human being we need to remember that the Holocaust started with indifference. Stand up and speak out so history does not repeat itself.
The Holocaust: The Mass Murders
The Holocaust is undoubtedly one of the most horrifying events in history. The mass murder of more than eleven million people, six million of them Jews, has left its mark on history and should never be forgotten. The events and the history of the Holocaust are presented in two very different ways in the movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and in the movie The Pianist.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a historical drama film, which attempts to show the horrors of the concentration camps through the eyes of an eight-year-old German boy named Bruno and an eight-year old Jewish boy names Shmuel. The Pianist is a film based on Wladyslaw Szpilman’s memoir of life during the time of the holocaust. Both attempt to show the atrocities committed by the Nazi Regime, but the attempts to do so are done in very different ways. I found it difficult to make many comparisons between the two movies, but one of the comparisons that can easily be made is the element of obscurity in each situation in the opening scenes. Szpilman is Jewish and is forced to sit around a radio with his family and wait for further instructions from the Nazi regime deciding his family’s fate. Bruno on the other hand, the son of a Nazi officer, is forced to relocate from Berlin to the countryside with his family so that his father can help run one of the concentration camps. Though the each movie attempts to capture events that took place during the time of the Holocaust, many aspects of the movies are extremely different. I would argue that The Pianist is a much more educational representation of the Holocaust as compared to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas which is more of a Hollywood movie with the setting of the Holocaust. Even thought only one was supported by authentic historical events, both movies had a powerful impact on their viewers.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has repeatedly been called a children’s film, and I would argue that it is significantly less graphic that The Pianist. The two main child characters are Bruno, the son of a Nazi party member, and Shmuel who is inside the concentration camp. These characters, because they are so young, represent innocence in such a dark time of history. I found the film to be more emotional than some of the others we have watched, but that is because I got to see a side of the Holocaust that I had not seen in other movies. One major criticism of this film, and its representation of historical events, is the friendship between Bruno and Shmuel’s characters. It seems almost impossible that two boys would be able to form a friendship on either side of a barbed wire fence. In the movie, Shmuel is seen sitting on the ground by the fence unsupervised. In reality, the number of security guards in each camp was so high that it would have been impossible for Shmuel to have stayed by the fence all afternoon, or for him to get out of doing work, let alone form a friendship with a German boy. Shmuel, at the age of eight, would most likely have been sent to the gas chambers upon arrival to the camp. It is possible that when he arrived to the camp he was evaluated by one of the Nazis and thought to be a good worker, but this is highly unlikely. In my opinion, in order to watch this movie we are required to forget any knowledge that we have on the Holocaust and just immerse ourselves into the minds and lives of two innocent and naive main characters.
We find ourselves at the end of the movie feeling sorry for Bruno’s family. This is the first Holocaust movie I have seen where we cannot help but feel sorry for the German family as well as the Jewish people. I wonder if this ending was chosen for the movie so that the views are able to see that Bruno’s father, although a Nazi, is capable of love. Why do we find ourselves feeling sorry for the murder of one boy but not the murder of the thousands of Jews who also died in the camp with Bruno that very same day?
Even thought the movie is not historically accurate, I don’t think it is suppose to be. The movie pulls on the heartstring of its audience because it is centered on the drastically different lives of two children, and you cannot help but feel bad for them. Bruno’s character is portrayed as innocent and nave. He has no idea what the war really entails and, I believe his character is important because he represents the rest of the world during this time. Not many people, or countries, truly understood what was going on in the concentration camps, or how gruesome they were. Propaganda videos were sent out depicting the camps to be something completely different than they were. In the videos children were seen playing and there is an imaginary caf?©. Of course we know that this is not even close to how terrible life was in the camps.
Bruno is not the only ignorant character, his mother also was not aware of what was really going on inside the camps or farm as Bruno called it. Her husband had kept the secret of the gas chambers from her, which in turn caused her to lose all trust and respect for him. Again, we find ourselves feeling bad for Elsa, but what we don’t think about is how much she did know. She was by no means innocent. The mass killings might have been kept from her, but she was well aware of the deportations to the labor camps, and how the prisoners were treated inhumanely. She knew this because she saw it first hand in her own house. She allowed a prisoner names Pavel to work under her roof, and be treated unfairly. If she didn’t like what she saw she could have spoken up to her husband about the situation. Her biggest fault was when she accepted and agreed with her husband when he told Bruno they are not real people (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 2008).
In sharp contrast to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Pianist, is much more autobiographical. We learned that the film’s director, Roman Polanski, is a Holocaust survivor himself, which probably helped contribute to the movies historical accuracy. Very early on in the movie we see how brutal the living conditions and treatment are in the Warsaw ghetto. One of the hardest scenes is when we see the ghetto wall being built up and just on the other side of the wall the non-Jews are at the markets buying food and living a normal life. Inside the walls of the ghetto we see famine, and cramped, and inhumane living conditions. Most movies we have seen, and testimonies we have read, have been from the inside the concentration camp fences. The Pianist was able to give us understanding of what life was like in the Ghettos before the Jews were sent off to the camps. I consider this movie to be an accurate display of a time during the Holocaust that is not always discussed. We are able to see Szpilman and the Jews living a somewhat normal life in the opening scene of the film. Then we watch and follow along with them as they begin to understand their fate; from the scene where the family is gathered around listening to the radio and are told they will be relocated to the ghettos, to the scene where they are put into the cattle carts on the way to the actual concentration camps.
I found Szpilmans character to be interesting, he was not a hero by any means or an outsider, he was a survivor and we were able to follow his memoir and see how much luck played a part in his survival. This I found to be a very similar theme to most of the testimonies we read. If you survived, you survived because of luck. However, I did find myself attached to Szpilman’s character which made the film ever more difficult to watch. It was hard to watch the dehumanization that played out during the film, of him and is family.
We also were able to get a sense of how historically authentic The Pianist is because of how the film plays out in perfect chronological order. We are shown dates at the bottom of the screen to better understand at what time frame during the war the scene took place. Szpielman never had a flashback scene and we mostly see what he sees through his own eyes. We are also shown that not every Jew was perfect. For example, Itzak was a Jewish policeman who was very brutal with fellow Jews when he did not need to be. This was the reality in the ghettos, and from what we have read in previous testimonies, in the concentration camps as well. We saw fighting, stealing, and the smuggling of food. Children would even crawl through the gutters to smuggle food into the ghetto. There was a scene of a little boy stuck between the ghetto and the other side of the wall and he was brutally beaten to death over a small portion of food he had stolen. It was the scenes like this one that really gave viewers like myself a better understanding of what the circumstances were really like in Warsaw. Another particularly gruesome scene was when Szpielman and his family witnessed, from their kitchen window, Nazis march into a Jewish home, make the entire family stand, and when a man in a wheelchair did not stand they tossed him over the balcony to his death. Scenes like this one showed the audience just how horrible living in the ghetto really was. Another particularily horrific scene took place while Szpilman and his family waited in the courtyard to be deported. A woman near them was screaming, Why did I do it? Why did I do it? (The Pianist). The family learned that the poor mother had smothered her own child out of fear that the Nazis would have heard its cries and killed it. The unimaginable crime of a mother killing her own child does not seem true, but the sad reality was it happened all the time.
It is nearly impossible to compare the film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas to the film The Pianist however, both films explore the context of family during the Holocaust. I found myself thinking, while watching The Boy in the Striped Pajamas for the first time, that the film was over exaggerated by Hollywood, and that it would not fulfill the expectations of someone who is as fascinated with the history of the Holocaust as I am. After watching the film twice more I have a different understanding and appreciation for the film. While not historically accurate, it still gets the viewers thinking about the Holocaust and it does leave a lasting impression on us. During my first time watching The Pianist I had a much different opinion than I do now. I originally thought the film was maybe too historically accurate, if that is even possible. I found myself shielding my eyes from the graphic scenes and stopping the film every once in a while. Now, I realize and can appreciate how important it is to see a film like this one. Together, both films are part of a large genre of Holocaust representations that speaks to its twentieth century viewers and gives us a purpose, as viewers. It is important that viewers see both of these films in order to ensure that a horrific genocide, like the Holocaust, never happens again. Holocaust survivors unfortunately will not live forever, so it is up to movies like The Pianist and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and testimonies, like the ones we have read, to tell their stories.
Gender Determined Experiences of the Holocaust
The Holocaust had an underlying theme of gender, as it played a major role in this horrific event. The Holocaust is often seen as a story of men, whether an S.S officer, a doctor, or forced workmen. Often women are thought of less, and possibly pushed aside as a mother or wife. Although gender is fluid, the Nazis did not address this complex matter. At this time, the genders and the role men and women took on were very segregated. Gender determined experiences through power struggles, mental abuse, motherly roles, and sexual violence.
When it came to gender and roles, men struggled because of the lack of power and lack of ability to fulfill their typical role of being the provider and protector. Men often experienced most of the physical harming, such as beatings. In the camps, men ‘looked worse than [women] did,’ women “”could suffer more than a man,”” men’s “”spirits were broken much more than [women’s]””–but men may have endured harsher treatment from the guards. The men would also be publically humiliated. Old Jewish men were tied to carts, beaten, and mocked. This author clearly states that the men were the ones being beaten. Also, the power positions, such as Nazi guards and officers, were almost always men. This was difficult for middle and high class Jewish men, who were used to holding high positions. These beatings and acts of humiliation by Nazis were very distressing for men, especially because of the stigma of having to be strong and ‘manly’. This constant struggle for power took a toll on those who could not achieve their usual accustomed role.
Ghettos had Jewish Councils and Jewish police, which gave Jewish men a chance to express a form of power. As a councilman, one had to enforce Nazi orders and administer the daily affairs of the ghettos. Men were appointed based on their role before the war. Most often, the council would be made up of community leaders. The council had to distribute food, enforce social and cultural life, and create a sense of community. Often, the councilmen had to make difficult choices. For example, they had to come up with lists of people to be deported to death camps and concentration camps. If one could not perform his task on the council, he was killed and replaced. Many of these men had major internal struggles which caused them to commit suicide. Others attempted to negotiate with the Nazi rulers to save family and friends. Most members of the Jewish Councils were murdered, regardless or not if they carried out commands. The internal operations were left in the hands of the Jewish police, who worked under close supervision of the Germans. The policemen’s main job was to round up those on the list for deportation. This took a harsh mental toll on the men, considering they were sending their fellow prisoners to their death. Often, the Jewish police helped smuggle children out of the ghetto and get food and weapons in. This was very risky, and they were often caught. When discovered, they would face brutal torture, and usually were killed.
Men in certain camps were also used as Sonderkommandos, a special unit of Jewish men who were forced to work within the gas chambers. Their primary job was to maintain order before their peers entered the gas chambers, remove the bodies after being gassed, and sort through them for personal belongings. Abraham Bomba, a worker in the Sonderkommando at Treblinka, stated that he took all of the clothes to big places…six and seven stories high…and we had to put together cotton with cotton and silk with silk. Bomba also worked as a barber in the camp. He said that he had to cut off women’s hair so they were not suspicious that they [were] going to be killed. This work was extremely beneficial for the Nazis, because it helped them conclude the killing process in a more efficient way. It was the Nazis’ intention to murder the Sonderkommando after a certain amount of time, so that there would be no witnesses left after the war. This process was very disturbing for the Jewish men in the Sonderkommando. This form of labor was difficult both physically and mentally, and in the end, most did not survive.
Rather than physical labor, woman’s hardship included mental, medical, and sexual abuse. Specified harm was typically seen in the all female prison camps, such as Ravensbruck. Upon arrival at Ravensbruck, Holocaust survivor Blanka Rothschild stated that the women were stripped of their clothes, and went to a medical examination[they] were humiliated at every moment. Rothschild recalled a violating and abusive gynecological exam. She suggested that the men in control used their power to humiliate the victims through forced nudity and aggressive sexual acts. She also stated that after the war, it was especially difficult for women who could not have children due to the harm and assaults performed by the Nazi doctors and guards.
After the initial entry process, if one was clearly pregnant, they were sent straight to their death or taken to the Nazi doctors. Although a rare occurrence, if women fell pregnant while in the camps they would be physically beaten and most likely killed. To avoid these consequences, often the pregnant women would attempt to self abort, which sometimes severely harmed the women. Additionally, Nazi doctors would experiment on women through testing. In one instance, Ruth Elias entered the camps as a pregnant lady. She was chosen to be observed in a special unit throughout her pregnancy. Once she gave birth, Joseph Mengele directed the Polish midwife to put a bandage over [Elias’] breasts, she must not feed the baby. [Mengele] want[ed] to see how long a baby [could] live without food. In the days following the birth of her child, Elias secretly fed the baby soft bread and soup, but it was not enough nourishment to keep her alive. A nurse brought Elias a syringe of morphine, because if the baby died, Elias would be saved. The baby died hours later, and Elias was transported. This is only one example of the physical and mental effects the Nazi doctors had on the women prisoners. Another example, perhaps the most prevalent of all experiments was sterilization methods. These experiments would often result in permanent physical damage, or even death. Although women faced these harsh, unpredictable conditions in the concentration camps, they used their inherent coping and bonding skills to motivate each other to live.
Compared to men, women’s coping skills were more advanced. Women were typically seen as homemakers. Their values and roles were centered around being a mother, and a protector. Unique variables such as coping skills and bonding abilities gave women the strength needed to protect their families. Women often bonded over starvation. They would talk about food, and their favorite meals from home. Imagining the taste, sharing recipes, and creating menus helped women cope within the harsh conditions. This food talk, called ‘cooking with the mouth,’ was a gendered form of nostalgia which helped women create a sense of community. Eva Oswalt, a survivor of Ravensbruck, wrote a cookbook that survived the Holocaust. Two recipes of apricot dumplings and a Hungarian omelette were written down. This was ironic because all of the ingredients in these dishes were difficult to find during the war. In the concentration camp, these recipes acted as a reminder of Eva’s past. Exchanging cookbooks and recipes were very comforting to women, and truly helped them survive. While many were bonding through gender, other women were being sexually targeted and abused based on their gender.
Rape and sexual assault was prevalent, and often women thought it as a chance to ensure their loved one’s survival. There [was] an emphasis on women’s sexual and reproductive experiences…because they carried the next generation of Jews. Traumatic memories of torture, abuse, and rape were not usually documented, but have been discovered through the victim’s stories. On the other hand, many turned to sexual slavery, which was referred to as prostitution during the Holocaust, in hopes of achieving safety. Prostitutes found themselves faced with what Lawrence Langer termed a ‘choiceless choice’. Women exchanged sex for food, possessions, and safety. Jewish prostitution and rape by German soldiers was forbidden when camps and ghettos were established, but the soldiers continued to engaged in sexual relations. Sexual assault often occurred in the barracks, at labor sites, and in medical units. These forms of violence was done for to manifest power, as a form of gratification, and to display an alternative form of anti-Semitism. Specifically, the Warsaw ghetto was known for prostitution and sexual assault. A document was found after the war that was addressed to Heinz Auerswald, a German SS officer and lawyer, stating that it is the poverty of the females, rather than the desire of the males, that leads to new prostitutes…who want in this way to provide a livelihood for themselves and their relatives…through sex, women and girls could gain a greater chance of survival. Other instances of sexual violence appeared in death camps. Jankiel Wiernik, a prominent figure in the Treblinka resistance, recalled seeing countless acts of sexual assault. He stated that the Ukrainian guards would select the most attractive Jewish girls, drag them into barracks, raped them, then brought them to the gas chambers. The role of women as a protector and nurturer, quickly developed into giving up themselves in hopes of survival.
Men and women’s experiences throughout the Holocaust were very different. Men were typically targeted through forced labor, which included both mental and physical abuse, whereas women were attacked for vulnerability through medicine and sexual assault. One’s gender definitely impacted his or her experience throughout the camps and ghettos, and it is important to acknowledge these differences, to ensure a more holistic understanding of this horrific event in history.
The Holocaust: Terrible Brutality
“The dreaded moments has come; there is no escape. We are in the hands of the SS. The process of our ‘liquidation’ has begun.” Livia Bitton-Jackson describes the hardships faced while growing up in the Holocaust in her autobiography, I Have Lived a Thousand Years.
Similarly, Sarah Helm’s researches the experiments performed on women in Ravensbruck in her excerpt, Rabbits, from the book Ravensbruck. Provided to us by the historical documents website, AlphaHistory.com, the hardships of the Holocaust victims are discussed in the articles, Survivor of The Majdanek Concentration Camp (Survivor) and Eyewitness Account of the Belzec Gassing (Eyewitness). The book, Band of Brother by Stephen E. Ambrose, also discusses the brutal beating towards inmates. These selections display the multiple instances of brutality of the Holocaust.
One hardship the prisoners endured was being “guinea pigs” for experiments. In the excerpt Rabbits from the selection Ravensbruck by Sarah Helms, she does extensive research about the women taken in for gangrene experiments. “They can see their own wounds for the first time, and each stares in disbelief at the swollen lumps of flesh and the incisions on the tibia, so deep they can see bone. One woman pulls out a piece of glass, another a wooden splinter two inches long” (Helms 217). Helms provides us with a small portion of the morbid exercises performed on Holocaust victims. A second selection that presents us another fragment of these experiments is Eyewitness from the historical document website AlphaHistory.com. They provide us with an eyewitness report from a Holocaust SS Lieutenant who had a front row view of prisoners being gassed and killed by Diesel Fume poisoning, “The dead were standing upright like basalt pillars, pressed together in the chambers. There would not have been room to fall down or even bend over” (Gerstein). Diesel Fume poisoning was a popular way to kill large groups at a time. Kurt Gerstein, the observer, was using a stopwatch to test how long it took to kill the bunch. He gave his testimony to allied authorities a few days after the war ended.
Another hardship that prisoners experienced was the poverish food supply within the concentration camps. The prisoners would have little to no food, and on occasion they would go days as a punishment. In the autobiography, I Have Lived a Thousand Years by the earlier prisoner of Auschwitz, Bitton-Jackson, recalls her unbearable food experiences. “As it stood for hours in the sun, it became putrefied and alive with worms. I noticed a long, white worm wriggling in Mommy’s spoon as she lifted it to her mouth” (Bitton-Jackson 102). Here, Bitton-Jackson tells us about an instance when the Camp cared so little about the condition of the food, they allowed it to grow worms then fed it to the prisoners with no mercy. Another source that expresses the deficient food quality was within the historical selection Band of Brothers, written by Stephen E. Ambrose. Ambrose writes of allied soldiers going to one of the nearby concentration camps in Germany and witnessed thousands of men, all crippled with sicknesses and weaknesses, “Prisoners in their striped pajamas, three-quarters starved, by the thousands; corpses, little more than skeletons, by the hundreds” (Band of Brothers 262). Winters, the man in charge, orders stored blocks of cheese to be distributed among the prisoners.
A final hardship faced among the prisoners of the Holocaust was the brutal beatings. The prisoners would have stones thrown at their heads and kicked at the ribs just to be shown the levels of power above them. In AlphaHistory.com’s excerpt Survivor, Pfeffer, one of the survivors of the Majdanek concentration camps recalls his perspective of the punishments and torture of Jewish inmates. He reports, “During work the SS men beat up prisoners mercilessly, inhumanly and for no reason… The victim screamed only after the first blows, afterwards he fell unconscious and the SS man then kicked at the ribs, the face, at the most sensitive part of a man’s body” (Pfeffer). These situations are only a small portion of the torture the inmates went through. Pfeffer discusses punishments such as the ‘boxing sack’, and a tool called the ‘heavy boot’.
Throughout the many details given of the brutal and miserable life of Holocaust inmates, these are not all that occured. Other brutalities these inmates went through included cases such as terrible living quarters, hard labor, and the frequent deaths caused by being shot or starved. The Holocaust is one of the most inhumane and gruesome events to ever happen in the history of the world. We talk and remind ourselves of this tragedy so we don’t make the same mistake twice.
Iranian Holocaust Denial
Phillips, Iran’s International Holocaust Cartoon Contest epitomizes the country’s trend of Holocaust denial and delegitimization of Iranian Jewry. Founded on nationalistic and anti-Zionist notions, the modern state of Iran has maintained antisemitism since its post-Holocaust conception. Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of The Islamic Republic of Iran, asserts that Jews are surrogates of Western imperialism, at fault for displacing Palestinian Muslims .
Another ?Shiite 1 religious leader ?Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented in his official 2014 Nowruz address, “the Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened.” Iran’s International Holocaust Cartoon Contest serves as a hallmark of antisemitism 2 and Holocaust denial in Iran and has vast implications for present-day Iranian Jews. Following the Holocaust, the former Persian Empire which had been a safe-space for Jews rapidly turned to antisemitism and persecution of its Jewish citizens, the new Islamic Republic of Iran making public its anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish views.
Persian Government during the Holocaust: Seeds for Modern Antisemitism The Persian government’s role during the Holocaust was integral in modern Iran’s turn towards antisemitism. The present-day Iranian government actively retains information about the Holocaust from its people, including Persian history during World War II, despite its devastating consequences. The modern government intentionally spreads false information in order to bolster Holocaust denial. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a video titled “Holocaust: Are the Dark Ages Over?”” on his website, questioning the Nazi mass slaughter of more than six million Jews during World War II. He commented, No one in European countries dares to speak about the Holocaust, while it is not clear whether the core of this matter is clear or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened. Speaking about the Holocaust and expressing doubts about it is considered to be a great sin. If someone does this, they stop, arrest, imprison, and sue him. This is while they claim to be the supporters of freedom. This is the ignorance that exists in today’s world. The modern government’s overt denial of the Holocaust takes its roots in Persian involvement during World War II and creates a milieu for antisemitism to flourish within the country itself. Before the Holocaust, Persian Jews held religious autonomy, economic opportunities, and significant political rights, the government even pronouncing that Persian Jews were to be 5 viewed as fully assimilated Persian citizens. Although Nazi ideology insisted on racial inferiority of the inhabitants of the Middle East and directly targeted the Persian people, Reza Shah leaned 6 in sympathy towards Germany because of the country’s lack of interference with Persian legislature in the past. German and Persian governments bolstered one another and by 1940–41, 7 nearly half of all Iranian imports came from Germany and 42% of all Iranian exports went to Germany.
Nazi ideology and antisemitism caused Persian upset. Germany worked to spread the view that 9 Hitler could be seen as the Shiite Messiah, sent from God to destroy the Jews and Communists. 10 Hitler was compared to the Prophet Mohammed, Persian propagandists portraying Prophet Mohammed’s clashes with Jewish tribes to Persian and German hostilities toward Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Occupied by Great Britain, Persia struggled to maintain its land-holdings and legislature. Following the 1942 Tripartite Treaty of Alliance between Persia, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain the latter two promised to withdraw from Persian territory within six months of the end of the war. Persian then effectively withdrew its support of the Axis Powers. Iran’s declaration of 12 war on Germany in 1943 ended with instability within the Iranian sociopolitical economy, Persians blaming their suffering on the ‘reason’ for the war in the first place: the Jews. Modern Iranian Antisemitism and the International Holocaust Cartoon Contest In the modern Middle East, antisemitism has acquired social acceptability under the guise of historical between Muslims and Jews. Because the Islamic Republic of Iran contains the 13 largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel, its government and local citizenry both claim that it could not be anti semitic, while simultaneously administering blatantly antisemetic legislation and fostering a largely anti-Jewish milieu. 14 The modern Iranian Government plays a crucial role in media distortion and Holocaust Denial. Leaders from Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who opened an Iranian Al?Quds Day rally dismissing the fact that six million Jews died during World War II as “Zionist propaganda” , to 15 Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who met with French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, author of “The Founding Myths ? of Modern Israel” in which he details “the myth of the six million” Jewish 16 victims , the roots of Iranian antisemitism stem from its government. Changes within Iranian 17 political or religious administration have not significantly affected antisemetic views or distortion of the Holocaust by the state, but rather Holocaust denial has been a constant thread throughout modern Iranian history.
The Holocaust cartoon competitions are a crucial piece of religious propaganda directly overseen by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In 2006, an Iranian government-aligned newspaper Hamshahri? sponsored The International Holocaust Cartoon Contest, which announced its intent to analyze “Western hypocrisy on freedom of speech.” Although publicly portrayed as a 18 reaction to Western cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the contest worked to scaffold anti-Zionist agendas and was intended both to inflate Holocaust denial and to condemn and deny legitimacy to Israel. ?Hamshahri?, a propaganda-?oriented institution financed by the city of Tehran, received almost one thousand, one hundred and ninety-three submissions from more 19 sixty countries around the world. 20 Social representations of Jews and Israel are constructed around denying the Holocaust and framing “Nazi-Zionist Ideology.” The contest’s anti-Semitic overtones present a one-sided 21 version of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of Jewish history, and has the potential to implicate negative views of Jews in Iran. In support of the contest, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asserted that there exist some Holocaust deniers who do not harbor “racial hatred,” and 22 that the displaying of Holocaust-denying cartoons does not necessarily concern execration towards the Jews.
In 2016, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asserted that the Iranian Government did not endorse the 2006 contest and that no governmental permission was necessary in order to have held it, aiming to separate the religious and legislative institutions from its antisemitism. 23 However, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance later released a statement that it bolsters any event or program that serves to “enlighten people about the Holocaust,” implying its 24 affiliation with the contest. The same year, another exhibition opened in Islamic Propaganda Organization in Tehran, featuring one hundred and fifty cartoons from the 11th Tehran International Cartoon Biennial. Despite some Iranian cartoonists denouncing the 2006 and 2016 exhibitions as propaganda tactics, Iranian groups and civilians have been silent as a whole. 25 Although the contest spokesperson claimed that the objective of the contest was to criticize “inconsistent freedom of expression” in countries that support Zionism” , the purpose 26 of these contests was to deny Holocaust and bolster antisemitism operating under direct orders of Supreme Leader Khamenei. In charge of arranging the 2016 competition, Masoud Shojayee Tabatabayee insisted that the goal of the competition was “ not to confirm or to deny the Holocaust” despite stating the reason for the 2006 competition was “to show that the Holocaust is a big lie for the occupation of Palestine.” The submitted cartoons themselves fall into six 27 distinct categories (see descriptions of cartoon winners in appendix):
- Fabricating a present-day Holocaust committed by Israel
- Portraying Zionism as comparable to Nazism
- Claiming Israel appropriates the Holocaust to justify killing Palestinians
- Depicting the Holocaust as a myth to legitimize the founding of Israel
- Representing the Holocaust as a myth in general
- Rendering that the West fabricates ideas of freedom of speech
These cartoons serve as propaganda, intentionally portraying overt hate-speech as fact. Depictions of Jews and Israel in the muslim World has been constructed, according to Joel Kotek, over centuries as “antisemyths,” which he defines as myths constructing a false “evil” nature of Jews. 30 This propaganda is permanently institutionalized in the Islamic Republic of Iran because it serves many sociopolitical functions. Firstly, it helps to unite citizens in hatred towards a specific group of people instead of mobilizing against unpopular Iranian leaders. Secondly, the Iranian Constitution itself allows for distortion of media. Its preamble and article 175 justify, The mass ? communication media, radio, and television must serve the diffusion of Islamic culture in pursuit of the evolutionary course of the Islamic Revolution… the appointment and dismissal of the head of the Radio and Television of the Islamic Republic of Iran rests with the Leader.
This allows for indoctrination of government-run radio, television, and press, allowing for propaganda to permeate Iranian media. Cartoons as propaganda allow the government to avoid responsibility while also permitting manipulation of a medium used to exaggerate reality. In his piece ?Israel in the Iranian Media: Demonizing the ‘Zionist Regime’?, Rusi Jaspal describes “Social Representations Theory” in specific relation to understanding social thinking, communication and behaviour 32 surrounding Jews and the Holocaust in Iran. In general, social representations can be described as views or practices regarding a given object, creating a common reality within a society. Furthermore, he argues that delegitimizing social representations of Jews in Iranian media create a negative social “reality,” further cultivating Iranian antisemitism. The cartoons of the International Holocaust Cartoon Contests intentionally manipulate 33 popular social representations of Jews in Iran to exacerbate pre-existing antisemitic views. For 34 example, Tallil Abdellatif draws a smiling Jew drawing the blue lines of a concentration camp uniform. Another cartoon by Ebrahim Azad illustrates a line of Palestinians walking into an 35 incinerator, depicted as a head wearing a large hat with a Star of David . These cartoons portray 36 the Holocaust as a fabricated event, attempting to legitimize the Holocaust as a hoax. 37 Additionally, the frequent depiction of Jews as Nazis and of Zionism as comparable with Nazi ideology stem from the false believed of an international conspiracy to the construct the “Holocaust myth.” Even cartoons which do depict the Holocaust as a reality illustrate it as a 38 tool for “Zionist for evil and aggressive purposes, which is consistent with the threat representation.” The fuel for these representations comes from an already prevalent social 39 representation of Jews as falsifying their suffering. Despite the fact that some of the cartoonists are not Iranian, submitting their works to a government-funded contest fuels the Iranian ideological discourse surrounding Jews and the Holocaust. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s endorsement of the contest, scaffolded by its ability to partake in propaganda efforts, created the perceived need to publicize antisemitic “views” internationally. This goal was met through international participation, publicity, and dissemination of cartoons.
Iran after The International Holocaust Cartoon Contest Iran continues to be an international cite for Holocaust deniers and antisemites. A conference held to discuss the legitimacy of the Holocaust was sponsored by the Iranian government, the head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Political and International Studies Rasoul Mousavi beginning the conference by praising the “opportunity for scholars to discuss the subject away from Western taboos and the restriction imposed on them [Holocaust deniers] in Europe.” Among the conference’s attendees were David Duke, white-supremacist 40 and former Ku Klux Klan leader, and Georges Thiel, a French writer who has been prosecuted in France over his denials of the Holocaust. Bendikt Frings, a German psychologist, commented 41 on the conference, “we are forbidden to have such a conference in Germany… All my childhood, we waited for something like this.” Displayed on the walls within the conference were photos 42 of dead camp prisoners, with captions asserting that the victims died of typhus. ?Following the conference, Ladan Boroumand, an Iranian exile, discussed Iranian denial with Daniel Greene of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She says, What totalitarian regimes do is to—and this is what makes them extremely devastating—is they look at you and say, “”You are not.”” Or, “”You are something else.”” Or, “”This event didn’t exist.”” This power, that is only God’s power. If a regime, or some people, think they are God, they can have the right to make you animals or human. They can create you or kill you. And this is unbearable. So the only thing you can do—and the most subversive thing you can do—is to tell the truth. This is devastating because each time you come back with the truth, you deny their prerogative of creating a fictitious world where they can say whatever they want.
Boroumand describes Holocaust denial both as a foundation of neo-Nazi culture and intrinsic in the Iranian totalitarian regime. In their book ?Iranian Jews, ?Hasan Sarbakhshian and Parvaneh Vahidmanesh detail current Iranian antisemitism, documenting legislative discrimination, rhetoric, and a vastly diminishing Jewish population. Following ignored submissions of their report, the Culture Minister accused Sarbakhshian and Vahidmanesh of pro-Israel propaganda. They accused Vahidmanesh of converting to Judaism – a capital crime under Islamic law – and revoked their press passes.
Holocaust On Air in “The Pianist”
There is a controversial debate regarding the film The Pianist (2002) directed by Roman Polanski on whether it is a truthful representation of the Holocaust which involved systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution of six million Jews (Introduction to the Holocaust). In particular, there are many views that the film was not focused on the Holocaust event itself, but rather primarily intended to convey the power of art and the relationship between aesthetics and politics. Specifically, Polanski used devastating, chaotic conditions of the Holocaust and the beauty of music which moved the German officer’s heart as two contrasting aspects to emphasize the power of art in society.
In other words, Holocaust was one of the minor focus in the film as it was simply utilized as a background to magnify how aesthetics “ in this case, music “ is strongly influential even in that kind of threatening period. It is obvious that art is one of the main points Polanski wanted to discuss through the film as its title is even called The Pianist; the significance of music as a theme of this movie cannot be dismissed. However, the incident of the Holocaust also should not be dismissed as well because directorial choices and details of the film such as sound effect and design of the shelter meticulously displayed all the depressing situations in which Jews experienced during the Holocaust. The Holocaust is not concealed under aesthetics but was rather truthfully represented in the film; Polanski equally highlighted both music and the Holocaust, not heavily focusing one over the other.
First and foremost, many details directed by Polanski in the film expertly picture the life and emotions of Jews hiding from the Germans, which implies that Polanski took a lot of effort in portraying what the Holocaust would have been like in the perspective of Jewish people. For example, in the scenes when Szpilman lived in an apartment where he was locked inside with the assistance from a married couple, there were two major directorial choices that allowed the film to show specifically what the life of Jews hiding from the Germans would have been. Firstly, the usage of various sound effects in these particular scenes built up the tension of the film. For example, the car engine sound and the sound of car doors being slammed and Germans speaking German arouse the feeling of nervousness right away because if Szpilman gets caught, it will lead to very negative consequences. Then, the tension builds up more as Szpilman hears Germans climbing up the stairs and knocking hardly on the doors near where he is living. Such sound effects produced as the scene progresses make even the audience feel nervous, which conveys the feelings of Jewish people had during the Holocaust more effectively because they are experiencing similar emotions. Through this choice, Polanski was able to portray the situation in which Jewish people had to feel fear in every moment of their lives. Additionally, sound effects in these scenes enabled Polanski to highlight how Holocaust negatively affected Szpilman’s life. Before the Holocaust, beautiful sound of music was present in Szpliman’s life as a pianist, showing one of the brightest times in his life. However, as the film moved on to the Holocaust, sound such as bombing and gunshot took over his life and continuously tortured him; this directly showed that everything before the Holocaust was taken away from him. As a result, his life has fallen off to the darkest time in his life. Happiness he used to have was not visible anymore. The time when he pretended playing piano was only when such sound was blocked, giving him comfort. Due to these contrasting sounds in his life, the negative effects of the incident on him were strongly emphasized and more conspicuous. In fact, they were especially magnified because his occupation was a musician “ a job that involves sensitive hearing. Sound effects therefore played a great role in sketching the Holocaust in this film, representing very well in terms of how the Jews were affected in every aspect of their lives.
The second directorial choice that contributed to highlighting the Holocaust in these scenes was the presence of windows in the shelter. Even though he was physically isolated from outside, he could literally see what was going on outside through the windows every day. In other words, the apartment where he was hiding could have provided a shelter for him, but Szpilman was actually not separated, at least mentally, from the outside world, where Jewish people are ruthlessly beaten and killed by the Germans. It was visible in the film that Spzilman always had to remain in alert as he kept checking through the windows if something risky that could possibly affect him was happening outside. This implied the fact that Jewish people were never able to avoid the reality. The directorial choice of including the windows to the setting made the windows picture Jewish people who were always in danger hiding from the Germans. Szpilman might have had stayed in the place where there are no windows. However, if that was the case, the director would not have been able to carefully express the nervousness Jewish people felt because then sight would have been completely blocked. The visual aid of bombing and people being shot, which Szpilman was able to see through the windows, clearly placed additional tension on the film and explained the life of Jewish people more directly. In conclusion, Polanski meticulously created the setting with such detail in order for the film to truthfully display the Holocaust.
However, there are several counterarguments refuting that there are many directorial choices making this film a very weak representation of the Holocaust. The first question usually brought up in the discussion is the reason why Polanski chose the life of Wladyslaw Szpilman to portray the incident. This is often challenged because Szpilman did not experience the concentration camps, the most common material that pops up into people’s minds when the word Holocaust is given. People point out that if Polanski intended to picture the real Holocaust in the film, he would have chosen a different person’s life which involves the time in the concentration camps, making the film more provocative and a more truthful representation of the incident. However, because Szpilman’s life was very different compared to other Jewish people, Polanski was able to show a different aspect “ Jews hiding “ of the event. What Jewish people underwent in the concentration camps is well known by the public at this point. If The Pianist showed the concentration camps just like other Holocaust movies, it would have been very banal. The film was therefore a very unique approach. In fact, hiding life shown in the film was not very different. Just like other Jews, Szpilman was separated from his family. He was always under target, so there was always risk for death. At times, his life was even tougher than those in the concentration camps as he had to keep running away from the Germans whenever he judged that staying is not safe anymore. In addition, he often didn’t have any food to eat. This implies that situations of Jews outside the concentration camp were quite similar to those forced to stay in the camps. This unique choice conveyed the fact that regardless of the situations Jewish people were in, they suffered equally under the Germans, ultimately directing the audience to think about the same Holocaust in a different perspective. In fact, the film itself was provocative enough as it showed various scenes picturing the cruelty of Germans. For instance, there was one scene when the Germans threw an elder sitting on his wheelchair off a balcony to his death. There was another scene when one German soldier shot a woman as soon as she asked where she is being taken to. Besides these scenes, dead bodies being piled up and burned on the streets, massive revenge executed whenever the Jewish people rebel against the Germans, constant beating and all kinds of mistreatment successfully showed the real brutality of Germans during the Holocaust. In other words, the film was provocative enough without the concentration camps, again emphasizing that people who did not go through the concentration camps similarly experienced harsh life. It was therefore not too different.
Another point often made following the previous challenge is the ending of the film. First, Szpilman miraculously survived from the Holocaust. Second, it is natural that one suffers from the traumatizing event afterwards, but Szpilman was displayed as a very healthy person, who seemed to have completely recovered from the incident right away; he even played piano just like he previously did. People point out that this kind of happy ending is unusual. However, not everyone dies from the event. Szpilman was just one of the people who survived. Similarly, in the novel The Complete Maus written by Art Spiegelman, in which the author writes about his father’s experience in the Holocaust, the father luckily survived from the Holocaust too. Even the scene when Szpilman was suspected as German (because he was wearing a German coat) after the end of the war showed group of other people who survived, so it was not extremely unusual. Moreover, this does not make any difference because survivors are equally the victims of the Holocaust and part of the incident. Regarding the second point, Szpilman’s life afterwards is when the power of music that director wants to point out emerges. It is music that comforted Szpilman and enabled him to live a normal life after the war because he got music back in his life. Thus, the movie wraps up with scenes of him playing the piano to show this; because Polanski wanted to highlight both art and the incident, he structured the ending in this way. This kind of unusual ending does not weaken the Holocaust part of the film at all because main part of the Holocaust is what happened during the Holocaust, not that after the Holocaust; it is already depicted carefully in the previous scenes. In conclusion, although the film deals with aspects of the Holocaust unfamiliar to the audience, they do not make this film a false representation.
Moreover, other counterarguments point out that although Polanski attempted to portray the Holocaust in detail, relatively heavy focus on music consequently weakened the film’s direct representation of the incident. With respect to this, people primarily argue that music was what drove the German officer named Hosenfeld to save Szpilman when he found him trying to open a can in an abandoned building and continue to provide him supplies afterwards until the end of the war. However, the history specifically reported that Hosenfeld saw how the Nazis dealt with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and around this time decided to make a difference, helping to shelter and save several persecuted individuals (Admin, M.). To recognize and honor his kindness, Yad Vashem, Israel’s largest memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, presented members of his family with a medal in tribute for the actions he took in Warsaw (Officer Who Saved ‘The Pianist’ Honored). Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev stated that he exercised a very very human kind of behavior. Like this, the historical record points out that the German officer saved lives of Jews other than Szpilman. In other words, it was not music that specifically caused him not to kill him. Even the film depicts the kindness of Hosenfeld. If he were just a normal German under Hitler, he would have just killed Szpilman as soon as he saw him; however, he didn’t. He started talking to him and showed interest in him. His eyes even seemed like he did not have any threatening intention to kill him from the beginning. Thus, it is quite difficult to connect music to this matter.
There are also claims that music was definitely a motivation for him to survive, which made the focus of this film shifted to music rather than the incident. However, Polanski rather depicted music as a source of comfort for Szpilman. Music took over whenever piano was spotted and literally provided him a time of isolation from the Holocaust. If music was a motivation for him to live, music would have appeared in the film more frequently. In fact, scenes related to the Holocaust appeared more often, which implies that Polanski did not heavily focus on music. To explain, music only appeared in the film whenever piano was present. Even when he pretended playing piano, there was piano with him. In other words, without piano, music was not expressed in his life at all. However, he even sold his piano for his survival, which lessened the amount of screenplays related to music. This shows that living was the priority in his life, not accompanying music by keeping the piano with him. Even without piano, if Polanski wanted to put stronger emphasis on music, he would have included additional scenes such as Szpilman’s recount on music stopping his consideration of death. However, not a single scene even displayed him thinking of death, so it is unreasonable to argue that music motivated him to survive. Moreover, the fact that no one wants to die is notable as living is one of human being’s common desires. In the film, Szpilman showed human-like responses to any potential danger that could possibly kill him. He just did not want to die. Thus, music did not contribute to his actions that much. Like this, although music indeed played one of the major roles in the film, it was, in fact, not as heavily concentrated as usually evaluated by the audience.
Due to awe of music pictured in the film with professional piano playing, it is very easy to miss or even forget about the Holocaust described in the film. However, if we pay closer attention, we can clearly see how Polanski meticulously directed the film in a way that music does not stand out too much, balancing the significance of both music and the Holocaust. Although the Holocaust was displayed differently from most Holocaust films due to the interesting life of Szpilman, it undoubtedly represents the same incident by including provocative scenes of cruelty of the Germans. On top of that, counterarguments pointing out strong emphasis on music hindering truthful depiction of the Holocaust are masterfully weakened by Polanski’s choices regarding Hosenfeld’s actions and the role of music in Szpilman’s Holocaust experience. This also does not necessarily mean that the theme of music was undermined. Overall, within the same representation, The Pianist allowed us to extend our view of the Holocaust to hiding life of Jewish people during the incident through Szpilman’s life and consider the value of aesthetics in our society at the same time.
Eva Survived the Holocaust
Change heading format T’Mea Booth Prof. Esposito HST 121 019 October 2018 Eva Survived the Holocaust What is the Holocaust / who started it all Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was the founder and leader of the Nazi Party and the most influential voice in the organization, implementation, and execution of the Holocaust, the systematic extermination and ethnic cleansing of six million European Jews and millions of other non-arynes. On January 30, 1993, the Holocaust began to occur in Nazi Germany.
Insert here *continue brief summary on holocaust* Eva Schloss was born in Vienna, Austria on May 11, 1929. is the step-sister of Anne Frank? *back ground on Eva* Eva and her mother were in hiding for two years. In June 1942 Eva’s brother got a call-up notice to be sent to a death camp and it was at that time Eva and her family went into hiding.
Eva and her family could not find a family who could take four people in because it was very dangerous to hide Jews at the time, so Eva and her family were forced to separate. Eva and her mother went to a school teachers house, different from the place her father went. Occasionally Eva and her mother went out using false identification and papers. About once a month they went out visit Eva’s father and brother, but other than that for two years they were stuck in a room. While the family who took them in were out living their lives Eva and her mother had to remain quiet because the neighbors might hear them. Eva and Anne were the same age. In 1938 Eva’s family left Austria when Hitler came in with is armies, but her father went to Holland. By the time the rest of the family were ready to follow the father the Dutch border had been closed so they snuck into Belgium. In 1939 a war was already declared, and her father decided the rest of the family should go on a visiting permit to Amsterdam so the whole family would be in the same country. In February 1940 they moved to the Rembrandtplein plan which was a square in Amsterdam and across the street lived the Frank family because it was a newly built area, many German and Austrian Jews lived there.
At the time Eva and Anna were both eleven years old and after school, all of the children would go out to play in the big square and that is where Eva met Anna for the first time. On May 11th, 1944 is was Eva’s birthday, that morning she and family went down for breakfast and heard loud knocks on the door. The gentlemen of the family went down to open the door not expecting anything to happen; as soon as he opened the doormen pushed him aside and ran up the stairs. When the family was seen the told them to put on their coats and come along with them. Eva’s mother tried to tell the men that they were guest and that Eva is not her child nor is she Jewish trying to avoid her daughter from getting arrested, but they knew exactly who they were, so they had no choice but to follow the order. The men took them to Gustavo Headquarters this was a fearsome experience for Eva; they threatened to kill her brother if she did not talk because they wanted to know who helped them find places to hide and who provided them with false identification papers. Shortly after Eva’s interrogation, she was first sent to a Dutch camp which was named Westerbork. Westerbork was ran by German and majority of the people in the camp were Jews.
Eva and her family were only at the camp for a couple of days, then she and a hundred other Jews were for forced in a truck that had no facilities and deported to Oswiecim, Poland. The journey to Poland took days because some trucks went east, and the German troop’s other transports went west; due to the troops going east some trucks had to wait on the side of the road. While being on the side of the road the Germans driving the truck would open the door and collect anything that they thought was valuable and threated that if the Jews would not give up what they have they would be killed. After several days of traveling in terrible condition, the door opened and the Jews were ordered to get out. After getting out the Jew saw the sign on the station platform that says Auschwitz until then the Jews had no idea where they were going. The first command, when they arrived at the camp, was that men and women go to different sides because Auschwitz was the men’s camp and the woman was kept in Auschwitz Birkenau; this marked the separation of families. Eva and her mother stayed together for quite some time then eventually they were separated. Eva was one of lucky the ones, on about two or three occasions got to see her father but she never saw her brother again; this was very unusual because most people never saw their family again.
While being in the camp Eva feared that would be killed any day, that fear was with her every minute of the day. Every night and day people were selected to be killed; certain groups, work, and commanders instead of going to work they marched straight to the gas chambers. Once a week they were allowed showers which were in a shower block, and those blocks look from the outside as if they were the same as the gas chamber blocks. Every week the people in the camps did not go to the same showers; when Eva marched there she never if she was going to the showers or to be killed in a gas chamber, so this fear was always with her. With fear being the worst part about the camp the second worst was the hunger. The prisoners were so hungry that they were nearly out of their mind and they were under fit because they got a very monotonous diet. Dr. Joseph Mongla speared Eva’s mother. Once when Eva went to hospital blocks where Mongla worked doing mainly horrific experiments on people. He operated without an ascetic and took out certain organs to see how long people could survive, most people did not survive long after.
The only people Mongla speared were twins because he was very interested in the study. Immediately when people arrived at the hospital blocks the called out “any twins, babies, and old people stand aside” any type of twins was speared but he eventually did some type of experiment on them as well. Eva once went to the hospital block because she had a terrible boil on her neck and she just wanted to get some cream, but the bunk maid wanted her to stay in the hospital. She knew that if she were to stay in the hospital she would never come out. Eva always told her self that she must survive and have a family, but of course, it might never have had happened. By her having this mindset she stayed certain, strong, and going perhaps more than people who were weaker and gave up at a certain point.
The Holocaust: Religion, Race and Ethnicity Discrimination
Close your eyes and picture a world where you’re discriminated against because of your religion, race, ethnicity or beliefs. You may not realize it, but you probably pictured a world exactly like ours today in 2019. It may be harder to notice currently because society seems like it’s changing, but there are still one to many situations in the world today where people are being discriminated against.
People believe that they are better than others and can be biased against and hurt those who they believe are lower than them. This is exactly the sort of prejudice and close minded behavior that started the Holocaust in 1941.
When people think about the Holocaust, they probably think of gas chambers, slavery, and killing pits, but of course it didn’t start that way. The Holocaust started with minor discriminatory laws against the jews. Examples of this includes Jewish children not being allowed to go to school, or not having the right to shop wherever they want, the right to vote, and the right to be jewish or not. Propaganda was a huge factor in helping discriminate the jews and put them down. The holocaust started slowly with just discrimination and propaganda and that happens in our world all the time, so who says another Holocaust won’t happen?
“Although not every act of bias will lead to genocide, it is important to realize that every historical instance of genocide began with acts of bias” . We must not repeat history, but learn from it. Today in 2019 there is a huge discrimination problem at the US southern border. The US government is seperating children from their parents who are seeking refugee in America and are trying to get in. “Between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, at least 2,700 children have been split from their parents” (“”The Trump Administration’S Separation Of Families At The Border, Explained””). This shows that at least 45 children are being taken away from their parents each day. Most of the time they lie to the parents, saying they will be reunited with their children and then they get sent to jail, never seeing their children again. One border patrol officer made a joke and said: “We have an orchestra here” as children cried hysterically after being taken from their parents. This is a big problem because this is the prejudice that can become something bigger like the Holocaust.
Another example of discrimination in current events is the Unite the Right Rally. The Unite the right Rally was a white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017. The rally was not only racist and prejudice but also very anti semetic with people chanting things like, “Jew will not replace us” and “blood and soil” which is a phrase taken from Nazi ideology. Men stood outside the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, while Jewish men were praying, holding semi-automatic rifles and spoke online about how the Synagogue should be destroyed. The rally only lasted a day, with one death too many, but caused a big impact on people.
It may seem like a Holocaust would never happen again, especially from a rally or minor discrimination- but that’s how the Holocaust started itself. We need to learn from the Holocaust and stop thinking that we are better than others because of what color, religion, and race we are. People need to realize that everyone is human and deserves the respect that you would want. Things like discrimination, prejudice, and racism are all the starting causes of war and genocide. We need to make sure that our current events does not end up as a Holocaust because of Rallies and Discrimination at the US border. We need to learn from our past and accept people for who they are.
Combating Holocaust Denial
The Holocaust has been an undisputed fact of history since WW2. Yet there are people out there who deny that it ever happened, or that the events presented to us are altered in some way, be it death count or how the prisoners were actually treated. This belief first appeared almost immediately after the end of World War 2, as people were just learning about the brutality of the Nazi regime.
A combination of shock and horror of the violence that could be inflicted upon another human being made belief difficult, and had people creating lighter, less horrific stories to ease them.
Historically, Holocaust Denial started as the Nazis destroying all documents of their deeds as to cover up what happened in the horror camps. Then later, people were appalled at the reports that came out regarding the concentration camps. Not to mention that previously, there was an anti German account in the papers called The German Corpse Factory that made fallacious claims. These lies undermined the validity of the news from the camps and made sending relief difficult. Furthermore, when put on trial, the Nazis claimed that the camps were lies put up by the Brits in an attempt to get them sentenced, and cited the Corpse Factory as proof that they had lied once before. Actually the Corpse Factory story is cited as a particular reason for why people doubted the Holocaust because, as the Christian Century put it The parallel between this story and the ‘corpse factory’ atrocity tale of the First World War is too striking to be overlooked.
Some early major players in denying would be several members of the SS. They claimed that the Holocaust was nothing but a lie spread throughout the world to discredit and vilify them. They were able to able to build some form of a defense because of precautions they took during, the germans wrote down as little as possible about their plans/ orders to avoid having documents fall into oppositions hands. Most of the killing orders were communicated verbally, particularly with the higher-ups. Hitler’s order to kill Jews was issued only on a need-to-know basis. The leaders generally avoided detailed planning of killing operations, preferring to proceed in a systematic but often improvised manner. The Germans destroyed most documentation that did exist before the end of the war, making it hard to pin them with the crime. With a lack of documented evidence, they were able to convince some of the population that the Holocaust was a lie.
Even the modern heralds for Denial, cite this lack of documented evidence as an important detail for denying. Most notable modern denyers include; B.o.B who said in his song Flatline Do your research on David Irving, Stalin was way worse than Hitler, That’s why the POTUS gotta wear a kippah. Historian David Irving, who was cited by English court “”for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence”” as well as distorting historical evidence in his books to portray Hitler in a favorable and sympathetic light. Irving’s beliefs have shifted wildy to Hitler was bad to Hitler was great, even going as far as to say that he and Hitler had a spiritual connection and that it was his job to wipe away the slime that was unjustly applied. Bobby Fischer, chess grandmaster and eleventh world chess champion,was also anti semitic. Jan Hein Donner, Dutch Grandmaster, wrote that at the time of 1961, “”He idolized Hitler and read everything about him that he could lay his hands on. He also championed a brand of anti-semitism that could only be thought up by a mind completely cut off from reality.””. There is also Fred A. Leuchter, infamous for his botched and unscientific report titled the Leuchter Report which has been disproven and has been criticised for a complete disregard for the Scientific Method.
These people all had different ways of coming to the belief that the Holocaust was wrong. Irving apparently read several reports and heard several accounts from sources that were later proven to be fallacious, biased, and generally incorrect, although the damage was done, and he started endorsing denial movements. He even got all the neo nazis in England to join one faction that he presided over called Focus. This venture fell short though due to lack of funds. B.o.B seems to have been influenced by the writings and lectures of David Irving, once again, saying in his song Flatline that Irving had done his research and that Stalin was worse than Hitler. Leuchter changed when he was asked to provide a paper detailing if gas chambers existed at Auschwitz to provide defense at Ernie Zundel’s trial. Ernie was a photo retoucher who also operated a small-press called Samisdat Publishers which published and distributed Holocaust-denial material such as Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood. In 1985, he was convicted under a “”false news”” law and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment by an Ontario court for “”disseminating and publishing material denying the Holocaust””.
The Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg was a witness for the prosecution at the 1985 trial. But his conviction was overturned in an appeal on a legal technicality, resulting in a second trial in 1988, in which he got himself again convicted. The 1988 trial included Fred A. Leuchter, David Irving and Robert Faurisson as witnesses for the defense. Leuchter report was presented as a defense document and was published in Canada in 1988 by Zundel’s Samisdat Publishers, and in Britain in 1989 by Irving’s Focal Point Publishing. In both of his trials, Zundel was defended by Douglas Christie and Barbara Kulaszka. His conviction was overturned in 1992 when the Supreme Court of Canada declared the “”false news”” law unconstitutional. Zundel has a website, web-mastered by his wife Ingrid, which publicises his viewpoints. This website landed him in more legal trouble as, in January 2002, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal delivered a ruling involving a complaint with his website, in which it was found to be defying the Canadian Human Rights Act. The court ordered Zundel to cease spreading his hate messages. In February 2003, he was arrested again in Tennessee based on an immigration violations matter, and few days later, Zundel was sent back to Canada, where he tried to gain refugee status. Zundel remained in prison until March 1, 2005, when he was deported to Germany and prosecuted for disseminating hate propaganda. In 2007, Z??ndel was convicted on 14 counts of incitement under Germany’s Volksverhetzung law, which bans the spread of hatred against a portion of the population.
During this the details of how the Leuchter report came out. He traveled to Auschwitz with a draftsman, a cinematographer supplied by Z??ndel, a translator fluent in German and Polish, and his wife. Once at the former Auschwitz concentration camp site, and another at the Majdanek concentration camp. At these, they filmed Leuchter illegally collecting what he said were quality samples of materials from the wreck of the former gas extermination facilities. His wife and translator were lookouts in case authorities came around. Drawings of where the samples were taken from, the film footage of the sample collection and Leuchter’s notebook detailing the work were given to the trial court as evidence. Leuchter claimed that his work and writings were based on his expert knowledge of gas chamber operation, his visual inspection of what remained of the structures at Auschwitz, and original drawings and blueprints of some of the facilities. He said that the blueprints had been given to him by Auschwitz Museum officials. When questioned about his authority on the subject, he admitted that he wasn’t a toxicologist, he only had a B.A. in art, and then went to say that he didn’t need to be a toxicologist to study toxicology samples. The judge presiding over the hearing said that his methodology was “”ridiculous”” and “”preposterous””, and dismissed many of the report’s conclusions on the basis that they were basically “”second-hand information””, and refused to allow him to testify on the effect of Zyklon B on humans because he had never worked with the substance, and was neither a toxicologist nor a chemist. The judge even dismissed Leuchter’s opinion because it was of “”no greater value than that of an ordinary tourist””. Several of the people Leuchter claimed to have helped him, like DuPont and the officials that gave him the blueprints for the crematoria at the concentration camps, have said that they never helped or offered to help, and that he basically lied.”
Resistance During the Holocaust
Was there any resistance when it came to the Holocaust? In fact, there were, resistance started in 1942 and ended in 1945. Even though resistances lasted only three years, it resulted in impactful events that lead to the liberation of Jews. Despite the risk of resistance, there were both non-violent and violent methods to oppose the German forces.
Jewish and non-Jewish resisters believed that they fought against tyranny and oppression, through why resistance was formed and how they were formed, how did resistors affect the Holocaust and the conclusion of the Holocaust.Why resistance was formed and how they were formed? The uprising of Jewish resistance started when a rumor was spread that whoever resided in the Warsaw community ghetto would be deported to a camp to be killed. According to an article, “Jewish Resistance – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum”, the Germans were shocked over the fierceness from the resistance.
The majority of the fighting took a few days to end but, it took a month to completely repress the remaining people. The uprising of Non-Jewish resistance, on the other hand, started when a German theologian questioned German authority. As a result, people who were caught opposing German authority would be arrested and executed. (Non-Jewish resistance United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). What did the resisters affect during the Holocaust? The truth about the armed Jewish resistance should not be stretched, armed Jewish resistance did little to stop the mass murders of Jews by the Nazi apparatus. Though other Jewish resisters focused on rescues, escapes, and aided those who are hiding (Armed Jewish Resistance: Partisan United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). Whereas non-Jewish resistance at times significantly hindered German actions, saved lives, or simply boost the morale of the tortured (Non-Jewish Resistance: Overview United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).
In conclusion, each resistance had similar goals and aspirations. What was the aftermath of the Holocaust? With the ending of the Holocaust came along the Soviet forces to liberate major Nazi camps to save those who were left behind. To hide the evidence, Germans would demolish the camp to hide what has happened there (Liberation of Nazi Camps. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). According to an article, The Aftermath Of The Holocaust, after liberation, many Jewish survivors feared to return to their homes because of the antisemitism that persisted in parts of Europe and the trauma Jews had suffered. As you have read throughout the essay Jewish and non-Jewish resistance fought through hard times through how resistances were formed and why resistances were formed, how everything was affected, and the conclusion of the Holocaust. Why is resistance during the Holocaust important to learn? the matter relates to Elie Wiesel’s speech on Perils of Indifference, The speech explains when someone is indifferent to the suffering of another, the person is as guilty as the person causing the suffering. For instance, the speech could be applied to the essay’s topic. In brief, the reason we learn history is to avoid the mistake that others have done.