International Holocaust Day – A Memorial and Contemplation

Greetings and Salutations;

Bergen Belsen
Liberation, 1945

Today,  January 27th,  is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.   Today,  we should spend a moment to cast our minds back to the atrocities that the Third Reich inflicted on  a huge collection of people, focusing on the Jews.   For those of us that SLEPT through History Class,   millions of people,  the good, the bad, the neutral,  were labeled “The Others”.  They were blamed for the economic and social problems of Germany,  in spite of the fact they were innocent of those charges.   They were, after oppression,  and abuse,  swept up,  put in cattle cars, and transported to Concentration camps,  where ALL were starved,  beaten,  and overworked.  

Gas Chamber
Dachau Prison Camp

Many of them were randomly selected and killed,  usually in poison gas chambers.   Then,  their bodies burned to ashes in huge ovens that ran 24 hours a day for years,  and the remains dumped into nearby

Cremation Oven,
Dachau Prison Camp

rivers.  The images that the Allied soldiers saw when the camps were liberated left them with nightmarish trauma that had them waking in a cold sweat for the rest of their lives.

Today,  we should take a moment to contemplate that Evil;  to honor the lives that were taken;  and renew a promise that such a horrendous  event should never sully the face of the Earth again.
That is, at least,  the idealistic goal of this day.   In reality,  though,  we, as a race,  fail to do this.   There are still too many deniers who claim that the story of the Holocaust is a lie,  made up simply to malign the German Nation.   They claim that the images recorded by photographers are faked.   They claim that the numbers quoted about the death toll in the camps are vast exaggerations.   There are many people who say “that was so long ago…and so far away.  It can never happen again”.   Well,  the deniers are wrong.  The facts are there that provide evidence that the events did happen.   In Museums and private collections,  there are still lampshades made from the skin of prisoners with ornate tattoos  and other objects made from the tanned skin of prisoners 
As for the folks that say “It could not happen again”;  that is blind optimism.   People have not changed that much in the past 2000 years,  and the same Evil that brought forth the Nazi Party   still has deep roots in too many minds.   There are too many people who are willfully blind, who would not see it.  There are too many people who chose to do nothing,  in hopes that they will not be touched by it.
Look,  for example,  at the Political situation in America.   We have a president elect who is not only totally unqualified and temperamentally terrible in the Oval office,  but,  is also a person eaten up by Greed, and Hate for anyone that is not an old, Conservative, White guy like him.   He claims he has a mandate for his actions,  in spite of the fact that he took the office through a quirk in our electoral system,  getting some  3 million fewer votes than his opponent.   During the campaign,  he continually used Nazi techniques to vilify his competition.  He made up childish nicknames for them.  He lied about what they believed or would do.  He lied about their record.  Time and time again,  he disrespected women,  people of color,  other nations,  and pretty much ever group that he could,  in order to inflame the emotions of the crowd he was speaking to at the time.   He has perfected the use of Goebbels’ Rule of “The Big Lie” – “Repeat a big enough lie,  often enough,  and it becomes the truth to people”.  
He had no platform of concrete ways to improve the country;  As a matter of fact,  he said time and time again that America is a cesspool of drugs,  thugs and rotting infrastructure.  In spite of this,  his claims on how he was going to fix things consisted of smoke,  mirrors,  and the repetition of the phrase “Trust Me”  Now,  I have heard and seen that sort of nonsense enough times in my life that all kinds of red flags are raised when someone starts using these phrases!  
He is FOR nothing that helps the majority of citizens…but he is AGAINST much that keeps him and his wealthy buddies from draining more money from our pockets.  He continues to refuse to divest himself of his commercial interests,  and has promised to delete 75% of the  regulations that keep  the Oligarchs from raping the Earth in search of the last dollar.
Many of the people that voted for the donald said  “Oh,  he will not do that…he is just exaggerating”.  Well,  look on Social Media!  There are thousands and thousands of posts from his supporters screaming because he is doing exactly what he said he would do…and THEY are being hurt by his actions.   The list of insanely bad decisions he is making and turning into actions through Executive Orders and Memoranda  is growing by leaps and bounds.   They are easily available online through searches…   
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.  How did the president-elect greet it?   He issued two items of note.
He (or his staff) penned a short comment on the Holocaust.   Here it is in its entirety:  
“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.
“Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.
“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”   
Not to be TOO picky,  but hardly mentioning the Jews and other groups murdered by the Nazi Regime in this seems to kind of miss the point.   I read this, and it seems that almost all of it is focused on how great America was at stopping it,   and how WE are going to keep it from happening again.   The irony in this is more of a flood than a drip,  in my opinion,  since his entire campaign and administration has been based on hate for “The Other”  and saying how dangerous “The Other” is for us.
Now,  Compare the donald’s statement with what President Obama said,  just a year ago.
Statement by the President on Holocaust Remembrance Day
Today, on Yom HaShoah, we solemnly remember the six million Jews and the millions of others murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
On this day, we honor the memory of the millions of individuals – the mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and neighbors – who lost their lives during a time of unparalleled depravity and inhumanity.  We reaffirm our ongoing responsibility as citizens and as a nation to live out the admonition, “Never forget. Never again.”  And we commit ourselves to preserving the memories of those who lived through the horrors of the Shoah, so that their experiences are not forgotten by our generation or by our children or grandchildren.
We also honor those who survived the Holocaust, many of them spared from death because of the righteous individuals who risked their lives to save Jews and other victims from Nazi persecution.  The stories of these survivors and their protectors remind us to confront persecution wherever it arises, and that silence can be an accomplice to evil.  They remind us of our duty to counter the rising tide of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred that threaten the values we hold dear—pluralism, diversity, and the freedoms of religion and expression.
Today, and every day, we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community both at home and abroad.  We stand with those who are leaving the European cities where they have lived for generations because they no longer feel safe, with the members of institutions that have been attacked because of their Jewish affiliations, and with the college students forced to confront swastikas appearing on their campuses.  And we call upon all people of good will to be vigilant and vocal against every form of bigotry.
When we recognize our interconnectedness and the fundamental dignity and equality of every human being, we help to build a world that is more accepting, secure and free.  This is the best way to honor the legacy we recognize on Yom HaShoah and to fulfill our responsibilities to repair our world from generation to generation.

While it is very true  that there were millions of  OTHER folks  swept up and killed in the Camps,  the Jews were the main focus of the Nazi Party..they were “The Other”.   They were non-white,  they had different beliefs,  and they were such hard workers that they made “normal folks” look bad.  


The donald’s second act today was to issue an Executive Order which bans any person coming from a few,  Middle Eastern Countries from entering the United States.   Here is the text of that Executive Order,

There are several issues with this Executive order  that are designed to make the world less safe for America,  and so fail in its goal.

  • This order takes effect immediately.   This means that people who were flying to the United States are being detained at the airport upon landing,  and either held, or are put back on flights that will return them to their point of Origin in the Middle East.
  • This includes people who have valid visas and other paperwork allowing them to enter the United States.
  • There are reports that this has caused Canadians holding dual citizenship,  in both Canada and one of the countries Listed to be detained and returned to the Middle East.   This is being applied even to people who are simply making a flight change in American Airports.
  • A number of people affected by this are Iraqi translators and facilitators who have worked with American troops for years,  making their life in Iraqi much safer  for both the Americans and the Iraqi civilians.   This is the same foul way we treated the South Vietnamese and Cambodian civilians who helped Americans in that War,  and,  ended up being thrown under the bus when we ran away.  Many of them were killed for their efforts,  and it is likely that many of these Iraqi folks will die,  leaving more blood on our hands.    This also will destroy the trust that America might have for following through on promises in the area.


That having been said…Today,  we remember the Evil that happened in Germany,  and,  with hope,  we believe that today’s efforts to turn the Muslims of the world into “The Other”  will continue to be met with strong resistance.   Do we want to avoid going down in history as the SECOND instance of the Nazis taking over a country?  I,  for one,  do not want America to get that legacy.  We should be better than that.

God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave

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