December 2nd, 2009

Anne Frank: are people good at heart?

I’m currently reading Francine Prose’s Anne Frank: the book, the life, the afterlife. It’s about the process by which Anne Frank wrote and then rewrote her diary, with an eye to its ultimate publication, and how her father edited her two versions into a third, the one the world ended up knowing. Then Broadway and Hollywood got into the act, as well as writers such as Philip Roth, until the diary and its message had morphed quite a bit from the original (or, more properly, originals).

Most of us have read Anne Frank’s diary, or at least parts of it, in some form or other, and even those of us who did not are probably familiar with at least a few of its quotes, the most famous of which may be Anne’s observation: “in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

It’s instructive to look at the quote once again, embedded in its original context. When we do, we find it to be far more complex and dark than it appears when as a single famous sentence standing alone, just as Anne Frank’s achievements as a writer and thinker are far more complex than the simplifications popular culture have worked on her diary. Remember as you read the following that she was only fifteen years old when she wrote it [emphasis mine]:

Anyone who claims that the older ones have a more difficult time here certainly doesn’t realize to what extent our problems weigh down on us, problems for which we are probably much too young, but which thrust themselves upon us continually, until, after a long time, we think we’ve found a solution, but the solution doesn’t seem able to resist the facts which reduce it to nothing again. That’s the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered.

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually turning into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions, and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.

Anne Frank seems to take the long view. Hers is a consciously willed optimism that takes into account some of the greatest horrors the world has ever known, and includes her own untimely death, which she correctly foresees. Whether the peace and tranquility she ultimately envisions are temporary or permanent, and whether they are of this earth or beyond it, her message has nothing of the innocence or simplicity of a trusting child, although it has often been portrayed that way.

48 Responses to “Anne Frank: are people good at heart?”

  1. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Thank you for the context. It does change the tone considerably from the “Puppies, kitties, rainbows, and smurfs” outlook the quote usually occurs in.

    There is the cry of Job or David, of Sam Gamgee or Puddleglum, rather than “High School Musical” in Frank’s words.

  2. mizpants Says:

    Yes, AVI, and it’s all the more moving when read in context.
    Neo: I’m curious about this book. What is Francine Prose’s attitude? Does she see herself as exposing the Anne Frank industry, or something like that?

  3. betsybounds Says:

    I also thank you for the context, neo. I read Anne’s diary back in the ’60s, when I was in my teens. That particular quote was one of the few specific things I remembered from the book years later, and I decided that it pretty much discredited anything else she might have said. It’s amazing what a difference those years make in how I view it now and with your post, and I have to think that maybe my own youth had something to do with what I remembered about it. Anyway I think differently about it–AVI is right, it’s not really about “Puppies, kitties, rainbows, and smurfs.” Good thing, too.

  4. Artfldgr Says:

    for an alternative read that makes anne not so special try

    Dear God I Wanted to Live – Ruta U

    yeah, i know, she isnt jewish, so no one cares…
    but its a short book and more interesting because it has to do with soviet occupation…

    yeah, i know… who cares about communists…

    Ruta U. (Upite) whose diary “Dear God, I wanted to live!” was published recently in the West, was deported at the age of 14 together with her younger sisters Maija and Dzidra to the vicinity of the Ob in 1941. Her mother and grandmother died there from the extreme conditions imposed on them through forced exile. Ruta U. was kept in the vicinity of Kolpashevo township until 1946. In 1951, together with her father and sisters, Ruta was sent here again.

    unlike anne, they couldnt smuggle her diary out till decades after wwii…

    Ruta U., Dear God, I Wanted to Live, trans. from Latvian by Rita Liepa, New York (Gramatu Draugs, 1979). (Memoirs of a young girl’s experience after she was deported to Soviet labor camps in Siberia in June 1941.)

    it can be had in many languages, i have it in latvian, and in english.

    i have brought it up neoneocon.com/2009/01/05/maus-and-memory/
    neoneocon.com/2009/02/17/a-milestone-for-a-heroine-miep-gies/

    here is someone writing about it.
    http://www.massbook.org/LAL%2007%20Letters/ariana.pdf

    Reading Dear God, I Wanted To Live impacted me unimaginably. It’s not only because I’m Latvian, just like you, but also the fact that my grandparents went through similar things you had to go through. With each word I read, I slipped into your shoes, trying to survive the harsh, brutal times you had in Siberia. With each step you and your sisters took across the frozen ground, I wondered the same thing– Why?

    Why did the Communists come and take us away from our homes?

    On June 14th, all of us Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians think of the horrific day that innocent people were forced from their country and sent up to Siberia. The fact that all of my ancestors and my friends’ ancestors had to work for hours and got barely any food changed my view of Europe’s history. I mean, I’m not the most interested person in history, but when we talked about this topic in my Latvian Girl Guides group, it immediately got my attention. I borrowed the book, and was changed– just like that. I was taken back to 1941, and pictured myself boarding those cattle cars, working hard from dusk until dawn, with very small food breaks (if you consider 5 minutes a break), and watching my own people slowly fade away.
    I want to thank you sincerely for writing this book. It impacted my life greatly, and I hope it impacts others’ lives as well, even if their roots don’t trace back to the Baltic States. Now, living in America, knowing that Latvia is a free country, I’m so proud saying that I’m Latvian. Many people don’t know about our small country, but if they look into it and read this book, it has an enormous history. ?It’s a great feeling, knowing I’m unique and here today, because my ancestors fought through the hard times to make it. Thank you
    so much once again.

    Comparitively speaking, Anne had it easy…

    there are others… some are free on the net. but we tend to refuse to learn anything other than the evils of german fascism.

    do note the dates… the books were not publishable till they could smuggle them out, or the cracks were appearing in the soviet world first.

    the diary of anne frank on the other hand was published in 1952…

    (almost all are available through amazon… but i dont know how to make sure it has your code on it. someone might as well benifit)

    Helene Celmina, Women in Soviet Prison, (New York, 1986). (Eng. trans. from Latvian, illustrated with author’s drawings, portraits and diagrams. The author was sentenced to work in a Soviet labor camp as punishment for possession of foreign periodicals — even though she was a translator. She wrote this book after she left the USSR for the West.)

    excerpts (maybe all) can be found here:
    vip.latnet.lv/LPRA/celmina/3.html

    do note that she was arrested in 62… so this is not a war text.

    Latvian Dissent: Case Histories of the 1983 Soviet Campaign to Silence Political Dissidents in Occupied Latvia, ( World Federation of Free Latvians, Rockville, MD.1983). (Documents the cases of 9 anti-Soviet activists with a chapter on each; 5 appendices with documents.)

    Andrejs Plakans, The Latvians. A Short History (Stanford, CA., 1995).

    Karlis Stripes, Inta Skinkis compilers, Fifteen Months that Shook the World, (American Latvian Association in the United States, Rockville, MD.,1992.
    Coverage of events in Latvia from January 1991 to March 1992, with focus on the crisis of January and February 1991 when Soviet military forces tried to crush the independence movement.)

    Dainis Vairgos, “Latvian Deportations 1940 – Present,” trans. and edited by Martins T. Hildebrants, (World Federation of Free Latvians, Rockville, MD.,1986 (?).
    (Eng. trans. and analysis of information in the supplementary list in: These Names Accuse: Nominal List of Latvians
    Deported to Soviet Union in 1940-1941, (2nd ed. with supplementary list, Stockholm, 1982, pp. 492-677).

    you can find her book in the list from harvard

    English-Language Primary Sources for the Study of Soviet History
    http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~martin11/BioN.html

    this list has tons more that we are ignorant of.

    going to anne is not as informative as going to these other sources..

    why?

    because the people who did anne, are gone.
    the people who did ruta, cemina, and others, are still in office, and leading the countries.

    our leaders freinds are stalinists and maoists.
    they admire the soviets, not the fascists.
    they COPY soviets…

    [and only resemble the fascists becaue the soviets copied back what worked from the germans after they copied the soviets!]

  5. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Artfl, the Jews have done very well keeping memory alive. It has not been at the expense of other victims, so don’t begrudge them their effort.

  6. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Again, we see the parting of the ways, the basic differences at the root of the radically different Liberal and Conservative understandings of fundamental human nature, their world views and their basic approaches to human beings, society and it’s governance; says the Liberal, human beings are at base good—and thus tinkering with their social and economic conditions will eliminate any problems with class and circumstance, crime or misbehavior, which are not, in any case, the individual’s fault, but says the Conservative, human beings have the potential for both good and bad, are flawed, are each responsible for their own conduct, and some men will likely misbehave if left to their own devices, so that government’s job is to eliminate–as best it can–man’s chances for misbehavior, so as to protect the sheep from the wolves, and punish men when, ultimately, of their own volition—they do misbehave.

  7. Artfldgr Says:

    Assistant Village Idiot,
    it HAS been at the expense of the other victims.

    12+ million were exterminated..
    with totals topping 20 million…

    6 million of them were jewish

    Let me know when you hear about the other 6-14 million. they seldom mention any one else

    you can see the effect this has had with soviet history. the camps that the germans used were signed over to stalin after the war, and he continued to use them. since he did not seem to single out jews, no one cared about the others. which is why russia didnt stop till 83…. and stop is the wrong word to use, because you wouldnt want to be jewish in russia today… check out how many fled there to isreal.

    How many jews did hitler kill:
    Adolf Hitler killed between 9.1 and 12 million Jewish people during the Holocaust.He committed suicide in 1945.

    so many people think that he only went after jews that they argue with you if you mention the others!!!

    glet me know if you ever heard of the Romani holocaust? a quarter million to a million…

    rummel quotes a quarter of a million gays…

    [gays should have looked to how hitler, stalin, andmao treats them before choosing sides. they have never had it as good as they do under a conservative right state... ]

    we are mostly ignorant here, and the fact that most jewish focus on the holocaust as shoa, paints a “only we count and to hell with everyone else” attitude.

    even worse… schindler and others were NOT jewish… and yet they risked their lives for them and others… but until recently with money in movies about the shoa, no one cared.

    until last year no one remembers the forest people. and the recent movie makes it appear that the only ones were jewish saving jews…

    when forest people in latvia existed decades after the war.

  8. Artfldgr Says:

    by the way…
    one day i had the pleasure to help an hasidic woman. i look jewish, and so she let me. her car broke down, and i didnt want anything to happen to her. i knew better than to shake hands, and when I couldnt get her on her way with a flat spare, i drove her to the community.

    the most common response from them was that they were amazed that i was a gentile. after all what have gentiles done for jews, right?

    this attitude is VERY pervasive, to the point where they forgot schindler and literally THOUSANDS of others who risked their lives to help them,and thousands of others that died helping them when there was a cahnce they could have survived by not helping.

    any one want to mention the religion of the people who anne frank stayed with?

  9. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    This post brings back a vivid memory of my ninth-grade English class, in which, when we read Anne Frank’s diary, the teacher read aloud only the truncated excerpt, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart,” and then muttered sotto voce, “The little fool!”

    Along with a classmate or two, I took the bait, jumped up and argued with him. I don’t remember what I said — starry-eyed nonsense, I’m sure (actually I’m afraid I remember shouting and pounding on the desk . . . ) But what I wanted to say, if I’d had the sense at that time, is just what you have expressed so clearly here — that Anne Frank chose her faith in humanity, knowing exactly what she was doing. Mostly, what I remember is how fiercely I believed that she, no older than I was but tested as I had never been, was not a fool for hanging on to hope.

    l wish you had been in my class that day to help me out!

  10. ahem Says:

    Humans are unique and very complex. Some are born kind and other just aren’t. Even some of the best of us start out pretty shaky and need the guidance of an ethical adult to civilize us. (Look in any playground.) Frank’s outlook is the only one you can take and still live a meaningful life; the others all lead to annihilation and suicide,

  11. Ozyripus Says:

    I think neoneocon set us up! And my compliments to her.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    Aftfldgr: I haven’t had time to read the whole of your comments (I’ve been out all day since I wrote my post, and I am busy for the next few hours as well).

    But just from a quick perusal of what you’ve written, it is my impression that you are WAY off base here. You are generalizing in a very negative manner about Jews as a whole, who have absolutely not forgotten the many Christians and people of other religions (including some atheists as well) who risked their lives to help them during the Holocaust. As a matter of fact, this is of such great importance to Jews that in Israel there is a special type of official honor given to such people:

    When Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by the Knesset, one of its tasks was to commemorate the “Righteous among the Nations”. The Righteous were defined as non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Since 1963, a commission headed by a justice of the Supreme Court of Israel has been charged with the duty of awarding the honorary title “Righteous among the Nations.” The commission is guided in its work by certain criteria and meticulously studies all documentation, including evidence by survivors and other eyewitnesses; evaluates the historical circumstances and the element of risk to the rescuer; and then decides if the case accords with the criteria…

    A person who is recognized as “Righteous among the Nations” for having taken risks to help Jews during the Holocaust is awarded a medal in his name, a certificate of honor, and the privilege of having the name added to those on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. (The last is in lieu of a tree planting, which was discontinued for lack of space.) The awards are distributed to the rescuers or their next-of-kin during ceremonies in Israel, or in their countries of residence through the offices of Israel’s diplomatic representatives. These ceremonies are attended by local government representatives and are given wide media coverage.

    In addition there have been many well-known books on the subject of Christians and others who helped many Jews survive. One of the best of these is called When Light Pierced the Darkness. It was written by a Jewish woman born in prewar Poland, Nechama Tec, who was saved as a child by Polish Catholics. I have written about this book at some length in this post, and about the enormous risks taken by those Poles who helped the Jews during the war (here’s another fascinating rescue story, this time about a Japanese diplomat who rescued many Jews).

    The fact that the other millions of people killed by the Nazis are not given as much attention as the Jews is hardly the Jews’ fault. Although other groups were targeted as well, the campaign against them did not quite compare either in scope or thoroughness to that against the Jews.

    I have written about the nature of the Holocaust itself (which most definitely involved more targets than only the Jews), as well as its special and most intense subset, the campaign to eradicate the Jews, here.

    As for what Anne Frank suffered, she often says in her book that she has it relatively easy. However, the diary is silent (of course) on what happened to her afterward. She suffered a great deal, according to witnesses in the camps with her, and died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen shortly before its liberation. But I think it actually borders on the obscene to try to compare her sufferings to those of others in the Holocaust and find that certain people did not suffer as much as others. It’s not a contest. Many many millions (the Jews were the largest and most heavily targeted group, but there were many other groups and individuals as well) suffered terribly at the hands of an actively evil government and leaders, and many more either cooperated in that evil, or did nothing to stop it.

  13. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    In the Whatsit household, we have been watching the DVDs of the 1980s TV miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, based on the Herman Wouk novels. Its treatment of the Holocaust is so unsparing that it’s almost unwatchable. Yes, it is focused almost exclusively on what happened to European Jews, but I don’t think that matters; as Neo said, it’s not a contest, and if you recognize the evil of it on a human level, why does it matter which groups of humans were the targets?

    Watching the miniseries, it’s staggering to realize that these things happened so short a time ago — only a few generations ago, moments in historical perspective — and that all that unbelievable evil came from a nation that we deal with so easily now as normal, civilized, unthreatening. The same thing is true of its depiction of the war in the Pacific — horrors and bravery almost unimaginable today. Watching the heroism of those who fought only a few decades ago, I can’t help wondering: if we had to, could we do it again today? And if we could, would we?

  14. betsybounds Says:

    Yes, these things happened so short a time ago. Making, yet again, the notion that “It can’t happen here” more a fantasy than even a wish. The truth is, it can happen anywhere.

    I remember, in a Sunday School class I once attended, that we were studying Job. There are so many lessons there. One of our members regarded the opening chapters, where Satan tempts God to put His servant Job into play by suggesting that, should Job’s protections be removed, Job would fall. Our member chuckled and said, “Well you don’t want to be so good that God is willing to brag on you.”

    There is a clear penalty for being among the Chosen of God, is there not. Job might well have agreed with Anne Frank about people being really good at heart. Among the questions arising is the one of whether this heart-goodness is pre- or post-fall. I myself do not know the answer to this question.

    And, in truth, it may not matter. We are where we are.

  15. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    artfl, my disagreement is slightly different from neo’s though it overlaps. Yes, it would have been better if the Jewish remembrance of the Holocaust had given more space to the other victims, but that is a sin of omission. I do not chide you for not speaking for the victims of Pol Pot or Ho Chi Minh; or farther afield, for victims of a hundred other evils and despotisms of the world. You have your sphere, your group to defend the memory of – the Eastern Europeans and Russians who suffered under communism. It is a worthy and noble endeavor. It is asking a great deal of human nature to ask anyone to keep all victims in mind at all times. We all gravitate naturally to those we know.

    If the Jews have not done enough remembering of the other victims, neither has anyone done the same favor for them. They have commemorated their own, and given some mention of the others. The Romani, for example, seem completely unconcerned about preserving the memory of their own persecution in WWII. Most of the ones I spoke with in Transylvania and Ardeal were unaware of it, and shrugged it off in favor of more recent prejudices. The Jews have preserved more records of the persecution of the Romani than the Rom have of themselves. If it is not enough, it is at least something. The Ukrainians could make their own movies and write their own novels if they wished. They don’t bother. The Jews do.

    However, and this surprised me, neo, artfl has far more of a point about Jewish neglect of the full history than I would have granted even a few months ago. Following a discussion at Volokh, I had some posts of my own about the attitudes of American Jews toward some Christians. I thought my criticisms quite mild, but they elicited a stream of accusation that took me aback. I still do not think that unfair Jewish resentment of all things Christian is a majority view – perhaps it is not even common. But it is far more present than I had expected, and very repetitive, unthinking prejudices that did not weaken under any placation came from many respondents. As a general philosemite, I am still processing exactly what happened in those discussions. There is apparently a strain of Jewish opinion that is fairly unattractive; not what I had expected.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    AVI: I’d be curious to look at those threads when I have some time, if you could offer the URLS. However, I wonder whether those expressing the anti-Christian views might perhaps be older? Even I am old enough to remember when popular Christian thought was shot through with religious anti-Semitism of the casual “after all, the Jews must suffer because they are Christ-killers” variety. If older Jewish people were raised dealing with this sort of Christian-inspired anti-Jewish feeling on a regular basis (it has more or less died out in the last forty years or so), it would not be at all surprising were they to not trust Christians in general.

  17. Maurice Says:

    As far as I know, there was no official policy to eradicate any other group other than the Jews. This was settled at the Wannsea conference, where the “Final Solution” was made official. There is nothing similar for the other groups, though ok, we can acknowledge that millions of others were murdered.

    Where are these terrible Jews benefiting from “hoarding” the Holocaust? Israel? Oh wait, there were Jews there before the Nazis, and the Balfour Declaration came out MANY years before Hitler.

    Have you paid reparation money, Aftfldgr? No, didn’t think so. Yes, the German govt. did pay some, but most of the wealth of European Jewry was never recovered, and of course, none of the lives could be recovered.

    For the record, my father was a survivor of the same camp Anna died in, Bergen-Belsen, though he started out in another camp; my grandparents were murdered in Auschwitz, as they were older. Dad was a slave laborer.

    He never took reparations. I know he is one case, and so this is anecdotal, but gosh, he only asked help originally from relatives here in the States who got out before the war, and just to help him start out until he could make it on his own. They helped, he paid them back, and went on to become a world-renowned microbiologist.

    He never took a dime from anyone else.

    How was he “using” the Holocaust, or the Jewish emphasis?

    So you are bummed out that the other groups never got the emphasis? I don’t really understand that.

    Do you really think Jews forgot that anyone else was killed? Do you think all Jews think the same, anyway? I can tell you that plenty of us know that there were people who risked..and sometimes lost…their lives helping Jews escape?

    My father..who has now been gone 25 years…met with a group of scientists and doctors from Denmark…all non-Jews…who were instrumental in helping almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark avoid the death camps. Some of these brave Danes had friends and relatives who were murdered by the Nazis for their helping Jews…fellow human beings…get away.

    You think my father wasn’t acknowledging them? Oh gosh, wrongo, he did and he and others brought them all the way to the Midwest of the US of A to thank them.

    Anyway, now you can go back to reading the other Holocaust deniers who can’t stand that there was something uniquely aimed at destroying the Jewish people, plus, will lie about what “the Jews” did with it.

    I’m sorry, you are just WRONG. I still remember the Danes, and so this goes back 35 years ago…and I remember my father embracing them.

  18. Tarragon Rose Says:

    I have long wondered why Nazi atrocities are so much better known than Communist atrocities. Every semester, I lecture on Stalin, the Ukrainian famine, and the GULAG, and every semester, students indicate they have never heard of any of this.

    Part of the answer must be the general leftist bent of the academic world. But part of it must be that Jews have worked very hard to make sure the Holocaust is remembered. If the Ukrainians have not done as much, or succeeded as well, there may be a number of reasons. (I speak of Ukrainians in particular because my maternal grandparents immigrated from the Ukraine about 1900.)

    One reason is a difference in numbers. There are many Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, or close relatives of victims, in the United States. I don’t think this is as true of Ukrainians–they either arrived before the Revolution, or after the break-up of the Soviet Union–long after the “Holodomor” (the hunger-death) of the 1930s. I don’t think there are as many Ukrainians here who have personal knowledge of the famines, as there are Jews who recall the Holocaust.

    There are cultural differences, too. All the Jews that I know are extremely literate and well-educated, able to communicate their experiences to the world in a variety of languages and media; Ukrainians, not so much. My grandparents were poor, uneducated farmers in rural Montana. My aunts and uncles led similar lives. They were, frankly, not a very literary people. Life on a wheat farm in the Great Plains left little time for school. If they heard anything about the disasters in the Ukraine, they would have had no way to communicate that knowledge to a wider audience.

    I suppose there have been some accounts written in Ukrainian. But Ukrainian is neither easy to learn nor commonly taught in schools here, and so those accounts remain inaccessible to most readers.

    I only hope that where there are larger Ukrainian communities on the East Coast and in Canada, where a sense of “Ukrainianness” survives, and with increasing educational opportunities for younger generations, the knowledge of the sufferings of the Ukrainian people will be written down and preserved.

  19. Black Mamba Says:

    Tarragon Rose – my maternal grandparents emigrated from Ukraine to Alberta, Canada around 1930 – the family stories sound very similar. They came from Galicia, right on the Polish border, rather than from Eastern, “Russian” Ukraine, where the famine took place, so I don’t think it meant as much to them as it might have otherwise.

    At any rate, Canada, having a large Urainian population, gives the holodomor a little more attention than it recieves elsewhere. But of course Communist atrocities are usually downplayed; and then also, to quote Canadian journalist (honestly, he’s good) George Jonas, the Holocaust was a “society crime” – that is to say, noone expected the Germans to be monsters, just like noone ever really expected the Russians to be civilized.

  20. tarragon rose Says:

    Black Mamba–we could be cousins, for all I know! My grandparents came from Galicia also; in fact there is probably some Polish mixed in my family. But unfortunately, that is all I know of my mother’s family background, and all the people who could have told me more are now gone.

    This week, one of my students showed me she had purchased a copy of GULAG, by Anne Applebaum, which I had mentioned in class. So I guess someone is paying attention.

    George Jonas sounds interesting.

  21. waltj Says:

    I’ve been to Yad Vashem twice, and it was quite a moving experience for me, a Catholic of Polish heritage. While Jews are obviously the principal focus of the memorial, other groups slaughtered by the Nazis like the Rom, the mentally retarded, homosexuals, and recalcitrant Christian clergymen are also recognized.

    In the Garden of the Righteous, I tried to recognize any of my family’s surnames there (no luck), and read the placards under the trees, which were still being planted at the time, for those who had saved Jews. There were Poles, Dutch, French, even some Yugoslav Muslims, the expected names like Schindler and Wallenberg. But one placard was unique, which read:

    King Christian X and the People of Denmark

    In the Jews’ efforts to remember the Holocaust, they have also remembered those who helped them, whether it’s one person or an entire nation and its sovereign. I do not resent that they might not always give equal space to the other victims.

  22. Steve G Says:

    I have been debating with myself responding to this posting as it requires one to go deep inside and pull out one’s own views of the world.

    My grandparents arrived some time before or around the first world war, primarily to escape Russian anti-semitism. I had a great aunt who lived to over 100 years of age who was left for dead as a child after being hit in the head with an ax during a pogrom in western Russia. She emigrated to California and lived a pretty good life. If not for their leaving the old world for the new, and walking across Europe to take ship to America, I probably would have died as the Germans tore through Russia with their death squads and killed all the Jews they could round up.

    I would note that just about all of the “evil” people discussed in the above comments were adherents to statism, whether fascists or communists, and acted in pursuance of some political ideal to cleanse the population of undesirables (whether Jews, Romanies, the disabled, idiots, those with the wrong political view and so on and and so on). As a conservative my view is that most civilized people are good at heart and mean well, at least until they are tested. Some are better than others and some are real stinkers. I always assume that people I meet are good and am rarely disappointed.

    And, in any particular instance, who can say what is “good” or whether it is “good or bad” for a person to seek a particular result. After all, if liberals seek to do good but are not concerned with the consequences of their actions, are they good or evil? Does the fact that Rachel Carson, who wanted to preserve animal life and argued against the use of DDT and thereby caused the horrible deaths of maybe 40,000,000 children in Africa, make her good or evil. I’m sure she was a nice person to her friends but something went awry. The answer to the question is not so easy but clearly she is venerated as a hero by the left to this day. For liberals, it is enough to have good thoughts than to actually do good deeds that end up being good.

    When I ask the silly question whether the good thoughts will have good results I am often attacked by liberals as a racist or something just as off topic and perverse. I don’t think these are really good people but that is only my opinion. But, some of my liberal friends are honest enough just to want to be left alone with their good thoughts and not have to think about or explore their consequences. (You know, that was a great “Aid For Africa” concert but did you or any one of the performers ask or do you even care who is really getting the money.) With these people friendship is possible because one can agree to disagree and still be warm friends. It is when the fact of my being a conservative somehow lowers me as a human being by some dunderhead that I leave forever the possibility of any friendship with that person. Why bother? Do I have to eat s..t in order to preserve some semblance of cordiality. If so, its not worth it.

    But when I meet someone who is really a statist and lets you know it, my defenses go up as do my assumptions about that person’s goodness, which go right out the window. These people say they want to do good as a means of acquiring power. They could care less about the little people and, in fact, use them as pawns to acquire more and more power. When the little people wake up, it is often too late.

    The comfort I take in living in the USA is that, at heart, I think we are a bunch of cowboys. The statists will bump up against our individualism, not understand it, and eventually be pushed aside as the losers. But we are in for a few tough years ’til then. (And they never give up, they’re so much smarter than the rest of us.) But, to the extent the statists are able to push through any of their power agenda we will be hard pressed to reverse course.

    In my heart of hearts I know these people are evil but they are really so few that, even if they are temporarily in power, one should adopt Anne Frank’s outlook, as it is the only positive way to go forward. To think otherwise is to sentence yourself to misery, depression and, ultimately, suicide, unless you can live your life as a mule.

  23. Patr333x Says:

    I don’t believe Artfldgr said that Jews were not acknowledging others personally, he said himself he was thanked by the person whom he helped. I think he is referring to the books that are seldom read. What I get from his post is that if people gurad the front door against the Nazis, they may be vulnerable to the Soviets at the back door.

  24. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Patr333x “if people gurad the front door against the Nazis, they may be vulnerable to the Soviets at the back door.”

    That, I would agree with.

    We know less about the GULAG because that information was hidden from the west for a few critical decades. If it was difficult to get all the truth out about the Jewish Holocaust, it was ten times more difficult to get information out of the Soviet Union.

    The factors tarragon rose mentions are also enormous.

    Neo, I’ll send a comment on that privately.

  25. Artfldgr Says:

    thanks patr333x

    i have read a lot of the books that jewish people have written. they rarely bring up others.
    the fact that there is a place in the kneset doesnt do much to compare to whats here. been to the jewish museum in ny, and other places?

    no it is not a contest.

    i never said it was.

    but to put everyone else who died similarly at the same hands of the same people, and others of the same ideological bent, on the same level plain, would not be a contest.

    right now, putin is praising stalin.
    antisemitism is on the rise.

    and if you read the complete long post as to shell oil, standard oil, ford foundation, geithners, obamas, bushes, etc… all open and known history, you would realize that i know an awful lot as to the history that no one speaks.

    anyone else besides me know that obamas step dad ran mobil oil in indonesia, which enabled standard oil to help the nazi’s during the war?
    anyone remember that ford foundation, which also has the trilateral commisson and the cfr, made lots of money from zyklon b and artificial gas produced at auswitz. or how preston bush tried a coupe on the US. how geithners father worked for ford foundation, disbursing loans to obamas?

    a lot of my friends are jewish. i attended a synagogue and learned hebrew when i was a child.

    but if no one wants something likethat to happen again, then all who suffered should stand..

    read the other books THEN tell me about anne…

    Neo, you have no idea what upite went through
    you have no idea how many times WORSE siberia was.

    you point out she died of desease just before being ‘rescued’.

    the people i am talking about were ABANDONED, and never rescued. FDR abandoned them to the soviets.

    while the germans did work jews in camps, and used them for labor, they killed tons of them outright. their average time in a camp was not that long.

    the russians worked them to death slowly over decades in horrible living conditions.

    i will bet that you know alot about the nazis, but know very little about the soviets.

    the nazis, thoguht the soviets were animals,
    the soviets RAPED the jews they freed from the camps. then they went on a rape fest all through germany

    they were WORSE…

    trying to tell me that they werent when most dont know what the heck they did or didnt do, is not a good argument.

    i have read those books AND the ones i recommended. did you read both sets?

    I shiver at the end of shindlers list as they were rescued by the soviets, and they didnt tell you that the soviet soldier raped the jewish women!!!

    In Poland, Nazi atrocities ended by late 1944, but they were replaced by Soviet oppression with the advance of Soviet forces. Soviet soldiers often engaged in plunder, rape, and other crimes against the Poles, causing the population to fear and hate the Soviet regime.[30][31][32][33]

    such compassion… who liberated the camp that anne was at? maybe it was better she died than be liberated by such… maybe..

    Polish sources claim that there are cases of mass rapes in Polish cities taken by the Red Army. In Kraków, Soviet entry into the city was accompanied by mass rapes of Polish women and girls, as well as the plunder of private property by Soviet soldiers. According to these sources, this behavior reached such a scale that even Polish communists installed by the Soviet Union were preparing a letter of protest to Joseph Stalin himself, while church masses were held in expectation of a Soviet withdrawal

    Following the Red Army’s capture of Berlin in 1945, one of the largest incidents of mass rape took place. Soviet troops reportedly raped German women and girls as young as 8 years old. Estimates of the total number of victims range from tens of thousands to two million[45]. After the summer of 1945, Soviet soldiers caught raping civilians were usually punished to some degree, ranging from arrest to execution.[46] The rapes continued, however, until the winter of 1947-48, when Soviet occupation authorities finally confined Soviet troops to strictly guarded posts and camps,“[47] completely separating them from the residential population in the Soviet zone of Germany.

    —–

    During the Siege of Budapest, Hungary, some 40,000 civilians were killed, with an unknown number dying from starvation and diseases. During the seige, an estimated 50,000 women and girls were raped[49][50]:348-350[notes 2], though estimates vary from 5,000 to 200,000.[51]:129 Hungarian girls were kidnapped and taken to Red Army quarters, where they were imprisoned, repeatedly raped, and sometimes murdered.[52]:70-71 Even embassy staff from neutral countries were captured and raped, as documented when Soviet soldiers attacked the Swedish legation in Germany.[53]

    Although the Red Army crossed only a very small part of Yugoslavia in 1944, its activities there caused great concern for the Yugoslav communist partisans, who feared that the rapes and plundering by their Soviet allies would weaken their standing with the population.[55] At least 121 cases of rape were documented later, 111 of which also involved murder.[55] A total of 1,204 cases of looting with assault were documented.[55]

    Stalin responded to a Yugoslav partisan leader’s complaints about the Red Army’s conduct by saying, “Can’t he understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometers through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle?”[55]

    no… its not a contest.

    but is it fair that those that suffered the worst… being victimized by their own leaders, then being victimized by their rescuers, then being put into a camp while the americans pay no attention or care.

    FDR GAVE STALIN THE CAMPS WHICH RUSSIA CONTINUED TO USE TO 1983

    germany didnt even suffer a decade!

    the countries that FDR gave away, the peoples, and such, they suffered WORSE ends for more than 40 years… and there was NO HOPE of help.

    Slovakia
    Slovak communist leader Vlado Clementis complained to Marshal I. S. Konev about the behavior of Soviet troops in Slovakia.[55] Konev’s response was to claim it was done mainly by Red Army deserters

    Manchuria
    A number of rapes committed by the Soviet soldiers were recorded. Where Soviet soldiers advanced, women and girls fled from their villages and towns, leaving only boys and men to be found by the Soviet soldiers

    [hey... dont we make a big stink about japanese comfort women... any one remember these women other than me?]

    did you know this?
    The Soviet Union did not recognize the entry of Imperial Russia to the Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907) as binding on itself, and refused to become a signatory until 1955.[1][citation needed] This allowed for the barbaric treatment of POWs on both the Polish and Soviet sides during the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-21. Moreover, the Soviet Union did not sign the Geneva Prisoners of War convention of 1929 until 1955. Accordingly, the Red Army was able to mistreat its prisoners of war, without any effective international pressure.

    and

    This explanation is now disputed by military writers such as Antony Beevor, at least with regard to the mass rapes. Beevor claims that Red Army soldiers also raped Russian and Polish women liberated from concentration camps, and contends that this undermines the revenge explanation.

    the russians did the same thing in georgia last year.

    bergen belson was liberated by americans.

    i never thought it was a contest
    i thought that all of it should be remembered
    people dont even know some of those countries exist, let alone what happened in them.

    Gulag
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulag

    When the war ended in May 1945, as many as two million former Russian citizens were forcefully repatriated (against their will) into the USSR.[30] On 11 February 1945, at the conclusion of the Yalta Conference, the United States and United Kingdom signed a Repatriation Agreement with the Soviet Union.[31] One interpretation of this agreement resulted in the forcible repatriation of all Soviets. British and U.S. civilian authorities ordered their military forces in Europe to deport to the Soviet Union up to two million former residents of the Soviet Union, including persons who had left Russia and established different citizenship years before. The forced repatriation operations took place from 1945-1947

    and most of these were considered traitors.
    my family was tortured to death slowly over decades as punishment.

    read this..
    and think about how the shoa focus on jews in germany allowes stalin to take over the german camps and continue to run them!!!!!!

    After Nazi Germany’s defeat, ten NKVD-run “special camps” subordinate to the GULAG were set up in the Soviet Occupation Zone of post-war Germany. These “special camps” were former Stalags, prisons, or Nazi concentration camps such as Sachsenhausen (special camp number 7) and Buchenwald (special camp number 2). According to German government estimates “65,000 people died in those Soviet-run camps or in transportation to them.”[41] According to German researchers Sachsenhausen, where 12,500 Soviet era victims have been uncovered, should be seen as an integral part of the Gulag system. [42]

    For years after World War II, a significant minority[vague] of the inmates were Ukrainians, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians from lands newly incorporated into the Soviet Union, as well as Finns, Poles, Romanians and others[citation needed]. POWs, in contrast, were kept in a separate camp system (see POW labor in the Soviet Union), which was managed by GUPVI, a separate main administration with the NKVD/MVD[citation needed].

    even the camp obamas father liberated… :)

    never again meant NOTHING because it didnt stop

    our liberals kept the camps intact and then gave them to stalin.

    anyone here want to talk about the soviet russian experience around the time of isreals creation?
    anyone want to talk about current soviet anti semitism.

    Andrei Vyshinsky, procurator of the Soviet Union, wrote a memorandum to NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov in 1938 which stated:

    Among the prisoners there are some so ragged and liceridden that they pose a sanitary danger to the rest. These prisoners have deteriorated to the point of losing any resemblance to human beings. Lacking food . . . they collect orts [refuse] and, according to some prisoners, eat rats and dogs. [46]

    comparatively speaking you decide which you would rather have been in. Since i know people that were guests of both the germans and the soviets i know their answers.

    gulags were in such remote conditions that there were no guards. they were marked only by posts.

    which is where the joke
    “when you try to escape from a gulag, make sure you bring a sandwich”

    that is, you bring a third person…
    why? so that you can eat him on the way.

    In some cases, teams of inmates were dropped to a new territory with a limited supply of resources and left to set up a new camp or die. Sometimes it took several attempts before the next wave of colonists could survive the elements.

    Many eyewitness accounts of Gulag prisoners were published before World War II.

    so the camps of germany came AFTER soviet camps. the soviet camps survived unchallended and its makers unpunished for 70 years.
    germanies camps were around for less than 10

    its not a contest..

    but to forget the worst and longest players
    and then hav them supported here.

    well, i guess the soviets won…

  26. Artfldgr Says:

    Have you paid reparation money, Aftfldgr?

    no… my family is due such money…

  27. Artfldgr Says:

    So you are bummed out that the other groups never got the emphasis? I don’t really understand that.

    i am not “bummed”… i just dont think a clear and ful understanding of events can come from such clear separation.

    just go here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust

    the second paragraph…

    Some scholars maintain that the definition of the Holocaust should also include the Nazis’ systematic murder of millions of people in other groups, including Catholics, ethnic Poles, the Romani, Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war, people with disabilities, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other political and religious opponents.[3] By this definition, the total number of Holocaust victims would be between 11 million and 17 million people.[4]

    wow…
    they all went down together.
    but the encylopedia divides them
    they have special names for theirs, which are nto to apply to the others.

    so by definition, those others were not victims of the holocaust or a part of it, they are separate.

    i think its wrong to separate them if you dont want such genocide to happen to any body. but if thats not your wish, then i guess that separating them means you can focus on what you care about most.

    and to someone above who claimed i didnt talk for the chinese and others… then you havent read me. i have been thanked for remember katyn, none of my family is in that. i have told as to the attrocities of the koreans and current stuff in china.

    i HAVE remembered as many as i could and mentioned them whenever i could.

    i do not play favorites in this the way others do

    all those tortured to death by the needs of socialism suffereed the same sickness.

    even with holocaust, and shoah… we cant even show that the jews died for socialism!!!

    the whole method of this has insured that it WILL happen again…

    Historical usage of Holocaust, Shoah, and Final Solution

    Since the 1950s its use has increasingly been restricted, with its usage now mainly used as a proper noun to describe the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-

    Holocaust was adopted as a translation of Shoah — a Hebrew word connoting catastrophe, calamity, disaster, and destruction[13]— which was used in 1940 in Jerusalem in a booklet called Sho’at Yehudei Polin, and translated as The Holocaust of the Jews of Poland. Shoah had earlier been used in the context of the Nazis as a translation of catastrophe. For example, in 1934, when Chaim Weizmann told the Zionist Action Committee that Hitler’s rise to power was an “unvorhergesehene Katastrophe, etwa ein neuer Weltkrieg” (“an unforeseen catastrophe, comparable to another world war”), the Hebrew press translated Katastrophe as Shoah.[14] In the spring of 1942, the Jerusalem historian BenZion Dinur (Dinaburg) used Shoah in a book published by the United Aid Committee for the Jews in Poland to describe the extermination of Europe’s Jews, calling it a “catastrophe” that symbolized the unique situation of the Jewish people.[13][15]

    a UNIQUE situation of the jewish people…

    am i getting my answers from americans or from jewish leaders?

    same thing with our other discussinos, we dont listen to the leaders, so we get muddled in meaning.

    The word Shoah was chosen in Israel to describe the Holocaust, the term institutionalized by the Knesset on April 12, 1951, when it established Yom Ha-Shoah Ve Mered Ha-Getaot, the national day of remembrance. In the 1950s, Yad Vashem, the Israel “Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority” was routinely translating this into English as “the Disaster”. At that time, holocaust was often used to mean the conflagration of much of humanity in a nuclear war.[16] Since then, Yad Vashem has changed its practice; the word Holocaust, usually now capitalized, has come to refer principally to the genocide of the European Jews.[9][14]

    hey! isnt that the same people neo is talking about?

    so why is everyone angry at me for following the knesset? (even using the knesset to argue?)

    if you read on… the say that SOMETIMES holocaust is used for the greater amount of people kille.d

    but these are NEVER used to include the jews killed by stalin, who turned many of them over to the nazis.

    The Columbia Encyclopedia defines “Holocaust” as “name given to the period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany”.[18]

    so far we have yad vashem saying its for the jews not the others. they may be the “”Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority”.. but they didnt include the others.

    we have historians reflecting what i am saying.

    columbia encyclopedia says too.

    Compact Oxford English Dictionary[19] and Microsoft Encarta[20] give similar definitions.

    it must be really weird of me to think that the others are being kind of left out… especially since all those sources leave them out

    The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines “Holocaust” as “the systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women, and children and millions of others by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II”.[1]

    sounds like the others were added at the end.
    even though many o9f those others came before the jews, adn that stalin continued the work.

    Yehuda Bauer contends that the Holocaust should include only Jews because it was the intent of the Nazis to exterminate all Jews, while the other groups were not to be totally annihilated.[22] Besides Bauer,[23] scholars Xu Xin,[24] Ben Kiernan,[25] Edward Kissi,[26] Simone Veil,[27] Monika Richarz,[28] and Francis Deng[29] refer solely to the destruction of the European Jewry when using the term “Holocaust”.

    maybe neo and others should have a talk with them… i have read several of them.

    and lets compare what neo said to me

    neo makes her case with this:
    When Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by the Knesset, one of its tasks was to commemorate the “Righteous among the Nations”. The Righteous were defined as non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

    however all that says is that the holocaust is for jews, and we reward those who helped jews. what abotu the others?

    here is where i get my conflicting point.
    Inclusion of non-Jewish victims of the Nazis in the Holocaust is objected to by many persons including Elie Wiesel, and by organizations such as Yad Vashem established to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.[30]

    They say that the word was originally meant to describe the extermination of the Jews, and that the Jewish Holocaust was a crime on such a scale, and of such totality and specificity, as the culmination of the long history of European antisemitism, that it should not be subsumed into a general category with the other crimes of the Nazis.[30]

    so there you have it…. they DONT include the others who suffered.

    [want me to quote them?]

    personally, when Yad Vashem changes their stance i will change my stance as its their stance that informs my assertion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yad_Vashem

    Yad Vashem (Hebrew: יד ושם‎ also spelled Yad VaShem; “Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority”) is Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust established in 1953 through the Yad Vashem Law passed by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

    Non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust, at personal risk, are honored by Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among the Nations.”

    which is what neo brings up.

    but that says nothing about the others does it.
    it does not allow a non jewish man who shared his food with a jew in a camp to be remembered does it?

    Goals and objectives
    Commemoration
    preserving the memory and names of the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and the numerous Jewish communities destroyed during that time
    holding ceremonies of remembrance and commemoration

    hey! where is the paragraph that they shared their fate with others?

    Research and Publications:
    conducting, encouraging and supporting research regarding the Holocaust
    encouraging students and young scholars to research the Holocaust
    developing and coordinating symposia, workshops and international conferences and undertaking scholarly projects
    publishing research and making it available to the general public
    publishing memoirs, documents, albums and diaries related to the Holocaust

    remember their definitino is only jews… so all that research cuts out eeryhone else. I have read quite a lot of it, so i can tell you they DO leave everyone out.

    and by so doing, the cancer of socialism/communism still walks the earth and wishes to destroy and remove the people of God.

    having the families of 180 million victims woudl have been much stronger a force for prevention than only focusing on 6 million.

    if you have a beef with the idea that the holocaust is only about jews, write a letter to the knesset and to Yad Vashem… it was they who taught me.

    they didnt say ALL victims did they?

  28. Artfldgr Says:

    I probably would have died as the Germans tore through Russia with their death squads and killed all the Jews they could round up.

    the germans didnt roung them up.
    here is a photo of russans turning jews over to the SS

    http://www.sovietstory.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/soviet-and-nazi-officers.jpg

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: When the Knesset restricts the term “Holocaust” to Jews (which I don’t), they certainly are not ignoring the fact that others were victims. Why do you require that the Jews be the keepers of the Nazi crimes, and spokespeople for all its victims? Do you require that of the other victims? Why should Jews not regard their own near-destruction as especially worthy of note? And did you read my post that I linked, on the specialness of the Nazi war to extreminate the Jews?

    Many groups were targeted by the Nazis, but the scope and intensity of the pursuit of the Jews was indeed special. They came first; they were the canaries in the mine. Hitler didn’t get around to most of the rest; he would have, had he time enough. He ran out of time. But first and foremost, he wanted to get the Jews. And he succeeded in eliminating 2 out of every 3 Jews in Europe. If that’s not a special case, I don’t know what is.

    And yes, the Gulag was terrible as well. As I said, it’s not a contest.

  30. waltj Says:

    Artfldgr, the British liberated Bergen-Belsen. I had a neighbor as a child who was a survivor of that camp. I don’t remember too much about his talks with my parents, as I was quite young, but I do remember him saying nice things about the “English”. I shouldn’t wonder why, I suppose. If Anne Frank had still been alive when the “Tommies” arrived, then she would have been in good hands.

  31. Maurice Says:

    One mistake, for what it’s worth, Artfldgr:

    Bergen Belsen was liberated by the British Army, with elements of a Canadian unit, NOT the American Army.

  32. JaneLK Says:

    Holy crap – look what’s going on in this post! I just cannot believe (or maybe I can) it that people – people in general – very good people – bad people – people who don’t care – are STILL uncomfortable with the fact that Jews throughout history have been specifically targeted for persecution and systematic extermination. I’m sick of said people saying “what about the (fill in a persecuted race here)?” “They suffered too.” Yes, many races have suffered throughout history. As neo points out this is not a damned contest. All atrocities should be acknowledged for what they are – EVIL. But for G-d’s sake, sorry: the Jews have gotten screwed from day one. And they are also supposed to make sure THEY acknowledge every other racial atrocity so it is easier for everyone to accept Jewish persecution? Who gave them that responsibility? Read Father Edward Flanagan’s “The Anguish of the Jews” from a Catholic priest’s perspective. I remember visiting the Anne Frank in Amsterdam a few years back, after reading the revised version of her diary that was supposed to be closest to the original. She was angry, pissed off at the world, and she talked about being Jewish and that because of this she new she was going to die. She didn’t have it easy. I watched the videos of her friends in the camp who watched her suffering; she tried to hold onto hope that her father was still alive after seeing her mother and sister perish. She didn’t make it. And for anyone who has visiting Anne Frank House, you know that there is literature, lectures and presentations that talk about ALL victims of the Holocaust, not just the Jews.

  33. MissJean Says:

    Just a small comment: One of the reasons that the Holocaust is more discussed than other genocides is that the Germans kept meticulous records. They also had a slow, systematic method of destroying the Jews, first by stripping them of their citizenship and taking away their right to travel, their right to own businesses, etc. To read (in translation, for me) their supposedly “humane” reasons for putting Jews in ghettos is to see a hideous caricature of a government interested in the welfare of its people.

    But if you want to talk about callousness to victims, I could tell you of it. Last year when my senior English class was reading “Night”, we discussed the precursors to the campaign against the Jews: the killing of the handicapped and mentally-ill. There’s something absolutely chilling about realizing that our own society is so twisted that many students think killing “retards” isn’t as bad as killing normal people.

  34. Mike Says:

    To Artfldgr:
    No brickbats from me, but I do feel sorry for you.
    From my perspective both stories
    Anne Frank and Ruta U’s are tragic.
    But you seem to think to the more Anne’s story is talked about the less Ruta U’s story is important. So you spend your energy and effort trying to tear down or belittle Anne’s story in the hope that it will build up Ruta’s. First impressions tend to stick, and while I may read up on Rutas story, its effect will be somewhat diminished due to your brickbats about Anne and the Jews.
    I’m reminded of a section of Karl Stern’s book Flight from women, where he is talking about a character in a Russian Novel. The mother who has lost her child is complaining to a mother of seven that- It’s is not right, it would be easier for you since you have seven children. Stern goes on to talk about how the one mother thinks Love is finite and therefore the loss of 1/7th is easier than the loss of 1. While the other mother knows that the loss of 1 of the 7 would be just as tramatic since love is not a finite commodity. (While the book is a bit dated, I still remember how insightful Stern was in his comments section.)
    Likewise the loss of Anne and the loss of Ruta are both Tragic but Separate. While the world may have a better knowledge of Anne, it is of no consequence to the One that loves them both. Someday, it is my prayer that you come to understand this.

  35. Mike Says:

    PS: One final thought, notice that most of the dialog in the comments section are about you and not what neo had to say. I don’t think that was your intent, but you may want to reflect on it. Did you change any minds? I don’t think so. I would have prefered you talk more about Ruta U than throwing brickbats.

  36. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    As a conservative my view is that most civilized people are good at heart and mean well, at least until they are tested. Some are better than others and some are real stinkers. I always assume that people I meet are good and am rarely disappointed.

    The “civilized” veneer is a thin one indeed.

    A friend of my father’s was a POW in Germany during the war. As the war got closer to the end, and food got tighter, it seemed to him that the higher the rank the harder they fought for that last scrap of food.

    As a sysadmin, I tend to think that people people as being good at heart, but incomplete in their thought processes. There’s no is this a good thing to do or not? going on. Sadly, human stupidity is full of ideas: usually really bad ones.

    Ultimate, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And melting snowballs.

  37. Artfldgr Says:

    Many groups were targeted by the Nazis, but the scope and intensity of the pursuit of the Jews was indeed special. They came first; they were the canaries in the mine.

    your missing my point entirely..

    and the jews were NOT the first…
    they came LATER…
    people like me came first… Acton t4..
    came before acton t14…

    the FIRST to go where the infirm and such…

    Action T4 (German: Aktion T4) was a program, also called Euthanasia Program, in Nazi Germany spanning October 1939 until August 1941, during which physicians killed 70,273 people[1] specified in Hitler’s secret memo of September 1, 1939 as suffering patients “judged incurably sick, by critical medical examination”,[2] but described in a denunciation of the program by Cardinal Galen as long-term inmates of mental asylums “who may appear incurable”.[3]

    The Nuremberg Trials found evidence that German physicians continued the extermination of patients after October 1941 and evidence that about 275,000 people were killed under T4.[4]
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_T4

    On October 23, 1941, S.S. head Heinrich Himmler issued an order down the Nazi chain of command which heralded a major change in Nazi policy with respect to the “Jewish problem.” Until then, the Nazis worked vigorously to encourage Jews to emigrate. The Madagascar Plan (see below) was one example of strategies which were formulated to remove Jews from Germany and its occupied lands. As is described in more detail in Chapter 11, many countries refused to accept Jewish refugees. This shift in policy resulted in the deportation of Jews to camps and ghettos in the East. The policy to “resettle” Jews to these ghettos and camps was a significant step in what was to become the “Final Solution” the systematic murder of millions of Jews.

    October 1939 until August 1941
    comes before
    October 23, 1941

    wouldnt you say?

    they were NOT the canaries in the coal mine..
    they are only canaries in a coal mine if you dont know the WHOLE history, and my point is the reason you dont know the whole history is cause of this focus.

    the FIRST ones were in 1929..

    More than 14 million people passed through the Gulag from 1929 to 1953

    1929, comes before 1941… no?

    A declared neutral country during the early phases of World War II, Latvia fell prey to the realpolitik of both Nazi Germany and Communist Soviet Union, who concluded a Non-Aggression Treaty on 23 August 1939, known as the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The Pact allowed Germany to invade Poland on 1 September 1939. Among its secret provisions was the establishment of a Soviet Sphere of Influence in Eastern Europe, which included Latvia and allowed the Soviet Union under various pretexts to invade Latvia on 17 June 1940 and annex the country on 5 August 1940. The illegal takeover was never recognized de jure by major Western powers. Immediately after establishing its rule through its collaborators and proxies, the Soviets began deporting the elites to the Soviet Union, culminating in the mass deportation on 14 June 1941 of more than 15,000 people. After the Nazi German occupation from 1941 to 1944/45, the USSR reoccupied Latvia and applied harsh measures to punish the people for alleged collaboration with the enemy and resisting Soviet occupation. A second mass deportation on 25 March 1949 effectively ended armed resistance against the occupation regime.

    the first deportations started in 14 June 1941
    and that is before October 23, 1941

    so they were NOT the first… and read the paragraph above…
    it was planned before the war even started!

    and its this FALSE information that i am combating.

    the VERY first were the ones sent to the system in 1929.

    Stalin’s regime was also marked by mass deportations and forced resettlement of entire peoples and social groups to Siberia and other areas of the vast country. At the end of the 1920s and the early 1930s, the regime rid the country of well-to-do farmers (kulaks) who had survived the regime-induced famine in Belarus and Ukraine and did not wish to collectivise. In the “Great Purge” of the 1930s, former Bolshevik cadres who had served Lenin were deported or murdered as “traitors.” Ethnic groups who were suspected of being disloyal, including Latvians, were also deported—of the 126,000 Latvians in the USSR, 75,000 were arrested, and 20,000 were shot.

    close to 20 years before the jews, if we cared about everyone, the jews would never have had what happened to them happen.

    instead, the communists here denied everything happening… they covered it. remember duranty? FDR knew, he sold the countries out…

    if we fought mass exterminations by socialists, we could have saved 6 million jews rather than sit here believe they were the first… , we would have saved over 30 million in russia.. another 20 million in war

    THATS my beef…

    get the facts wrong, and you get everything else wrong.

    GIGO… garbage in garbage out.

  38. Artfldgr Says:

    Yes, many races have suffered throughout history. As neo points out this is not a damned contest. All atrocities should be acknowledged for what they are – EVIL.

    your right..
    and if no one else will bring up ALL of them i will
    if the jews dont want to, that is their choice
    but if we are going to discuss history, lets get our facts straight..

    ALL atrocities should be acknowledged, and what people dont get is that by separating, it is implied they and others dont care. i know this is not true, but the effect is still there.

    above i showed that for nearly 20 years this went on before the jews… too bad we didnt care then, we could have saved a lot of people.

    too bad we dont care enough after wwii, we gave the camps to stalin, he kept killing jews and others. never again? we continued it! and thats what i am angry at.

    i dont think this is a contest. but as i said above.
    if the families and relatives of 200 million people sang with one voice, not separating themselves, the jews who are a small race would be standing in a group protecting them!!!!!

  39. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: the Jews were the canaries in the coal mines regarding the Nazis’ targeting ethnic groups or nations. I am well aware of what the Nazis did to the developmentally disabled and the infirm in Germany. In fact, I wrote about the subject at length three years ago, here. Perhaps you should check the “search” function to see what I’ve written before you accuse me of being ignorant of something.

    There was a huge difference, however. The Germans protested that effort (see the post for more), and therefore it never went anywhere near as far as Hitler wanted to take it, although it continued in clandestine fashion. With the Nazi war against the Jews, he was far more successful. It seemed that fewer people cared about those particular canaries.

    I’ve also made it very clear that I’m not comparing the Gulag to the Holocaust, when I call the Jews the canaries of the Nazis. I was not talking about the Gulag at the point, nor was I suggesting the Nazi war against the Jews came before the Gulag.

  40. Artfldgr Says:

    But you seem to think to the more Anne’s story is talked about the less Ruta U’s story is important. So you spend your energy and effort trying to tear down or belittle Anne’s story in the hope that it will build up Ruta’s. First impressions tend to stick, and while I may read up on Rutas story, its effect will be somewhat diminished due to your brickbats about Anne and the Jews.

    i wasnt belittling anne…
    or the jews…

    i was trying to find a small space and time for others. and obviously, others are not to be brought up.

    so how should i go about it? did you read about her the other times i posted her name? how about the other woman? (arrested in the 60s!!! as it was still going on).

    its funny, but my very good isreali friend, doesnt think i think the way that i am being taken here. even HE gets tired of hearing one focus to the exclusions of others.

    however, do we want a history that is incomplete. do we want people to think that they were canaries in a coal mine, or that they came later.

    the truth is they came later, and they should be ANGRIER that the world knew and let it happen anyway.

    go ahead, punish me by not reading or regarding ruta. you wouldnt have known her anyway without this… and even if you read it and dont regard it, thats better than before..

    honest hands, prior to my words how many here knew about Ruta Upite?

    how many knew about anne?

    there is one book by Ruta.
    there are hundreds of books about anne.

    all i am saying is that its time to expand beyond the one subject.. beyond what has been known for 50 years…

    if you think that anne sharing the podium with someone else and other ghosts diminishes her, then thats your problem… i dont think that having all the victims stand up and be noted diminished anything.

    i am comparing 70 years of such behavior, to 5 years of such behavior…

    there is plenty of evidence that such things are still going on… but alas… hitler is gone… why look to the others. like before hitler, we went back to sleep.

    hows that help us now?

    I have long wondered why Nazi atrocities are so much better known than Communist atrocities. Every semester, I lecture on Stalin, the Ukrainian famine, and the GULAG, and every semester, students indicate they have never heard of any of this.

    well, look what happens when you try to bring it up in a common conversation.

    if i didnt, and even if i do, its still going to remain in ignorance since they still arent going to go read any of it.

  41. Artfldgr Says:

    fine.. i apologize..
    when they talk of anne i will not say anything.

    i guess thats better…

    tarragon rose, and others do understand what i am saying…and they do understand that i am not diminishing what is known.. i am disparaging that we WANT to remain ignorant… we want certain things to be special… if they become common, if we knew that there were 1000 annes… and another 1000 someplace else… it feels like we are diminishing the one unique one.

    cant help that. thats relativism, where two absolutes cant stand next to each other whole, but have to add up to one value… and in that view, the podium has to be taken alone.

    so i apologize..
    she can have the podium alone..
    only the winner can stand alone, no?

    it was a contest, and you guys won…
    saying it wasnt doesnt make is so, sharing the winners circle does.

  42. Artfldgr Says:

    by the way…
    i didnt say the jews should
    i said that since they dont, i do…

    just like others say its the ukrains should do it, or this other group does or not.

    duh.. thats what i am doing…

    this is the response you get, and this is the effect i said that keeps the other stories at bay.

    bottom line…
    no one will bother…

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Artflgr: Why are Nazi atrocities better known than Stalin’s? It’s a good question, and I’ll make an attempt at an answer.

    They occurred in the context of a hot war in which we were heavily involved. Then at the end, Americans helped liberate the camps and discovered some of the terrible evidence, and the Allies (under Eisenhower) made sure word got out by making documentary films that were extremely shocking and graphic.

    The Gulag and other of Stalin’s atrocities (the famine, for example) happened when we were not exactly at war with the country—a cold war is inherently much less dramatic than a hot one. Nor was there some dramatic liberation that we accomplished (unless you count the tearing down of the Berlin Wall—which did get quite a bit of attention because of its drama). And the slow pace of the whole thing (70 years vs. 5, as you say) made it seem less intense to the outside onlooker, not more, even though that may seem paradoxical.

    Books such as The Gulag Archipelago were well received, but it was a very very long work and largely unread. Holocaust literature tends to be shorter and more dramatic, and ultimately more readable. In addition the leftist elements in our press (Duranty comes to mind) had an interest in covering up the Soviet crimes.

    Here I refer to Duranty as one of the ten worst Americans ever, for his efforts in that direction. But how many people have even heard of him?

  44. Artfldgr Says:

    I would have prefered you talk more about Ruta U than throwing brickbats.

    i would… no one asked.
    they wanted only anne..

    why is it a brick bat to say no one cares?
    thats what i said..
    and the response wasnt yes we care..
    yes we want to learn

    neoneocon.com/2009/12/02/anne-frank-are-people-good-at-heart/#comment-135773

    go ahead, read it again.
    i said that people dont care..
    i didnt say the jews didnt care, did i?

    here are all the phrases..

    for an alternative read that makes anne not so special try

    [here i recognize that when things stand together, it seems to diminish the unique one]

    yeah, i know, she isnt jewish, so no one cares…
    but its a short book and more interesting because it has to do with soviet occupation…

    yeah, i know… who cares about communists…

    did everyone show me they care? i said that people care MORE if its jewish, not less…
    did the responses show me differently?

    no.. they confirmed that the german nazi story was as i said. more important to them… they confirmed that they dont really care as much about the communist attrocities..

    was i wrong in what i said, or did people not liek the truth they didnt like?

    if they cared would i have felt the need to put up more and make an argument?
    hows this for an example of caring…

    http://neoneocon.com/2009/10/17/those-paranoid-conservatives-who-are-you-calling-deranged/

    http://neoneocon.com/2008/08/04/rip-solzhenitsyn/

    http://neoneocon.com/2008/03/13/mamet-the-end-of-the-beginning/

    http://neoneocon.com/2008/11/18/jonestown-reflections-30-years-later/

    http://neoneocon.com/2009/02/26/learning-from-history-is-it-possible/

    http://neoneocon.com/2009/02/17/a-milestone-for-a-heroine-miep-gies/

    http://neoneocon.com/2009/01/05/maus-and-memory/

    those are the other times i mentioned her..
    did anyone remember? did anyone try to read.

    maybe i think they dont care, because they act like they dont care. and what they dont like most is knowing they dont care, when they want to care.

    mentioned 8 times in total… no one read it.
    and on the 8th time i said people dont care.
    and THAT got them…

    Comparitively speaking, Anne had it easy…

    maybe thats what got peoples goat… but anne spent most of this horrible time in an attick… the whole war was less than 10 years.. and the final solution was less than 5..

    upite was taken younger than anne, was sent to siberia, and stayed there for over 20 years.

    to me thats harder… maybe not to you.
    maybe not to neo.. but its an opinion…

    this list has tons more that we are ignorant of.

    going to anne is not as informative as going to these other sources..

    why?

    because the people who did anne, are gone.
    the people who did ruta, cemina, and others, are still in office, and leading the countries.

    our leaders freinds are stalinists and maoists.
    they admire the soviets, not the fascists.
    they COPY soviets…

    and thats the last thing i said..

    where is the brick bat
    where is the requirement of jews to include others
    where is the contest?
    (my opinion that being several decades tortured is worse than a couple of years tortured, i was being factual, not competitive)

    the next post said
    Artfl, the Jews have done very well keeping memory alive. It has not been at the expense of other victims, so don’t begrudge them their effort.

    read my statements.. where did i begrudge them?
    that anne didnt suffer more? (martyr syndrome?)

    go ahead… go back and read MY words.

    by the way, there were no minds to change
    nothing i said was a argument to change minds
    it was statements of fact as i see them
    and now seem quite confirmed..

    what was protected was annes image and position, by trying to bring up someone else i threatened that.

  45. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: I thought of another reason the Holocaust may have gotten more worldwide attention than the Gulag.

    The Gulag was huge and claimed many victims, but it was an internal Soviet enterprise. The Soviet Union had swallowed up many nations, of course, but they were Eastern European nations that most people in Western Europe and America were not all that familiar with. But the Nazis conquered the bulk of Western Europe (and much of Eastern Europe), and took the Jews from almost all the countries they occupied and sent them to work and/or death camps.

    Therefore, much of the population of Western and Eastern Europe was complicit in the crime, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the country and the situation. Some were complicit through cooperation, others by not doing enough to prevent it, others by looking away (even the US could have saved more Jews by granting visas, and for the most part did not). And some, of course, were heroes and rescuers, as we’ve discussed here.

    But most people in Europe, especially Western Europe, probably had an “up close and personal” attitude towards the Holocaust, and needed to explain and confront their own guilt or innocence. In contrast, the Gulag was more self-contained, and less personal to European and American onlookers.

  46. vanderleun Says:

    Artfldgr asks,

    “why is it a brick bat to say no one cares?
    thats what i said..
    and the response wasnt yes we care..
    yes we want to learn”

    One of the last lessons we ever learn, and one that will be repeated by life until we do learn it, is that “people” care about what they care about and will not care about what you want them to care about.

    That’s just how it is. That is the hard reality. That is the elemental truth of human caring that operates like the force of gravity.

    An even more adamantine truth is that the more you try to “force” them to care they less they will care even while assuring you that they do care.

    As was said in a pre-school long long ago, “You git what you git and you don’t throw a fit.”

    When you tell me to care I have to tell you that I couldn’t care less…. even when I do care.

  47. Tarragon Rose Says:

    Artfldgr, actually, I did go to Amazon.com, searched for the book about Ruta, found some available from the used book sellers (it seems to be out of print), and added a copy to my shopping cart. I will read it, and my students will hear of it every semester from now until the day I retire. So I want to thank you for letting me know about it.

  48. Mike Says:

    To Artfldgr,
    This is an old post and you may not read it but I wanted to comment on a couple of points, just to clarify some points. Not to change your mind but to give you a point of view from my perspective. I’m not saying it is the right point of view, only that it is my point of view.
    *************************
    “i wasnt belittling anne…
    or the jews…
    i was trying to find a small space and time for others. and obviously, others are not to be brought up.
    so how should i go about it? did you read about her the other times i posted her name? how about the other woman? (arrested in the 60s!!! as it was still going on). ”
    *************************
    This is not a static bunch of readers, buy a dynamic one. Your comment “did you read about her the other times i posted her name?”
    Says much. And had I known about your prior posts, I probably would not have been a bit hostle to your comments. But from my point of view, this set of comments was the first time I was introduced to Ruta U..
    *****************************************
    “yeah, i know… who cares about communists…
    did everyone show me they care? i said that people care MORE if its jewish, not less…
    did the responses show me differently?”
    ************************************
    I think you are drawing conclusions based on your knowledge and beliefs and not on the knowledge and beliefs of your readers. A victim is a victim to me. It makes no difference if they are a Jewish victim of WWII or a Rwanda victim of 1994 or a victim in the Sudan in 2009. I read Neo’s article and found it interesting that there was more to Anne Frank view of life than the 1960′s movie version that I remember seeing as a child. If she had written about Rwanda, I would have had the same interest in broadening my knowledge of the victims in that tragedy. Had a Jewish person commented on the need to focus on Anne, they would have gotten the same response that I gave to you. You see, I don’t disagree with you that the people in Russia and China are worse or just as bad as Hitler and his ilk, but the general population doesn’t even have the simple knowledge of where the countries are, let alone their politics.
    But I don’t let it become the focus of my life.
    I don’t much like it when the “Jewish/Acedemic intelligencia” complain about Pius XII being “Hitler’s Pope”, but that does not affect my view of Anne Frank. The intelligencia are free to foolishly believe what they want. My only thought is, if the pope was so bad and uncaring in their view looking back 40 yrs, why did the Chief Rabbi of Rome convert and take Pius’name in his time in his time period? I opt for the Rabbi’s point of view. But their problem is there problem, I’m not interested in their beliefs, no matter how much they believe them.
    Well I’ve rambled on enough. In looking back on your last comment, if I’ve offended you, I’m sorry. It was not my intent. And while I may not fully agree with your position, I can better see how you have come to it. If you or Neo write a piece on Ruta U, I will read it with the same interest that I read Neo’s piece on Anne.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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