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ALEXANDER KIMEL - HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR
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HOLOCAUST GUILT & RESPONSIBILITY. - II

by Alexander Kimel

In response to my post "Holocaust Guilt & Responsibility" Laura Huntchinson wrote:

The next question, it seems to me, is what response is required of subsequent generations of the original event? As a woman born in 1968, what responsibility is called of me to address the guilt and wrong of events that occurred prior to my birth? Mr. Kimel said that accepting of responsibility makes for better societies, so what must I do to make things better for people now and the future? Is mere acknowledgment of a wrong, and guilt with an expression of sorrow sufficient? Or is there more?

I believe that those questions go to the heart of our relating to the Holocaust tragedy, to the Holocaust education and to our perception of the Holocaust. My reasoning is as follows:

HOLOCAUST RESPONSIBIlITY
I believe that the prevailing anti-Semitism allowed Hitler to gain power, murder six million of Jews and is responsible for the indifference and silence of the "civilized" world. Although shrouded in deadly silence the killings did not occur in a vacuum. The victims were dispersed among bystander nations, whose negative attitude toward the Jews, coupled with the silence of the churches, the guardians of morality, contributed significantly to the totality of destruction. Considering all the facts, one has to conclude that there is graduated Holocaust Responsibility, on the parts of the Perpetrators, Bystanders and Observers. I also tried to differentiate between Legal, Moral and Historical responsibilities. My definitions are as follows:

Moral Responsibility: The responsibility of those who witnessing the senseless killings did nothing to stop the killings or help the innocent victims.

Moral Responsibility: The responsibility of those who witnessing the senseless killings did nothing to stop the killings or help the innocent victims.

Observer Nations: Roosevelt promised that after the war all the Perpetrators will be punished. This was the depth of his involvement. Even the few Jews that escaped from hell, were denied entry to USA, because of the quota system.

GRADUATED RESPONSIBILITY:
German People: The Germans bear responsibility for falling prey to Hitler's political charisma, and turning a blind eye to Hitler's brutalization of the Jews. The Germans give the world only one Oscar Schindler, but many mass murderers like Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, Eichmann, Globocnik, Hoess, etc. The Germans did not have to follow orders, blindly.

The Victims: The Jews are responsible for not mounting extensive armed resistance. Why did we march so peacefully to the gas chambers? Why did we allow to be so brutalized? The fact is, that the Jews were conditioned by 2000 years of Christian persecutions to play the role of victims. This notion was even incorporated into our liturgy - Kiddush Hashem. The Jews survived centuries of pogroms, expulsions, inquisitions, blood libels, Numerus Clausus (quotas) and outright beatings by taking it on the chin. Bending like reef to the hurricanes that uprooted mighty oaks. Persecutions made us strong through meekness, and this did not work with Hitler.

TRANSMISSION OF HISTORICAL RESPONSIBILITY.
How is this historical responsibility transmitted? Through our culture and institutions. Culture is the vehicle that binds generation to generation. In a quest for immortality, to deny the transient nature of life and obtain a measure of security we congegrate into social groups. Each of us maintains a multiple of identities, such us American Jew, Afro-American, etc. Within those channels of multiple identities, one always find a channel connected with the Holocaust, through which is the historical responsibility is transferred or transmitted. HO

Bystander Nations: Bystander is a misnomer, had the Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Poles, Croatians, Slovaks and others stood by and did not help the Germans, another 10% of victims would have survived.

During the Holocaust, a de facto conspiracy of silence was maintained by the Allies and nothing was done to rescue the victims or at least interfere with the killing process, like bombing of the railroad facilities. I believe that the anti-Semitic frame of mind of the leaders: Stalin, Roosevelt or the Pope Pius XII are responsible for thi

in response to my post "Holocaust Guilt & Responsibility" Laura Huntchinson wrote:

...accepting of responsibility makes for better societies so what must I do to make things better for people now and the future? Is mere acknowledgment of a wrong, and guilt with an expression of sorrow sufficient? Or is there more?

HOLOCAUST & THE STATUS QUO.
Scenes from the Holocaust are saturated with unbelievable cruelty and degradation, of the victims and perpetrators. Jewish mothers leading their children for gassing, babies torn from mother's arms and thrown alive into burning ovens of the crematoriums, Croatian Ustachis displaying a sack with eyes pulled out from the victim's sockets, Bucharest slaughterhouse with Jews butchered like animals, Budapest - the Blue Donau turned bloody red from blood of Jewish children, Warsaw Ghetto - starved skeletons roaming the street dreaming about a piece of bread.

What a degradation of our "culture and civilization"? And what are we doing about it? Very little. Applying patches, paying lip service to atonement, but doing little to revise our civilization, and protect future generation from the senseless, pervasive violence, irresponsibility. The problem is that all failed institutions that are now patching up and refurbishing their tarnished images. And so it is up to individual people of good will, to speak up and create a consensus for change.

INDIVIDUAL ACTION.
How can an individual change or correct the course of history? Yes, he can. I believe that the recent impeachment events in Washington, revealed that the internet and the cable television is changing imperceptibly our system of government. It turned out that the people have more common sense than the spin doctors and their "law lovers". The internet with the multiple channels of interactive communication has the potential of creating a system of direct democracy, where the voice of every individual counts. And so it is time to break out from the cultural mold, through away the template for thinking and start to ask questions, and let our voices be heard. What are the questions that we have to ask?

HOLOCAUST QUESTIONS
When it comes to the Post Holocaust era there are many questions to be asked. The question can be divided into two groups: peripheral and basic. For example.

Peripheral Questions.
1. Why are the Ukrainian or Lithuanian SS men receiving German pensions, while the victims are denied any help???

2. Crosses in Aushwitz.
The Cross was a symbol of persecution for the vast majority of the victims. Why are the religious national vigilantes, desecrating their memory, by erecting crosses in the killing fields????

3. Jewish Gold: Why are the Swiss keeping gold extracted from the Holocaust victims?

4. Holocaust Education The overwhelming majority of victims came from the East European countries, but there is no Holocaust education in those countries. Why?

Basic Questions. We are accepting violence, cruelty, indifference, religious intolerance in our civilization, explaining it by the human condition or human nature. But was human nature different in Eastern Europe than in Denmark, Italy or France? Are the Jehovah Witnesses, rejecting violence in all forms, not subjected to human nature?

I believe that violence, intolerance, hatred, prejudices are culturally acquired and it is possible to built a society accepting the the Ten Commandments, as the minimum requirement of civilized life. Antiquity was generally more tolerant. The Holocaust was a wake-up call and it is up to the individual to take up the challenge, the institutions will not do it.


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kimel@systec.com