auschwitz » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘auschwitz’
February 5, 2015 0

Lo que aprendimos de Auschwitz

Por Abra­ham H. Fox­man
Direc­tor Nacional de la Liga Antidifamación

Este artículo apare­ció orig­i­nal­mente en el blog de The Huff­in­g­ton Post

El sep­tu­agésimo aniver­sario de la lib­eración de Auschwitz, que se cel­e­brará el 27 de enero en el Día Inter­na­cional de Con­mem­o­ración en Memo­ria de las Víc­ti­mas del Holo­causto, llega en un momento en que algunos se pre­gun­tan: ¿está suce­di­endo nue­va­mente en Europa?

Cono­ce­mos la respuesta racional a esa pre­gunta. A pesar de la gravedad del resurgimiento del anti­semitismo en Europa, no hay com­para­ción con la Europa de los años treinta y cuarenta del siglo pasado. En aquel entonces, un par­tido com­pro­metido con la destruc­ción del pueblo judío obtuvo el poder total en Ale­ma­nia y final­mente llegó a con­tro­lar casi toda Europa, per­mi­tiendo el asesinato sis­temático de 6 mil­lones de judíos y mil­lones de otras per­sonas en el Holocausto.

Hoy en día, los gob­ier­nos de Europa no apoyan el anti­semitismo; lo com­baten, aunque no siem­pre con sufi­ciente fuerza.

¿Si no es el Holo­causto —y, si no es útil com­pren­der los inmen­sos desafíos de hoy com­parán­do­los con el Holo­causto—, Auschwitz nos da alguna lec­ción hoy en día?

Yo diría que varias.

Primero está el papel de las ide­ologías de odio en la pro­duc­ción de com­por­tamien­tos vio­len­tos y anti­semi­tas. Aunque hoy los anti­semi­tas en Europa no con­trolan los gob­ier­nos, son capaces de mov­i­lizar a per­sonas com­pro­meti­das con la vio­len­cia sobre la base de nociones fan­tás­ti­cas sobre el mal de los judíos.

Joseph Goebbels, Min­istro de Pro­pa­ganda de Hitler, con­ven­ció a los ale­manes no sólo de odiar a los judíos sino tam­bién de creer que tenían que pro­te­gerse del mal­vado y todopoderoso judío que estaba enve­ne­nando el cuerpo político alemán. Tam­bién hoy, los extrem­is­tas islámi­cos —ya sea Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas o Hezbolá— con­sid­eran al judío el ori­gen del mal en el mundo.

La Carta de Con­sti­tu­ción de Hamas no sola­mente hace un lla­mado a la destruc­ción de Israel; sostiene que los judíos son respon­s­ables de todos los males del mundo mod­erno desde la Rev­olu­ción Francesa.

Cuando Al-Qaeda decidió atacar el World Trade Cen­ter el 11 de sep­tiem­bre de 2001, fue sólo después de que con­sid­er­aran atacar obje­tivos judíos en Nueva York. Incluso el World Trade Cen­ter era visto como un obje­tivo par­cial­mente “judío”, ya que se con­sid­er­aba que los judíos con­trolan el com­er­cio mundial, según “Los pro­to­co­los de los sabios de Sión”.

Una vez se resuelve que los judíos son la fuente del mal, es casi una respon­s­abil­i­dad actuar con­tra ellos. Y así los ataques con­tra civiles judíos, que rep­re­sen­tan el mal en forma ordi­naria, se vuel­ven admisibles.

Debe­mos luchar con­tra esta ide­ología de odio. No debe­mos titubear al darle el nom­bre que merece y reunir a per­sonas de todas las reli­giones con­tra él.

Una segunda lec­ción es que la vergüenza por lo que el anti­semitismo pudo pro­ducir, que se man­i­festó con la apari­ción de las primeras fotografías de Auschwitz después de la lib­eración, es un impor­tante inhibidor del antisemitismo.

No cura al mundo de la enfer­medad del anti­semitismo —que está tan arraigada y sirve a muchos propósi­tos—, pero sí afecta el nivel y la inten­si­dad del com­por­tamiento antisemita.

El anti­semitismo no explotó como un fenó­meno durante décadas en parte debido a esta vergüenza. A medida que pasa el tiempo y la inmedi­atez del Holo­causto se desvanece, resulta más impor­tante que nunca desar­rol­lar nuevas y cre­ati­vas man­eras de trans­mi­tir a los jóvenes sus horrores.

Recuerdo que hace algunos años escuché a Rita Suss­muth, del Bun­destag alemán, hablando de la necesi­dad de crear nuevos y emo­tivos méto­dos para lle­gar a cada gen­eración de jóvenes que está más y más ale­jada de los acon­tec­imien­tos de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Nunca debe­mos aban­donar la lucha para explicar lo que puede provo­car el antisemitismo.

Para mí, una ter­cera lec­ción es la íntima conex­ión entre el anti­semitismo y la salud de una sociedad democrática. Ya sea la expre­sión de que los judíos son el canario en la mina de car­bón o las famosas líneas del Pas­tor Mar­tin Niemöller sobre las con­se­cuen­cias de no enfrentarse a la mal­dad, Auschwitz no es sólo sobre los males del anti­semitismo sino tam­bién sobre cómo no con­tro­larlo invari­able­mente pone en peli­gro a toda la sociedad.

La lucha con­tra el anti­semitismo nunca debería con­sid­er­arse sola­mente como una lucha moral. Es una lucha prác­tica, como lo expresó con tanta elocuen­cia el Primer Min­istro Manuel Valls ante el Par­la­mento francés después de los ataques ter­ror­is­tas con­tra Char­lie Hebdo y el super­me­r­cado kosher.

¿Cómo -pre­guntó- podría la sociedad francesa no protes­tar y estar indig­nada cuando los judíos eran insul­ta­dos, cuando los ván­da­los vio­la­ban las insti­tu­ciones judías, cuando los man­i­fes­tantes inten­taron invadir una sin­a­goga? Su men­saje fue claro: Toda Fran­cia nece­sita pon­erse de pie y con fuerza cuando los judíos son ata­ca­dos. No sola­mente porque es lo cor­recto, sino porque es de vital impor­tan­cia para el bien­es­tar de la sociedad francesa.

El ataque crim­i­nal con­tra Char­lie Hebdo sigue inevitable­mente al asesinato de tres niños judíos en Toulouse. Los ataques con­tra los judíos en la Ale­ma­nia Nazi invari­able­mente lle­varon a los esfuer­zos de Hitler para dom­i­nar y esclavizar al mundo.

Entonces, el martes, mien­tras con­mem­o­ramos los 70 años de la lib­eración de Auschwitz y el Día Inter­na­cional de Con­mem­o­ración de las Víc­ti­mas del Holo­causto, la impor­tan­cia de saber lo que sucedió allí y trans­mitírselo a la sigu­iente gen­eración es más urgente que nunca.
Hoy, las ame­nazas con­tra los judíos son may­ores de lo que han sido desde aque­l­los días oscuros. Y esas ame­nazas, como lo enseña la lec­ción de Auschwitz, nos ame­nazan a todos nosotros.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

January 26, 2015 0

What We Learned From Auschwitz

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

The 70th anniver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz, which will be marked Jan­u­ary 27 on Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, comes at a time when some are ask­ing: is it hap­pen­ing all over again in Europe?

We know the ratio­nal answer to that ques­tion. As bad as the resur­gence of anti-Semitism in Europe is, there is no com­par­i­son to Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.  Then, a party com­mit­ted to the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple gained total power in Ger­many and even­tu­ally con­trolled most of Europe, enabling the sys­tem­atic mur­der of six mil­lion Jews and mil­lions of oth­ers in the Holocaust.

Today, gov­ern­ments in Europe are not espous­ing anti-Semitism; they are coun­ter­ing it, even if not strongly enough.

If it isn’t the Holo­caust – and, if it isn’t help­ful to under­stand today’s immense chal­lenges by com­par­ing it to the Holo­caust — does Auschwitz present any lessons at all for today?

I would say there are several.

First is the role of hate­ful ide­olo­gies in pro­duc­ing vio­lent, anti-Semitic behav­ior. While today’s anti-Semites in Europe do not con­trol gov­ern­ments, they are able to mobi­lize indi­vid­u­als com­mit­ted to vio­lence on the basis of fan­tas­ti­cal notions about the unique evil of Jews.

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s min­is­ter of pro­pa­ganda, con­vinced Ger­mans not merely to dis­like Jews but to believe that they had to pro­tect them­selves from the evil, all-powerful Jew who was poi­son­ing the Ger­man body politic. So too today, the Islamic extrem­ists, whether it’s Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, or Hezbol­lah, see the Jew as the source of evil in the world.

The Hamas char­ter not only repeat­edly calls for the destruc­tion of Israel. It claims that Jews are respon­si­ble for all the ills of the mod­ern world going back to the French Revolution.

When Al-Qaeda decided to attack the World Trade Cen­ter on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, it was only after they con­sid­ered hit­ting Jew­ish tar­gets in New York. Even the World Trade Cen­ter was seen as partly a “Jew­ish” tar­get since it was deemed that Jews con­trol world com­merce, per the “Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”

Once it is decided that Jews are the source of evil, then it is almost a respon­si­bil­ity to act against them. And so attacks on Jew­ish civil­ians, who rep­re­sent evil in ordi­nary form, become permissible.

We must fight this ide­ol­ogy of hatred. We must not equiv­o­cate in call­ing it what it is and in ral­ly­ing peo­ple of all faiths against it.

A sec­ond les­son is that shame about what anti-Semitism could lead to, which man­i­fested itself with the appear­ance of the first pic­tures of Auschwitz after the lib­er­a­tion, is an impor­tant inhibitor of anti-Semitism.

It does not cure the world of the dis­ease of anti-Semitism, which is so deeply embed­ded and serves so many pur­poses, but it does affect the level and inten­sity of anti-Semitic behavior.

For decades, anti-Semitism did not explode as a phe­nom­e­non, partly because of this shame. As time passes, and the imme­di­acy of the Holo­caust recedes, it makes more impor­tant than ever the need to develop new and cre­ative ways to reach younger peo­ple about its horrors.

I remem­ber hear­ing some years ago from Rita Suss­muth of the Ger­man Bun­destag, who talked of the need for new and emo­tional meth­ods in reach­ing each gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple who are fur­ther and fur­ther removed from the events in World War II. We must never give up the strug­gle to explain what anti-Semitism can lead to.

A third les­son for me is the inti­mate con­nec­tion between anti-Semitism and the health of a demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety. Whether it is the expres­sion that Jews are the canary in the coal mine or Pas­tor Mar­tin Niemoller’s famous lines about the con­se­quences of not stand­ing up in the face of evil, Auschwitz is not only about the evils of anti-Semitism, but also how its going unchecked invari­ably endan­gers all of society.

The fight against anti-Semitism should never be seen as sim­ply a moral strug­gle. It is a prac­ti­cal one, as spo­ken so elo­quently by Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls to the French par­lia­ment after the ter­ror­ist attacks on Char­lie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket.

How, he asked, could French soci­ety not speak up and be out­raged when Jews were insulted, when van­dals vio­lated Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, when pro­tes­tors sought to invade a syn­a­gogue?  His mes­sage was clear: All of France needs to stand up early and loud when Jews are under attack. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is vital for the well-being of French society.

The mur­der­ous attack on Char­lie Hebdo inevitably fol­lows the mur­der of three Jew­ish chil­dren in Toulouse. The tar­get­ing of Jews in Nazi Ger­many invari­ably led to the efforts by Hitler to dom­i­nate and enslave the world.

So as we observe the 70th year of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz and Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day on Tues­day, the impor­tance of know­ing what hap­pened there and of trans­mit­ting it to the next gen­er­a­tion is more urgent than ever.
Threats to Jews today are greater than they have been since those darker days.  And those threats, as taught by the lessons of Auschwitz, threaten all of us.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

January 22, 2015 0

Bittersweet Freedom

“After Auschwitz, the human con­di­tion is not the same, noth­ing will be the same.“
– Elie Wiesel

imagesIUCCBAT3

Credit: Yad Vashem

Jan­u­ary 27th marks the 70th anniver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz Birke­nau Con­cen­tra­tion Camp by the Russ­ian army at the end of World War II.  For those who were able to sur­vive the hor­rors of Auschwitz, finally hear­ing the words “We’re free! We’re free!” echo­ing across the camp bar­racks must have seemed almost too good to be true. We often hear sto­ries of the ini­tial encounter between camp sur­vivors and the lib­er­at­ing army, recounted by one child sur­vivor, “They gave us hugs, cook­ies, and choco­late. Being so alone, a hug meant more than any­body could imag­ine because that replaced the human worth that we were starv­ing for. We were not only starved for food but we were starved for human kindness.”

Peo­ple rarely con­sider what hap­pened to the anti-Semitism that was at the root of the Holo­caust once the war ended. There is some­times an assump­tion that anti-Semitism ended with the war or that it was greatly dimin­ished. In fact, this is never the case when geno­cide occurs. The hatred and prej­u­dice still exist, but their man­i­fes­ta­tion is not always bla­tantly obvi­ous.  In the case of the Holo­caust, the world felt a col­lec­tive sense of shame in fac­ing the images of sur­vivors, which was a strong inhibit­ing force against the bla­tant expres­sion of anti-Semitism. Today, decades later and with new gen­er­a­tions ris­ing, the ero­sion of that sense of shame has become a key fac­tor in the surge of anti-Semitism. That’s why edu­ca­tion is more impor­tant now than ever.

After lib­er­a­tion, the sur­vivors of Auschwitz were free to walk out of the camp, and were essen­tially on their own to make their way back to their com­mu­ni­ties and learn if their for­mer homes and val­ued pos­ses­sions were still there.  Many of the young women who sur­vived the camp trav­elled together in small groups, some­times for long dis­tances. Sleep­ing in barns, sheds or out­side in the woods, they were fre­quent vic­tims of vio­lent sex­ual assaults from maraud­ing sol­diers, attacks from which some did not sur­vive. They were tar­geted for two rea­sons – because they were women and because they were Jewish.

The lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz is clearly a crit­i­cally impor­tant event in the his­tory of the Holo­caust and one that should hold an impor­tant place in our col­lec­tive mem­o­ries.  But we also need to be mind­ful that anti-Semitism did not mag­i­cally dis­ap­pear with the lib­er­a­tion of the camps or the sign­ing of the peace treaties.  Today, anti-Semitism has reached to all-time highs across Europe and our mem­o­ries need to be tem­pered with a renewed vig­i­lance to con­tinue to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of prej­u­dice, from sub­tle stereo­types and Holo­caust “jokes” to vio­lent hate crimes against peo­ple per­pe­trated because of who they are.  Only then, will the man­date of “Never Again” become a reality.

How do we bring the lessons of the Holo­caust to stu­dents today in ways that are rel­e­vant to their lives?  The Anti-Defamation League pro­vides pro­grams and resources that help edu­ca­tors and stu­dents study the his­tory of the Holo­caust and apply its lessons to con­tem­po­rary issues of respon­si­ble cit­i­zen­ship, moral deci­sion mak­ing, prej­u­dice, hate, and geno­cide.  Teach­ers can inte­grate mul­ti­me­dia cur­ric­ula into their class­rooms through Echoes and Reflec­tions.

Tags: , , ,