Sometimes I forget that most people only have a very basic idea of what happened during the Holocaust.
I don’t entirely remember what came first, me coming across a book that took place during the holocaust, or finding out that family members of mine had been imprisoned in Auschwitz. At some point, however, the combination of both of these events sparked a sort obsession in me. I began reading everything I could find on the subject including quite a few different diaries, personal accounts, and well researched fiction, in addition to histories, articles, and non-fiction books.
So often, we have a tendency to see genocide as very specific things – gas chambers, firing squads, mass graves. We think of specific acts of murder. But so often, genocide doesn’t look like obvious acts of murder.
Continue reading “Genocide Doesn’t Look Like you Think”
It starts “innocently” enough.
Someone carves a swastika into a school desk or draws one inside a textbook. They don’t understand the symbolism. They don’t understand the horror, the pain, the death, that was brought about as a result of that symbol. They’re just trying to be edgy.
Youth of all stripes make the news when they joke at doing the Nazi salute or dress up in Nazi costumes, even those in the public eye like Prince Harry take their turn at parading around the costume. To them it’s just a joke. They never experienced what it was like to face a world where Nazis didn’t just exist, but wielded terrifying power.
It isn’t long before comment sections explode with the use of racial slurs. Words that were considered egregious social faux-pas are used like common expletives. They’re just kids enjoying the power of anonymity. They’re basement dwellers making themselves feel better by pretending to more power than they have and living fantasies of superiority.
Continue reading “Foot In the Door: The Rise of Nazi America”
It didn’t start with the concentration camps. It didn’t start with gas chambers and the ovens.
It started with existing racism. Anti-Semitism was widely pervasive in Europe, North America, anywhere where Jewish people existed really before the Nazis came to power. Even after they did, many countries refused Jewish refugees the right of entry. Many established restrictive quotas regarding how many Jews would be allowed to enter the country in a given year. This included both Canada and the United States.
When Hitler was rising in the political wing of his party, he seized onto that existing racism to propel him into power. He used the fear of the stranger, the fear of the other and the unknown. He used Jewish people as a scapegoat for all the misgivings and problems felt by post-Great War Germans. There was all sorts of propaganda spread around, including rumors that Christian babies were kidnapped and used to make Matzo. Rumors of how they used their access to gold to corrupt governments and control institutions. Access to gold that was granted to them when money lending was deemed an unchristian profession and best left to Jewish people. Continue reading “It Didn’t Start with the Camps”