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View Full Version : Preservation of Auschwitz and The Holocaust.


Astor
01-27-2009, 04:18 PM
The former concentration camp of the most horrific crimes perpetrated during the Second World War is in danger of rotting away (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7800397.stm), after 70 years of exposure to the elements.

But there are those who wish to save the site - where 1.1 million Jews, Slavs and other groups were sent to death in the Gas Chambers.

My question is should such a harrowing place be preserved?

There are those i'm sure who would say that such a place needs to be preserved, so that humanity can learn from the darkest chapter in modern history.

And, equally, there are those who would say that such a place should be destroyed, as it only serves as a monument to the crimes commited there.

What are everybody's thoughts on the matter?

Also, as a final question, i've read in many places that there are those who believe that the term 'Holocaust', in the modern sense, should only be applied to the slaughter of the Jewish people, and none of the other groups persecuted by the Nazi Regime. What are people's thoughts on this? Should it only be restricted to the murder of the Jews?

I would like to point out before we begin that I am not an anti-semite - I merely wish to see other people's perspectives on these questions. Also, can we keep the current struggles in Israel out of the topic, as it's not relevant.

Pho3nix
01-27-2009, 04:48 PM
It should definitely be preserved because I plan to visit someday.

jawathehutt
01-27-2009, 04:56 PM
While I was in Germany my group took a trip to the Dachau Concentration Camp, it was probably one of the most depressing place I had ever been in my life but I feel like everyone should have to go to a place like that some time in their young adultish age(16-30 or so), I dont think its possible to leave a camp without realizing just how much you have and how much you could loose, and if you don't experience that than you should open your eyes. If someone argues that it should be destroyed, than shouldnt we destroy all placed were mass carnage occurred, should we build over places like Gettysburg and the Normandy beaches?

Alkonium
01-27-2009, 04:58 PM
No, I don't think that the term Holocaust should be limited to the murder of the Jews. Though they were the prime target group for Nazis, they were by no means the only target group.

SW01
01-27-2009, 05:20 PM
No, I don't think that the term Holocaust should be limited to the murder of the Jews. Though they were the prime target group for Nazis, they were by no means the only target group.

That would be my view on that point too. To limit it so would seem to make the other murders less relevant.

Should Auscwitz be maintained...yeah, its awkward. It's a symbol of the furthest that mankind ever fell. As jawathehutt points out, the harrowing of actually being there would be extremely potent, probably moreso than 'merely' reading of what happened. A physical place makes a historical event that much more real when we haven't actually seen it.

I think this would be my opinion on the matter. That it should be preserved, as a warning, and a reminder. Though I understand entirely those who wish the earth to be rid of it, and all like it, I don't think it could be considered a monument to the evils committed - more a monument to the victims of that evil - unless it was to be in some way glorified. There, I suppose, lies a danger.

mimartin
01-27-2009, 06:09 PM
I don’t think we should ever allow ourselves to forget what happened at Auschwitz or the other death camps. The memory of those that died there should always be preserved.

As to the camp itself, let it rot as far as I’m concerned. I’d like for the grounds to be preserved and marked by a memorial, but the buildings that helped the Nazi’s murder should be left to rot. I don’t want to tear it down, but I don’t want to refurbish them either. I want the buildings of Auschwitz to rot away like the ideology that was behind their creation.
Also, as a final question, i've read in many places that there are those who believe that the term 'Holocaust', in the modern sense, should only be applied to the slaughter of the Jewish people, and none of the other groups persecuted by the Nazi Regime. What are people's thoughts on this? Should it only be restricted to the murder of the Jews? I would have hoped in the lessons learned since WWII we not have to worry about how best to describe mass murder on such a scale. I’ll admit when I think of Holocaust the images that appear in my mind are of Nazi Germany and Europe’s Jewish community. Does that dishonor the Soviets, the Poles, the disabled, homosexual and others killed for political and religious reasons? Yes, in my opinion it does. IMO the Holocaust should be used to describe all those victims put to death by Nazi persecution. That said I will not use the term Holocaust to describe present day genocide.

Darn Astro Kaine, couldn’t you find a more depressing subject. :D

Astor
01-27-2009, 06:24 PM
Interesting points from everyone.

If someone argues that it should be destroyed, than shouldnt we destroy all placed were mass carnage occurred, should we build over places like Gettysburg and the Normandy beaches?

While I can see what you're getting at, the carnage in those senses was different - it wasn't mechanised, industrial carnage on the scale of the death camps - there was no battle here, it was unadulterated murder.

No, I don't think that the term Holocaust should be limited to the murder of the Jews. Though they were the prime target group for Nazis, they were by no means the only target group.

Agreed.

I don’t think we should ever allow ourselves to forget what happened at Auschwitz or the other death camps. The memory of those that died there should always be preserved.

Agreed.

As to the camp itself, let it rot as far as I’m concerned. I’d like for the grounds to be preserved and marked by a memorial, but the buildings that helped the Nazi’s murder should be left to rot. I don’t want to tear it down, but I don’t want to refurbish them either. I want the buildings of Auschwitz to rot away like the ideology that was behind their creation.

I've seen some people quite seriously advocate forcing Germany to pay for its preservation - punishing Germans who were not alive to see these crimes would only cause further unrest - Germany has done enough to make amends for the crimes of a few misguided, jackbooted thugs.

Darn Astro Kaine, couldn’t you find a more depressing subject. :D

Well, it's Holocaust Memorial Day today, and having recently read some more into the subject, I thought it would make an interesting discussion.

EDIT: It's also the 64th anniversary of it's liberation.

That, and it distracts from the political stuff that been pervading Kavar's recently. :)

As for myself, i'm still somewhat undecided - while I can see the benefits of both sides - a stark reminder of the depths we can sink to, or moving beyond our past, it's a tricky one to fathom.

mimartin
01-27-2009, 06:28 PM
As for myself, i'm still somewhat undecided - while I can see the benefits of both sides - a stark reminder of the depths we can sink to, or moving beyond our past, it's a tricky one to fathom.
My feelings are not set in stone on this and I can see both sides. If they were to decide to preserve it, I’d be willing to make a contribution. I’d just rather it go to remembering the victims and not those behind the crime.

Oh and I'm against making the German people do this out of punishment. We should be past that by now.

Det. Bart Lasiter
01-27-2009, 07:41 PM
i dunno why a place like that would be preserved in the first place. it's as if people oblivious to the invention of cameras have preserved it out of a want to pass their guilt on to future generations.

jonathan7
01-27-2009, 08:16 PM
My 2 cents; I've always considered it ironic that we would spend money preserving places of remembrance of past atrocities, while we allow current genocides to occur - it would seem to me the point of remembering past tragedies is to not allow them to occur again...

Web Rider
01-27-2009, 08:27 PM
No, I don't think that the term Holocaust should be limited to the murder of the Jews. Though they were the prime target group for Nazis, they were by no means the only target group.

Yeah, I agree, and, as others have said, a holocaust is a thing, not a specific event, we seem to say the "Holocaust"(capital "H") was worse than say, the less important genocide in Soviet Russia under Stalin. I mean, Stalin has a point with his "A million deaths is a statistic, a single death is a tragedy." That it's hard to really feel for such a huge thing, an inability to comprehend the scope.

i dunno why a place like that would be preserved in the first place. it's as if people oblivious to the invention of cameras have preserved it out of a want to pass their guilt on to future generations.
As I mention above, pictures do not do the thing justice. You cannot comprehend the scope of the event through pictures or video. Especially since the quality of the pictures and video is not as "high-def" as modern video. Not to mention it's easier to disprove something happened if all you have are pictures.


Just like the war memorial in Japan for the nuclear bombings, when you see it in person there's an entirely different feeling than seeing pictures of it. Having visited several war memorials in my life(though neither of the two I mentioned), it's an entirely different feeling than pictures. The "Museum of Tolerance" does not do the event justice.

EnderWiggin
01-27-2009, 08:28 PM
There are those i'm sure who would say that such a place needs to be preserved, so that humanity can learn from the darkest chapter in modern history.

I agree with this. If we demolish the place, we forget the actions. We can't let this chapter of our history fall away from our memories

I donít think we should ever allow ourselves to forget what happened at Auschwitz or the other death camps. The memory of those that died there should always be preserved.

As to the camp itself, let it rot as far as Iím concerned. Iíd like for the grounds to be preserved and marked by a memorial, but the buildings that helped the Naziís murder should be left to rot. I donít want to tear it down, but I donít want to refurbish them either. I want the buildings of Auschwitz to rot away like the ideology that was behind their creation.

I agree.

My 2 cents; I've always considered it ironic that we would spend money preserving places of remembrance of past atrocities, while we allow current genocides to occur - it would seem to me the point of remembering past tragedies is to not allow them to occur again...

Very good point J7, since Darfur would seem to prove that we won't "Never forget" as we said.

_EW_

Det. Bart Lasiter
01-27-2009, 09:50 PM
Yeah, I agree, and, as others have said, a holocaust is a thing, not a specific event, we seem to say the "Holocaust"(capital "H") was worse than say, the less important genocide in Soviet Russia under Stalin. I mean, Stalin has a point with his "A million deaths is a statistic, a single death is a tragedy." That it's hard to really feel for such a huge thing, an inability to comprehend the scope.


As I mention above, pictures do not do the thing justice. You cannot comprehend the scope of the event through pictures or video. Especially since the quality of the pictures and video is not as "high-def" as modern video. Not to mention it's easier to disprove something happened if all you have are pictures.


Just like the war memorial in Japan for the nuclear bombings, when you see it in person there's an entirely different feeling than seeing pictures of it. Having visited several war memorials in my life(though neither of the two I mentioned), it's an entirely different feeling than pictures. The "Museum of Tolerance" does not do the event justice.well you sure told me i mean all these war memorials have certainly had an impact on the number of genocides and wars going on. there's no reason to sink money into a place like that just so it can stand as a monument to how far we haven't come and how not to decorate.

Q
01-28-2009, 02:34 AM
I think that it should be maintained out of respect for the dead, as should any gravesite or memorial.

Jae Onasi
01-28-2009, 04:01 AM
Santayana said, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Auschwitz was a horrendous place, and if we forget how horrible it was, it would be all too easy for something on this order of magnitude of hate to creep back insidiously into a society aching to blame its major socioeconomic problems on a specific group. It is a stark and terrible reminder of how evil we can become as humans, and that we need to do what we can to prevent such evil from ever happening again.

I think a big consideration needs to be given to the wishes of those who've survived the experience of the concentration camps. Does anyone know how the survivors feel about what should be done?

jonathan7
01-28-2009, 10:48 AM
I think that it should be maintained out of respect for the dead, as should any gravesite or memorial.

Surely real respect for the dead would be not allowing genocides to occur again? Besides, I'm not convinced the dead are too bothered if they are shown respect or not, though I'm pretty certainly those about to be killed in a genocide are somewhat concerned with their present predicament, and would like be to remembered by those who could stop them from being the victims in said genocide.

mur'phon
01-28-2009, 11:28 AM
^^That, and the camps are used by Israeli nationalists for indoctrination purposes. I had the misfortune of visiting Auschwitz at the same time as an Israeli school, it was frightening.

Ray Jones
01-28-2009, 06:00 PM
1. What happened in German concentration camps is but one crime against humanity throughout history as we know it. To label it as extraordinarily cruel or worthy of extra ultra special recognition is selfish and unjust against all victims of the countless other crimes against humanity.

2. To differ between a "holocaust of Jews" and a "holocaust of non-Jews" is racism.

3. No. To keep those places "alive" forever means we have to keep all places where such things happened, not only concentration camps, for all times ever. I understand a demand for some kind of "grace period" or for some kind of memorial to cope with such experiences, but reminding people forever won't keep such things from happen. Making a difference is the only way which works. Also, we have like a myriad of holocaust memorial sites plastering Earth. And seriously, I don't want my kids to grow up in a world full of ancient concentration camps.

Adavardes
01-28-2009, 06:45 PM
1. What happened in German concentration camps is but one crime against humanity throughout history as we know it. To label it as extraordinarily cruel or worthy of extra ultra special recognition is selfish and unjust against all victims of the countless other crimes against humanity.

Aside from the Spanish Inquisition, or perhaps the African genocides, I fail to see how any other event in human history saw as much butchery and slaughter as the holocaust did. It's extra-ordinary for the fact that these people were rounded up like helpless cattle, murdered in various fashions for no other reason than they were of a certain appearance, and then fed to a fire. Millions upon millions of innocent civilians, senselessly murdered. No other body count is comparable to that.

3. No. To keep those places "alive" forever means we have to keep all places where such things happened, not only concentration camps, for all times ever. I understand a demand for some kind of "grace period" or for some kind of memorial to cope with such experiences, but reminding people forever won't keep such things from happen. Making a difference is the only way which works. Also, we have like a myriad of holocaust memorial sites plastering Earth. And seriously, I don't want my kids to grow up in a world full of ancient concentration camps.

Never forget the past, lest ye be doomed to repeat it. You'd rather your kids grow up ignorant to the bloodshed their ancestors caused, never learning from the mistakes of the past so that they may destroy themselves in the revival of such horrors? Preserving Auschwitz would only serve to stand as a reminder for all the generations past and present of what happened, so that it never happens again. We seem to forget such things rather easily, and we tend to repeat what we cannot remember.

If you want to make a case for other genocides or mass murders to be remembered and given equal attention, I'm inclined to agree. But if you say that we should just ignore what happened, I do not. We are not at the level of maturity or peacefulness as a race to wipe clean our conscience or past.

jonathan7
01-28-2009, 06:58 PM
Aside from the Spanish Inquisition, or perhaps the African genocides, I fail to see how any other event in human history saw as much butchery and slaughter as the holocaust did. It's extra-ordinary for the fact that these people were rounded up like helpless cattle, murdered in various fashions for no other reason than they were of a certain appearance, and then fed to a fire. Millions upon millions of innocent civilians, senselessly murdered. No other body count is comparable to that.

Stalin did kill more...

Never forget the past, lest ye be doomed to repeat it. You'd rather your kids grow up ignorant to the bloodshed their ancestors caused, never learning from the mistakes of the past so that they may destroy themselves in the revival of such horrors? Preserving Auschwitz would only serve to stand as a reminder for all the generations past and present of what happened, so that it never happens again. We seem to forget such things rather easily, and we tend to repeat what we cannot remember.

This clearly isn't true; Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur... Do I really need to go on?

If you want to make a case for other genocides or mass murders to be remembered and given equal attention, I'm inclined to agree. But if you say that we should just ignore what happened, I do not. We are not at the level of maturity or peacefulness as a race to wipe clean our conscience or past.

We're clearly ignoring what happened die to the fact we allow it to continue today. I'm not saying we ignore what happened, but I am saying we should actually do something about the Genocides we can do something to stop - which would be far more honouring to those who died in previous ones. Indeed if we did stop present/future Genocides, that would honour the dead far more than any memorial.

Ray Jones
01-28-2009, 07:25 PM
I'm not suggesting to forget or ignore anything here.


Aside from the Spanish Inquisition, or perhaps the African genocides, I fail to see how any other event in human history saw as much butchery and slaughter as the holocaust did. It's extra-ordinary for the fact that these people were rounded up like helpless cattle, murdered in various fashions for no other reason than they were of a certain appearance, and then fed to a fire.I fail to see a difference in living/dying "for some while" in a concentration camp as "cattle" or living in a cellar without daylight for 24 years, being raped by your father over and over again, resulting in having 7 kids with him of whom 3 never saw sunlight only once, while your mom lives right upstairs, really. I mean, do you?

Millions upon millions of innocent civilians, senselessly murdered. No other body count is comparable to that.
http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstatx.htm

Adavardes
01-28-2009, 07:35 PM
Stalin did kill more...

Fair enough, I didn't think before I typed, something I need to work on. I won't argue that there are larger tragedies, but ignoring one because it's not the biggest doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

This clearly isn't true; Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur... Do I really need to go on?

Oh? And do you know that most of those countries you named where genocides took place have a population that is by a large majority uneducated, and thusly has no rememberance of humanity's past? Not everyone got to go to school and learn about the holocaust like you did.

We're clearly ignoring what happened die to the fact we allow it to continue today. I'm not saying we ignore what happened, but I am saying we should actually do something about the Genocides we can do something to stop - which would be far more honouring to those who died in previous ones. Indeed if we did stop present/future Genocides, that would honour the dead far more than any memorial.

See above.

jonathan7
01-28-2009, 07:52 PM
Oh? And do you know that most of those countries you named where genocides took place have a population that is by a large majority uneducated, and thusly has no rememberance of humanity's past? Not everyone got to go to school and learn about the holocaust like you did.

See above.

You seem to of entirely missed my point, which is we didn't do anything to stop those genocides (the Allies did I would like to point out stop the Holocaust, and against a far stronger enemy than many of the governments that cause mass murder these days, in reality there wasn't much more we could have done during the way - pre-war is debatable). So clearly we the educated, who are apparently remembering the past, haven't learned from it, as we didn't stop what happened in Rwanda etc, and aren't doing anything about Genocides occurring right now.

Adavardes
01-28-2009, 08:03 PM
You seem to of entirely missed my point, which is we didn't do anything to stop those genocides (the Allies did I would like to point out stop the Holocaust, and against a far stronger enemy than many of the governments that cause mass murder these days, in reality there wasn't much more we could have done during the way - pre-war is debatable). So clearly we the educated, who are apparently remembering the past, haven't learned from it, as we didn't stop what happened in Rwanda etc, and aren't doing anything about Genocides occurring right now.

No, you seem to be missing the point that the genocides started due to a lack of understanding in the past. Had education played a more pivotal role in the lives of those that killed those people, they might have never been an issue. You'd rather we allow for a momument of the past, an invaluable educational tool, to just rot away, and give up one of the more vital tactics we could apply to stop any more genocides from happening?

The genocides happening in places like Rwanda are tragic, yes, but solving them now would be a temporary solution to a long-term problem. Solve them now, but apply the education of past occurances to make sure they never happen again. It's not our job as the educated to play hero to the ignorant, the only job we have is to educate others so they may come about solutions themselves.

jonathan7
01-28-2009, 08:10 PM
No, you seem to be missing the point that the genocides started due to a lack of understanding in the past. Had education played a more pivotal role in the lives of those that killed those people, they might have never been an issue. You'd rather we allow for a momument of the past, an invaluable educational tool, to just rot away, and give up one of the more vital tactics we could apply to stop any more genocides from happening?

This seems to ignore the fact that it was the Intelligentsia in Nazi Germany who played a pivotol role in the Holocaust. I doubt it's role as an educational tool when genocide is still happening. Genocides aren't about a lack of understanding; the Nazi's knew exactly what they were doing; and given that it was some of Germanys greatest minds who participated/helped and led the Holocaust would seem to refute education as the reason behind it.

The genocides happening in places like Rwanda are tragic, yes, but solving them now would be a temporary solution to a long-term problem. Solve them now, but apply the education of past occurances to make sure they never happen again. It's not our job as the educated to play hero to the ignorant, the only job we have is to educate others so they may come about solutions themselves.

Education, or lack of education is not why Genocides occur; often those who insight Genocide are intelligent minds, who want power, and see Genocide as a means of getting said power. Your point that we shouldn't interveen in Rwanda fails, as why should we of stopped the Holocaust then? It happened in another state, who clearly are ignorant, else they wouldn't be doing that - so what was the point of the memorial then?

Jae Onasi
01-28-2009, 09:09 PM
The Germans in the '30's and '40's were some of the most highly educated, cultured people. The people who planned and carried out the holocaust had college degrees. They did their killing during the day and then went to symphonies in the evening. They were not unfamiliar with things like the Spanish Inquisition and other major events of crimes against humanity. If anything, they should have been even more cognizant of it after what they went through in WW I. For the Germans it wasn't an education issue, it was a power/political issue, absolute control of media, coupled with an extraordinarily gifted and utterly insane dictator. I think more often than not that's the case in most countries. It was the case in Stalin's Soviet Union, it was the case in Mao's China, both countries that had an intelligentsia at the time of their purges. Lack of education just makes it easier to control people, but lack of education is not a prerequisite for a holocaust to occur.

As a corollary, maintaining a holocaust museum, while important to historical understanding, is unlikely to prevent the perfect storm of events, politics and charismatic dictators that allow the environment in which a holocaust can fester. The people who are responsible for a holocaust aren't going to care about the museum, if they ever visit it in the first place.

jawathehutt
01-28-2009, 09:41 PM
http://i37.tinypic.com/r8bcq0.jpg
That there is a picture taken inside the gas chamber at dachau. I'd imagine at least a few people wtf'd when they first saw it. I for one would probably do that. The picture conveys no emotion until you find out what it is. It still conveys almost no emotion when its description is given when compared to being in that room in person, the feeling of being in a room where thousands were killed for no reason can not be described with simple words and pictures.

GarfieldJL
01-28-2009, 11:47 PM
It should be preserved because the physical evidence of this attrocity must remain to prove that this had happened because there are a lot of people that are trying to deny that it even happened, and this is one of the things that prove that it did.

Jae Onasi
01-29-2009, 12:47 AM
That there is a picture taken inside the gas chamber at dachau. I'd imagine at least a few people wtf'd when they first saw it. I for one would probably do that. The picture conveys no emotion until you find out what it is. It still conveys almost no emotion when its description is given when compared to being in that room in person, the feeling of being in a room where thousands were killed for no reason can not be described with simple words and pictures.

There's a scene in the movie Schindler's List, which I highly recommend to everyone, where Jews are herded into a room very much like that one. There's tremendous tension as you expect gas to come out of the ceiling, when suddenly water sprays out of shower heads. You could hear the entire theater breathe this huge sigh of relief. Your favorite Qui-Gon actor, Liam Neeson, plays the main character.