Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Haaretz Editorial: The Holocaust - Get over it

The Holocaust - Get over it

There are readers, many of them, who at this very moment are thinking "Oh no, here it comes, the litany, the ostentatious suffering, the reveling in victimhood, the endless preoccupation with the woes of the Jews."

There are readers who at this very moment are thinking, "These Jews, with all due respect, they learned nothing from the Nazis - they're just as bad in their treatment of the Palestinians, if not worse."

In fact, one of those who chose this Holocaust Remembrance Day to tell us to get on with our lives was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. With exquisite timing, Ahmadinejad chose the eve of Yom Hashoah to issue his latest advisory, telling the Jews of the Holy Land that they should pack up and move away - to Europe, the place, he says, we all came from.

It might be time to break it to Ahmedinajad that most of us didn't come from Europe, and few of us have any interest in living there. It might be time to break it to our readers who believe that we are as bad as the Nazis, that the compassion showed by individual Israeli officers soldiers in a broad range of contacts with Palestinians often has a great deal to do with the soldiers' consciousness of the Holocaust and of persecution of the Jews.

Anyone who knows this newspaper, knows that it makes great efforts to expose mistreatment of Palestinians by members of the security forces, in an effort to assure that wrongful practices are stopped.What we do not do, is to do enough to expose and thus encourage the acts of compassion and human generosity that anyone who really knows the IDF, knows is part and parcel of the way the army works.

Some of the most compassionate IDF officers are, in fact, the children and grandchildren of survivors. Hundreds of thousands of them. For them, there is no question of getting over the Holocaust. They will not. For them, every day of their lives is Yom Hashoa. Even after two generations.

It doesn't end, even if you try to make it end. The sins of the Nazis will be visited upon the Jews, perhaps until the tenth generation.

Sixty years on, the Holocaust bears different lessons for all of us. Some believe that the lesson is do unto others before they do unto you. Others believe that the lesson has much more to do with compassion and tolerance even when it may seem undeserved, when the blood cries vengeance. War does that to you. It replaces compassion with hatred.

Just this once, however, it might be time to look at the Holocaust for what it remains - a wound that will never heal, an experience that is beyond our experience, comprehension, or puny, wrongheaded automatic comparisons to current events.

Just this once, after all these years, let us honor the victims and survivors with introspection, with compassion, with modesty, with respect, with awe.


Holocaust Remembrance Day

Thousands Mourn Holocaust at Auschwitz March

ReutersTuesday, April 25, 2006; 10:14 AM

OSWIECIM, Poland (Reuters) - Thousands of young Jews, Poles and Holocaust survivors on Tuesday marched at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz to mourn the victims of Adolf Hitler's plan to exterminate Jews during World War Two.

Led by former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, some 8,000 people took part in the annual March of the Living between Auschwitz and its twin camp Birkenau, some three kilometers (two miles) away.

"As long as I am alive, I will come here each year. It is my duty," said Stefan Buchler, 74, an Auschwitz survivor who now lives in Israel.

Marchers begun their trek under Auschwitz's notorious gate with the inscription "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work sets you free).

"I am shocked. This should be a warning for everyone to reject intolerance, which can very easily lead to fascism," said Marion Pitzer, a teenager from Israel.

This year's march, under the banner "Never again," comes just a month before German-born Pope Benedict visits Auschwitz as part of his first visit to Poland as Pontiff.

"Here under these walls my family was murdered," said Krzysztof Kisielewski, a Pole whose father and aunt were killed in Auschwitz. "When I think that the German Pope will pray here in a few weeks, I believe that history has turned full circle."



Yad Vashem - The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority

Simon Weisenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance

Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

Official Anne Frank Website

Egypt: Non-denying Holocaust book

Book published recently in Egypt gives, for first time, truthful picture of Nazis' crimes

Itamar Eichner

A new book which does not deny the Holocaust and the number of Jews murdered in it has been published in Egypt in recent days, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.

The book, "The Holocaust of the Jews – concentration camp, Auschwitz Birkenau" was written in Arabic and is 325 pages long. The author is Dr. Ramsis Otz.

The book is based on research carried out in the West and in the countries of the former Soviet bloc, and presents the truthful and known picture regarding what took place in the concentration camp – a first for Egypt.

Sources in the Israeli embassy in Egypt say that the book has high importance due to the strengthening of voices in Egypt and the Arab world which deny the Holocaust, doubt the number of Jews murdered, and attributing the Holocaust to Zionist media manipulation.