Tolkien, artist

To Forget is to Repeat...NEVER Forget

Last night the History Channel broadcast a show called "Engineering Evil" last night, that went into the history of the human engineering behind the Holocaust. I'm not going to go into the personal reasons of why the Holocaust is important to me, if you want to know you can read my LJ post of last night. But I did see some things that I had not been aware of.

That was rather amazing to me, because I am a long-time scholar of this part of history because of personal inclinations and family history.

If you saw this perspective, you were already inside the death camp portion of Auschwitz - Birkenau. The tracks are cleaned up now to the more traditionally shown single track leading to the landing ramp (not built until late in the war). But in the old photos, there were several merging train tracks that met at the ramp, then separated out again.

I am always amazed by the clinical distance that people took while engineering and documenting the most amazing atrocities. One thing that nailed me to the core was a scene where some metal address/name tags were taken from a drawer. These were factory "slave" laborers. This particular person was 17 years of age when she was there, and her birthdate was my birthdate - 26 years before I was born, but my own birthdate. It was freaky.

Arbeit macht frei - Work will make you free. In a macabre way of thinking, that was true, because the fatality rate of the slave laborers was also very high. And don't lose sight of the fact that the Jews, although the largest proportion of victims, were only a portion. The persecution extended to homosexuals and Gypsies as well as smaller ethnic groups and some of the conquered territory's inhabitants. The killing machine of WWII extended far and wide.

If you want to read a bit more about the show, the NY Times had a great review here. Take a read, and if it gets rebroadcast, take a look. It is well done with new information and pictures, and was quite comprehensive without being maudlin. Probably the best thing I've seen on the Holocaust in many years, perhaps since Shoah so many years ago. Remember your ancestors on this cold and blustery Minnesota day. Remember them and honor them - they are a part of you.
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I am always saddened by how much one human being can hurt another. There are so many examples in the past, starting from the beginning of civilizations, and awful things are happening even today.

Yes, I agree with you and I think hatred should not be spread among young generations. But I also agree with the line in your title - it sums up the whole thing in just four words. I really hope that the world will one day be a better place, and that the past will never be repeated.
I think that the internet, in many ways, has helped to create a more understanding world-wide community because it has broken distance down and made next-door-neighbors of you and I (for instance) even though we are separated by vast distances. It allows people to find that others, in places they never imagined, share their viewpoints, loves and desires. It can be a marvelous bridge when used for good.

- Erulisse (one L)
My daughter and her friend visited Auschwitz when they were in Krakow a few years ago - they were both 19 and she felt, as a historian, she should go. She said that she was, pleased is not the word - satisfied? to see that it is not 'a tourist attraction' even though there are many visitors there each day.
Auschwitz has a large number of visitors every year, and I'm pleased that is the case because it is a very large and visible symbol of what the blinders that people will put up against "uncomfortable" truths can lead to. One of the reasons I've never gone farther into Europe than England is because I know if I went onto the northern part of the continent, I would feel that I had to see as many of the Camps as possible - not exactly the most upbeat of tourist regimes. I do think that I will go to Auschwitz one day - I think I have to acknowledge the family that I never had the chance to know.

- Erulisse (one L)