We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, December 12. 2019
My son Jason is at a conference in Berlin. He visited Sachsenhausen concentration camp, about 20-miles from Berlin. The camp was the admin HQ for the Nazi camps, training site for SS to run the camps, and where methods of murder were experimented with before arriving at the efficiency of gas chambers. It was later used by the KGB and East German communist regime for ongoing oppression. The memorial to the crematorium:
My son is a sunny southern California boy. The 3-degree Celsius (37-degree Fahrenheit) and stiff wind was uncomfortable, and it not yet the height of winter. Imagine the suffering of inmates from the cold, hunger, torture, death labor: tens of thousands dead, including political prisoners, Soviet and then German troops.
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I'm sick of all those WW2 memorials. Enough already. Do they build memorials for non-war subjects? How about all those Norse Heroes?
Odin. The supreme deity of Norse mythology and the greatest among the Norse gods was Odin, the Allfather of the Aesir. ...
Frigg. Odin's wife, Frigg, was a paragon of beauty, love, fertility and fate. ...
German children gain nothing from sad stories about how many people died in a war. But they would gain a lot from learning about Germany's history, and people.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) ...
Otto von Bismarck (1815 – 1898) ...
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) ...
Hugo Junkers (1859 – 1935) ...
Max Ernst (1891 – 1976) ...
Werner Herzog (1942 – ) ...
Hansi Kursch (1966 – ) ...
Steffi Graf (1969 – )
I agree with what you are saying. Most of the bad guys from Germany in WW II died. Many of those who were prisoners of war or merely civilians caught up at the end of the war were not the bad guys. And today some 74 years later 99% of Germans are guilty of nothing to do with WW II.
I disagree. I finally got to the Peace Museum in Hiroshima a couple of months ago and was stunned how the museum presents the Japanese killed in the A-bomb attack as "innocent victims" of World War II. It finally dawned on me why Korea and China are still so upset at Japan--Japan has never really accepted responsibility for what Japan did in WWII and before. I have nothing against Japan in terms of bad feelings (even though my family went through the Pearl Harbor attack), love the country and its people (my wife is of Japanese descent and has close relatives in Japan whom we have met, and stayed with on one occasion), but to me this is a real problem. All those high school kids going through that museum (several of whom I saw break down in tears, and one fainted and had to be removed by the museum first aid team) are only getting a whitewashed view of what really happened. Japan killed millions and millions of innocent people during the colonial expansion period and WWII, not to mention putting them into slave labor and forced prostitution. (Ironically, one small bright spot is that a few Imperial Japanese officials actually helped Jews fleeing from Europe by allowing them to come through Japan; these include my mom's violin teacher, who fled Germany, passed through Japan and ended up in Hawaii.)
In The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father's War. Louise Steinman describes a similar reaction to the Hiroshima Peace museum.
An uncomfortable thought kept insinuating itself in my mind: part of the story was missing here. I tried to push it away but it bore down with some insistence. There was little introspection here on the larger context of why Hiroshima was incinerated, of what else was happening in the world on August 6, 1945. The wording on the Pearl Harbor display was a troubling example: “On December 7, 1941, a bomb was dropped on Pearl Harbor and Japan was hurled into the war.” Was dropped. Was hurled. In this “victims’ history,” as one scholar called it, “the war appears as a natural catastrophe which ‘happened’ to Japan, as if without the intervention of human agency.”In the '70s and '80s, I had numerous conversations with Germans in Latin America. They had given a hard look at what their country had done in WW2. I get the impression that this has not been done in Japan.
True, there were some displays downstairs, added as recently as 1994, which showed that Hiroshima was a hub of military activity. But the possible reasons listed in large block type for why the United States dropped the bomb—(1) limiting U.S. casualties, (2) to force Japan to surrender before the Soviet Union could enter the war, and (3) to measure the effectiveness of the bomb—do not mention the responsibility of Japan’s own military government’s refusal to surrender as a cause......
Before we left the museum, I stopped to write in the guest book, waiting first while a woman and her young son made their entries. After they stepped away from the book, I read what the boy, a resident of Hong Kong, had written in a childish scrawl: “I mean, everything here is sad and all, but who started it first? Who attacked other countries first? Who killed first?”
It was not apparent in the museum that, up until the moment the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan had been waging a war of aggression.
In a blazing flash, its sins in Korea, Nanking, Burma, and Bataan were dissolved in the greater sins of humankind. In that one instant on August 6, 1945, Japan the aggressor was transformed into Japan the victim. What had gotten lost in that horrific and instantaneous transformation?
In 2002, Herta Däubler-Gemelin, then the equivalent of Attorney General in Germany, made headlines when she compared George W. Bush to Hitler and called US justice "lousy." Turns out her father was an SS "jurist"/attorney who did his part in sending Slovakian Jews off to the camps. Her father was imprisoned for 3 years after WW2. It appears to me that her attacking Dubya was an attempt to try to deal with her father's conduct during the war. Herta, you are not responsible for what your father did when you were an infant. As such, ceases and desist from attacking the Amis in an attempt to say that the Amis were just as bad as your father. Do You Remember Herta Däubler-Gmelin?
Yes, we were told by a guide that the reasons for the U.S. attacking Hiroshima were to test the effectiveness of the bomb because of the radius of the city, and that the surrounding mountains would contain and reflect the blast and cause more damage. There was a minor mention that there were military activities in the area, but then they said it was the civilians who were targeted, not the military (e.g., the blast center was at the 3-way bridge in a civilian part of the city). I just kept my mouth shut. Hiroshima has traditionally been a major military base in Japan, dating from the beginning of the Meiji era. At the time of the attack it was the headquarters for the armies that would be defending Japan if the U.S. had to invade. Many of the leaders and officers of those armies were killed in the attack as well as destroying equipment, munitions and communications abilities, thus crippling Japan's ability to defend itself from an invasion.
You forgot Bach. Just think of what Bach could have accomplished if he hadn't wasted all that time writing church music.
Yes, and learning about Steffi Graf would be healing of so much, Ron.
@ Bruce - If either you or your son ever get there, you will find the Sighet Memorial in Romania an interesting comparison
And BTW, that's what a real Resistance looks like.
The picture of the young man is a tad funny to this peasant on the Great Plains. 3 Celsius is 37 F. Chilly, to be sure, but hardly a reason to be so bundled up. LOL
It looks like an interesting visit.
Monuments are erected to remind us never to forget.
However . . .
With the rising antisemitism in Europe, one wonder how long it will be until the SJWs clamor for these monuments come down because "the Holocaust never happened."??
We can’t just close our eyes to the atrocities because they happen over Andover again in history. Right now we live in relatively safe times but it could easily happen again. WWII wasn’t that long ago. We were supposedly living in civilized times, and yet this unfathomably horror occured
I went to school in Munich for three years. Virtually all of my family and friends who came to visit me wanted to see Dachau, which at the time (mid '80s) was a short ride on the tram from downtown. I’d tell them, "no you don’t, you’re on vacation, and you’ll be depressed."
I’d end up taking them there, and, yep, the place is depressing as hell—somber even on your sixth or seventh visit. Imagine seeing a little plot of ground ten feet on a side with a plaque that says "grave of roughly 10,000 people.” And there are rows of them. And the ovens that made it possible to fit he bodies into them.
I suppose everyone should try to see one of the KZs if they have the opportunity, but they should know in advance that they are not going to like it—there won’t be any going out to the Bierhalle and singing drinking songs that evening.