….HOW HISTORY IS MANIPULATED

The Holocaust is the biggest example of our recent times that shows how history is manipulated.

The world, more or less, is in agreement that the Holocaust was one of the most horrific genocides of humankind and ran though an unparalleled regime of brutality in our modern times which killed millions of humans.

They were simply wiped out from the face of the earth – as they should have never existed.

The world believes in this Holocaust and observes remembrances to revisit the horror, so as to remain on the path of sanity.

Yes, on the path of sanity – but for them only who want to remain humans. It is good for our habitat that majority of us are ‘humans’ in that sense.

But not all of us are.

Naturally, they are from the insane breed that has reddened the earth in every generation.

And has derived its sanctity by manipulating history – in order to get that high pedestal in society first – that would enable them to perpetrate terror in the garb of legitimacy and would further push them to rewrite history – as Adolf Hitler did – as his sycophants did – and as Benito Mussolini did.

We all know that a wide cross-section of Germany was complicit in Hitler’s crimes against humanity. They all benefitted from bodies and ashes of Jews and others who their mad warlords didn’t like. But when it came to trials and punishment, almost of them were let off – in order to begin the process of reconstruction. To a lesser extent, but the same was the case with Mussolini’s Italy.

True, prosecuting hundreds of thousands of Germans would be unwieldy (and time and resource consuming) for a geopolitics that was interested in slicing and dicing the world that would give us the Cold War and geopolitical camps in the future. A war gives winners and losers and winners can rewrite everything as they wish.

Those Germans (or Italians) who were let-off, yes many of them had a conscience crisis for what they had done, but many of them still justified or tried to justify their stand, going as far as to deny the whole Holocaust history as mere propaganda of winners, as some Nazis then and neo-Nazis now, among them have been doing.

Holocaust deniers have had a consistent presence for decades and their propaganda has been there all along, and they have significant number of takers, especially in non-Christian societies, or in the generation that doesn’t care to read history.

As Hitler had got the upper hand in Germany, exploiting the humiliation that Germany faced at hands of the winners of the First World War, manipulating history and records, any autocratic power would do, if it gets the throne. Yes, that is the first thing power gets autocrats to do – they scramble to capitalize on their efforts to rewrite history that they had been trying for years – in order to further legitimize their stay and further consolidate their grip on power.

Nazis, Fascists, neo-Nazis, Neo-Fascists and all other like them have revered the likes of Hitler and Mussolini and they would do all to install them on the highest pedestal of societies when they get a chance to do so. History tells us so.

©SantoshChaubey

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PRIMO LEVI: “I AM CONSTANTLY AMAZED BY MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN.”

BORN: JULY 31, 1919
DIED: APRIL 11, 1987

“I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.”

PrimoLevi
(Image courtesy: Wikipedia)

Primo Levi was one of the foremost Holocaust voices who had lived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps and had chosen to tell it to the world.

Yes, there have been a deep research and a wide range of the Holocaust literature and documentation available now – but the voices who saw it firsthand are leaving us.

Earlier this month, on July 2, the most profound voice of the Holocaust trauma, Elie Wiesel, left us.

But like all of them, their works will always remain there to tell us those stories, to remind us our basest instincts and that how low humanity can go.

“Auschwitz is outside of us, but it is all around us, in the air. The plague has died away, but the infection still lingers and it would be foolish to deny it. Rejection of human solidarity, obtuse and cynical indifference to the suffering of others, abdication of the intellect and of moral sense to the principle of authority, and above all, at the root of everything, a sweeping tide of cowardice, a colossal cowardice which masks itself as warring virtue, love of country and faith in an idea.”

PrimoLeviCollage2

©SantoshChaubey

ELIE WIESEL, BIGGEST CHRONICLER OF THE HOLOCAUST, IS NO MORE..

The article originally appeared on DailyO – as – Life and times of Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and chronicler. 

Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), the 1986 Peace Nobel Laureate and a Holocaust survivor, is no more with us. He passed away last night. He was 87. He was a Jew born in Romania, was forced to the horrors of an Auschwitz life and became a US citizen and a Boston University professor.

Elie Wiesel will always be remembered as the most haunted voice of the Holocaust years – the years when he somehow survived the concentration camps run by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany during the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 – the concentration camps that exterminated millions in a systematic manner only because Hitler and his people considered them inferior human beings. They saw them as the problem and the only final solution was to wipe them out.

Elie Wiesel was the biggest chronicler of the Holocaust days – writing over 50 books – based on his haunting memories. His autobiographical book Night came to me as a soul-stirring experience.

Before it, I was largely focused on documentaries, visual media, news reports and studies on the Holocaust to know more about the largest pogrom of modern human history, to feel its pain, to realize its message. But the experience after Night transcended all and made the Holocaust memoirs the major part of my Holocaust reading, of the past, as well as the ongoing ones.

The sudden change, from the peaceful childhood days to a life of utter debasement, where there were no children, no adults, no males, or no females, just living human corpses, waiting to be gassed and burned, brings poignant thoughts that shake your very existence. His life and work remind how debased the humankind can become and how resilient the humanity can come out to be.

WHAT ELIE WIESEL’S TIMELESS CLASSIC ‘NIGHT’ TELLS US: DARK SIDE OF THE MAN THAT CAN KILL MILLIONS

Writing about the book Escape from Camp 14, biography of a North Korean concentration camps survivor Shin Dong-hyuk written by an American journalist Blaine Harden, reminded me about Elie Wiesel’s Night, the memoir that details THE DEGENERATION OF LIFE in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War

While Escape from Camp 14 is about the journey of a man, born and forced to live an animal life, and how he finds the human in him; Night is about how a man, born to lead a human life, is forced to a life that is worse than of animals.

At over 120 odd pages (the Penguin India edition), the ‘slim’ Night numbs you by the simple words of confusion about life, faith, death and relations as told by a young Elie Wiesel reflecting on the tormenting days of his life in different concentration camps including Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

Night begins normally with observations of a teenager about a quiet Jewish countryside in a remote town Sighet, under Hungary’s occupation then. It tells how a typical Jewish family lives there, how a boy dutifully tries to be religiously observant, how the community there feels insular to the outside world’s activities and concerns, under an ongoing world war then, believing that it cannot reach them.

Night-ElieWiesel

(Image courtesy: Night book cover; Elie Wiesel’s photograph from Nobelprize.org)

Night exposes the inherent human weakness – clinging to the very last of the failing hope that the God would come and exercise some miracle – we see it in Elie’s father when he believes that something can still be worked out when almost of the Jewish community is already sent to Auschwitz; we see it later on as the memoir progresses when the Jews in the concentration camps think every now and then about the world war coming to an end while praying to the God; we see it in the escapist thoughts when the Jews of Sighet initially take German soldiers as the good Samaritans even if their every freedom is curtailed the very day German soldiers arrive in the town; we see it on every such occasion when the characters of this memoir think that they are not going to be gassed whenever they get a comparatively lesser fiendish security guard.

Night is representative of the dark side of the man that can poison and kill millions. Millions of Jews were gassed, burned and exterminated in furnaces and ‘Night’ tells that sordid tale through the eyes of teenager Elie who struggles with his conscience first, about his trust in the God that he finds incoherent with the acts that begin the day they board the cattle train to Auschwitz, and grows on to degenerates into the cattle mentality of surviving anyhow even if it means sacrificing your father and shapes ultimately into a distrust in anything like the very existence of the God. What else can be expected when someone becomes a mute spectator to the Nazi killing machine of Hitler’s Germany – the ‘Selection’ of humans as animals – gassing and burning them in thousands daily. Elie survived months in the concentration camps while living near to those crematoriums.

Night is not just a memoir from the Holocaust literature; it is also a sensitive book on father-son relation. Night tells us about the internal struggle of the human conscience when Elie writes about that ‘night’ that changes all. The night they board the train makes their human comrades inhuman at the very go – the way his community people beat a old woman crying consistently after her family is taken away. No sympathy – just the savagery of the jungle to survive – that ‘night’ began it. Elie watches himself becoming a different person, a debased survivor. Though he remains very much a father’s son, with his father being the only symbolic emotive quotient and support throughout his captive life in the concentration camps, at times he thinks of him as burden, only to blame himself the next moment. There come moments when he watches his old, frail father being brutally beaten by the guards but he tries to avoid the eye contact.

And teenager Elie was just one out of the millions in the concentration camps, who were forced to think like this; who inherited this internal struggle for years to come; who got unending ‘night’ hours imprinted in their conscious to haunt them as these words of Elie Wiesel during his Acceptance Speech for the Nobel Peace Prize sum up:

“Can this be true?” This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?”

©SantoshChaubey

ELIE WIESEL’S NIGHT: DARK SIDE OF THE MAN THAT CAN KILL MILLIONS

Elie Wiesel is dead. They all were the #Holocaust survivors but he was it’s biggest chronicler. RIP.
#ElieWiesel
#RIPElieWiesel

SANTOSH CHAUBEY

Writing about ‘Escape from Camp 14’ reminded me about Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’, the memoir, that details out THE DEGENERATION OF LIFE in the Nazi concentration camps. A classic that I visit to, again and again.

While ‘Escape from Camp 14’ is about the journey of a man, born and forced to live an animal life, finding the human in him; ‘Night’ is about how a man, born to lead a human life, is forced to a life worse than of animals.

NightWiesel

Book cover of ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel, sourced from the Internet 

At over 120 odd pages (the Penguin India edition that I have), the ‘slim’ ‘Night’ numbs you by the simple words of confusion about life, faith, death and relations as told by a young Elie Wiesel reflecting the tormenting days of his life in different concentration camps including Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

‘Night’ begins normally with observations of a…

View original post 549 more words

OSKAR SCHINDLER TELLS US..

Today is the day – when he came to this world – to tell us that a good soul lies within all of us.

SANTOSH CHAUBEY

Oskar Schindler (April 28, 1908 – October 9, 1974)

Today is the birth anniversary of Oskar Schindler, the Nazi party member and a German industrialist who saved thousands of Jews (the 1200 Schindlerjuden or the ‘Schindler Jews’ in his factories and their over 8000 descendants now), from Hitler’s concentration camps and gas chambers.

The movie Schindler’s List is a milestone event in telling us the larger-than-life humanitarian side of Oskar Schindler who initially thought of and made quick money by manipulating the Jew resources and manpower in the Nazi ghettos for Jews.

Oskar Schindler tells us the ‘good in us’ is certainly more powerful and is as universal as the evils like Nazism or Fascism.

It just needs its spark. Realizing it is individual. Schindler could realize it. Countless others couldn’t. And this prospect about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides of humanity is timeless.

This final scene from the movie directed…

View original post 215 more words

60/7

That is an important combination of digits to remember – a UN resolution in 2005 that established January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day – the day when the largest of the Nazi concentration camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated.

The Holocaust is and will remain the most enduring horror unleashed on humanity because, for a common mind, killing human beings, in the name of ethnic superiority (or prejudice) at this scale is simply beyond thinking realms.

But then, arrival of a Hitler is always a real time possibility.

Human death camps are still alive and kicking in many parts of the world – with the common thread being persecuting those who raise voice against the ruling regimes – in North Korea – in restive countries of Africa – in monarchies and authoritarian nations of Asia and Africa – and elsewhere.

Well, we cannot say with certainty where they exist – but they do exist.

And a day to pay tribute to the worst crime against humanity in the known human history is a day to cement your resolve to be in solidarity with the countless lives that are still compromised every passing day.

Because the day comes to remind us the of devil prowling among us – someone who could be in any of us!

Because the days comes to take us, in this generation who have not seen those images, or from a different geographic territory, on a revisit to the visuals of the concentration camps and a visit through the Holocaust literature – a must for every human life!

Hitler and his Nazi Germany had killed many millions in a span of few years only and Hitler’s success in unleashing his killing machinery tells how such maniacs manipulate even democracy in the name of democracy and national pride – because Hitler was the product of a democratic transition process in Germany. And Germany was in Europe – the birthplace of democracies.

So, the dangers are very real – in a world inundated with democracies, autocracies, monarchies and absurdities – the broken down nations with tribal warlords, civil wars and terror groups – in a world infested with war theatres in almost every continent.

The Holocaust has been a regular in human conscience – right from the day the Second World War ended. But it is imperative for us to be more organized in remembering and revisiting the darkest chapter in our history – to feel that chill down our spines – to become numb – if we have to remain alert to dissuade any Hitler to walk again.

And the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/7 exactly does that – with the Holocaust Remembrance Day – or the Holocaust Memorial Day.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

REFUGEE CRISIS: EUROPE, AND ITS PEOPLE, NEED TO GIVE THEM THAT ‘LIFE’..

Trains and the Holocaust were inseparable – and the images will haunt humanity forever.

Hitler’s Germany killed scores by stuffing them like cattle in trains and on roads in harsh weather conditions.

Trains were the final component of Nazi Party’s ‘final solution’ to ‘free humankind of ‘Jews and other unwanted races’ – as Hitler and his collaborators saw them.

Trains – that make a significant part of every Holocaust narrative – of books, of memoirs, of autobiographies, of documentaries, of movies – the Holocaust trains.

For millions who lost their lives and for millions who somehow survived – trains were the last nail in their coffin – beginning a ride to hell – ending in concentration camps.

Yes, it is nothing like that today.

The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, the second biggest mass migration since the World War II (or since the days of the ‘final solution’) to the world’s wealthiest continent (and in the wealthiest continent) is not even remotely indicative of the inhuman ways of the Holocaust.

Except the images showing migrants being loaded into trains to stop them from entering a European nation (or European nations) – with rough treatments by Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Croatia!

And now, the ‘welcoming’ Germany too, has started showing regressive signs with closing its border and demanding ‘fair distribution’ of refugees’.

Yes, we can say the incidents were and are an aberration and the European leaders will find some solution – either in their meeting tomorrow – if they can build consensus – or in a follow-up meeting based on the outcome of the meeting tomorrow.

Yes, the images are not suggestive of those frightening years seven decades back, but they reveal, once again, a primeval mindset every human being has – that we are so easily swayed to the extent that we start disregarding the other human life as if it is non-existent.

Had it not been so, we would never have something called the Holocaust or other reasons behind assassinations and massacres.

The primeval mindset – that so easily makes us to act selfishly to the extent that we start thinking that those who are running from certain death – would start sharing some of the space shared by us – even if it doesn’t affect us in real terms – something that is happening in many countries of Europe.

Europe’s wealth can easily take care of some one million migrants including refugee from the worst humanitarian crisis hotbeds like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yes, the countries need to sit and resolve nagging and divisive issues – and they must do it soon – possibly in the meeting tomorrow.

The world has already seen many bad images from a Europe that is peaceful for decades and has tried to send a message of harmony to the world by creating a unified documentation free travel zone of over 25 countries.

People, in search of life, are looking to a peaceful and financially well to do Europe to seek a passage to be able to remain alive – something that is ‘basic’ to every human civilization – and fundamental for us to remain humans.

And Europe, and its people – need to give them that ‘life’.

And yes, it is not just the responsibility of Europe. We all, in every part of the globe, must extend helping hands.

We all need to be ‘fair’ in distributing our responsibilities.

Keeping in mind the reality that we cannot do anything about partisan, irrational and selfish ways of geopolitics on international issues!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ELIZABETH KOLBERT’S ‘THE LAST TRIAL’ IS A MUST READ

I watched the 1978 Holocaust mini-series again today.

I read and reread and watch and re-watch the Holocaust literature, documentaries and movies, whenever I get time. Yes, watching those images is excruciatingly painful, but is a must (and should be must for every adult).

And it coincided with a brilliant article on the Holocaust I chanced upon while doing some random scrolling down of my Facebook feed.

Obviously, it had to be brilliant, extensive, in-depth and engaging like a one-sit reading, as it was a The New Yorker piece.

‘The Last Trial: A Great-grandmother, Auschwitz and the Arc of Justice’, an article spread over 6000 words, written by Elizabeth Kolbert, a staff writer with The New Yorker, traces the German legal process on the Holocaust through notable criminal trials, her discovery of messages by her great-grandmother from Berlin to her grandfather in the United States and her decision to join Stolpersteine, a public art project by German artist Gunter Demnig to memorialize the Holocaust victims.

A Stolpersteine has details of a Holocaust victim on a brass plaque fixed on a concrete block. It is fixed at the last known address of a person before he/she was deported to a death camp and the project has spread well beyond Germany to other European countries with generations perished in the Nazi gas chambers.

Through these events, Elizabeth Kolbert weaves an engaging analysis of the German attitude on trying Nazi war criminals legally.

She begins with Oskar Groning, a former SS member, known as ‘the bookkeeper of Auschwitz’, who doubled up as a guard. Now 94, Groning is set to face trial in April for ‘being an accessory to murder of 300,000 people’ and explores the changing German attitude on Nazi atrocities, from a generation that took little interest in prosecuting those responsible for running the extermination camps and instead found legal ways to safeguard them, to the generation now that has put Oskar Groning on trial, after decades of settled public life.

Hundreds of thousands were involved in running some 300 concentration camps of Adolf Hitler, camps that did overtime to double as extermination camps, to achieve the ‘Final Solution’, of annihilating Jews. And just a handful of them were seriously tried for their crimes, the crimes for which there cannot be any forgiveness.

This article a must-read for everyone who cares for what happened in Germany and German occupied territories seven decades ago and what followed after it.

Thanks Elizabeth Kolbert.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

HOLOCAUST MUST BE MADE AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF ‘EXPOSURE TO HISTORY’ FOR EVERYONE IN EVERY SOCIETY

70th International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27 is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day – observed each year to commemorate the victims of the concentration camps – to remind us of the horror that had been made a way of life for millions in some 300 concentration camps in Germany or in German occupied territories.

Some 7 million of these many millions were killed in these forced labour camps that also doubled as death factories, the so-called extermination camps – employing death as a tool to intimidate, to propagate, to indoctrinate, to manipulate humans into soulless creatures and to kill – randomly, systematically, methodically.

In these death camps, fellow human lives were made objects of derision, subjects of sadistic pleasures, trophies of ‘shoot at will’ shootouts and raw material for German industries. Including children, they were mere subjects for dangerous scientific experiments.

The Germans of Nazi Germany mastered their ways to quench their thirst and lust for human blood my bringing mass murder machines and technology – gas chambers coupled with electric crematoria to these camps.

The highly organized machinery to exact the ‘cleansing’ as forced by Adolf Hitler and his band had set targets to kill ‘minimum this many’ on a day.

In these camps, the human subjects, were pushed to such extremes that they had forgotten what a human life was, what life they had lived some years ago – to accept a lowly life subservient to the whims of the masters of the so-called superior race who lorded over them in the camps – to follow a life where they did not have relations, no sons, no daughters, no wives, no husbands – to live a life without expressing hunger (starving to death was strictly practiced, even children were not spared), love, pain and suffering – to become fearful animals living always in the shadow of death – to the extent that death became the only liberator.

The methodical process in these camps began with the basics – by wiping out names replacing them with numbers and thus eliminating existences – and went to the satanic levels of corrupting human minds where a brother would kill a brother for a loaf of bread or a piece of cloth.

On January 27, 1945, the largest of these, Auschwitz II – Birkenau, was liberated by the Allied Forces.

Estimates say some four millions lives were annihilated at Auschwitz.

Today is the 70th anniversary when the killing machinery at Auschwitz was finally shut – but with multitudes who were still dying.

The scale of human debasement and the loss of human lives in these camps are so beyond human history and are so shocking that even the 700th anniversary would need us to react in the same way as we react today, as humanity reacted when it came to know the reality of these barbed-wire camps, as the Allied Forces set on liberating them – piled up human carcasses, in mounds of thousands, charred corpses, starved, skeletal survivors who had gone beyond such thoughts that if they were sleeping in a room full of dead or if they were having no clothes on their bodies.

They were just bones, frail bones, irrespective of the age-group. The flesh was the first thing that Hitler’s soldiers chopped from inmates’ bodies to stuff their platters.

What happened then, in these concentration camps – must never be forgotten – because it is important for us to remain ‘us’, the human-beings – the first and the foremost principle of being a human – to see others as ‘as equal human beings as we are’.

It is important for humanity to revisit these images – again and again – randomly and regularly.

It is important that generations to come have access to these images to know how devil human thinking can become and what it takes when it gets to that.

Holocaust literature, Holocaust documentaries, Holocaust TV shows, Holocaust movies and Holocaust related events like this must be made important elements of ‘exposure to history’ for everyone in every society.

There are documents. There are enactments. And in good numbers.

But the most important are the tales of survivors, the books by them and the books on them, and the images of the camps, still and moving. In case of images, we need to rely mostly on visuals shot by the Allied Forces.

Though marred by geopolitical compulsions, some of the real footage of the concentration camps as the Allied Forced were liberating one after the other, have found their way into the public domain.

But the larger part of the thousands of hours of footage is still lying in archives. It is needed to be taken out and put in public domain.

And there is some positive news on this. An important project that was shelved after some months into making in 1945 on ‘factual survey of the concentration camps’, the most direct and detailed one, has seen some restoration and release of some of its footage after 70 years with the documentary ‘Night Will Fall’.

The documentary, with so-far unseen footage, including of Auschwitz, reflects on the efforts to shoot and record the concentration camps by the British government with the movie project ‘German Concentration Camps Factual Survey’ that was never completed though some related footage was available with ‘Memory of the Camps’ and some other productions.

Holocaust Collage Image courtesy: Collage prepared from images sourced from online resources

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

OSKAR SCHINDLER TELLS US..

Oskar Schindler (April 28, 1908 – October 9, 1974)

Today is the birth anniversary of Oskar Schindler, the Nazi party member and a German industrialist who saved thousands of Jews (the 1200 Schindlerjuden or the ‘Schindler Jews’ in his factories and their over 8000 descendants now), from Hitler’s concentration camps and gas chambers.

The movie Schindler’s List is a milestone event in telling us the larger-than-life humanitarian side of Oskar Schindler who initially thought of and made quick money by manipulating the Jew resources and manpower in the Nazi ghettos for Jews.

Oskar Schindler tells us the ‘good in us’ is certainly more powerful and is as universal as the evils like Nazism or Fascism.

It just needs its spark. Realizing it is individual. Schindler could realize it. Countless others couldn’t. And this prospect about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides of humanity is timeless.

This final scene from the movie directed by Steven Spielberg is a moving tribute to the Man and to the ‘good’ side of being a human being, to the ‘good’ in all of us.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

Schindler’s List Final Scene

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIp_8RNNX4k

The conversation as filmed in the movie, as sourced from IMDB:

Oskar Schindler: I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just… I could have got more.
Itzhak Stern: Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.
Oskar Schindler: If I’d made more money… I threw away so much money. You have no idea. If I’d just…
Itzhak Stern: There will be generations because of what you did.
Oskar Schindler: I didn’t do enough!
Itzhak Stern: You did so much.
[Schindler looks at his car]
Oskar Schindler: This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people.
[removing Nazi pin from lapel]
Oskar Schindler: This pin. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern. For this.
[sobbing]
Oskar Schindler: I could have gotten one more person… and I didn’t! And I… I didn’t!