I continue to be frustrated by the nature of holocaust conversations. The sole intent of such discussions is almost always the provocation of emotional reaction and attachment. To me, if we simply become attached to the victims emotionally, we unwittingly blind ourselves to the condition of the perpetrators.
Our guide Moshe asks, “How could people have allowed this to happen? How could they have done it?” He then admits he has no answer, and seems never to have searched for one, for a brief inquiry into German history will quickly cure his perplexion.
In a democracy, successful politicians must carefully place the blame for societal maladies on anyone but themselves, and offer solutions to those problems. After nearly a half century of relatively dormant anti-Semitism, Germany faced great economic and political strife after World War I, and the political establishment of that country was in need of a scapegoat, the identity of which was chosen out of convenience more than anything else.
The facts that are ignored at Yad Vashem–the most important lessons of the Holocaust–and which are also ignored by most supposed torchbearers of the phrase “never again” are these
- Governments lie
- Governments kill
- Government propagandize
- Governments exist in spite of the goodness of human society, and seek primarily to maintain and grow themselves.
- Governments get the benefit of the doubt when the subject of truth is in question.
- No government is immune to these diseases.
- When a government requires secrets, NO ONE is safe.