Pondering the garish new Holocaust museum that opened in Israel and our own unique take on the events of 1933-45, Jewdar has decided that we’re tired of watching everyone else getting rich off of Shoah business. Well, no more. We’re going to cash in on a million dollar idea that Jon, a Friend of Jewdar, came up with—a beyond-fabulous, Vegas-style museum extravaganza dedicated to the Gay Holocaust. Now, some observant readers may note that there was not a Gay Holocaust, to which we’d reply that:
- As with Hollywood, the Holocaust is big enough for us to share it with the gays
- As with most Holocaust museums, it’s ultimately about the living, not the dead.
If the Holocaust museum and memorial mania were really about the dead, we wouldn’t need so many of them. But we don’t build them for them, but for us—to make us feel less guilty, to make our neighbors feel more guilty to show we care about Jewishness in a manner that doesn’t require us to think about Jewishness, and, of course, to show the first rate Jewish communities in which we live.
Holocaust museums are to Jewish communities what sports franchises are to cities—a sign that you’ve really made it to the big leagues. And the best thing about it is that not only did it not happen in the US, but that the US played some role in stopping it. Large American corporations might not want to donate money to a museum examining the history of slavery in America, but the Holocaust? That’s the racist atrocity we can all oppose.
All of these apply to some degree to gays as well. A Gay Holocaust museum would be the perfect thing for a gay community to get behind (Now stop that, we’re serious!). Sure, the occasional Mathew Shepard gives you something to work with, but let’s face it, the Holocaust remains the Gold Standard of suffering. And the current trend in Holocaust museums makes this a perfect gay marriage (which the museum, of course, would point out was illegal in Nazi Germany), not just between gays and advocacy museums, but between Jewdar and rich gays’ money.
Since there are so many Holocaust museums already, to justify building a new one, you need to demonstrate why yours will be different. Since, of course, there really is very little difference in substance (how many different ways are there to express the notion of “six million?”), it all comes down to style. And who’s better at style than gays? And with so many successful gays eager to demonstrate that they are just like everybody else, what better way than to demonstrate that you can participate in a great civic religion like Holocaust Commemoration? And who better to design these spectacles—at reasonable rates, we might add—than Jewdar?
And “spectacle” is the right word. We envision a glitzy, Vegas-style Gay Holocaust museum. You begin with a cabaret floor show, commemorating the thriving gay night life of Weimar Germany. That segues into the “rough trade” room, featuring a bunch of butch models in SA uniforms highlighting the rise of the Brownshirts, led by the uber-butch Ernst Roehm and his coterie of friends of Dorothy. That leads us to the “Night of the Long Knives,” when Roehm and others were killed and an anti-gay backlash began, which we sell as the beginning of the Holocaust (“They came for the gays…”), complete with images of a crackdown on gay life, combined with images of Nazi homoeroticism.
Ultimately, we get into the Holocaust itself, where, in addition to exhibits on imprisonment of gays as gays, by finding evidence of gay Jews in Auschwitz, we manage to put gays in the death camps, with all that suggests. But the crowning glory of the museum will be the “Room of Absence,” where we imagine a world without gays—bad hair cuts, mismatched furniture, and the piece de resistance—a full scale Hollywood Squares board with an empty center square.
The museum ends on a high note, however, for in the next room is a giant animatronic Paul Lynde serving as MC over a dance club/souvenir store with t-shirts, bumper stickers, g-strings and so forth emblazoned with pink triangles containing empowering messages like “I Defeat Hitler By Kissing My Boyfriend,” or images contrasting black and white images of Nuremberg rallies with full color gay pride parades and captions like “Surviving Fabulously is the Best Revenge.” And of course, playing in the background is “I Will Survive.”
Is this grotesque, devoid of any educational value, and solely aimed at making money from rich private and corporate donors and gay tourism? Absolutely. If the new Holocaust museum is any indication of current trends, expect to see one of these opening in a gay neighborhood near you within five years.
Surely you have no lack of certainty that homosexuals, Jew or not, were imprisoned and died in Nazi concentration camps. So, there was a “gay holocaust” just as there was a “Polish holocaust” and a “gypsy holocaust” along with the “Jewish holocaust”. I have no issue with “irreverent humor”. I do object to inaccurate history. Just wanted to be sure the facts survived your effort at humor.
I don’t consider imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps to be synonymous with “Holocaust.” Between 5-15,000 gays were imprisoned in camps. While the mortality rate was high, and prisoners were often grotesquely mistreated, but as a matter of policy, there was no effort to wipe out gays, and, in fact, it was not a capital crime. I don’t think it implies any sort of callousness, disregard, or denial to say that while those gays imprisoned in camps suffered tremendously, that experience isn’t a Holocaust. The fact is that at various points during the Third Reich, the Nazis also murdered various antisemites, nationalists, and even Nazis. If the definition of a “Holocaust” simply means “being punished by the Nazis,” you might have to throw in the leadership of the SA in 1934.
I am stunned by your thinking. If your criteria are applied, one could argue that the Jews who survived the camps “were only punished” and “did not have a Holocaust”. Only dead Jews had a Holocaust. I find that hypothetical argument ludicrous. I find what I believe you asserted to be equally unacceptable.
The Nazis sought to remove “impurities” from humanity and establish the pure Aryan race as the master race. While Jews and their elimination were the top priority in the purification of humanity, others including Poles, Gypsies and gays were imperfections Nazis planned to remove before their work was completed. All those on the Nazi elimination list were there based on “God-given” facts of their natures that they had neither chosen nor had the power to change. Only military intervention prevented the elimination of all groups on the Nazi list.
I have never heard the Holocaust described as a “Jews only” event. In addition to being contrary to historical fact, such a portrayal runs contrary to the idea of shared humanity which emphasizes that superficial differences should not impeded our commitment and responsibility to each other. A myopic “Jews only” depiction of the Holocaust is the antithesis of the famous “First They came” statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller that is so often connected to Holocaust education.
The view of the Holocaust that I have heard and shared throughout my 62 years … and that is the lesson taught by educational, genocide-prevention programs of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum here in Washington, DC … is that the events in Nazi Germany are a cautionary tale that must be known and remembered by all human beings. While Jews suffered and died in the greatest numbers, many others suffered and died as well. They all were harmed by the same mistaken thinking. The cause of those horrors that we must fiercely avoid repeating was a failure to treat all human beings as equals who are deserving of the same respect, rights and justice.
Saying that the death and persecution of Jews in the Holocaust is somehow superior to the fate that befell others who were persecuted and killed wipes out that message/lesson intended to prevent future genocide. Personally, I do not feel the need to devalue those less directly connected to me in order to honor those related by blood and loved personally.
Please show me where I said that anybody’s death was “superior” to anyone else’s. I try to avoid math in most cases, and particularly when it’s so vulgar. The question is not whether one death is worth more than another, it’s whether one group of deaths is a Holocaust, or all groups of deaths are Holocausts. The Holocaust isn’t unique because it was worse than any other genocide(because certainly, in numerical terms, it wasn’t), but because it involved a state’s adoption of modern methodologies to wipe out an entire people, as an end in itself. The death of 6 millions Jews isn’t any worse than the death of 6 million Ukrainians, but the methods and context of the former stand out; Stalin murdered Ukrainians to achieve an end. Hitler murdered Jews as an end. Genocide is genocide, it’s the context that’s unique.
And by that token, the Nazis, in fact, were not trying to exterminate Poles, or Gypsies, or Gays. One say that Poles and Gypsies suffered through genocide, but there was never an effort to wipe them out. If you have evidence to the contrary, that can point to the Germans trying to “eliminate” Poles or Gypsies (and I know that there were limited gassings of Gypsies, but never on a comprehensive scale)please share it.
As for gays, you don’t seem to understand how they were categorized. Gays might see themselves as being defined by biology, but the Nazis didn’t view gays as a biological category, but only saw same-sex relations as a behavioral category. An Aryan who had sex with other men remained an Aryan, and he could serve his sentence, and, having been “rehabilitated” in the eyes of the Reich, could (and in some cases, did) go on to serve in the Wehrmacht. Indeed, the issue they had with Aryan gays wasn’t that they were not Aryans; but rather, that they were wasting their Aryanness by not procreating.
So I have to last questions
1. What defines a “Holocaust” to you? Is it just being murdered by Nazis? Was there an “antisemite Holocaust” because antisemites, like Niemoller, were at times murdered and imprisoned?
2. Were the Nazis the only ones who committed Holocausts? If so, why?
3. Why are you so obsessed with that word? I don’t ascribe any greater value to a death committed by the Nazis, the term simply refers to a unique historical situation. Why do you feel that it somehow devalues a death to say that it wasn’t part of the Holocaust? Is it somehow belittling the tragedy of the girl murdered in Tucson by Jared Loughner to say that she wasn’t killed in a Holocaust? And if it doesn’t, then why do you think it devalues the death of Pole or Roma or Gay murdered by the Nazis to say that they weren’t killed in the Holocaust?
This all began when I read what you wrote, “Now, some observant readers may note that there was not a Gay Holocaust”. Perhaps, instead of commenting, I should have asked you the purpose of that remark.
You ask me to define “a” Holocaust. I only know of one Holocaust . . . “the” Holocaust.
You seem to subscribe to the definition of the Holocaust that only includes Jews. I subscribe to the definition of the Holocaust that includes all victims of the Nazi atrocities.
My point is that “The Holocaust” has no adjective between “The” and “Holocaust”. It only has millions of victims killed and harmed by it. While the largest group of Holocaust victims was Jewish, Holocaust victims also included Romani, Soviet prisoners of war, Polish and Soviet civilians, homosexuals, people with disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other political and religious opponents all of whom were systematically rounded up and murdered.
People murdered in death camps are people murdered in death camps. Do you really think the Nazis planned on letting anybody out of the concentration camps alive? I don’t. Dividing them into groups … this one had a Holocaust; that one didn’t have a Holocaust; that one I’m not so sure—call it as semi-Holocaust … as you seem inclined to do, makes no sense to me. Can you tell me why you see a need or value in doing that?
My point is showing the diverse range of Holocaust victims is to bring the horror as close to home for as many people while demonstrating that hatred and intolerance, if left unchallenged, will eventually come around and consume us all.
Gays were not sentenced to death camps; they were sentenced to specific sentences under the old Weimar penal code (although the rule was expanded under the Nazis). Most gays were sent to prisons; from 1938, some were sent to concentration camps in German, not death camps.
Prisoners in concentration camps could, and at times, were released that’s not conjecture, that’s fact, which by itself demonstrates a fairly significant difference between what happened to the Jews and other groups. Polish prisoners were, in fact, released from Auschwitz. And Pierre Seel, arrested for homosexuality and fairly brutally treated both in prison and in a concentration camp, was released and drafted into the Wehrmacht. So really, it doesn’t matter what you or I think about what the Nazis planned on doing; it only matters what they did.
Concentration camps were not death camps. There is a big difference between the two of them. Jews were sent to death camps; Poles and gays were certainly not, some Roma were, but most were not. The death camps were set up with one purpose in mind–to exterminate Europe’s Jews. If “death camps” are your criteria, then you need to reevaluate your position, because by and large, none of the groups you mentioned were actually sent to death camps.
I’m still unclear, though, why calling something “the Holocaust” means so much to you. I reserve the terms for the Jewish experience simply because it was, historically speaking, a different experience from the others. I like to think that I’m intelligent enough to be able to condemn intolerance and discrimination without having to resort to historical oversimplifications.
So, you contend that the 3 million Gentile Poles and millions of other non-Jews killed by the Nazis in “prisons” were not victims of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a “Jews Only” event.
Do you have a name for what happened to the non-Jews brutally murdered by the Nazis at the same time the Holocaust was happening to Jews only?
Genocide? Mass murder? A brutal crime against humanity? It seems to me that anyone with a semi-decent vocabulary can come up with any number of terms.
I’m not sure why you put “prisons” in quotation marks. Did I say millions of people were murdered in prisons? Are you alleging that the Nazis didn’t operate prisons?
And please, don’t blame me for singling out the Jews for special handling; it was the Nazis who did that. I’m just attempting to treat the Jewish victims of the Nazis historiographically the way the Nazis treated them historically–as a unique problem that required a unique–and final–solution.
If you want a word that speaks speaks specifically to and of the unique Jewish experience, I suggest you stick with The Shoah.
My disagreement with you results from neither a lack of a “semi-decent vocabulary” or a tendency toward “oversimplifications”. I, along with a large number of other intelligent credible individuals, just disagree with you.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult your vocabulary. My point was simply that there are lots of terms which suggest the full brutality of what the Nazis did to those other groups, while still retaining the point that the Nazi treatment of the Jews was unique, which it was. As for oversimplification, I would argue that some of your statements regarding “death camps” and Nazi policy regarding concentration camp inmates do suggest that your views on Nazi policy are overly simplistic. “Concentration camps” are not “death camps,” and Nazi policy towards different groups was more complex and nuanced than you have suggested. Policies varied between Jews, and Poles, and Roma, and Gays, and SDs and Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. That’s a matter of historical record, and any approach that treats all those groups as one category is pretty much by definition overly simplistic.
As for semantics, though, I’ve explained in some detail the historical reasons why I have a more narrow definition of Holocaust than you. Again, my question why do you continue to insist that one can only convey horror or brutality by using the term “Holocaust?” and if all victims of the Nazis were victims of the Holocaust, then what isn’t like the Holocaust? Is anybody who arrests their political rivals therefore conducting a Holocaust because the Nazis imprisoned their political rivals? And what behaviors matter? Is it the arrest? the imprisonment? the killing? You argue that your broad use of “Holocaust” creates greater meaning; I’d argue that it renders it considerably less meaningful.
msfwdc, I think that jewdar has accurately identified the problems with your initial and subsequent posts. I think that at least you do NOT appear to suffer from a widespread syndrome which I identify as “Holocaust Envy” (although some prefer to label it “Shoah envy.” Holocaust Envy, which has not yet been accepted as a clinical phenomenon, is the wish of every group that they had a holocaust and the equally important wish that their holocaust was bigger than other people’s holocaust. In your case, you adopt the peculiar stance that every victim of Nazism (including Nazis such as Roehm and Strasser?) is part of the holocaust, which makes the holocaust very big indeed. This appears to echo those French rebels in 1968 who went around chanting “We are all German Jews” after Daniel Cohn-Bendit was expelled from France. In your case, I suppose the chant would be “we are all holocaust victims.”
jewdar, This is a complicated discussion that I find very interesting. Sadly, internet messages do not offer the best means for effective communication. I understand your point of view. We agree on the historical facts and the differences that underlie the treatment of various groups persecuted and killed by the Nazis. I concede that you have explored some nuances that I have not. To be clear, I do not consider every and any person killed by the Nazis for any reason to be a victim of the Holocaust. Among others, I do not think political opponents and “traitors” killed or soldiers in opposing armies who died during the war were Holocaust victims. Generally speaking, those who I do see as victims of the Holocaust (whether they died or survived) are people who were killed or would have been killed if time had permitted because the Germans viewed them as “those without whom the world would be a better place.” Those the Nazis categorized in that manner are the groups I previously listed including bit not limited to Jews, Poles, Romani, etc. almost all of whom qualified for Nazi targeting based on “accidents of birth” which they neither chose nor could change. (The fact that Nazis thought they could “cure” gays does not change the fact that sexual orientation is not a choice.) In the end, we disagree on semantics and semantics are a matter of opinion. We have each explained what we see to be the merits of our individual perspectives. I think we have done about as much as we can or will possibly benefit from doing here. Thanks.
@Jon: I am glad that you realize that I do NOT suffer from what you term “Holocaust envy”. I have never found the need to play the “mine is bigger than yours game” on this or any other matters.
However, you misrepresented and/or misinterpreted my comments as a basis for your comments, “In your case, you adopt the peculiar stance that every victim of Nazism (including Nazis such as Roehm and Strasser?) is part of the holocaust, which makes the holocaust very big indeed. This appears to echo those French rebels in 1968 who went around chanting “We are all German Jews” after Daniel Cohn-Bendit was expelled from France. In your case, I suppose the chant would be “we are all holocaust victims.” ”
That is not what I said, implied or intended. You and/or jewdar may try to take me there but if you do, you are perpetrating a thought-jacking. My point of view parallels the thinking (definition)accepted by many others in society. It is more inclusive than the one offered by jewdar and presumably supported by you, but it is far from the limitless, unthinking, catch-all you would like to portray it to be.
In my most recent comments to jewdar (above) and in my earlier comments, I have set out a reasoned alternative way of thinking and organizing the same set of facts (that I believe jewdar and I mutually accept). What jewdar had shared describes our differences of opinion as opposed to showing what you term “problems” with my views. The term “problems” presumes that one opinion is superior to the other. You can agree or disagree. Either way, the difference between how you, jewdar and I see things is a difference of opinion.
I do respect that your point of view parallels the thinking (definition) accepted by many other in society. And, as you observed, that is at odds with the position that others, such as jewdar and myself take on this issue. My comments may have seemed facetious, but they were not, in fact. I am fascinated by the way the genocide of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis (what I term the holocaust) has become an inspiration (that is a peculiar way to phrase it, but true nonetheless) for identity politics in the contemporary era. Others have written on this– Ian Buruma, for example. I think that, and this might sound mildly controversial, just as the Jewish idea of choseness has been a source of most nationalist movements, the Jewish genocide, and what Jews have made of it, has been a new source for contemporary nationalism and identity politics. Whereas nationalist movements of the past sought heroic struggles (usually victorious ones, but not always) as the source of their origins, modern identity politics identifies with humiliating defeats. The more humiliating, the “better.”
None of this “solves” the issue of what constitutes the holocaust. That, ultimately, is going to be a point of contention. But it suggests why it is important that other peoples/groups want to be part of a holocaust or THE holocaust.
We actually do not agree on the “historical facts.” You have made statements to the effect that the Nazis intended to exterminate Poles, Gypsies and gays, and only the end of the war prevented it. I do not accept that as a fact at all. There was no extermination plan for any of those groups. Moreover, even according to the criteria you provide, that the victims of what you consider the Holocaust had no choice, gays don’t qualify, because the Nazis (aside from not targeting gays for extermination), didn’t target gays for what they were (i.e., people with a certain orientation), but for what they did (engage in certain acts that violated the criminal code). Without question, single adults should be free to have sex with other single adults; but the Nazis weren’t attempting to “wipe out” gays,
A. Because a gay aryan was still an aryan, and his genes could still serve the Reich.
B. Because they weren’t attempting to the individuals, but rather, prevent them from engaging in certain actions.
C. Because they weren’t trying to wipe them out at all. violating Paragraph 175 of the criminal code wasn’t a capital offense, and wasn’t treated as such. Of the 50,000 or so men convicted, the vast majority were sent to prisons, not concentration camps, and there’s no reason to conclude that most of them died.
The same issues apply with the other groups. At no point did the Nazis contemplate, much less enact, a policy to wipe out the Poles, and while some Roma were gassed, there was no plan to wipe them out, either.
So I’ll ask again–forget about the word “Holocaust” for now–do you have any evidence to support your historical assertions, with which I most definitely do not agree.
I would add some slight modification to what jewdar posted. In 1940, Hitler’s program vis a vis the Poles, Jews and other eastern peoples was not altogether distinguishable. In each case, mass deportation, with concomitant mass death rates, was contemplated. In fact, the policy of de-Polanization was probably more urgent that de-Judaization. By July 1941 a real shift had taken place, in which the extermination of Jews was not only being contemplated, but starting to be carried out, erratically, and then more consistently. Meanwhile, the mass expulsion of Poles was put on hold, as well as the mass expulsion of other, until the war was won. As far as I can tell, the Nazis never contemplated the complete extinction of Poles, Russians, Ukrainians (though that depends on which Nazi one is speaking about, and some were even “liberal” on this question, such as Rosenberg), while they had, by August 1941, most likely, reached precisely this policy conclusion for Jews. In other words, even the Holocaust, in the sense that jewdar and I use the term, was a late arrival and alternatives were contemplated.
@Jon: I can only speak for myself, my experience and the sources of my thinking. I was born four years after the end of WWII and am a child of parents who lived through (and a father who fought in) WWII. My understanding of the Holocaust was shaped by them as well as teachers and other elders who lived through the same experiences. I was taught about the unsurpassed horrors inflicted on Jews by the Nazis as well as the unfathomable efforts to eliminate Jews from the face of the earth. I was also taught that the Nazis perpetrated killing campaigns fueled by blind hatred against the other groups I have listed on numerous occasions. What was not discussed, that seems to matter to you and jewdar, is a “ranking” or “relative degree” of hatred or motivating factors that applied to the various groups targeted and killed by the Nazis because they thought the world would be better without such people. So, what I describe and suggest here is an understanding learned long ago and based solely upon the events of the Nazi era. It involves no ulterior motives or later-day adaptations for broader purposes. To me, that was, always has been and continues to be “The Holocaust”. I have read and understand what jewdar has explained. I can see his reasons for choosing to see things the way he (and you do). However, I continue to see merit in my reasoning and find it preferable for the reasons I have stated.
Well, we are certainly the same age, though my parents served as medical personnel stateside. But I have sought over the years to discover the complexities and I am afraid that too many teachers (and witnesses) tend to simplify the events. I don’t think that Jewdar and I are ranking exterminations, that would be the Holocaust envy syndrome. I think that his point is (you believe it is pure semantics) that the word Holocaust is meant to refer only to the genocide of the Jews. But I would not try to argue that what Poles suffered through or what Ukrainians suffered through (under Stalin and Hitler) or what Byelorussians suffered through (apparently the percentage who died there, including Jews, was the highest percentage of any place in the world during WWII) was less horrible than it was for Jews. To paraphrase, please excuse the levity, that old cliche about surgery, “a minor genocide is one that happens to other people.”
MSFWDC, please don’t put words in my mouth, or dodge the fairly reasonable question I asked. I haven’t ranked any deaths, and have explicitly rejected any such notion. If I’ve discussed “motivating factors,” it’s only because those factors are necessary for understanding what policies were enacted, which is what I’ve been discussing. Those policies aren’t moral judgments, they’re matters of historical record. And if you’re going to make assertions regarding those policies, then you should be prepared to demonstrate the veracity of those statements. If you say there was an extermination policy directed against gays, Poles, and Roma, then I would expect you could support that. And if you can’t support it, then I would expect you to stop making the assertion.
As for ranking deaths, if anything, I’d say that’s what you’re doing. I don’t use the term “Holocaust” to refer to what happened to the Jews because I think it’s worse than any other genocide, but because I think it’s unique for the reasons I’ve already explained–not worse, just different. You seem to be the one who believes that deaths that occurred in something called “the Holocaust” have greater value than others, otherwise, why are you so insistent that using a different term would belittle those deaths?
@Jewdar: I cannot “forget about the word ‘Holocaust’ for now” because that word . . . specifically who died during “The Holocaust” . . . was the crux of my original comment on your remarks.
My point was and continues to be that more than just Jews were victims of “The Holocaust”. I hold that a victim of the Holocaust was anyone who was singled out and eventually died as a result of having a God-given nature or identity that the Nazis rejected.
Nazi intent to eliminate any given group in its entirety is not a criteria that I ever imposed as a qualifier for being a victim of The Holocaust. In fact, I believe that you established “attempted annihilation” as a criteria to make Jews the only victims of The Holocaust.
As a gay man, I reject and find completely absurd your attempts to draw a line between “being gay” and “having gay sex”. If the Nazis went after gays for “having gay sex”, they went after gays for “being gay”. If the Nazis went after gays with the intent of “curing them”, they intended to torture them. “Curing gays” is torture with life-long, destructive consequences. If gays died at the hands of the Nazis, they were victims of The Holocaust.
As a person of Polish heritage, I reject your notion that 2.5 to 3 million Poles systematically murdered by the Nazis were not victims of The Holocaust just because they were not Jews.
I do not deny or lessen by even on iota the unfathomable hatred or unparalleled atrocities that Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis. That does not require me to relegate other victims of The Holocaust to a separate, secondary category. The fact that I acknowledge the fate of all victims of The Holocaust does not diminish my commitment to honoring and preserving the history of Jews who perished in The Holocaust as well as educating and advocating to ensure that the goal of “Never Again” is realized.
I have no doubt that you can dig up an endless collection of criteria and reasons (ranging from legal code specifications, to social mores of the day, to varied motivations for murder, to twisted criteria for deadly hatred, and more) as devices for questioning my choice of words while ignoring my overall meaning. I find that a game that I do not choose to play.
I understand your views and your reasoning. I have explained my views thoroughly and rationally. I make no apology for them. I have no obligation to defend them to your satisfaction. I sought neither your approval nor your agreement. We disagree. I can live with that. I hope you can as well.
@JEWDAR: I now see another comment from you that appeared while I was responding to what I thought was your most recent comment. You say I’m putting words in your mouth. I think you are misrepresenting my comments. I have a broader definition or understanding of who was a “victim of The Holocaust” than you do. Even thought I disagree with you, I understand how you got to your opinion. You seem unable or unwilling to reciprocate with similarly respectful comprehension. I doubt there is anything I could write that would change your pre-disposition to defend your turf on this or any other matter.
After all you are “Smarter than most funny people, funnier than most smart people” . . . What mere mortal could dare to disagree with you?! LOL!
Nazi intent to eliminate any given group in its entirety is not a criteria that I ever imposed as a qualifier for being a victim of The Holocaust. In fact, I believe that you established “attempted annihilation” as a criteria to make Jews the only victims of The Holocaust.
Here are your statements on the subject:
So if I am incorrect in my assertion, I do think you can concede that you gave me reason to be. You stated that Poles, Gypsies and Gays were to be “removed,” that they were on an “elimination list,” and that it was only the end of the war that prevented the “elimination” of all the groups on the list. If you meant something other than “annihilation” by this, then please clarify, and I will gladly remove my objection.
You can also forgive me for some confusion regarding your definition of a Holocaust, because in some places you state that it only involves those targeted for biological reasons (
), while elsewhere, you state:
As you note earlier, this format is far from ideal, so you may have misspoke, but if you did, I can’t be blamed for my confusion.
I would say that any suggestion that I have engaged in “ranking” victims of genocide is putting words in my mouth, since I haven’t. I have explicitly stated that I don’t put the Holocaust atop some sort of gruesome genocide pyramid; I simply use the term to refer to a genocide resulting from a specific set of policies which were applied to Jews, and not to others.
As for being respectful, I do apologize if you feel I’ve been insulting or disrespectful, as that was never my intent. I don’t believe I’ve engaged in any ad hominem attacks on you, and virtually all of my arguments have been based on your statements, which, as the examples I’ve just cited show, certainly gave me some reason to draw the conclusions i did.
I have done nothing but condemn Nazi persecution of gays and Poles. Your identity, however, actually highlights the difficulty in applying your definitions to Nazi policy. Initially, the Nazis didn’t have any particular problem with Gay Poles, since they were seen as helping reduce the Polish population. It was only when it became apparent that gay Poles might “corrupt” Germans that they became a problem in the eyes of the Nazis. And gays in other occupied places, like France, were virtually unmolested. Further challenging your assertions regarding the “elimination” of gays was that starting in 1943, gay prisoners in camps could be released in exchanger for military service; some of them even ended up in the Dirlewanger Brigade, a particularly vicious unit of the Waffen-SS that played a notorious role in suppressing the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
As for the Poles, my heart truly goes out to them and what they suffered, not only during the war, but in the decades of Soviet rule afterwards, and, adding insult to injury the degree to which many Jews unfairly blame them for the atrocities that happened on Polish soil. But while millions of Poles certainly died, the Poles were not to be “eliminated,” but made into slaves. If the Nazis hadn’t been defeated, slavery, not “elimination” would have been their destiny. I certainly don’t belittle what happened to the Poles, or what would have happened, but it is different from annihilation.
So again, I apologize if you feel I was being disrespectful, but every statement I made was simply a response to something you said. If those statements don’t reflect your attitudes, that’s hardly something I could know.
As for “the holocaust,” it is not the end all and be all of suffering. I like to think that we can teach lessons against intolerance without having to use that particular word.
And I hope in your last comment, you were only suggesting I’m stupid, and not that I’m unfunny. I don’t mind being called the former, but the latter? That’s harsh. Not holocaust harsh, of course, but harsh.
@JEWDAR: I recognize and appreciate your overriding decent and respectful intent. As I stated before, online discussion leaves much to be desired.
As this exchange progressed, you made points that brought to light poor or less than precise choices of words on my part and called my attention to specifics that I had not known/considered before. I responded to your input by modifying and updating how I presented my thinking. At couple points along the way, I offered a cumulative re-statement of my position. So, going back now and asking me to defend comments that I have already addressed seems inappropriate.
As I sated most recently . . . “My point was and continues to be that more than just Jews were victims of “The Holocaust”. I hold that a victim of the Holocaust was anyone who was singled out and eventually died as a result of having a God-given nature or identity that the Nazis rejected.” The long-term intent of the Nazis toward a given group into which they categorized an individual does not matter if the person was deprived of liberty and died while in the hands of the Nazis. That may not be as precise a specification as you would like but, for now, it is the best I can do.
Why do I include the additional people you would not include as “victims of The Holocaust”? I see the common denominator for inclusion as a “victim of The Holocaust” as death resulting from the “mentality” and “inhumanity” adopted and applied by a distinct group of people (Nazis) during a specific period of time (1933-1945). Again, that may not be as precise a specification as you would like but, for now, it is the best I can do.
I do not expect you to adopt or support my point of view. I hope you might be able to see it as a reasoned alternative in the same way I see your point of view as a reasoned alternative.
As I said before, I can live with our differences on this matter. I hope you can too.
LOL! We share something in common … I can’t resist going for a laugh even if it is at my own expense! For some reason there is a lag in our exchanges. So, as far as I’m concerned . . . leaving things on a humorous note works for me.
I feel that now that the historical points have been clarified, we really are at a matter of semantics, which, as you noted, are all a matter of subjectivity. At this point, even my disputatious nature is inclined to conciliation, and to commend you on a graciousness which all too often lacking in such exchanges.
Aw, shucks! You’re gonna make me blush! Seriously though, I did gain insight from our exchange and value that. My thanks to you as well.