Hidden Nook

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Wannsee Conference (Auschwitz)

[Media Source*]

"This article is posted by participants of the January 27, 2005, BlogBurst (see list at end of article), to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, sixty years ago, on January 27, 1945.

A week earlier, on January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the top figures of the Nazi hierarchy formalized the Nazi plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.

Highlighting these events has become particularly important as the press reports that '45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz' (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004. (source)

Auschwitz may be viewed as the symbol for the Holocaust, and the liberation of Auschwitz, which we are commemorating today, may be viewed as the symbol of defeating evil at its worst. In remembering Auschwitz, we should try to learn the lessons it teaches us concerning current trends and events, and to do so we should focus on the basic questions: How could it have happened and can it happen again?

A thorough analysis of “how could it have happened?” is given in Goldhagen’s book, “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” (see reference at article’s end). The essential point underscored by the author is that as a result of consistent, unrelenting anti-Jewish propaganda, the elimination of the Jews from German society was accepted as axiomatic, leaving open only two questions: when and how:

The German discourse in some sense had as its foundation the extremely widespread, virtually axiomatic notion that a 'Judenfrage,' a "Jewish Problem," existed. The term 'Judenfrage' presupposed and inhered within it a set of interrelated notions... Because of the Jews' presence, a serious problem existed in Germany. Responsibility for the problem lay with the Jews, not the Germans. As a consequence of these "facts," some fundamental change in the nature of Jews or in their position in Germany was necessary and urgent. Everyone who accepted the existence of a "Jewish Problem" - even those who were not passionately hostile to the Jews - subscribed to these notions…

This axiomatic belief in the existence of the "Jewish Problem," more or less promised an axiomatic belief in the need to "eliminate" Jewishness from Germany as the "problem's" only "solution…"

The toll of these decades of verbal, literary, institutionally organized, and political anti-Semitism was wearing down even those who, true to Enlightenment principles, had resisted the demonization of the Jews. The eliminationist mind-set was so prevalent that the inveterate anti-Semite and founder of the Pan-German League, Friedrich Lange, could with verity declaim the universal belief in the "Jewish Problem," rightly pointing out that the means to the "solution," and not the existence of the "problem" itself, was the only remaining subject of doubt and disagreement. [Goldhagen, pp.80-81; for a longer quotation, see Israpundit.

Chilling isn't it? The sad part about this is that despite this event happening over a generation ago, anti-semitism is still rampant throughout the world. (This post was part of a blog burst involving 70 websites).

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By Darnell Clayton • 10:11 PM • Email Post • •


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