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The Holocaust 1933-1945


Shanet Clark
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Referring to your previous posting: Does it really matter how many people were murdered every day in Auschwitz? The problem of the holocaust is not one of numbers but of the political idea and plan behind it: the idea of a master race who has every right of the world to destroy the races which this master race and its ideologists defined as being inferior. Couple this ideology with the proverbial German efficiency and you have the  industrialized mass murder of innocent people which went on in Auschwitz.  Every single person who died in the German concentration camps -be it  Jews, Jehovas Witnesses, Sinti, homosexuals, those who opposed the system - is one too many. Not only people were killed  the holocaust also exterminated a language (Yiddish)and  a culture which had been an integral part of European culture and academic life for centuries.

There are of course several different interpretations of what went on in Nazi Germany. Some people place a great deal of emphasis on the anti-Semitic nature of Nazism. In this case numbers actually matter. The number of Jews who died as a result of the government’s policies is an indication of its barbarity. People who stress this aspect of Nazism are especially hostile to those Nazis today who claim that the Holocaust did not take place. This has resulted in the Canadian law where people can be imprisoned for being Holocaust deniers. It is also the reason why some have argued that Holocaust deniers should not be members of this forum.

Other interpretations of Nazi Germany have placed emphasis on the political aspects of this political philosophy. They will highlight the fact that the first people to be sent to the concentration camps were Hitler’s left-wing political opponents. They will also place emphasis on the behaviour of the German Army in the Soviet Union. Numbers are also important to these people. They will claim that millions of “communists” were killed during this period of history.

These different interpretations can result in different lessons being learnt from this period of history. Those who place the emphasis on the religious aspects of Nazism are likely to be in favour of denying people the freedom to be Holocaust deniers.

However, others believe we should concentrate on the political aspects of Nazism. These people will argue that the main thing we should learn is that people should have the freedom to hold political opinions that are different from that of the government.

My own political views are diametrically opposite to those of the Nazis (past and present). However, I am totally against the idea that people should be imprisoned for holding these repulsive views.

Recently a teacher in the UK was sacked because he was a member of the National Front (a neo-Nazi political party in the UK). No evidence was provided to show that these political views had been expressed in the classroom. It was just enough to show that he was a party member. Few people were willing to defend the rights of this man to hold political views that were different from that of the government.

It is a very unpopular to defend the human rights of Nazis. Emotionally, I have difficulty doing this. However, if we are really living in a free and open democracy, I do believe that we have a duty to defend the rights of those who hold political opinions different to own own.

In many ways Nazis are in a different category from other political groups. They have a history of carrying out appalling crimes. However, conservatives and liberals did appalling things in the 19th century. Communists did terrible things in Eastern Europe in the 20th century. Are all groups to be continually punished for crimes their predecessors have committed?

As I have said I am in totally agreement with the idea of people being punished for expressing and encouraging racial or religious hatred (although I do not believe someone criticising the policies of the Israeli government is guilty of anti-Semitism). However, I do not believe people should be punished for holding deviant political opinions. After all, Jesus Christ was executed because of his deviant political views, as well as his deviant religious opinions.

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Although I think it is a dangerous and at the same time disgusting situation that once again Neo-Nazis are Members of a German Landtag I also think that in a democracy even those must be granted the essential Human Rights and that the problem cannot be solved by censoring or making these parties illegal (which is possible in Germany).

But I do support the German law that punishes holocaust denial, even though I also know that there is a Neo-Nazi underground where these ideas are spread and published mainly via the Internet.

I think we owe this law to the victims - those who died and those who have survived. I personally see every denial of the holocaust as an attempt to minimize and even to ridicule the suffering of the victims, their families and offspring. Denying the holocaust once again infringes upon their human dignity and thus violates the first article of our constitution which states:"(1) Human dignity is inviolable. To respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority."

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For me as a German there are many questions relating to the holocaust: how could it happen in a country which can be proud of its poets and philosophers and its contribution to the ideas of the Enlightenment and liberalism and socialism; why did people actively or passively support this system knowing full well what was going on in Germany and what happened to the Jews and the other groups mentioned above; how could those who had killed hundreds and thousands of people on a daily basis not feel any guilt; can such a thing happen again. These are the questions I have concerning Nazism and Auschwitz.

There is a book you might like to have a look at sometime:

"HITLER'S SCIENTISTS - Science, War, and the Devil's Pact" by John Cornwell.

It discusses how different people dealt with the rise of the Nazis. Some embraced it, some used it, some left their country, some ignored it, some tried to fight it, and some felt that despite hating the Nazis they had to support their country.

It talks about the various ethics in science, and whether we have changed at all today.

Highly recommended.

Edited by Evan Burton
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It's a strange conundrum, isn't it?

Our democratic ideals of freedom and liberty allow people to use those very ideals to destroy it, yet if we suppress those same people we violate our own ideals.

The methods used by the Nazis to achieve the killings were masterful. They used hatred (these people are subhuman and should be destroyed), pride (the need for German racial purity), deception (these people are being relocated) and even humanity itself (to let these people continue to live is inhumane; to kill them is merciful).

It's frightening to think that they nearly succeeded in conquest, and even more frightening to think of what they did as they were being defeated.

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Denis, what do you mean by "questioning the holocaust"? What is there to be questioned? What are the questions?

Referring to your previous posting: Does it really matter how many people were murdered every day in Auschwitz?

The number of people killed each day is one of the most basic questions you can ask. If you come, say to a number of 2000 people each day. Is it possible to kill that many people? I don't know. If it's not, then who is behing that lie? If I tell you than I can run 200 miles a day, you have to options: To idiotly believe it, or to wonder if it is possible. Your choice.

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One Member says, “It’s a strange conundrum, isn’t it?

Another opinion is that Different groups identified with different ideologies may be interested in the actual numbers in order to announce their martyrs.

The next adds in with a feeling that it would be cruel joke with the victims if the Holocaust Denials will go unpunished.

One says that Human rights could be allowed to Nazis but their crimes deny them that right.

The governments have declared the denial a crime.

A contender emphasizes that democratic principles favour a virtue of freedom.

All are fine.

Dear Members, but the question by Denis is a normal question.

Even if we bind our intellectual endeavours and a historian’s scientific temper (his subject is a mistress of the powers which matters) by some ideological limits, then the pure, simple and 21st scientific temper demands from us to consider for once, at least for once to ponder on this aspect that how many days will it take to kill such a number of people. It may be depressing and revolting to do that but you can not deny the validity of the question. You have to sometime face unpalatable questions if your field demands.

The question is that if 4 million (4,000,000) people were killed in a camp before 1945, then how many people were killed in one day or in how many days they were killed?

Kindly consider that historians are scientists. They are just like detectives. They doubt their own findings and always remain open to possibility of re-examination and evaluation of their inferences. They doubt their source of information and continue to question the fact which they are able to discern.

Further, a good historian does not belong to a nation. He belongs to whole of humanity. He is interested in the work of whole humanity; Gandhi and Hitler both. In doing so, he performs his duty to humanity. The question here should not be denied an evaluation by the scientific temper of the FORUM even if there is ploy behind this whole query.

I am from India. India was strongly against the fascist forces. Only one of our leader, Netaji Subash Chander Bose was on the side of Hitler. But, that has to be understood under different topic of history. I assure you, that I have no axe to grind; nothing to achieve from it. But, as a student of history, I think, I must try to consider this question.

The floor is open…..

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Sumir does raise a good point. We DO have to be take an impartial, unbiased look at history and verify what what we have recorded - if possible.

You have to be able to challenge certain things, and make them verifiable.

I've had this in the APOLLO hoax threads. People can ask "Can you explain this?" I then try to show how and why something is correct or verifiable.

The difficulties appear when people:

1. Make an questionable statement rather seek facts; and

2. Will not accept a valid arguement for any reasonable reason.

If someone asks "Is it really possible that so many were killed?", then that is a valid question which should be answered.

If someone says "The Holocoust was a lie created by Zionist supporters!" then this is simply an unsupported statement which has discriminatory overtones.

Truth should be able to supported by fact or reproducable observation, otherwise it simply becomes a theory.

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Even if the historian sticks to the facts available, you still have the problem how these facts are interpreted. I remember one of my university lecturers claiming that E. H. Carr once said that a historian is very much like an angler. Fish are like historical facts, the fish you catch depends on the bait you use and the place on the river where you decide to stand.

As D. H. Lawrence once said, every philosopher ends at his fingertips. E. H. Carr was in fact describing his own approach to history. One of the problems of all historical research is that the historian starts with a theory of what happened. This theory is greatly influenced by the historian’s ideology. This of course restricts the facts that the historian discovers.

There is another factor in this. Certain figures have the power to destroy documentary evidence. They also have the power to run disinformation campaigns. This is especially a problem when dealing with issues like the JFK assassination or Watergate. It will definitely be a problem when historians tackle events like the Iraq War.

The same is true when dealing with the Holocaust. There is no doubt that people in the Western world felt a great deal of guilt about what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany. To a certain extent this helps to explain why the West supported the formation of Israel. The Arabs have therefore been punished for the guilt suffered by the West.

Some historians have pointed out that it was not Hitler’s original intention to kill the Jews. In the 1930s he made several speeches calling for Western countries to take Germany’s Jews. Aware of the anti-Semitism that existed in their own countries, most countries refused to take them in (Sweden is one of the few countries that can take any credit from this episode). This is of course a relevant issue in today’s dilemma about taking asylum seekers. In the 1930s the UK government claimed that some of these German refugees were really Nazi spies. Now they are described as “possible Muslim terrorists”.

Some Jewish historians have written about anti-Semitism in the UK government during the Second World War. Information about the Holocaust reached the UK soon after it started. The UK government refused to believe it. In fact they refused pleas to bomb the railway tracks leading to the extermination camps. Some of the documents have survived from the debate that went on at the time. It seems that senior members of the RAF were unwilling to risk the lives of their pilots to bomb the transport routes to the extermination camps. Was this an example of anti-Semitism? Or was it because their interpretation of the evidence was faulty?

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It seems that senior members of the RAF were unwilling to risk the lives of their pilots to bomb the transport routes to the extermination camps.

This is true, but most of the extermination camps were in the east, far closer to Soviet airbases than to American and British bases in Southern England. Would it not be "even-handed" to mention that Stalin hardly seems to have been busting a nut to help out either?

I think the more preoccupying feature of this "debate" is the attitude inherent in the "2000-a-day" argument. The implication of the argument is that if you can't trust the jewish-controlled media to tell the truth about the exact number of jews killed in one camp, then it throws doubt on the whole event of the Holocaust.

Another thing that worries me is that some of the people making these arguments appear to have anti-semitic views -- like the suggestion that Canada is controlled by some sort of hidden jewish cabal -- while others seem to have less than totally credible academic credentials -- like the chap who claims on his website to be in touch with the spirit of John Lennon in the afterlife (you'll be pleased to hear that he's doing well in the Great Beyond and has recently divorced Yoko and remarried...) which can only bring into question the more respectable contributions on the forum...

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It seems that senior members of the RAF were unwilling to risk the lives of their pilots to bomb the transport routes to the extermination camps.

This is true, but most of the extermination camps were in the east, far closer to Soviet airbases than to American and British bases in Southern England. Would it not be "even-handed" to mention that Stalin hardly seems to have been busting a nut to help out either?

I agree. I did not mention Stalin in case people thought I was comparing him with Winston Churchill. Both Stalin and Churchill were both known to hold anti-Semitic views. However, that was not unusual in the ruling classes in the UK and the Soviet Union. You can add the United States to that list. McCarthyism was mainly directed at the Jews who held left-wing views.

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The floor is open…..

Fair enough. It would seem that if we can list the camps that had facilities for extermination, then determine how many could have been killed in a day, we would have a basis for analysis.

There may be another point -- namely, that those who died in the camps because of illness, malnourishment, overwork etc, are also vicims of the 'final solution'.

Auschwitz-Birkenau

Treblinka

Bergen-Belsen

Sobibor

Belzec

Madjanek

Do you consider this quote accurate?

That comes down to 80+ per hour, per chamber, or app. 3M/year.

QUOTE ON

The largest extermination camp was Auschwitz-Birkenau, which by spring 1943 had four gas chambers (using Zyklon B gas) in operation. At the height of the deportations, up to 8,000 Jews were gassed each day at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Over a million Jews and tens of thousands of Roma, Poles, and Soviet prisoners of war were gassed there by November 1944.

QUOTE OFF

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=...duleId=10005145

Pamela

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The floor is open…..

Fair enough. It would seem that if we can list the camps that had facilities for extermination, then determine how many could have been killed in a day, we would have a basis for analysis.

There may be another point -- namely, that those who died in the camps because of illness, malnourishment, overwork etc, are also vicims of the 'final solution'.

Auschwitz-Birkenau

Treblinka

Bergen-Belsen

Sobibor

Belzec

Madjanek

Do you consider this quote accurate?

That comes down to 80+ per hour, per chamber, or app. 3M/year.

QUOTE ON

The largest extermination camp was Auschwitz-Birkenau, which by spring 1943 had four gas chambers (using Zyklon B gas) in operation. At the height of the deportations, up to 8,000 Jews were gassed each day at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Over a million Jews and tens of thousands of Roma, Poles, and Soviet prisoners of war were gassed there by November 1944.

QUOTE OFF

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=...duleId=10005145

Pamela

Thanks for those numbers. I don't think the Germans were killing people around the clock. That would make the number of people killed an hour much higher. How many people were there in average at the Auswitch camp, and how many Germans were killing people? Consider the time it takes to remove the bodies out of the gas chambers and the time to dig holes to put the bodies.

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This gets creepier and creepier... Does it really make any difference whether 6,000,000 or 5,500,000 were killed? Do we really need to delve into the number of minutes it takes to remove a pile of ashes from a crematorium, or the number of hours worked by Nazi murderers? Perhaps we need to take into account the weather conditions because it would have taken longer to dig mass graves if the ground was frozen, and the absentee rate of Nazi camp guards would have been higher it if were raining...

I hate to join in the general atmosphere of paranoia, but it does seem to me that the Deniers tactics seem to involve a dual strategy of belittling the issue by urging us to examine minute details about which exact information will probably have been lost (or destroyed by the International Jewish Conspiracy) in the intervening 60 years and which in any case are only marginally relevant. At the same time, one regularly runs into completely untrue statements proclaimed as fact, like the recent claim that anyone outside to the good ole USA who denied the Holocaust would immediately be incarcerated...

I'm still worried about the effect hosting the sort of comments we've been getting in this "discussion" will have on the Forum as a whole...

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This gets creepier and creepier... Does it really make any difference whether 6,000,000 or 5,500,000 were killed? Do we really need to delve into the number of minutes it takes to remove a pile of ashes from a crematorium, or the number of hours worked by Nazi murderers? Perhaps we need to take into account the weather conditions because it would have taken longer to dig mass graves if the ground was frozen, and the absentee rate of Nazi camp guards would have been higher it if were raining...

I agree. It makes no difference to the enormity of the crime committed against the human race.

What interests me is how different countries have used the Holocaust to support their own political agenda. For example, the Soviet Union have emphasised the numbers in an attempt to detract from the crimes committed by Stalin in the 1930s. It was also used to justify the occupation of countries in Eastern Europe (needed a “buffer zone from the fascists in the West”)

In countries like the UK and the US great stress is placed on the Holocaust for political reasons. The UK and the US give the idea that it was because of its actions that the system was brought to an end. (It is rarely mentioned that it was the Red Army that did most of this “liberation” of the concentration camps.) The emphasis on the Holocaust is to suggest that this is the reason why the war was fought. In reality, both countries had to be dragged screaming into the war. The protection of the Jewish race was the last thing on their minds. In fact, their policies in the 1930s was one of the main reasons why it took place.

Historians and politicians in Israel have used the Holocaust to defend their outrageous policies in the Middle East. Arabs are presented as trying to finish off Hitler’s work. The occupation of other country’s land is justified as being an attempt to stop their people from being exterminated.

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