Reply To: Holocaust


That’s a very fair point. Let me try this a different way that also let’s you know where I’m coming from in a more meaningful way.

About a week ago was the 70th anniversary of the Liberation from Auschwitz. As usual, it got its memorials with World Leaders and the media all over the world, which I found very touching. (Full disclosure: My grandmother lost her first Husband, 3 children, parents and siblings in the Holocaust. She was from Poland).

That day, the BBC posted this tweet: ” “Is the time coming to lay the Holocaust to rest?””.

At first I was outraged, but then I decided to really give it some objective thought. Why does the Holocaust get so much more attention than other genocides and atrocities? Obviously it’s personal for me, but the whole world seems to regard it in a meaningfully different way than other tragic situations like the Congo in recent years.

Then I had a thought. Maybe the difference here is similar to another interesting piece of human psychology. Often when a person hears that someone has died, they very quickly ask “what did he die of?”. A large part of that question comes from a persons innate fear of their own mortality. The question, at least in part, is asking: “did this person die of anything that might also be a danger to me?”.

Here too, I was wondering if the fact that the Holocaust happened in a wealthy, sophisticated, Democratically powered country had anything to do with people’s focus on the Holocaust. When I hear about atrocities in dirt poor or communist countries I can say to myself “that’s horrible, but thankfully it wouldn’t happen in a country like the U.S.” (although I wonder about that sometimes too). But in the case of Germany, they sort of match our profile as a rich, well respected, Democratic country with a Bill of Rights and supposed respect for justice etc.

I was thinking that maybe that’s what hits the nerve here. That what resonates with people is the notion that “if it happened there, maybe it really could happen anywhere”.

Or maybe I’m just wrong lol.