Marina Berkovich, Author

Writer, Poet, Filmmaker

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My Cure For Your Holocaust Fatigue: Choose Your Shoes Now

Posted by Marina B on January 26, 2021 at 8:05 PM

What happened during The Holocaust is incomprehensible.

Not that holocausts and genocides are incomprehensible, in principle. They do occur all the time and have been occurring for as long as this world existed.

What made The Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi Germany against the Jews unfathomable was the fact that it happened in the very country, which just a few short decades prior, praised itself on its progressiveness, enlightenment, advancement and intellectual superiority, yet had readily indoctrinated its citizens into believing that eradication of the Jewish people from the face of the Earth was justified and even sanctified as sacred.

Most people today are so desensitized to the Jewish victims’ numbers. What are 6,000,000 lives to a planet of nearly 8,000,000,000? But it is only .075% of today’s population, you may think.

The Jews lost two thirds of their people in The Holocaust!

In relation to the 1939 world population, it was .3%... a huge difference, to some. Irrelevant to others, who still did not learn any lessons from the unfortunate history of the Jewish people during the 20th century - be it from the deficiencies of their education, personal views of their teachers and/or families, or by a deliberate effort in revisionism of history.

Six million lives is an incomprehensible number. It creates a shield of deceptive detachment. Especially, to the young generations, who are educated with limited knowledge of statistical probability of such holocausts and the irreparable moral decay holocausts inflict upon the subsequent generations, themselves included.

The atrocities of The Holocaust were so widespread, so evil, so despicable that a well-intentioned 20th century earthling would have axiomatically accepted them as the worst tragedy ever. Of course, not all earthlings are made well-intentioned.

The Holocaust has been argued and disputed, despite the overwhelming, clearly documented evidence, The Nuremberg Trials and countless testimonies by survivors, witnesses, liberators, and even participants in the intended mass extinction of The Jews.

After half a century people begin to forget. Even those who had seen or heard the evidence can be taught to “reimagine it” as time begins to separate the event from the society’s current, more immediate needs, problems and pressing pursuits.

When was the last time you went to your local Holocaust Museum and were shown a survivor testimony? Have you ever? Those testimonies are very difficult to watch, very disturbing. So, what frequently happens, the children, and even adults, are protected from the disturbing impact of survivors’ memories, when they should be shell-shocked by their impact into respect of every human life and understanding of the evolution of hatred that could afflict every ordinary human being.

The Holocaust Museums have now been rebranding themselves into Museums of Tolerance. As if an attempt to exterminate one people is equal to the numerous attempts to subjugate another in acts of enslavement, however atrocious. The result has largely been a dilution of The Holocaust, first to include people of all nationalities and religions, who were also victimized by the Nazis and then to equalize it to all other attempts at genocides.

When was it that your local Holocaust Museum showed you the evidence of residents of your local community, who lived nearby, who went to your doctors and hospitals, ate at your favorite restaurants and so painstakingly took the time and made detrimental psychological effort to preserve their experiences so that people like you would not, could not possibly ever be dissuaded from remembering and carrying forward their harrowing legacies?

My own experiences rise out of being a grandchild and child of the Jewish survivors of The Holocaust, frequent interviewer of survivors and witnesses and being a student of anti-Semitism. My various exposures include a unique interview with a Holocaust denier David Irving, an experience I do not readily or frequently share – yet going forward, I promise I will.

The regrettable truth that The Holocaust witnesses, survivors and deniers agree upon is that for various reasons, people learn their history lessons very inadequately and, quite dangerously, they assume that nothing as horrific as The Holocaust of the 20th century could happen to them.

Just this morning, on the eve of Auschwitz liberation 76th anniversary, I read a story about a prominent Jewish family, who had a chance to flee, yet fled in the wrong direction, mistakenly thinking that the Soviet Union, the promised bastion of socialist utopia, would shield them against Hitler in 1939. That family was separated; part was forcibly transported to Siberia right away, part to Auschwitz, once the Nazis came in 1941.

The Jews are that less than 1% ethnic and religious group, which has been at the center of world hatred for several millennia. We are no strangers to genocides, captivity, forced resettlements, expropriation of assets, torture, humiliation, discrimination, and venomous, generational, institutionalized persecution. What befell to our people during the 12 years of Hitler when the world stood still and hardly lifted a finger to save majority of us, may occur again in the not too distant a future. Are you ready to fight to protect your Jewish neighbors? Or will you, like so many others before you, get immersed in your personal incidents and vendettas and will take the Jews to another slaughter? Your choice! Your consciousness!

My people have the incomparable resilience of survival. Should another holocaust engulf us into its flames, out of just a few survivors, we can rebuild, as we’ve been doing and you all have been reading in the Old Testament and since…

My people are the chosen people, perhaps, for their ability to overcome the worst without hating the world back or wanting to inflict comparable sufferings onto it. We rose and we will continue to rise from places of godforsaken hell, like Auschwitz and Majdanek, so that we can birth an occasional Albert Einstein or Elon Musk who will take the entire humanity, not only our less than 1% of the population, forward. Despite the hatred we are often subjected to enduring. Despite envy and false accusations.

Yes, we are only human, with all the faults of humanity in us, but if we forgave you the last Holocaust, why is it that you still begrudge us our statehood in our native land of Israel? Why is it that you still support the self-proclaimed destroyers of Jews, like Iran and Palestinian Authority? Why is it that you refuse to accept us as equals, when we’ve been fighting for your equality for decades, and even centuries?

There was so much promise coded into that “Never again” slogan just a quarter of a century ago. What changed? Why is the world ready to sacrifice us all over again?

I sit here, knowing that some time in the future, the descendant of the impending holocaust will be writing her thoughts down to commemorate the future anniversary of the liberation from that future holocaust. History will do what it always does – attempt to teach humanity a lesson it constantly refuses to learn…

Categories: The Holocaust, History, Socialism 101

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