Friday, February 22, 2008

The Auschwitz Fiasco Should Serve as a Warning

I suppose as everyone else has weighed into the Auschwitz row, I might as well add my twopennyworth. When I first heard about I could hardly believe anyone could be so crass. Whatever checking procedures that are in place in CCHQ are clearly not working.

But just when it looked very bad for team Cameron, up rode the increasingly ridiculous Ed Balls with an attack which had most of the lobby rolling in the aisles. He accused the Conservatives of playing party politics in a press release on Labour headed notepaper. The Tories went into 'explanation' mode and sought to clarify what "Trips to Auschwitz" on their list of Gordon's gimmicks actually meant. They said "The government was trying to suggest in a press release earlier this month they were going to fund two children from every school. The problem is they said they would pay for it in full. But when you look at the analysis the schools have to pay £1.9 million. So what exactly is the government paying for?” Fair enough, but the damage was already done.

As most commentators have pointed out, David Cameron can hardly be blamed for this and no one seriously believes that it was meant as a deliberate insult to those who died in the Holocaust. But coming so soon after Brown's "student politics" jibe, it does look incredibly crass. Things of this sort do happen from time to time in all parties. That's not to excuse it, but I go back to my point at the beginning - checking procedures need to be far more rigorous. This should serve as a warning.

56 comments:

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I agree with sending schoolchildren to Auschwitz. A bit of discipline and hard conditions will do them some good. And bring back flogging while you are at it. Oh. That's not what they mean, is it? whoops.

verity said...

Iain, sometimes I despair of you.

Why should two or more children from British schools go to Auschwitz? Why subject children to something such a grotesque chapter in German life?

British schoolchildren should be learning about our British history. God knows, there's plenty of it that they don't know. Auschwitz is German history. Why force this on children? Why not suddenly decide to take them to see the Winter Palaced in Leningrad, which is equally unconnected with British history? It is a very bizarre suggestion to say the least.

Although I'm as appalled and sickened as anyone about Auschwitz and the other Nazi internment camps, I personally would not go to visit it. I would find it too disturbing, even at this distance in time. To try to put such a politically correct searing experience on schoolchildren, for political advantage, is indeed a gimmick.

In addition, there are other genocides. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge did away with 12m Cambodians. Wasn't there a recent genocide in Rwanda? We feel the genocide of the Jews so strongly because of their huge contribution to our advanced Western civilisation, and we all have Jewish friends or colleagues, but using the sheer horror of Auschwitz for political advantage is absolutely sickening.

Cameron, for once, is correct. It's a vote-chasing gimmick and an absolutely grotesque one at that.

Newmania said...

I don`t see the problem . No-one who died in the Holocaust is going to be around to be offended and the endless focus on the Nazi period of history has been an attack on education always implying that the right cannot be trusted not to suddenly go all genocidal. What utter gonad sweat I just do not swee the need to retreat before this sort of fascist language policing .

Andy C said...

When I read the original proposal to send schoolchildren to Auschwitz I though 'oh my god, another Labour gimmick.'

Thank god Cameron's got the balls to call them out on it and has even bigger balls not to do a u-turn when he's criticised for it.

He's right on this one.

Daily Referendum said...

It's a bloody gimmick. They made yet another grand gesture with other peoples money. This time they expect the schools to stump up almost a third of the cost (£100/pupil).

The public need to know the truth.

And don't forget to read the list of gimmicks in full:

1. Community kitty for every neighbourhood
2. Funding for flooding
3. Honours for sportsmen
4. Trips to Auschwitz
5. New Border Police
6. Reversing 24-hour drinking policy
7. Police to confiscate alcohol from teens
8. Titan prisons
9. Prison ships
10. Engaging the public in policy making
11. 1,300 new train carriages
12. Protecting Public Spaces against terrorist attacks
13. British jobs for British workers
14. Deep Cleaning of hospitals
15. NHS constitution
16. Screening tests: cervical cancer
17. Screening tests: C.difficile
18. 1,000 troops home before Christmas
19. Deportation of foreign nationals
20. Inheritance Tax
21. Tenants forced to work
22. Five hours of culture a week
23. Netball to be introduced for the 2012 Olympics
24. Migrant Charges
25. Knife Scanners
26. Petition plans.

Anonymous said...

A long time personal friend of mine spent 4 years in said place making Nazi jewellery out of his fellow mans gold teeth.

A nicer chap you could not wish to meet. He never has a bad word to say about anyone and always has a smile on his face. His name is Israel Hammerstein.

I had heard all I had to know by the age of 10 about NATIONAL SOCIALIST evil FIRST HAND. He is the main reason I have been an almost life time RIGHT WING libertarian.

He is over 83 now and I can assure you he does not take offense over any comments people make about the holocaust. He was there and knows the truth. For him this is all that matters. Witness to the true potential of inhuman evil that is absolute state power.

Get over it people. Don't for the Gods sake start sounding like schoolgirls trying to out cry each other.

Just stop your own government from putting you in one first or anyone else for that matter. Before you all start getting your nickers in a twist about what happened 67 years ago.

Otherwise history will repeat itself yet again, and sooner then you might think possible. Also beware because if it does, it will be carried out by the people you least expect of doing it. Very possibly your own NHS.

Atlas shrugged and refused to take his usual shower.

Yak40 said...

As someone suggested elsewhere, why not send them to Flanders ? The Menin Gate ? Normandy/D-day sites ?

Of course the subliminal message they want implanted from an Auschwitz trip is that right wing = bad, so send them to Katyn Forest, Magadan/Kolyma, Pol Pot Museum too, just to see how the other half did it.

Tom Wessex said...

It is a gimmick and it's disgusting that Labour should make visits to Auschwitz a gimmick.

Same old, same old misleading headline chasing with the real cost hidden.

strapworld said...

Iain,

yet more evidence of lack of leadership by Cameron.

A real leader would have a tight ship and KNOW what was going out - who was putting it out and when.

The man needs a kick up the backside.

We do not need to send children to the concentration camps. The final solution was not of our making. Didn't we liberate them?

When the leader of Germany can say they do not want a British person as President of the EU (Forget for the moment it is Blair) then it is plain to me she and possibly they have not learnt from two past mistakes. As a matter of interest, iain, do the Germans send their children?

Balls is insignificant. When they are kicked out he will disappear!

verity said...

Yak 40 - Hitler wasn't right wing. He was extreme left. Agree with you about Flanders, Normandy, and so on.

Strapworld - "We do not need to send children to the concentration camps. The final solution was not of our making. Didn't we liberate them?" Very well said! This is German history, not British history.

And sending such young people to look at concentration camps is too bizarre. Is Gordy going to send that kid of his with the genetic defect? As Strapworld said, "Do the Germans send their children to Auschwitz?

Cameron is absolutely right on this, and I never thought I would type those words.

Newmania said...

Thankyou Daily Referendum and Verity thank god its not just me. I always feel nervous when I think lain is completely incontrovertibly …wrong .There is nothing wrong with pointing out the list of cheap press management clap traps that show we are still in the era of Blair /Brown. I would add Caroline heart -of-Flint’s absurd suggestion that she was going to remove houses form the idle …yeah right …. that’s why it was unveiled( cough cough ) outside Parliament .
This must be the most facile .There is one thing every British child knows .Even if he cannot read , even if he cannot use eating utensils , even if he cannot tie his shoelaces and mugs old ladies whilst off his tiny reptilian brain ,deafened with industrial percussion , clutching his junk food spattered crotch. However simian a piece of human refuse he is he will know everything thing there is to know about Nazi Germany having studied it eighteen times since his Sure start primer in Gestapo torture techniques.

His father name ? Forget it . Hitler`s per gerbil’s liver condition….Eeezzzy innit

Chris A said...

There are some in the Jewish community who will always take offence at any remark be it about the holocaust or Israeli brutality even if none was intended. Lord Janner is indeed one such person.

enoughalready said...

What's "crass" is our constant grovelling before the holocaust and its self-appointed high priests, like the wretched Greville Janner. These "guilt trips" to Auschwitz are designed to serve their interests, not the interests of the nation as a whole, and certainly not of its indigenous Christian inhabitants.

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

Alas, this is just another example of the common sense free zone that is the higher echelons of the Tory Party at the moment. He could have made his point in a much better way.

David said...

Iain,

I'm just astonished at how this has played out, and how no one in the media appears to have questioned the way the Labour party leapt on this in such a blatant and crass political way.

How this is the Tories' fault I don't know. It was a perfectly valid point, and if anything shows it's Labour who are making frivolous use of the Holocaust to score headlines.

I don't think I've been so angry at the brainlessness of the press for a long time.

Anonymous said...

"Two pupils from every sixth form and college in the country will be able to visit Auschwitz and learn about the Holocaust thanks to £4.65m of funding to the Holocaust Educational Trust announced by Schools Minister Jim Knight today."
http://www.dfes.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2008_0024

Far from allowing this to be an own goal, the extra publicity should be used to push home how Labour make announcements such as this without providing the full funding, but leaving the schools to make up the shortfall.

Typical of this Government to repeatedly re-announce the same money as if new money, and on this occasion to only partially fund something that they are claiming credit for, without making clear that schools must find the balance of the cash from their existing budgets..

Laban said...

We didn't kill six million Jews - the Germans did, with help from some Poles, Letts and Ukranians.

It was a horrendous crime, but it wasn't our crime, and we hanged some of the people who did it.

For forty years after WW2 we managed without a memorial day. Why all this emphasis of a sudden ? And why so much emphasis on German history rather then British history ?

We all know why. It's our rulers' way of telling us what happens if you say bad things about bogus asylum seekers or mass immigration.

verity said...

This blog is becoming seriously blogged down.

There's no exchange of opinion any more - just great wadges of comment whapped in all at the same time; then another gap of several hours and another carton of opinions airlifted in, some of which, unknown to the writers, had already been addressed by previous commenters.

tachybaptus said...

It is a truism to say that no politician should ever make any public statement on anything to do with the Holocaust, beyond conventional expressions of horror and regret. It is an area of discourse that is still simply too poisoned to enter in mass communication.

When I was a small boy at school in the late 1950s, the teaching of British history still stopped at 1914. No teacher, no parent, ever mentioned the worst of the things that had gone on in WWII. Not unreasonable: it was recent and raw, and we were just kids.

So we found out for ourselves, through Pan paperbacks with lurid covers; in this case, _The Scourge of the Swastika_ by Lord Russell of Liverpool. This book, a plain account with a few ghastly but thankfully blurred pictures, was passed around from hand to hand. We never discussed it. We just knew, and tried to fathom the evil.

It was not only the camps we knew about: there was also Russell's _The Knights of the Bushido_, about Japanese atrocities, as was Russell Braddon's _The Naked Island_.

If the teachers had found any of these books they would certainly have been confiscated.

We were, then better informed about these things than our elders knew; and I think better informed than if we had been taught them.

But, at the very moment we were reading these books about what the Nazis and Japanese had done, 30 million people were dying in China in the Great Leap Forward. We didn't know, decades passed before the butcher's bill for the 20th century came in and it became clear that Hitler had slain his ten millions, but Marx his hundred millions.

Which is in no way intended to minimise the sheer evil of any of these events; every one of them too vile to use as a mere debating point.

(Years later, happening to be in Munich, I visited Dachau by myself. Just a ruin, no shock -- that came with the printed word.)

M. Hristov said...

I have returned from my ancestral home in the frozen north where my bedroom has the same floor space as my entire house in the south and the ambient temperature is slightly lower than that of my southern fridge. Michael Ancram (aka The Marquess of Lothian) could spend his entire second home allowance on heating his ancestral pile and I wouldn’t complain.

One way of warming up was to indulge in colossal rows. One of such was via the telephone with my mother. She complained vociferously about Sarko’s latest idea, which is to encourage intelligent 9 year olds to learn about the Shoah (Holocaust) and tell other children about it. My mother, a long term French resident, thought this barbaric. I replied that my experiences of Eastern Europe convinced me of the absolute necessity of teaching the Shoah. Stalinist Anti-Semitism still looms large in the east and must be countered by proper education in the west. I think that this applies to this country and a trip to Auschwitz would be a very good idea for all children and not just a gimmick.

Wrinkled Weasel: On the face of it your posting is quite amusing but I can’t laugh at it. Your cousin did not marry that rare thing, a child who had actually been in Auschwitz and who survived. Mine did. It was clear that the survivor could only trust animals and had enormous difficulty relating to humans. My grandmother-in-law was not so lucky. She was gassed.

Verity : I used to think like you. Why not think about the other genocides? Why all this emphasis on the Holocaust? It could never happen again. Would it surprise you to know that there are senior officials of EU countries who detest the Jews and who believe all the nonsense peddled by Stalin was correct. That is why we need to teach the Shoah and that is why Sarko was right. Visits to Auschwitz are no gimmick. They may well be an essential part of avoiding a repeat of the barbarity.

M. Hristov said...

M. Hristov saying “Sarko was right.”

Verity saying “ Cameron is right.”

This subject is reshaping our views and making us all think. So it should. There is no greater lesson for us all.

Evil lurks just below the surface and very few of us are courageous enough to fight it on our own, when it appears, particularly when such a fight could cost us our lives. It is much easier to “turn a blind eye”. To get on with our lives and to rationalise the victims fate but that is the way of the coward and it is dangerous, for evil always needs victims and we could be next.

verity said...

M Hristov - thank you for your courtesy, but no sale.

What happened to the Jews in Germany - and in such a powerful, goose-stepping manner that they could not fight back - is a sickening part of German history.

The Germans went along with it. They knew. (As did the French. Why are there so many trees in the Champes de l'Eysées? Because the Germans like to march in the shade.) They knew there were humans being transported in those cattle trucks.

It turns the stomach and brings tears to the eyes.

Britain and the United States liberated those death camps and saved and re-settled those who were living - and did so with the generous consent of their citizens.

To suggest that suggestible British children get involved in state-funded (forced - echoes of .... eh?) trips to Auschwitz is disgraceful.

I would not even suggest that the Germans and the French send schoolchildren to Auschwitz.

It had nothing to do with us. We won the war. We saved those poor, poor people who were still alive and we housed them and gave them food and shelter and helped them build new lives in our countries - the Allies' countries.

I already loathe Gordon Brown, but the suggestion that we send normal British schoolchildren to Auschwitz on some sensitivity-fest - WHYYY? - utterly repulsive.

I hate to type these words, but good for David Cameron for being an adult here.

verity said...

M Hristov, again, thank you for your courtesy, but I don't agree: "Verity : I used to think like you. Why not think about the other genocides? Why all this emphasis on the Holocaust? It could never happen again."

I'm sorry, but it is not my holy mission, or anyone else's, to ensure that "it could never happen again". Nothing to do with us.

Sorry. We, the British, weren't responsible for the first one - although we saved, fed, clothed and sheltered thousands in our homes - and we don't have extraterritorial powers over countries in Europe.

Frankly, I think that it is likely to happen again, and in the same countries.

Sending gob-smacked British children to Auschwitz or Belsen rather than Flanders' Fields, where our own lie, is not a major mistake, but a perversion.

There's no mistake here.

David Cameron, and I am biting my own ankle as I type it, is right.

verity said...

The emetic Gordon Brown has a reason ... make the British, by some intricate abnormal autistic thinking, co-responsible for the death camps, despite that we were the saviours of liberty.

Send British children to Jewish death camps in Germany to feel really, really, bad and be apologetic for things our country was not only not responsible for, but righted. Gordon wants to promote a sense of "community" with the European dog vomit who perpetrated this genocide.

We are not one with these people.

All attempts to suggest otherwise must be resisted. I hate the Conservatives as presently constituted, but in this instance, David Cameron showed signs of being a leader.

verity said...

M Hristov: "This subject is reshaping our views and making us all think. So it should. There is no greater lesson for us all.

"Evil lurks just below the surface and very few of us are courageous enough to fight it on our own,"

Incorrect.

I haven't "reshaped" my views.

The Nazis were so evil it was chilled the soul. The British and the Americans, and the Aussies, and the Kiwis and the Canucks went into those death camps and salvaged what human beings they could. All of those nations mentioned above - I don't see France or Holland, btw - used money from their own national exchequers, to somehow get these people into accommodation, pay their heating and lighting bills, give them money for food.

To suggest that British schoolchildren should go on a pan-European guilt trip is mad. One might as well suggest that Gordon Brown's gentically flawed child should visit the ovens as a warning.

Although, as a member of the European nomenklatura, he would have no problems.

Anonymous said...

It should be compulsory for EVERY politician to visit such places, not just a relatively small number of schoolchildren.
As a youngster in the fifties, I watched countless hours of war films and documentries either glorifying war or showing the extent of depravity and evilness man sinks to at such times. Enough to know that our politicians and leaders have still to learn the lessons.

Anonymous said...

Mention "The Holocaust" or dare to criticise Israel for their record and the hysterical classes come out of the woodwork.

Yes, our children should be taught about "The Holocaust" but as part of British History so that the whole thing can be put into context. Anti-semitism didn't just suddenly appear in Germany in 1933 it was prevalent since the middle ages in a variety of countries including it has to be said Great Britain in the 19th century

Trips to Auschwitz for a few are all very well but I'm not certain they would guarantee something similar not happening again and they ARE a gimmick (particularly if the Government is announcing these things, giving the impression that they are funding the whole cost when they're not).

Details of "The Holocaust" have been well known since 1945 and we have still had enough incidents of genocide since WW2 from the Khmer Rouge, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, Rwanda and even now in Darfur.

Yes, "The Holocaust" was appalling but the Allies(Russia wasn't particularly bothered as it suited Stalin to have large numbers of jews from Eastern Europe exterminated as they included large numbers of "intelligenstsia" and people likely to form a resistance against his annexation of eastern europe at the end of the conflict and pogroms against the jews were "de rigeur" under the Tsarist regimes prior to 1917 in any event) turned their backs on the problem despite being well aware of what was happening during the war as various groups were reporting to the Allies throughout. These camps could have been bombed but it would have meant diverting critical planes from the bombing of the Ruhr and other industrial complexes in Germany which were considered a higher priority than bombing the furnaces in Belsen, Dachau and Auchswitz so we're all being just a little hypocritical.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

m.hristov.

Your contribution is moving. In an earlier post, with relevance to the topic, I said,

"If you have to visit Auschwitz to understand the meaning of evil, you are too far gone to care. Evil is evil. Visiting a concentration camp may focus the mind..."

I take the issue of the Holocaust very seriously indeed. I take the issue of evil in this world very seriously. I have considered visiting a death camp myself, but I do not need to. I am aware of the capability of man to inflict suffering on his fellow human beings and it hurts me. It bruises my soul. But the murder of Jews is but one evil among many.

Humour, or supposed humour, is different. If you resist a joke for fear of offending somebody, there will be no jokes.

The way to prevent a repeat of mass murder is to teach children about the sanctity of all human life and the value of loving your neighbour as yourself.

Genocide, happening today, is predicated on placing a low value on the lives of others and abstract hatred and the illusion of superiority of one man over another.

By focussing upon, and endlessly rehearsing victimhood you merely create irreconcilable guilt, not resolve to change things for the better.

Titus said...

The ultimate lesson of The Holocaust is that it shows what can happen when a people are weak and unable/unwilling to defend themselves, relying instead on the absence of malice in others.
Strangely enough, not an allegation you could make against the state of Israel...

lettersfromatory said...

Fair point, the checks should be more rigorous, but the Labour spin machine has tried to attack Cameron for making a perfectly sensible point about government gimmicks and how the actions never match the rhetoric.

And while we are on the subject, sending kids to Auschwitz is outrageous and totally unacceptable in terms of government behaviour, as I was explaining on my blog this morning.

Anonymous said...

Bonkers. "The Holocaust is a German issue"! Auschwitz is in Poland; French, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Latvian, Russian, and Italian people died in the Holocaust; survivors live all around the world.

I've often wondered why Verity gets so much stick on this blog, now I know, she is just plain stupid!

neil craig said...

Obviously we will not be sending any children to see the Jasenovic death camp because it is in what is now Croatia & the victims were 600,000 Serbs & only 10s of thousands of Jews - and they were murdered by people who are now our Holocaust denying Nazi allies.

Such is the racist hypocrisy inherent in political correctness.

Anonymous said...

It is a gimmick I wouldn't expect anything else from this hapless government.As for the likes of the ridiculous Balls trying to turn this into something it obviously isn't if that is the best they can come up with then the next election should be a cakewalk.

truth will set you free said...

aahhh but you are missing the point verity et al. There will soon be no more "English history" or "German history" but "European History" and then it will be illegal to teach that we English (good, liberated Auswitch) defeated them Germans (bad, mass murdering Nazis). We will all be required to hang our heads in shame at what our European forebears did.

Have a look at what "message" the schoolkids visiting Auswitch bring back and I bet you Belsen to a brick that it is that we should all be ashamed for allowing the Nazi death camps to have happened. It will be considered un-European to point the finger at the Germans.

neil craig said...

"then it will be illegal to teach that we English (good, liberated Auswitch) defeated them Germans (bad, mass murdering Nazis)."

Actually the Russians.
Which proves your point about how maleable history can be made.

Tim said...

The Tory position was that the funding structure made this a "gimmick", not the trips to Auschwitz themselves. Those commenters who have complained that sending pupils to Auschwitz is in itself a gimmick should note that the Conservatives have now announced that they would fully fund the programme.

So, for example, Verity's "To try to put such a politically correct searing experience on schoolchildren, for political advantage, is indeed a gimmick" (above) is a criticism which applies to Cameron too - except that Cameron's proposal will cost the taxpayer a bit more.

verity said...

7:22 - An idiotic post. War does not lead to gas ovens. This was nothing to do with war, but a belief in the German genetic superiority. No silly lectures on war, please. War is good when it saves populations.

Titus: "The ultimate lesson of The Holocaust is that it shows what can happen when a people are weak and unable/unwilling to defend themselves." That is true. And since the socialist government has taken decision-making on everything, including what to eat or drink, out of the hands of the citizens and berated them for complaining, it could now happen in Britain. Who dares say no to this bullying, vicious, over-mighty government?

Letters from A Tory - Damn' straight. Sending children to Auschwitz is insane. Maybe we could send schoolchildren to hospital wards to look at genetically flawed children, like Gordon Brown's kid. Perhaps Gordon Brown should stay out of the lives of other people's children and foxtrot oscar.

The Truth Shall Set You Free - Actually, I didn't miss the point. It came through loud and clear. This is another assault on our national consciousness and our sense of ourselves as a nation. I got it first off, but preferred to argue citing Gordon Brown's utter stupidity and arrogance, and - for the first time ever - my absolute endorsement of David Cameron's point.

I think we can get Brown on the small issues.

verity said...

Tim - Thank you. I thought it was odd that I agreed with anything Cameron had said. Now I realise I was mistaken and he is the simpering euro-leftie that I have always taken him for.

TrevorH said...

Damage done??

lets be clear ... this IS a gimmick, a crass gimmick which only serves to hide the decrepit nature of education in Britain today, headed now by a man who only looks credible when set against his odious wife.

Time Mr Dale to remember the totally untrustworthy nature of this government.

Anonymous said...

Verity said ... "Maybe we could send schoolchildren to hospital wards to look at genetically flawed children, like Gordon Brown's kid."

Odious comments like that tell us a lot about you.

Tim said...

Iain, I honestly don't know how comments like "Maybe we could send schoolchildren to hospital wards to look at genetically flawed children, like Gordon Brown's kid" can get posted here. If you don't moderate that out, what on earth do you moderate out?

I'm not in any way suggesting that you agree with Verity - it's just that I can't understand why you bother with comment moderation at all if that kind of thing is OK with you.

Genuinely puzzled...

truth will set you free said...

it was an egregious error but not one based on ignorance of the history of WW2. I think it was clear I meant "the role that the English, inter alia, played that lead to the liberation of Auswitch". I noticed it as I wrote it but thought it sounded less precise than it did. I apologize.

I hate those Soviet propoganda films trumpeting their "liberation of Auswitch". If they hadnt sat on the east side of the Wisla for weeks waiting for the Germans to destroy Warsaw then thousands more could have been saved at Auswitch and elsewhere.

Votedave said...

This story wasn't worth reporting and reinforces my belief that the media is biased against the Conservatives.
It is a shameful distortion by the media and the Labour Party of what David Cameron said. Labour should be the ones apologising for their political point-scoring.

cinnoman said...

re Veritys comment that there is less discussion on this blog these days and more intermittent dumping of opinion. i appreciate you have a life to lead and work to attend to but perhaps you could advertise in advance an evening a week when you might be in more or less constant attendance for a few hours and even participate more yourself which seems to have also dried up. your blog to do as you wish i know but i notice Dizzy is picking up in this area.

Only dont make it too early as it would require Verity to get up too early in the afternoon and she might be in a bad mood.

Anonymous said...

pace Verity - but it was a bit of an off comment. On the other hand as a 13yo I volunteered to go and play with the kids in the local "spastic home" (as they were called then) and scary as it was I came away with a lifelong belief that all humans are worthwhile regardless of whether I feel comfortable around them or not. I am still in favour of a woman's right to have an abortion but not if it's because the child doesnt live up to her or society's expectations of being normal. I also eventually went to Auswitch.
Key point here is it was my choice.

Anonymous said...

I have a Jewish mother and grandparents. I have visited several concentration camps. The last time being 6 years ago just outside Berlin.

May I say I have been quite impressed by the level of comment on this blog. Many of you especially Verity and Wrinkled Weasel, have made points that I would like to have made myself.

For my own 2 cents worth on a subject very close to my heart,here gos.

My problem and should be YOURS is not what happened so long ago. These people are gone, and gone for ever from this planet.

What I worry about, and it is a very real worry is that I do very much fear plans for a similar but also very different type of 'burnt offering to the gods' are being drawn up. Right now and under our very noses, promoted by our very own EU and UN.

We can not afford in our current financial position to fund our old living to over 100. Whats worse we are not producing the wealth to do so in the future, and have no plans to do so either.

The next episode of European mass murder will of our own future old. THATS YOU AND ME I am afraid to say.

This will be done by created disease carried out or hidden up by our own NHS. Complimented by a refusal to treat the old of virtually anything that can be claimed to be self inflicted. Which could well be interpreted as simply living long enough to get sick in the first place.

If you think this statement is insane scaremongering. Then please think again. Or at least mark my words and watch the buggers like hawks.

In my partners country and in parts of Africa and China there is much and mounting evidence that these types of things are already taking place RIGHT NOW.

Atlas shrugged and pleaded that the reader take his comments very seriously indeed.

M. Hristov said...

Lets get away from the plot of “Soylent Green” and look at the non-German participation in “The Holocaust”.

1) Croatia - Ante Pavelic, leader of the Ustacha (Ustase), was the only fascist leader to shock the Germans by his violence and barbarity. He had the unique distinction of receiving a letter from Heinrich Himmler asking him to be less violent. Pavelic died in his bed in Spain, having helped General Juan Peron in Argentina.

2) France - The French Police assisted the Germans in the round up of Jews, who were sent to the Velodrome d’Hiver and thence to Drancy concentration camp and on to the death camps. French officialdom sheltered these Police for years.

3) Lithuania and Latvia - There was a long gap between the Soviet retreat and the German arrival. The Germans arrived to find that the locals had killed many Jews in this interval.

4) Belgium - Leon Degrelle and the Rexist Movement were avid collaborators with the Germans.

5) Romania - The Iron Guard (or Legion of the Archangel Michael) took many Jews to a slaughterhouse in Bucharest and disposed of them using the tools therein. They hung bodies on meat hooks and carved the word “Kosher” into them. The Iron Guard fell out with the German minority in Romania because the Germans were buying up Jewish businesses for 1/5th of their value. The Iron Guard wanted to pay next to nothing.

6) Poland - A hotbed of Anti-Semitism. Anti-Jewish pogroms eg Kielce broke out in 1946 long after the defeat of Germany.

7) Hungary - Admiral Horthy’s regime passed extensive Anti-Semitic laws before the Germans invaded, including quotas at universities and a ban on intermarriage.

8) Ukraine - Provided many death camp and concentration camp guards.

9) The Netherlands, Norway and the occupied Soviet Union all provided their fair share of collaborators.

Only two countries held out in support of their Jews. Denmark and Bulgaria. The Danes got them across the lake to Sweden. The Bulgarians did not save the Jews of Thrace and Macedonia, which they occupied but saved their own. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church playing the central role in this. In both Denmark and Bulgaria the attitude of the King helped save the Jews. King Christian X of Denmark even rode out wearing a yellow star. King Boris III of Bulgaria visited Hitler and refused to hand over his Jews or declare war on the Soviet Union. He died a few weeks after returning from Germany, in mysterious circumstances.

This shows that Anti-Semitism was not exclusively German and collaborators came from all over Europe. The U.K. was very lucky that it was not occupied and so we can now maintain a “holier than thou“ attitude.

Finally, a true story. A Professor friend was a Jewish child in Galicia when the Germans invaded. Luckily, the Wehrmacht Officer in charge of the first unit to get to his town hated the Nazis. He gave all the Jews thirty minutes to leave and go through the Soviet lines. My friend did this. He ended up in a logging labour camp being fed a diet of Soviet propaganda. He got to school for several months by writing to Stalin, after being told all children in the Soviet Union were entitled to free schooling. Stalin ordered that he be sent to school but the locals hated him because he was Jewish and the camp commandant was furious that a precious guard would be occupied all day taking him to the school, which was miles away . The camp commandant took him out of school after several months and made sure he never wrote to Stalin again. He got to Israel after the war. The Wehrmacht Officer saved his life.

Not all Germans were bad, Verity and not all non-Germans were good.

John A said...

I think that if David Cameron or Gordon Brown want to make the Holocaust and Auschwitz into a political football, then could I humbly suggest that they first visit the place first.

Then they can lecture the rest of us on whether schoolchildren should go.

I have been to a concentration camp, so I know fine well to keep my mouth shut when talking about politics never to use such places as Auschwitz and such historical events like the Holocaust in any other context other than history of the mid-20th Century.

I think all MPs should be made to go first. That way, they can then best judge the educational needs of Britain's schoolchildren to visit the place.

verity said...

M Hristov - Again, you overstep the mark. I happen to like the Germans I know very much. How dare you lecture me that "Not all Germans are bad, Verity", you foolish, pompous, condescending jerk.

At no point in any of my posts did I condemn "the Germans". Never. I have indicated that the concentration camps were such an aberration (an aberration means an infrequent occurrence, otherwise it wouldn't be an aberration) that it would be wrong to subject vulnerable adolescents - and all adolescents are vulnerable - to them.

I also pointed out that they were nothing to do with British history and Brown's suggestion was, disgracefully, made for political advantage and nothing more.

Do not have the impertinence to lecture me on Germans or anything else, M Hristov, because you do not know me. For all you know, I might have German ancestry. For all you know, I might be a German scholar.

I suggest you stay away from me, and also, can the condescending lectures.

John A - With respect, you are missing the point and allowing yourself to be dragged into Gordon Brown's agenda. It is not an appropriate school trip for British adolescents, who should be getting a grounding in their own history. If some of them go on to study European history at uni, those people, as young adults, may wish to visit the concentration camps. If they study SE Asian history, they may wish to go to the scenes of cruelty, tragedy and genocide in Cambodia. This has nothing to do with the interfering hand of the loutish Gordon Brown, who wants to turn the appalling tragedy of a race of people into a political tool for himself.

Every single aspect of Gordon Brown is a first class emetic. Highly recommended.

neil criag said...

M Hirstov I agree with your assessment with the exception that I would add the Serbs to the Danes & Bulgars as nations which went to considerable lengths to protect Jews. You clearly know your facts & I think, on consideration you will agree with me.

For example http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA+events/Around+the+world/Israel%20Honors%20Serbians%20who%20saved%20Jews%20during%20WWII%2001-Nov-2007

As an example of no good deed going unpunished the family of Madelein Albright (now Episcopalian but then Jewish) fled Czechoslovakia to Yugoslavia & as a consequence of the help of ordinary Serbs survived the war.

You are right about the villainy & heroism not being so clearly divided. The difference between the Holocaust of the Jews & that of Soviets, Serbs or indeed by other peoples of Armenians, native Americans, Tasmanians & on & on is also not clearcut.

That the Jews have been elected as the victims of a "unique" genocide is extremely convenient, which is why it was done, but the truth is nastier.

Thus sending children to Auschwitz is indeed a "gimmick" though for reasons darker than Cameron said.

verity said...

Well said, Neil Craig.

I wonder why the emetic Brown has not suggested funding British schoolchildren to go on a winter trip to Siberia to view the Gulags? Could it be that there's no political advantage to Brown in Russia?

What a very unclever, transparent advancer of his own interests this gruesome man is.

Anonymous said...

Verity said "Do not have the impertinence to lecture me on Germans or anything else, M Hristov, because you do not know me. For all you know, I might have German ancestry. For all you know, I might be a German scholar."

And for all you know I might be in the loony bin.

verity said...

10:57 - And with a pointlessly elliptical post like that, you probably are.

Anonymous said...

Verity, I think the contributor meant "And for all we know you might be in the loony bin."

verity said...

11:48 - I think we all know that the contributor meant to be offensive. It would have been a giggly, Fourth Form comment even if phrased correctly and I am baffled that you thought it was worth clarifying. We got it. Thanks.

I take offence at M Hristov having the impertinence to lecture me on something I neither said nor implied. My point throughout this thread has been that Brown is grotesquely using horrific human tragedy to further his own political ends. I also mentioned that it is inappropriate to send impressionable adolescents on such a horrific outing. I also mentioned that it has no place in the school curriculum because it is not British history and children should be studying their own history first.

At no time, here or anywhere else have I ever suggested that this was a crime shared by all the German people, nor that it was a crime which is uniquely German. I mentioned the killing fields in SE Asea and Pol Pot, for example. And the genocide in Rwanda.

M Hristov then took it upon himself to deliver another lengthy lecture,closing with words to the effect, "It isn't just the Germans, Verity", as though I had mentioned the Germans in the aggregate and had condemned them, even ellipitcally.

I am sick of this fellow talking down to people, especially as he filters everyone else's posts through his own predispositions. If he read fellow commenters' posts rather than busily composing his responses as he scanned over them, he would not be the subject of a violent response.

At no point - ever, anywhere, on the internet or in conversation - have I condemned "the Germans", and - having referred to other genocides - have I ever implied it is a uniquely German problem, or even a German problem at all. I happen to like Germany very much and I have dear German friends that I have had for 20 years.

Hristov has to learn to actually read other people's posts before delivering his lofty little lectures.

The Remittance Man said...

Anon @ 7:22 a couple of days ago.

Rather than send MPs to visit Auschwitz (thereby boosting the Polish bordello and restaraunt trades at our expense) why not send the buggers to the cemetries of France and Flanders?

In fact, let's go further: Why don't we make them go and live in a muddy hole in the ground for another six?

This would have several advantages:

1- It would be more relevant for British politicians

2- They might learn what it means to send men to war

3- We could sell tickets for members of the electorate to throw extra loud mexican fireworks and the contents of latrine buckets at them all day every day.

And finally

4- they'd have less time in which to mess everyone else's lives around.