Auschwitz Liberation and Today’s World
Your Jan. 27 editorial, “The Auschwitz Imperative,” deplores the fact that memory of the World War II Holocaust of the Jews “has been insufficient to stop other genocides.” But how could it? Since the first time the first letter of the word has been capitalized, its self-appointed stewards have turned the Holocaust into a perversely ritualized entity unto itself.
For some reason, keeping its memory alive has entailed subordinating all other genocidal outbreaks to the shadowy background. Surely there are Cambodians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Gypsies, Bosnians, Rwandans and, yes, Poles who wonder why their severe historical sufferings have not been so memorialized.
In many countries, the Holocaust is the only event in human history that has its veracity protected by law. No one, anywhere, can argue that the Holocaust was not an abominable crime, beyond imagining. But no event can be so relentlessly commemorated without diminishing the record of other, just as striking, horrors. It is hard to believe that the Nazis’ victims would want to see their ordeal become an island of officially mandated lamentation in a forsaken sea of blood.
You are to be commended for the powerful, on-target editorial on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The anti-Semitic behavior of the U.N., the failure to act on the part of the U.S. and Britain during the Holocaust, Holocaust deniers coming out of the woodwork, coupled with the increasing attacks on Jews and synagogues around the world today, make your editorial so important.
Re Elie Wiesel’s “ ‘This Cannot Be True’ ... but It Was” (Commentary, Jan. 26): Have we learned nothing from the horrors of World War II? On this 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I am disgusted to read of the systematic abuse and torture of prisoners by the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and who knows where else. I have always been proud to be an American, but with the continued revelations, I become more ashamed every day.
In our terror of terrorism, we have allowed this administration to desecrate the image of my country throughout the world. Where is the outrage from the American people? Even Germany has apologized for the Holocaust. Where is our president’s apology?
Wiesel asks, “Why was the outside world indifferent to Jewish suffering and agony” while the death camps were in operation? I myself am a refugee from Hitler’s terror, but I was permitted to enter Britain three weeks prior to the start of World War II. I lost my parents and most of the rest of my family in the Holocaust.
Don’t include Britain among those nations that just stood by. I was in the British army by 1943 and know that the Allies’ successful plan for D-day was the most daring such undertaking ever to succeed. After the Allies’ defeat in France and the rescue of hundreds of thousands of Allied troops from Dunkirk, it took years of careful planning for the successful D-day strike.