Showing posts with label Holocaust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holocaust. Show all posts

May 9, 2016

Israeli General Accuses Gov of Fear Mongering Coming out of Holocaust Day

Moshe Yaalon (L) at cabinet meeting on 10 April
Mr Yaalon said senior officers should be able to provide a moral compass for their troops

Maj-Gen Yair Golan said on the eve of Thursday's annual Holocaust Day that he detected trends in Israeli society suggestive of "nauseating processes" that occurred in 1930s Nazi Germany. 
Mr Netanyahu said the comments were outrageous, cheapened the Holocaust and caused harm to Israel. 
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said he had "total confidence" in Gen Golan.
"If there's something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it's the recognition of the nauseating processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then - 70, 80 and 90 years ago - and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016," the deputy chief of staff said on Wednesday.
"There is, after all, nothing easier and simpler than hating the foreigner... arousing fears and terrifying."
But Mr Netanyahu said Gen Golan's remarks were "utterly mistaken and unacceptable to me".
"The comparison drawn in the words of the deputy chief of staff regarding events which characterised Nazi Germany 80 years ago is outrageous," he said.
“They do injustice to Israeli society and cause a belittling of the Holocaust." 
Correspondents say right-wing members of Mr Netanyahu's coalition have called for Gen Golan's resignation, accusing him of dishonouring the dead.
But Defence Minister Yaalon said the criticism was an attempt to cause political harm to the military.
"The attacks against [Gen Golan] and the current criticism against him are deliberate distortions of interpretation of the things he said last night," he added.
The remarks come at a time of heightened tension between Israelis and Palestinians.
A wave of stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs over the past eight months have left 29 Israelis dead.
More than 200 Palestinians - mostly attackers, Israel says - have also been killed in that period.
There has been debate and controversy over Israelis' response to the attacks.
In March, an Israeli soldier was filmed shooting dead a wounded Palestinian. He has been charged with manslaughter.
There has been some public sympathy for the soldier but Mr Yaalon backed the military establishment in prosecuting him.
In October last year, an Eritrean immigrant was shot and beaten to death by an angry crowd after being mistaken for an Arab militant in the town of Beersheba, prompting concern about mob reactions to people thought to be suspicious.

November 4, 2013

Gay Lives pre- and post-Nazi Torture are Remembered

As a young merchant-in-training in Hamburg, Friedrich-Paul Von Groszheim could meet other gay men in bars, celebrate openly, read gay magazines, and look forward to what seemed the inevitable repeal of anti-gay laws.
Things were getting better.
“The so-called ‘Golden Twenties’ were for me a wonderful time,” he later remembered. “I failed to recognize the problems of the time — unemployment, the growing poverty, the political radicalization. But I was so wonderfully young.”
Then it all collapsed. In January 1937, Von Groszheim was rounded up by the SS, beaten and imprisoned for 10 months. Less than a year later, he was imprisoned again, tortured, and finally castrated by the Gestapo as a condition of his release.
Von Groszheim’s story reemerges in the travelling exhibit Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945, on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The exhibition is now on display at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre until Dec 4, with a guided tour at 1pm on Nov 17.
The exhibit’s most striking narrative is not how gay people died during the holocaust, but how they lived before it.
By the early 1930s, more than a quarter of a million gay men and lesbians lived in Berlin — nearly one in 10 citizens. Gay men had their own bars, clubs and newspapers, and women dined in public with coat tails and cigars. Male homosexuality was still officially illegal under section 175 of the German criminal code, but the prominent sexoligist Dr Magnus Hirschfeld was campaigning, with some success, for its repeal. Even Hitler’s personal friend and commander Ernst Röhm was openly gay, and brought other gay men with him into the ranks of the party.
The persecution of gay people during the holocaust was all the more terrifying for its precipitousness. The story is disturbing in much the same way as recent developments in Russia: it proves that gay acceptance can disappear as easily as it is won.
The curators of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC) took that message seriously, and paired the American exhibit with its own on the Nazi-run 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. While VHEC education director Adara Goldberg warns against comparing any country directly to Nazi Germany, she says the juxtaposition was absolutely intentional.
“As much as we aren’t a political organization, there are some things that need to come to light,” she says. “All the time we are battling against the words, ‘Never again.’”
The impetus to bring the exhibit to Canadian students, in fact, began after directors at human rights group Egale Canada read research from the 2011 “Every Class in Every School” study on classroom homophobia. A few Canadian students, in one anecdote, cheered in support when a video mentioned that the holocaust affected gay people.
“We have an illusion in Canada that we’re on a road to progress that only goes one way,” says Egale Canada Human Rights Trust director Mark Riczu, who helped to bring the exhibit to Canada. “Nazi Germany, coming out of the Weimar Republic, shows us what can happen.”
Comparing current events to Nazi Germany is now unbearably cliché, but sometimes — backed by serious historical scholarship — there are genuine lessons to be found. Von Groszheim, living his sunny early years in Hamburg, might hardly have believed what would become of Germany’s gay community.
“I’m living proof that Hitler didn’t win,” he said, 50 years after his imprisonment. “If I don’t tell my story, who will know the truth?”
 Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945

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