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View Diary: The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking (125 comments)

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  •  it is as easy to become a (10+ / 0-)

    slave holder/master as to become a slave. Both are not recognized as such by the general population, not because they can't recognize it, but because they have the option to "not believe in it" and "deny" it without repercussions.

    If any person, who denies the facts of enslavement of one person by another, would be punished for it and hold accountable for their "denial of facts" (I mean legally hold accountable for enabling slave labor), I bet we would have had less slave-work situations.

    The example of Sister Pia's slave labor camp" is imo very imaginable to have happened much more often than it may be known. You can have similar situations today and not recognize it and choose not to believe in it. If you hear rumors, or you are unable to "get justice from your governmental justice system" to correct a slave-work situation, most of the time people choose to ignore, belittle or deny it.

    As for Hamburg having 1300 sites of slave labor camps and they not being known so far, I can imagine that to be true.

    I remember having read, when I was thirteen, all the books about the holocaust and survivor storied I could find in our library and bookstores (really a lot of books in the 1961 - 1962 time period) and I remember one book showing a brick commercial building that was in the middle somewhere in Hamburg and was looking very innocently on the photo.

    Behind its walls Jews worked and starved to death. You wouldn't have believed it just by walking by. Unless someone forced proofs on you in form of facts I can imagine people would choose to "not believe the rumors".

    It's so much easier to believe in your own beliefs than in facts, which you choose not to research any further, because the results of your research may cause you to feel very "uncomfortable". So you try to get away with "better not knowing about it". As long as your government and your neighbors allow you to get away with denial, you deny it. Think about today's deniers... be happy, if you can you do something about it, but also realize that most of the time deniers get away with what they are saying. (Aren't we lucky for all the free speech and the capability to lie your heart out - sooo convenient, right?)  

    I remember having discussions with my co-workers in Berlin - Dahlem in the 1976 period and we discussed how much of our parent generation knew or didn't knew. The elderly (surving 1945 the capitulation in Berlin) just said they didn't want to know, but they knew "somehow".

    Nightly trains with transports of Jews going "somewhere" not exactly knowing "what would happen to them". One secretary told us how she walked over hundreds of dead bodies among all the destroyed houses. None of them "wanted to talk about it". (Trauma anybody?)

    We had very little talks with my parents about "what they knew and when they knew it". Everybody knew about Jews being forced into camps, they didn't confirm our suspicions to have known what happened to them there, but admitted they knew " it must not have been something good". My mother was at age 14 in 1933 and she always told us how from one day to the next HALF of her school class' girls "disappeared" from one day to the next in Berlin-Dahlem in 1933.  

    They knew. My mother's mother knew, because she couldn't go to her doctor anymore, because he was Jewish and did hide and later "disappeared".

    My mother knew something "bad" was going on, because her own mother didn't allow her anymore to "say hi" to her Jewish best girl friend on the streets. My mother's mother "adjusted" to the regime, because her husband was under threat to lose his pension, if he and she didn't. So, yes, they knew, just not all the details.

    I know of my father learning all the details after he returned from Russian POW camp in Siberia in 1947/48. Result: shock, disbelief and shame and no willingness to "talk about it". Feeling of deep betrayal. Trauma.

    Thank you for the diary. Very vivid reminder of how easy it is to "not believe the truth and deny it".  

    So, the question I always ask myself, is how  
    can you prevent people from denying the truth and get them to not lie (to themselves and to others).

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