A wall could be built around it, the storefronts would be modified (e.g., streets signs changed to Polish, store signs changed from Hungarian Yiddish to Polish Yiddish), and the people inside could otherwise go about their daily business while tour groups came through and docents explained the origins and history of the ghetto.
It would be a godsend to the local economy, providing employment not only for the Hasidim, whose neighborhood would get a huge influx of cash, but for the Poles of nearby Greenpoint as well, who would be employed as Warsaw Poles, and the local Latinos, who would be employed as German guards. Everybody wins, and of course, the children would get a valuable tool for understanding the Holocaust.
Of course, when we first came up with this, people thought we were quite mad. But as is so often the case, the term “madman” really means “visionary” to those lacking imagination. This week in Israel, a new Holocaust museum opened up which, in terms of sheer tasteless spectacle, matches anything dreamt of in Jewdar’s philosophy.
Now, let’s leave aside the question of exactly why Israel—a country, which, as we have been told countless times, is roughly the size of New Jersey—needs another Holocaust museum when they already have Yad Vashem and assorted memorials. Let us accept the wisdom of those Jewish leaders who believe that until there are 6,000,000 Holocaust museums in the world, Hitler has won a posthumous victory.
Let us focus instead on the content of the museum, which offers an ultra-glitzy multi-media approach to the Holocaust, complete with simulated death camp train ride, Warsaw Ghetto Uprising sound effects, and kick-ass Yellow Star laser light show.
The mere thought of the spectacle leaves Jewdar almost speechless. We say “almost,” because a few choice expletives come to mind as we curse the fact that someone else is getting paid for taking seriously the kind of absurdist Holocaust grotesquerie that we offer free on the virtual pages of Heeb.