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Never Again

Never Again

70 years later, Auschwitz’s legacy lives on

If you walk past the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., you’ll see an enormous banner hanging near the entrance. You can’t miss it, whether you’re making your way to darken the building’s doorway, or not. “NEVER AGAIN” is the slogan for their latest educational push and messaging campaign, but it’s also a theme as old as the resistance to hatred, discrimination, and genocide itself.

Today, survivors, activists, and world leaders gathered in Oświęcim, Poland to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Auschwitz extermination camp, and to once again draw attention to the stark reality of how increasingly dangerous it is to be a Jew in Europe.

From the BBC:

“We survivors do not want our past to be our children’s future,” Roman Kent, born in 1929, told a memorial gathering at the death camp’s site in Poland.

Some 300 Auschwitz survivors returned for the ceremony under a giant tent.

Some 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed there between 1940 and 1945, when Soviet troops liberated it.

It is expected to be the last major anniversary event survivors are able to attend in considerable numbers.

Ronald S Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, told the commemoration: “Jews are targeted in Europe once again because they are Jews…

“Once again young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes [skullcaps] on the streets of Paris, Budapest, London and even Berlin.”

In the Czech capital Prague, speakers of parliament from across the EU gathered with the European Jewish Congress to issue a declaration condemning anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

It’s disgusting that we still have to issue declarations condemning genocide—but that’s the reality of 2015 geopolitics. Anti-Semitism still exists. “Pro-Palestine” demonstrations turn into demonstrations against Jews. Riots target Jewish shops and citizens. Some European neighborhoods are so hostile towards Jews, they’re labeled “No-Jew-Go” Zones.

The conflict between Poland and Russia reared its head at today’s ceremony, with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski condemning Moscow for moving in on territory in Ukraine, saying, “[l]et’s keep in our minds therefore what outcome is brought about by abuse of peoples’ right of self-determination, disregard for inviolability of borders, human life, and passivity toward evil.”

The right to strong borders and self-determination was one of the first that Hitler chose to violate when he began his initial death march across eastern Europe. By virtually ignoring the sovereignty of countries of Poland and Czechoslovakia, he grew his empire and increased his buying power with other states fortunate enough to have maintained some level of autonomy (at least for the time being.)

It’s possible to draw parallels between what happened in the run up to the second World War, and what’s happening now in Europe, without proving Godwin’s Law. The Third Reich wasn’t built in a day—ask someone who watched Germany spiral over the course of more than two decades—and neither will the next great atrocity. The existence of “no go zones,” or Moscow’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, doesn’t automatically force the conclusion that a second Holocaust is imminent; but the fact that survivors of state-sanctioned death camps can stand before the world and draw these comparisons without legitimate criticism shouldn’t just create “cause for concern.” It should terrify you.

“For a time, we thought that the hatred of Jews had finally been eradicated. But slowly the demonization of Jews started to come back,” [World Jewish Congress President Ronald] Lauder said. “Once again, young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes on the streets of Paris and Budapest and London. Once again, Jewish businesses are targeted. And once again, Jewish families are fleeing Europe.”

What happened to “never again?”

Featured Image via the United States Holocaust Museum


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“Never again!” (see the exclamation mark?) to some of us is a sacred oath.

To others it was something to say that would make you sound cool. Once.

Because the Germans razed the above ground crematoria at Birkenau before the Russians arrived, and the Germans never allowed any photography inside the Birkenau walls, there are those who say with a straight face that those events never occurred.

But in 1978 CIA analysts Dino Brugioni and Robert Poirier had the bright idea to examine USAAF photo-recon film taken of the IG Farben plant adjacent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. As they expected, the pilots had turned on their cameras before reaching their target, in the process getting high resolution imagery of the Birkenau extermination facility, including a train having disgorged Jews being marched to the gas chambers and crematoria.

See links above for the CIA report and for copies of the high resolution images at the Yad Vashem site.

Especially stunning is one photo taken through the bomb bay of a USAAF B-24, a stick of 500 pound high explosive general demolition bombs dropping to the Farben plant.

Never Again is only possible if every Jew takes responsibility for his or her own personal safety. At this point in history it means situational awareness as well as owning and becoming proficient with firearms. Even in Israel, when seconds count, the police are still minutes away.

Never again? When did it ever stop? North Korea has had camps like this for decades and we don’t do anything to stop them.

Mark Levin had an excellent segment on anti-Semitism last week. He highlighted NYC Councilman Greenfield’s speech re protesters who interrupted their meeting:

Yes, there are murderous scum among us who want to eradicate Jews, and American Jews had better wake up. Levin boldly took on Obama and accused him of anti-Semitism as well. Is there any doubt?

Subotai Bahadur | January 27, 2015 at 11:38 pm

Desert_Rat45 has the truth of it, but there is another truth.

“Never Again” will be true, not because Europeans and Muslims suddenly see the error of their ways. It will be “Never Again” because the Holocaust was genocide by industrial mass production. Muslims and modern Europeans prefer their genocides to be hands-on and retail, not wholesale. Although the European elites do prefer that it be done retail at one remove so their hands remain clean and they can pontificate about how it is the Jews’ fault.

The only prevention is the sure and certain knowledge that for every Jew killed, at least one attacker will be killed. At a minimum.

    FrankNatoli in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | January 28, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Agree with many of your points but the Holocaust did not begin with industrial scale genocide. It didn’t even begin with murdering Jews. The Reich began euthanizing “mental defectives” until Bishop Galen of Münster attacked it from the pulpit. Everything the Reich ultimately did began a little at a time, as a witness said, like the drip of an anesthetic. That is precisely what is happening now.

PersonFromPorlock | January 28, 2015 at 11:11 am

Bitter amusement can be had by charting the coverage of the Nazi Holocaust in the media during the Cambodian holocaust. You couldn’t turn on PBS without running into another Nazi-Holocaust themed program, for instance, while the New York Times Index for 1978-1984 went from its usual three columns of articles about the Nazi Holocaust to around twenty-one columns. All the while, the West did nothing about Cambodia except to deplore it, and it was left to Communist(!) Vietnam to save what Cambodians were left alive.

Chanting “Never Again” turned out to be an excellent and morally uplifting way of distracting ourselves from the fact that it was happening again.

    Agreed. “Never again!” was never just about Jews or any other discernible group in particular.

    It was about NEVER AGAIN letting mass killings occur…retail, wholesale, whatever. Hutu and Tutsi killers with machetes, Cambodians with plastic bags, or European integrated killing machines…doesn’t matter.

    We can’t let it happen.

      Walker Evans in reply to Ragspierre. | January 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Except that we are letting it happen again! It has been happening for years and we haven’t taken any meaningful action to stop it; ask the Kurds, Rwandans, Afghans – the list goes on. Getting out of a comfortable bed after a good night’s sleep, having a good breakfast, dressing in good clothes, and then going to a safe, comfortable building to deliver a strongly worded speech is not taking meaningful action. That is precisely what we have done and it has stopped nothing! Without real action, nothing changes, and our current administration has shown the world that they don’t have the will to do more than talk, and practice Chamberlain-style appeasement.

      Genocide will continue, despite any “sharply worded protests” we may make.