Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 27 JANUARY

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 27 JANUARY

    You can sign up to the Holocaust Memorial Day Statement of Commitment here: http://www.holocaustmemorialday.gov.uk/roc/default.asp

    1. We recognise that the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilisation. Its unprecedented character and horror will always hold universal meaning.

    2. We believe the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation's collective memory. We honour the survivors still with us, and reaffirm our shared goals of mutual understanding and justice.

    3. We must make sure that future generations understand the causes of the Holocaust and reflect upon its consequences. We vow to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and of all genocide.

    4. We value the sacrifices of those who have risked their lives to protect or rescue victims, as a touchstone of the human capacity for good in the face of evil.

    5. We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race, religion, disability or sexuality make some people's lives worth less than others'. Genocide, antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination still continue. We have a shared responsibility to fight these evils.

    6. We pledge to strengthen our efforts to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other genocide. We will do our utmost to make sure that the lessons of such events are fully learnt.

    7. We will continue to encourage Holocaust remembrance by holding an annual UK Holocaust Memorial Day. We condemn the evils of prejudice, discrimination and racism. We value a free, tolerant, and democratic society.
    I met a holocaust survivor at the weeked; Leon Greenman, author of "An Englishman in Auschwitz", who is regularly present at the exhibition about his life at the Jewish Museum in Finchley. During the war, he was trapped in Holland with his wife and baby (both sent immediately to the gas chambers on arrival at Aushwitz) and captured by the nazis.

    He is an incredible, inspiring character, 95 years old and still determined to tell as many people as possible about his horrific experiences - saying "Never forget". Because of this, he still receives threats from the likes of Combat 18 and the BNP and has bars on his windows as he has had them smashed recently.

    The emotion in his voice as he recounts his story takes you right there. A recent survey indicated that half the British people do not know about what happened at Auschwitz - Holocaust Memorial Day has a vital role to play to keep the memory alive as the survivors get fewer. For Leon's sake and everyone's; "Never forget".
    \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

  • #2
    Unlike Mikey_C I haven't met a Holocaust survivor, but I have been to Auschwitz. Back in 1979 my new wife & I were on holiday to see the Speedway world final in Katowice. The coach taking us from Katowice to Prague stopped unannounced at Auschwitz & we visited the camp. My first impression was surprise, I'd imagined it like every WW2 P.O.W. you ever see. All wooden huts etc., but these were brick built 2 story barracks. But then there's the evidence of a world with different values, where the innocent is sinister. What looked like drains between the blocks were actually holes where the execution stake went. But horrified as you are by the numbers murdered, they're too much to take in, what brought it home to me was the sight of a little girl's dress who had died there, it was similar in size to one my little niece would whear. Maybe the big numbers too much & you need the personal to bring it home. Not somewhere you'd choose to go on holiday to, but somewhere you should go.
    Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

    Comment


    • #3
      Unlike Mikey_C I haven't met a Holocaust survivor, but I have been to Auschwitz. Back in 1979 my new wife & I were on holiday to see the Speedway world final in Katowice. The coach taking us from Katowice to Prague stopped unannounced at Auschwitz & we visited the camp. My first impression was surprise, I'd imagined it like every WW2 P.O.W. film you ever see. All wooden huts etc., but these were brick built 2 story barracks. But then there's the evidence of a world with different values, where the innocent is sinister. What looked like drains between the blocks were actually holes where the execution stake went. But horrified as you are by the numbers murdered, they're too much to take in, what brought it home to me was the sight of a little girl's dress who had died there, it was similar in size to one my little niece would whear. Maybe the big numbers too much & you need the personal to bring it home. Not somewhere you'd choose to go on holiday to, but somewhere you should go.
      Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

      Comment


      • #4
        I met 3 survivors at a friend's Barmitzvah in the 70's. If I remember correctly these elderly relatives had been in different camps - Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau.

        A few years later I visited Dachau. I remember this enormous empty space with just marks on the ground showing you where a wooden hut had been. Only one or two huts had been recreated to give an idea of how many people were crammed into it so as you walk across this huge field you think "there was another ... and another ... and another" and the numbers begin to mount up mentally. You get an idea of the capacity of living prisoners before you even start considering that the camp's population was constantly changing - new arrivals replacing those who had gone into the showers...
        A very sobering experience.

        Comment


        • #5
          Whoops! Not sure what happened there, when I posted it didn't seem to go so I tried again. Any chance one can be deleted? :oops:
          Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

          Comment


          • #6
            I have been to some haunted places in my time but when I visited Auschwitz back in June 1994 I was overwhelmed by the ghosts. The smaller camp - Birkenau (or Auschwitz I) where the collections of shoes andhair and luggage etc is teribly moving. The main camp - Auschwitz II - further up the road is just staggering in its size.

            I was there in mid-summer - people who lived in the apartment blocks just over the fence were picnicing amongst the trees (sounds of children playing) , and this strange juxtaposition between the brightness of the day and the dark chill of knowledge of the shocking attrocities that had been committed there at the heart of "civilized" Europa.

            That fact is perhaps, why we find it so shocking. Our bourgeois values are turned on their head at the thought of supposdely civilized Europeans murdering a minorities. It's so much easier for us to digest when it happens in Africa or Asia or South America or the Middle East....
            Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
            Bakunin

            Comment


            • #7
              I heard a year or two ago that the small town of Auschwitz wanted to change its name.
              Understandably no businesses want to open there and the tourist office has a hard time promoting it as a nice place to visit...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by silverhand
                Whoops! Not sure what happened there, when I posted it didn't seem to go so I tried again. Any chance one can be deleted? :oops:
                Silverhand, you should have the ability to delete your own posts. I think there is an 'X' icon at the top right of your posts that should give you that option.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DiGiMac
                  I heard a year or two ago that the small town of Auschwitz wanted to change its name.
                  Understandably no businesses want to open there and the tourist office has a hard time promoting it as a nice place to visit...
                  It must be making some money out of the presence of what is now a "world heritage site". I'm ambivalent about whether to go there. Leon Greenman says that everyone should (and has escorted numerous visits himself). I'm aware of a slight element of ghoulish curiosity that probably isn't healthy.

                  How does one relate to these things? I've been to the Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, and was particularly struck by a post-mortem table used to dissect the bodies of people with learning disabilities - who were the very first group to be systematically killed by the Nazis (and, to this day, not one memorial has been erected to them). This object exudes evil.

                  I think its the industrial / bureaucratic efficiency of the holocaust that gives it it's particular horror. And its vast geographic sweep. Genocide tends to be a localised phenomenon, but the Nazis scoured a continent for their victims. This is why I have to take issue with many on the left who glibly say that the Jews were 'scapegoated' by the Nazis in order to defend the interests og Big Business. This may have been the perspective of the directors of IG Farmen and Siemens, but anti-Semitism pure and simple was clearly Hitler's driving force.
                  \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mikey_C
                    I'm ambivalent about whether to go there. Leon Greenman says that everyone should (and has escorted numerous visits himself). I'm aware of a slight element of ghoulish curiosity that probably isn't healthy.
                    I would recommend going. Until I visited Auschwitz I knew at an intellectual level that something terrible had taken place on a large scale. When I visited Auschwitz, I was completely taken a-back by the scale of the place and the emotional impact of it all.

                    It is one thing to read history books and quite another to be surrounded (overwhelmed by it).

                    So, yes. Go and take take someone else with you....
                    Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                    Bakunin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree entirely that visiting such sites on some sort of horror-porn tourism does nothing but objectify the victims (and the perpetrators).

                      But "history" has the same effect.... To some degree we all "lived through" September 11 - and we continue to live through its after shocks. Similiarly we have "lived through" the Indian Ocean Tsunamis. This is a direct effect of the global media networks - we can see what is happening (or at least what the media show us) in real time. The TV or computer screen does act as a filter, but the immediacy and empathy that that lends is still there (though I also do believe that much of the media's representation can veer toward the gratuitous).

                      Past history lacks that immediacy. We will (I hope) never learn what it was like to die in a concentration camp. But visiting such places does give you a connection directly to the soul of the past.
                      Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                      Bakunin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've just written a piece for our union newsletter - based on a talk I gave at the AGM, which coincided with Holocaust Memorial Day:
                        Remembering the Holocaust

                        Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27 marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Red Army. World leaders gathered in Poland at the site of the Nazis’ largest concentration camp in order to commemorate the event and remember the victims. Whilst we can only applaud the official recognition given to the 20th Century’s greatest act of inhumanity, it is disturbing to learn that a recent BBC poll discovered that almost half the adult population (45%) claims never to have even heard of Auschwitz.

                        The Holocaust is not even history; it took place in living memory. I recently had the privilege of meeting Leon Greenman, the 95-year-old author of �An Englishman in Auschwitz’. I listened to him recount the unimaginable horrors he had witnessed in the death camps. The emotion was fresh in his voice as he described the final parting with his wife and baby son, taken off straight to the gas chambers on arrival at Auschwitz. He did not learn of their fate until after the liberation. Having made a promise to God, Leon has made it his life’s work to tell people about the Holocaust and warn them of the dangers of Nazism. His message is simple; “Never forget!�. Because of this, Combat 18 and the BNP, Hitler’s modern-day followers, have continued to target him. He has received death threats and had his windows smashed. The bars he lives behind now are to protect him. However, Leon can never be made to forget what he has experienced, and will never be silenced.

                        Realising that Holocaust Memorial Day coincided with our AGM this year, I decided to hunt around for a suitable reading. I was led to this extract from a poem by Edward Bond:

                        If Auschwitz had been in Hampshire
                        There would have been Englishmen to guard it
                        To administer records
                        Marshall transports
                        Work the gas ovens
                        And keep silent
                        The smoke would have drifted over these green hills


                        These words draw our attention to an unpleasant truth. Anyone doubting their relevance should consider the attached picture, showing the desecration of Jewish graves in an Aldershot cemetery. This took place, for the second time in two months, on January 20th.

                        If the elections take place in May as expected, there will be Nazis campaigning in our local communities, as there were in last year’s European elections. As trade unionists, we have a special responsibility not to “keep silent�. In Nazi Germany, trade unionists were among the very first to be put in concentration camps. Whatever they may say, the Nazis will always hate us, because we stand for a diverse, inclusive and democratic society.

                        So let us take some time to remember the millions of different victims of the Holocaust; Jews, Roma, homosexuals, people with disabilities, political prisoners, anyone who didn’t fit in with Nazis’ plan for an obedient and �racially pure’ state, including our trade union comrades. Let us also think of the Holocaust survivors, people like Leon. They have seen things that no human being should ever have to see. They won’t be with us forever, so we need to listen to them while we can. And let us repeat in our hearts the victorious chant that echoed from the walls of Cable Street, when the workers of the East End sent Mosley’s blackshirts packing in 1936; “They shall not pass!� Above all, let us make sure that our children learn, so that they too will never forget the Holocaust, and it will never be allowed to happen again.
                        The local news item I make reference to is here: http://www.aldershot.co.uk/pfriendly.asp?intid=2309
                        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nice one Mikey_C
                          Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                          Bakunin

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X