by Jerry Richardson 1/29/15
This week (January 27th) was the 70th anniversary (January 27, 1945) of the allied liberation of the NAZI death-camp at Auschwitz—the primary facility used by the Nazis for systematically murdering millions of Jews during World War II.
We should join with Israel in one of their unofficial mottos: “Never again.”
The death-camp (concentration and extermination camp) took its name from the nearby Polish town of Oświęcim (Auschwitz in German). It is located in south-western Poland approximately 41 miles from Krakow, and approximately 195 miles from Warsaw. Auschwitz was actually a network of camps:
Auschwitz concentration camp…was a network of German Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It consisted of Auschwitz I (the original camp), Auschwitz II–Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp), Auschwitz III–Monowitz (a labor camp to staff an IG Farben factory [chemical industry]), and 45 satellite camps.
—Auschwitz Concentration Camp
The facilities at the former death-camp are no longer operational (thank God!) for accomplishing their murderous purposes; but why has the site not been raised? Why not obliterate such an evil place from the face of the earth? What purpose does it now serve?
The remains of Auschwitz are a symbol; a symbol of the Holocaust.
The remains are arguably one of the most important symbols in the modern world. It is a standing, physical testimony of the savage and inhumane results of a tyrannical government: Hitler’s National Socialism (Nazism). Governmental tyranny has to rank as the leading physical-manifestation of evil in the world. Why? Tyrannical governments have been the leading murderers of innocent people during most of history; especially during the 20th Century.
Since Auschwitz is a symbol, what is its purpose, what is its meaning?
Hitler made the Jewish people into a living symbol of all the ills and hates of himself and many of the German people. Then his Jewish-exterminators, members of his gangster-government guided by such men as Adolph Eichmann, methodically vaporized millions of innocent people. And the world stood-by helplessly and watched because political “appeasers” such as Neville Chamberlain had promoted and followed a disastrous foreign-policy of “negotiating” with Hitler—Islamic-Terrorists and Obama (the Chamberlain of our time) furnish living-proof that it is still completely possible for a self-centered politician, without political restraint, to adopt a completely-discredited foreign-policy of “negotiating” with evil.
The estimates of the number of people killed at Auschwitz and other death-camps are still debated. What is not debated, other than by self-serving holocaust deniers, is that multitudes of innocent victims, mostly Jews, were murdered in gas-chambers disguised as showers; then their bodies were reduced to ashes in crematoriums, followed by having any gasified residue sent up the smoke-stacks along with the stench of the victim’s burning flesh. It is difficult to imagine a more dehumanizing and horrible death.
…3.5 million Jews were victims of systematic death camps that had installed Cyanide gas chambers. There were six camps that used mass killing gas chambers. These camps were located in Treblinka, Sobibor, Majdanek, Chelmno, Belzec, and Auschwitz . All these towns are in Poland. Of these camps, the one that killed the most Jews was Auschwitz, killing an estimated 1.5 million Jews. The second highest number of Jews were killed at Treblinka, accounting for 840,000; Belzec was the next highest with 600,000; Chelmno killed 360,000; and finally, Sobibor killed 250,000.
Of all the nationalities of the Jews that were murdered, Poland’s share far outweighed the rest of Europe. Of the six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis, 4.5 million of them were Polish, while the remaining 1.5 million came from Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia, and The Netherlands.
—Adkins, Bert (2014-07-05). Auschwitz: The Truth Behind The Holocaust Death Camps (Auschwitz Revealed, Concentration Camps, Holocaust, Exposed) (Kindle Locations 237-244). . Kindle Edition.
So if Auschwitz is just a symbol of the Holocaust, what actual good is it, what does it mean?
Asking this question is somewhat like asking, “What good is History”?
The philosopher George Santayana is famous for his statement: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”; he is less well known for his statement: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
Both of Santayana’ statements contain wisdom that the symbol of the Holocaust, Auschwitz, should represent to modern mankind:
1. Auschwitz is a reminder of the evil results of tyrannical, governmental ideology. And: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
2. Auschwitz standing idle (from its murderous purpose) is a reminder of the fact that it required a world-wide justifiable-war in order to stop such horrendous evil. Will that sort of war ever be necessary again? “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
The price for stopping the evil-ideology responsible for Auschwitz was not small. The world and the USA paid a very high price in blood and life:
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. Over 60 million people were killed, which was over 3% of the 1939 world population (est. 2 billion).
The USA had a total number of estimated deaths during the war of 420,000 people.
—World War II Casualties
Many people seem completely unconcerned as the world witnesses some of the same sort of inhumane savagery used by the Nazis unleashed by Islamic-Terrorists who continue to proclaim time-and-again that they are going to wipe Israel (Jews) off the face of the earth.
We are routinely subjected to the mantra of the self-deceived and unconcerned: “Islam is a religion of peace.” But of course it isn’t; and we should take Islamic-Terrorists; and the instructions-to-conquer-or-kill-infidels in the Koran seriously—like the world should have taken Hitler and Mein Kampf seriously before we had to fight WWII in order to stop him and his tyrannical allies (the Axis powers).
Perfect symbolism: The world is facing destruction by savage Islamist-Terrorists and what does Obama do? He sits and engages in an inane interview-conversation that has nothing to do with anything of importance. And who is he talking to? A glo-lipped, instant, YouTube celebrity. Well, it makes sense; Obama himself is an instant celebrity; thrust willingly but unprepared and with startling incapability into the most powerful position in the world, The Presidency. So we have one instant celebrity interviewing another—a dialogue between two unqualified-for-anything-serious, nouveau stars. As was stated on Mike’s America: “Why does he [Obama] always seem to be doing anything BUT his job?”
This is of course a perfect illustration of substituting symbolism for substance—Brad Nelson has reminded us of the importance of this. The symbolism here is the illusion that whatever Obama does is important and that with his witless YouTube interview he is actually somehow tending to something that needs to done. The substance that this idiotic symbolism is being substituted for is US National and Western-world Security.
The notion that we should never let symbolism substitute for substance is of course true, as I hope I have illustrated above. But it is an incomplete truth.
Symbolism is all around us. We live in a world of ideas that are either enriched by truthful-symbolism (represents truth) or impoverished by bogus-symbolism (does not represent truth). Truthful-symbolism points to truth. Bogus-symbolism points to falsehood. Part of the fight for ideological truth is, or should be, a fight to maintain truthful-symbolism.
So the incomplete truth: Never let symbolism substitute for substance has an important second part: Identify bogus-symbolism and counter it with truthful-symbolism.
Symbols are exceedingly powerful for good or for evil.
Paraphrasing Orwell, with a bit of a spin, I suggest:
He who controls symbols controls emotions. He who controls emotions controls the reins of power. He who controls the reins of power controls society.
Truthful-symbols have been under fierce and constant attack in the USA since at least the 1960s, and no doubt before. Just one example is the constant legal-assaults to remove Christian-crosses. The ACLU has litigated time-and-again against having a cross erected in any public place. Why? A cross is one of the prime, perhaps the prime, symbols of Christianity.
We don’t have to believe that removing a cross in a public-space destroys or invalidates Christianity; but why exactly do the haters of Christianity place so much emphasis upon the destruction of a symbol?
Answer: because of the critical importance of a symbol in reminding us of the truth to which the symbol points—haters want to take the spotlight away from truth, always. A truthful-symbol is a spotlight on the truth it represents. When people attack a truthful-symbol they are indirectly attacking the truth it represents.
The same argument, as the above, can be made for the efforts of holocaust deniers to downplay the significance of Auschwitz; and to deny the deaths of millions of Jews. But how do they attack? They can’t, without appearing completely goofy, claim that the symbol, Auschwitz isn’t there. Of course it is; so what’s the approach? They have to deny the meaning of the symbol, the interpretation of Auschwitz: “The Nazis didn’t really murder all those Jews; there weren’t really any gas chambers at Auschwitz; it is only a story invented by the Jews.”
Auschwitz, the reality, was an unspeakably horrible, brutal reality. Auschwitz, the symbol, as long as it stands, will point to that reality.
That’s what makes it an important symbol, a truthful-symbol. And what end-result should the symbol promote? “Never again.”
© 2015, Jerry Richardson • (5593 views)