by cheri block

Today, January 27, 2015, marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Extermination Camp, Auschwitz.

Film makers, novelists, and historians have spent millions of hours, perhaps six million hours, trying to educate a distracted modern public on the atrocities that occurred in Poland and in other concentration camps during World War II.

Inherent in any Holocaust education is the notion that what happened at Auschwitz could happen again.

But with a large portion of the worldwide population that is uneducated and uncultured, and one that has been brainwashed to hate Jews , and one that rogue populist politicians manipulate, it is not hard to see why Jewish communities in Europe are the targets of violence and why anti-Semitism is on the march again.

We don’t need imagination to wonder how the Nazis incubated and then spread the hatred in the first half of the 20th century.

Today, we have radical Islam to continue the Nazi mission.

Today, we do not have leaders with courage like Winston Churchill. Instead, we have soft and malleable individuals, like Barack Obama and Francois Holland, like David Cameron and the entire leadership of South American countries, who behave like chamois clothes, and look over their shoulders before making their tepid decisions; cowards, all of them.

Cowards, all of them.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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21 Responses to Auschwitz

  1. Brighid says:

    They are worse than cowards, they are destroying our beloved nation, and sadly we are letting them…

  2. There is a darkness in the world that roams devouring innocent souls. Auschwitz makes me cry every time I think about it and the loss of the innocent people, men, women, children. Peace and love be with all of my Jewish brothers and sisters and the spirits of their departed on this 70th anniversary.

    • Cheri says:

      Thank you, MJ.
      Your image of darkness roaming works well for me in this gruesome historical context.
      I would commend the book “Austerlitz” to you.

  3. dafna says:

    wow. the title alone shocked me into reply. you may remember that we have only one generation of extended family because of the Holocaust. it is a subject extremely close to home for me.

    anti-semitism is on the rise, and I think that you gave the bigger reason in your post “uneducated and uncultured” rather than cowardice is the culprit. cowardice simply allows the ignorance to spread faster. the war against prejudice and extreme hate can not be won with brute force.

    it begins with the children… so this statement may be as bold and controversial as your post, “I believe the Germans/Germany to be the least likely to ever commit any form of genocide because of the way they have educated their youth”.

    and as a humanist I always refer to the twelve million who were systematically killed in the camps. the darkness that Mary Jane named, took first the Jews then an equal amount of “other” undesirables.

    that anti-semitism still exists when the Jews make 1/4 of 1% of the world population continues to mystify me. I feel we are more in danger of extinction by failure to reproduce.

    As for Francois Holland, he states in his speech today commemorating the 70th anniversary that “I want the government to present by the end of February (2015) a plan for the fight against racism and anti-semitism”… really? It only took 70 years to come up with this.

    please take care, we have both had a difficult time since last I commented. I am still out here, always reading and grateful that you still blog. thank you.

    • Cheri says:

      Hello, dafna,
      Always good when I do hear from you and thanks for still reading after all of these years. You are correct: my real intention was to focus on the uneducated and uncultured but as I wrote, the anger I feel for current leadership, here and abroad, (with two exceptions) jumped out of me.

      As my advisor, 85-year-old Herbie Lindenberger reminded me after the Charlie tragedy in France, the anti-semitism has a long history there. Think of the all of the French Jewish children who were shipped off to camps.

      I assume you lost your father since we last communicated and if that is true, may he be at peace. And you and Jacob, as well.

  4. Richard says:

    Winston Churchill was a rare phenomenon. Let us not judge today’s leaders against his standard. They do at least recognise the hideous flaw that sweeps us into irrational generalisations about our fellow humans.

    Prejudice starts from small beginnings: scoffings, cheap jokes, petty judgmens and bullying. Then justification is sought and fabricated, leading to a delusional common cause, vile action sparked and the volatile mix explodes.

    Much is said these days of the right to offend personally or vilify as if it guarantees freedom. Those who circulate this much-vaunted hypocrisy promote the very same medium of abuse that lies at the heart of anti-semitism or any other kind of pre-conception or prejudice. None of us should allow to pass one jot or tittle of that kind of language. We meet it all the time in our daily lives. It is always directed against people for who or what they are rather than how we behave. We can snuff it out in ourselves and others before it gains a grip. There are so many opportunities to do so. This does not mean we should pass laws – the flaw is too deep in our individual natures for that – rather we should be alive to it and forever aim to control and subdue it by act of conscience. It is so easy to slip.

    Yesterday, at Central Hall Westminster, where the first meeting of the United Nations was held, there was a non-religious, non-political gathering to hear addresses, memories and readings by the famous and the not so famous, victims and families of victims of the Holocaust. All of us are perplexed and mystified when we hear of the monstrous atrocities that took place and of which we are capable.

    Never must we forget those horrors. Still they are with us. Still there are powerful perpetrators. Still they hold temporary sway. Still they are rife. Can our own ripples of change in ourselves today grow into an advancing tide of hope? Of course. We must not despair at setbacks or allow them to destroy us: Every cloud engenders not a storm.

    • Cheri says:

      All true, every word you so eloquently write. I especially like your last sentence. Of course, the good and thoughtful people of the world are not the ones creating the terrorism we witness today. Sociologists, psychologists, and politicians can spin the events as they wish but children who are raised to hate, hate. The parents are at fault.

      So, can you elaborate your point in paragraph three? I’m interested.

      • Richard says:

        Excuse me while I excogitate.

      • Richard says:

        If you blame the parents then you must also blame the parents’ parents.

        Suppose that is so. It remains that somewhere, deep within all of us is the propensity for unspeakable cruelty. Thus the only hope is for individual conscience and it begins with a close examination of how we conduct ourselves, one with another in every small way.

        Do I secretly scoff at the lame and the old? Am I impatient with the ageing driver picking his way through the traffic? Am I quick to condemn the poor for their circumstance? Do I group all professed muslims together as terrorists? Do I hold entrenched, unshiftable preconceptions and opinions, dismissing without consideration the opposition of others? Do I carelessly accuse or characterise? Do I use disdainful or profane language to silence people or unjustly damage reputation? Do I bully with words?

        Always I have to guard against all that. I must think of the broad consequences before I speak or write or act, and that is a tall order. If I cannot change, how can I expect others to? Unchanged, I quickly gather with those of like mind and the swirls of events, as Shoreacres calls them, begin. Better that I should repress those inner instincts of hate – for, yes, that is what they amount to. Better that I should be neurotic than that I should unearth and perhaps act out those hatreds.

        Better that I do not speak freely or offend readily lest it becomes habitual and others follow my example. Once upon a time, physicians let blood to release humours. More of damage than good was done.

  5. Cyberquill says:

    Just to clarify: how many of them are cowards?

      • dafna says:

        Agreed. No to PEGIDA. “Do not follow people who organize these, for their hearts are cold and often full of prejudice, and even hate,” – Merkel

      • Cyberquill says:

        No need to exempt her on my account. I’m not German. How about Fischer and Faymann, though?

        • Cheri says:

          I know you are not German. I exempt her to exempt her. Now, she is a leader, willing to make hard calls in difficult times.
          Austrian leaders? I haven’t heard much from them here…You will excuse me for being skeptical about them…Austria has not been good to the Jews.
          I remember when in Vienna several years ago. I know I have mentioned to you that my husband was a student there in 1970 (in the winter…). When we traveled back, we tried to find that old synagogue in the inner city. What a joke trying to find it. Then, we took a class on Freud and visited his library and home. Just hearing about what happened to his sisters…disgusting.

          • Cyberquill says:

            Austria surely wasn’t good to the Jews up until the end of WW2. In my lifetime, I’m not aware of any noteworthy degree of animosity against them. These days, being Jewish in Austria seems no different than being Jewish in NYC. Islam has taken over as the primary focus of general concern.

  6. wkkortas says:

    What often nags at the back of my mind is, not unlike the young men who liberated them, that generation, those who survived Auschwitz and Dachau and Buchenwald are almost all gone, that within a generation all the tangible reminders, the walking and talking and breathing ones, will be no more. If you’ve actually listened to someone speak who actually bears that tattoo…well, it shapes how you think about things.

    • Cheri says:

      Oh yes. That generation had a gravitas that makes all subsequent generations seem fluffy (especially many from my generation who smoked too much grass and took too many drugs)…I often wonder what they would have been like on Omaha Beach. Have you been to Normandy?

      To your point, yes…listening to the one who actually experienced the camps ( or other grave situations) makes more of an impact. I remember inviting a man to speak to my journalism class who had been in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1944, on one of the ships docked there.It was the first time he had felt like sharing. Pretty spine-tingling stuff. My 5th grade Sunday School teacher, Dr. Shafir, had a tattoo from the camps on his arm. I later marveled that he came home and became a pediatrician.

  7. shoreacres says:

    it’s quite remarkable to read this in the context of the current hysteria in D.C. over the invitation to Netanyahu to speak to Congress. I still remember reading the accounts of President Obama leaving Netanyahu alone in the White House, while he went off to dine with his family. This is a man who criticizes on the basis of protocol?

    In any event, I’m worried about it all: the anti-semitism rising up, yes,, but also the terrible wave of persecution being born by Christians and not-quite-orthodox-enough Muslims in the Middle East and Africa. I remember learning, years ago, about people who get addicted to their own adrenalin, who have to create crisis after crisis just to ensure they’re still noticed. It seems that an addiction to violence has taken hold of the world, and those who dare caution on the basis of their own experience are being ignored.

    There are economic bubbles and housing bubbles and such — I sometimes think we’re living in a historical bubble in this country. Events are swirling, and old hatreds are on the rise, and many among us seem to assume that it’s all “over there.” it’s not simply “over there,” and it has to be dealt with. While person-to-person efforts are necessary and reasonable, and self-discipline is fine, we need rational policies and leaders who are committed to the well-being of this country. To be perfectly frank, I wonder from time to time precisely what’s driving the behavior of some of our highest leaders.

    • Cheri says:

      To be frank myself,I found the fact that Netanyahu was coming to speak to the US Congress without B.O.’s invitation to be refreshing. I love it. Especially satisfying was listening to the the Presidential Press Secretary try to explain it and make the most “lame duck” excuses.

      After having read your blog posts on Liberia and your experiences there, you are well qualified to make observations about persecution of Christians and moderate Muslims in Africa. I remember reading The Turbulent Decade by UNHCR president Sadako Ogata while taking a class several summers ago called the Politics of Humanitarianism, taught by former second-in-command to Ogata, and the man who orchestrated the Kosovo Airlift in Sarajevo, Eric Morris. The last situation we studied was Sudan. Oh my.

      As far as what drives our highest leaders, I wonder how much is about money.

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