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View Diary: "Judenrat Jon" Stewart (235 comments)

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  •  In the Ghetto (7+ / 0-)

    I remember about 20 years ago, a gallery at Stanford had an exhibition of photos taken by a German soldier -- on leave -- of the Lodz Ghetto.  These were surreptitious pictures, taken a pain of potential execution for taking them.  

    What was striking to me, was the variety of the horror.  Some photos showed emaciated people in rags dying of starvation.  Some were of piles of emaciated corpses.  But other photos showed people healthy, not emaciated, in fine clothes.  What appeared to be yellow stars were pinned to the fine clothes.  

    I couldn't understand how such a disparity could exist in a relatively small, closed community.  What were those well-dressed people thinking and feeling when they walked past so many of their co-ghettoites -- probably the majority -- who were literally starving to death or already dead from malnutrition?  How could they justify to themselves their position?  How could they live with themselves?  

    What economic scheme, what social structure could allow something like that to happen?  How was it enforced?

    It was profoundly depressing to see something like that, to get a glimpse of how some people are willing to live.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 10:10:44 AM PST

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    •  Yes. I understand your revulsion. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaleidescope, glorificus, MichaelNY

      This is all true. It is a great and terrible thing to realize that most of those few who survived were not those who gave their last crust of bread to the sick. They were those who took the last crust of bread from the sick. This is the most horrible thing to understand from Holocaust studies. This is what will make anyone sob uncontrollably, as I do now.

      My only surviving relative escaped to the forest bunkers. He was not allowed to take his younger brother.

      People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 05:40:23 PM PST

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    •  Some may have been more recent entrants (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, MichaelNY

      ... into the ghetto.

      But really, every time one of us ignores a hungry or homeless person in the US, we are doing exactly the same thing. The only significant difference is that our society allows us, as a community, to use resources to dispose of the bodies someplace out of sight, rather than letting them rot in piles.

      That privilege - the use of resources to hide the deprivation - was not allowed within the Nazi's ghettoes.

    •  Those "well-dressed people" were probably (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      wondering if they could somehow sell their clothes for food or escape. They may have been the emaciated bodies in a few weeks or months.

      One can read about the ghettoes or camps, but I know myself, no matter how sympathetic or how vivid my imagination, it doesn't approach the reality of living and probably dying there.

      Making judgments about how people actually did behave, or how we think we would, are just fantasies.

      “In Texas, we do not hold high expectations for the [governor's] office; it's mostly been occupied by crooks, dorks and the comatose. Molly Ivins

      by glorificus on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 08:42:33 AM PST

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