Holocaust Memorial Day Belfast

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is promoting everyone to mark the occasion today with local activities as well as individual acts, such as signing a pledge.

For me, a particular significance is remembering that Nazism was about state-sponsored, systematic discrimination against entire categories of people — whether Jewish, Polish, gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, or anyone who over fraternised (contaminated themselves) with any so-labelled degenerate:

A chart of prisoner markings used in German concentration camps. The vertical categories list markings for the following types of prisoners: political, professional criminal, emigrant, Bible Students (as Jehovah's Witnesses were then known as), homosexual, Germans shy of work, and other nationalities shy of work. The horizontal categories begin with the basic colours, and then show those for repeat offenders, prisoners in Strafkompanie, Jews, Jews who have violated racial laws by having sexual relations with Aryans, and Aryans who violated racial laws by having sexual relations with Jews. In the lower left corner, P is for Poles and T for Czechs (German: Tscheche). The remaining symbols give examples of marking patterns.

Let’s not forget that anyone who opposed the regime politically were also targeted.

For example, shortly after a suspicious fire in the Reichstag on 27 February 1933, Hitler requested the parliament to grant him absolute powers. Nearly all the members of the parliament did, but a few dozen did not. They were ultimately arrested and sent to concentration camps to die. These stones near the entrance of the Reichstag is a memorial to those parliamentarians (and I took this photo on a visit in 2007):

In the following video, the Holocaust Memorial Trust highlights its work and activites that have taken place in local communities. Belfast features at 7:40:

Belfast is hosting some activities today, which includes the screening of an HMD film at the Mid-Antrim Museum, running until 4th February.

Wish I’d had an earlier heads-up of these events, which I wish every success.

PS. Glad to see an official recognition of the day by First Minister Peter Robinson MLA and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA at OFMDFM.

Original posting: http://mrulster.org/holocaust-memorial-day-belfast

  • Drumlins Rock

    Recently read a bit about Deitrich Bonnhoffers life, it helped a little to see how narrow the ground was between moral failure but surviving and doing the right thing but costing you everything. He survived on that narrow ground for longer than many but still paid with his life weeks before the war ended. Worth reading up on.

  • Greenflag

    Jared Diamond in his book ‘The Third Chimpanzee’ lists a page or two long of all the various genocides committed since 1900 which list includes the nationalities of both the victims and their killers -sometimes the same . IIRC the the total amounted to about 100 million .I don’t know why the Holocaust is singled out ? Perhaps because it happened or was allowed to happen in a State which was the best educated and one of the most developed on the planet at the time ?

    Hannah Arendt remarked after her interviewing of the notorious Adolf Eichmann that he was ‘nothing special ‘ not an obvious monster but just a faceless bureaucrat who had climbed the power pyramid of the regime and followed orders without questioning .

  • Mick Fealty

    The always puts me in mind of this poem by an old friend:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2005/01/25/remembering_holocaust/

  • Drumlins Rock

    Greenflag, partly it was the industrial nature of the killing too, not the usual “wiping out all before you” as so often happened with war.

  • Greenflag

    DR ,

    I would’nt underestimate the role of Goebbels and his mass marketing of the ‘ideology ‘ behind nazism either . It might be more than a stretch to compare the mentalities of present day North Koreans to those of 1930’s Germany but there are millions of people in Seoul, South Korea who are a 4 minute nuclear artillery shell away from annihalation by a regime which shares the same DNA . Inconceivabale ? To date this North Korean regime has stood idly by while 2 to 3 millions of it’s population have starved to death while the Dear Leader swilled it up on vats of Napoleon brandies ?

    The disconnect between Wall St and main street America or between Leinster House and Ballymun , or Sunderland /Newcastle and LONDON is not as vast as the North Korean example but it is growing . Unlike the power mad National Socialists of 1930’s Germany or the isolated masses of North Korea the Irish and other ‘free ‘ peoples around the world will not put up with this current looting of their futures by politicians who have long since stopped representing their interests and instead have catered to the interests of ‘financial capitalism ‘

    BTW were the Hiroshima or Nagasaki or Dresden mass killings industrial by nature ? or for that matter the Hutu /Tutsi 800,000 dispatched mostly by factory produced machetes ? or the mid 1990’s Balkan 300,000 who were by ethnicity selectively culled ?

    More than anything else I believe that the origin of the Holocaust lies in mankind’s ability to believe or be persuaded by any oul codology that passes for ‘truth ‘ while being in reality a monstrous lie which will profit some and destroy others . Just think of the tobacco companies advertising or the American Ethyl Corporation which continued to tell Americans in the 1950’s that lead was not harmful while hundreds of it’s employees were dying on the job from increased levels of lead in their bloodstream ?

    And it was Josef Goebbels who led the way -the first axiom of propaganda being that the target must be led to the conclusion desired by believing he /she came to that conclusion unaided .

    Not an issue of course when it’s a brand of soap thats being mass marketed but if its a political ideology that makes lampshades from human skin then that’s a whole different story.

    Fast forward to 2012 and the neo con spin that the ‘people ‘ are to blame for the current worldwide financial crisis by working for low enough wages and by being not content to have mass unemployment and by being upset that 1% of the population deserve everything some of them have stolen from the taxpayers of the western world and you can see clearly that the Goebells methodology is still very much in vogue although the lads in Wall St or Madison Avenue would never admit it 🙁

  • Eichmann wasn’t just a follower of orders. He revelled in the slaughter. Towards the end of the war he told an aide that if he went to his death he would do so with the satisfaction of having destroyed 5 million vermin (or a similar word).

  • Dread Cthulhu

    GF: “BTW were the Hiroshima or Nagasaki or Dresden mass killings industrial by nature ?”

    I would say no — the “Final Solution” had *factories* where the only purpose was death. There was an entire infrastructure dedicated to the extermination of people. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on the other hand, were simply bomber raids, albeit optimized to require only one bomb and one bomber.

    As for why the Holocaust gets top billing, the fact that the Germans had so meticulously documented their deed.

  • @Drumlins Rock Thanks for highlighting Dietrich Bonhoeffer, someone I was unaware of. Any book you recommend about him?

  • Greenflag

    @joe canuck,

    Hannah Arendt’s book on the Eichmann trial was titled “A Report on the Banality of Evil ‘ Evil people as Hannah (herself a Jewess) noted are supposed to act out of pride, envy, weakness, hatred or greed . What she found herself confronted with was utterly different and still undeniably factual .She was struck by a manifest shallowness in Eichmann that made it impossible to trace the incontestable evil of his deeds to any deeper level of roots or motives . Arendt encountered a calm ,polite man who seemed incapable of speaking except in cliches even when they contradicted his past utterances or were grotesquely inappropriate to his status as a man with the blood of millions on his hands .He seemed to have no particular hatred for Jews andd spoke at great length to his Israeli interrogators about his past frustration at not receiving promotions within the Nazi hierarchy . Examining psychiatrists pronounced him ‘normal ‘ with one calling his psychological outlook ‘not only ‘normal ‘but most desirable .A religious minister who visited him in prison regularly called Eichmann a man with ‘positive ‘ideas .

    Arendt’s point was that even the most extreme evil can arise among everyday humans and that the monstrous can become commonplace -the work of genocide can become just another day at the office . Given the right circumstances each of us is capable of being an Adolf Eichmann 🙁

    Arendt also makes the point that evils can happen even without intention . Today’s huge bureaucratic socieities in which hierarchy , procedure standardisation and obedience are absolute requirements for survival and promotion DON’T permit the luxury of individual moral deliberation .

    There is a ‘theory ‘ going around sorry I haven’t the link to hand that one of the reasons for the mass corporate looting and financial services gangsterism over the past couple of decades can be traced to the ‘environmental ‘ impact of ‘creative destruction’ or speeded up change particular in many of the larger corporate and financial institutions . The new environment itself a product of earlier change enabled those who most quickly adapted to the new ‘rules ‘ Thus in that environment the psychopathic individual is likely to be best placed for promotion .His or hers (less frequently) less positive talents get less attention in an environment in which ‘change -in particular organisational change is speeded up . In a more static hierarchy such individuals would be weeded out by senior management or the board of directors but they positively thrived in the Wall St financial environment and in many areas of corporate America and elsewhere in the 90’s and even up to the present ..

    The number of criminal CEO’s and fraudulent ‘banksters’over the past decade has been the greatest in history and it’s not over yet as more still remain to be ‘discovered ‘.

  • Greenflag

    addendum,

    Calling some of our modern day amoral financial capitalists or their politician abettors Eichmann’s might seem a bit overdone after all they only stole pension funds and sold worthless CDO’s as Triple A investments to millions and did’nt actually committ mass murder . But we know and the figures will someday come to light that many of today’s ‘suicides ‘ have been indirectly caused by the current economic situation .

  • Greenflag

    @ DR ,

    ‘the fact that the Germans had so meticulously documented their deed.’

    They forgot the first law of ‘consultants ‘ If at first you don’t succeed .destroy all evidence that you tried . The same happened with the East German Stasi .Apparently their meticulous ‘filing ‘system showed that one in every 3 East Germans was spying on the other 2 and that there was a file on some 30% of the entire population.

    Of course in todays West both the State and the business world have huge amounts of information on everybody -so much so that anyone who likes some personal privacy is almost regarded as a ‘freak ‘ . Hopefully new legislation being planned will give people the right to demand that their personal information must be removed from corporate databases once one has no further business with said corporation or institution.