Category Archives: The Holocaust

We Must Never Forget That Genocide Begins With Groupthink

Stella Morabito writes for The Federalist:

[…] Humans are very susceptible to groupthink, ignorance, propaganda, agitation, and psychological manipulation that weakens their resolve. People are also often all too eager to blame their own problems on convenient scapegoats. These human flaws clarify why “Never forget” is the cry associated with the Holocaust and all crimes against humanity.

This is why everybody must respect the study of history. After all, studying history is about remembering. It’s about learning from experience, which is why we must emphatically reject any attempt to water down the accurate teaching and study of history.

There is a startling déjà vu in the air. Those who study history can feel history repeating itself in the wholesale persecution and slaughter of Christians in the Middle East. We can feel it in the intensified challenges to Israel’s right to exist and in the jihadist terrorist attacks in the name of Islam that are becoming almost mundane headlines. Elements common to both genocides also seem to be re-emerging in today’s restless world: new technologies that potentially deliver greater lethality; realignments of world powers; great displacements of peoples; and, more than ever before, the pivotal role of propaganda and information warfare in inciting aggression.

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New Hannah Arendt Documentary Is a Warning About the Fascist Within Us All

Chloé Cooper Jones wrote for VICE in April:

My interview with Israeli filmmaker Ada Ushpiz was pushed back an hour so that she could finish watching Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speak on television. “Im sorry,” said Ushpiz, calling from her home in Tel Aviv. “I had to watch. Abbas spoke to the Israelis and said things we’re told all the time he doesn’t say, which is, ‘I want to make peace.’ The discourse is always presented as if Abbas doesn’t want to talk and he’s not interested in a partnership with the Israelis and there is no possibility for peace. But Abbas said, ‘Let‘s sit and talk.’ It was great, you know? I don’t see Netanyahu coming back and saying, ‘OK, let‘s talk.'” Ushpiz let out a weary breath. “No, that will not happen.”

Ada Ushpiz‘s new documentary, Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt, is as much about present-day Islamophobia in Israel and abroad as it is about Arendt. The documentary—showing at New York’s Film Forum through April 19—reminds viewers of Arendt’s urgent relevancy for us today; and it does so without making any explicit political statements. Instead, the film allows Arendt’s decades-old arguments, presented through carefully curated quotes, to linger on the screen, asking the viewer to read, reflect, and perhaps reread before moving on. The restraint is intentional. “I didn’t want to preach,” explained Ushpiz. “But I didn’t stop thinking about our world while I was making the film. I was always thinking about my responsibility in this world.”

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Why Elie Wiesel Never Caught on in Israel

Judy Maltz writes for Haaretz:

Elie Wiesel, who died this weekend at age 87, may have been the most famous Holocaust survivor in the world. But, ironically, that never gained him a huge following in Israel.

His best-known book “Night,” an account of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald – required reading at high schools around the United States – has never been incorporated into the Israeli school curriculum.

“We have a few copies in our library,” says Zeev Degani, the principal of Tel Aviv’s Gymnasia Herzliya, the oldest Hebrew high school in the country. “But I would assume that the number of students who’ve actually read it is close to zero.”

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Elie Wiesel is Dead

Marc H. Ellis writes for Mondoweiss:

Elie Wiesel (Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews)Elie Wiesel is dead. The Holocaust world I cut my teeth on is coming to an end.

Is the world that cut its teeth on the Holocaust also coming to an end?

In their life and death, iconic figure like Elie Wiesel move us in different ways. The day after Wiesel’s death, it is time to take stock. In which direction are we heading?

I have been reading and writing about Wiesel for more than forty years. Though I have my arguments with Wiesel and other theologians and philosophers of the Holocaust, I never dismissed them as fakes or fools as some have. I will not do so today.

Those who explored the depths of the Holocaust were a great and deeply flawed generation. With reference to their hawkish stands on Israel, Wiesel and other Holocaust commentators simply did not understand what they had become involved in. If and when they understood, it was too late.

In the end, Wiesel was deeply corrupted by his use of the Holocaust he suffered so deeply from. Once an insurgent in Jewish life by insisting on the overriding importance of the Holocaust, in his later years, Wiesel became a cheerleader for an apartheid Israel and American military sanctions and intervention in the Middle East, all revolving around his support for Israel.

Wiesel became a caricature of himself. He trivialized the Holocaust he wrote so movingly about.

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Allegations of Anti-Semitism Fired Up Ahead of Pivotal UK Local Elections: Interview with Max Blumenthal and John Weeks

Sharmini Peries talks to journalist Max Blumenthal and economist John Weeks, who agree that the charges of anti-semitism levelled against the Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the UK are part of an orchestrated effort from the Right. (The Real News)

Why a British Fight Over Israel and Anti-Semitism Matters to the Rest of Us

Robert Mackey writes for The Intercept:

At first glance, the heated argument two members of the British Labour Party conducted in front of reporters’ iPhones on Thursday, sparked by accusations that one of their colleagues posted anti-Semitic comments on Facebook, seems like a story of interest mainly to political junkies in London.

When the debate is unpacked, however, it becomes clear that what’s at stake is something much broader: whether critics of Israel, who question its government’s policies or its right to exist as a Jewish state, are engaged in a form of coded anti-Semitism. That matters because attempts to disqualify all critics of Israel as racists are widespread across the globe.

In the United States, for instance, supporters of a movement to boycott Israel until it grants Palestinians full civil rights have recently been condemned as anti-Semites by Hillary Clinton; last month, the University of California, adopted a policy on discrimination that implies anti-Semitism is behind opposition to Zionism, the political ideology asserting that the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in historic Palestine.

But how did this issue come to dominate the political debate in Britain, a week before important local elections?

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Genocide Scholar Blasts Israel’s ‘Racist’ Teaching of the Holocaust

Ofer Aderet reports for Haaretz:

A memorial to the murdered European Sinti and Roma who were persecuted as 'Gypsies,' designed by Dani Karavan , in Berlin, 2012.The cover of the new book by historian and genocide scholar Prof. Yair Auron features a drawing of five different-colored patches: red for political prisoners; black for asocial and work-shy prisoners; pink for homosexuals; brown for Gypsies; and purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only one color is missing – the yellow patch for Jews. The book’s title, “The Non-Jewish Victims of the Nazi Regime,” explains why.

Auron, 70, professor emeritus at the Open University, specializes in genocide studies and has devoted the past few decades to a politically charged and sensitive issue: the attempt to introduce into the Israeli education system a recognition of the suffering of other peoples who were decimated, both in the Holocaust and other historical circumstances.

His thesis is clear: Israel prefers to avoid, repress and minimize the suffering of other peoples in the Holocaust and other circumstances, to perpetuate victimization and isolationism.

“It must be asked if, in Israel in 2016, instead of also shaping Holocaust commemoration through humanist and democratic values, it is unknowingly – and, perhaps for many, knowingly – fostering racism and xenophobia,” Auron told Haaretz in an interview marking the book’s publication. “Ignoring the non-Jewish victims is perhaps the most concrete manifestation of this trend,” he added.

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10 American Companies That Aided The Nazis

Litany of suffering: Selected mass killings in the 20th century

Litany of Suffering - Selected Mass Killings in the 20th Century

Why the rise of fascism is again the issue

John Pilger writes:

ukraine_obama_nobel.JPGThe recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.’

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At Age 10, She Was A Human Guinea Pig

‘As a prisoner in Auschwitz, Eva Mozes Kor became sick after receiving multiple mysterious injections. Dr. Mengele, known as the angel of death, said she had weeks to live. Watch “Voices of Auschwitz”‘ (CNN)

Drone Footage Shows Auschwitz 70 Years After Camp Was Liberated

Belgian euthanasia group tours Auschwitz

Michael Cook writes for BioEdge:

‘About 70 people accompanied Belgian euthanasia doctor Wim Distelmans on his tour of Auschwitz, the Nazi extermination camp in German-occupied Poland, last month. The German magazine Der Spiegel ran a long, reflective feature which attempted to explain why he dared to link euthanasia to Nazi atrocities.

The tour was highly controversial. In Antwerp ultraorthodox Jews were outraged that Dr Distelmans had described Auschwitz as “an inspiring venue”. They called him “a professional killer”. The deputy director of the Auschwitz memorial commented: “We feel that the attempt to link the history of Auschwitz with the current debate about euthanasia is inappropriate.”

Distelmans was not deterred by the protests. His point was that the Nazis violated autonomy while he esteems it. He is killing patients out of humility and love. “What does this mean to us?”, Distelmans asked the tour group.’

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Five Companies That Have Profited From War

Expelled Nazis paid millions in U.S. Social Security benefits

Richard Lardner, David Rising and Randy Herschaft report for the Associated Press:

‘Dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards collected millions of dollars in U.S. Social Security benefits after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The payments, underwritten by American taxpayers, flowed through a legal loophole that gave the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal U.S. government records.

Among those receiving benefits were armed SS troops who guarded the network of Nazi camps where millions of Jews perished; a rocket scientist who used slave laborers to advance his research in the Third Reich; and a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.’

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Gideon Levy: ‘Holocaust makes Israelis think international law doesn’t apply’

Lara Marlowe writes for The Irish Times:

‘Gideon Levy is preaching in the wilderness. Week after week, the columnist for Haaretz newspaper tells his compatriots what they do not want to hear: that the siege of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank are immoral and counter-productive; that the continued seizure of Palestinian land and the construction of settlements is a “criminal enterprise” intended to foil any chance for peace.

[…] Levy is grateful to Amos Schocken, the third-generation owner of Haaretz, for standing by him. Some 2,000 readers cancelled subscriptions because of his July 14th column criticising Israeli air force pilots who bombed Gaza… During the war, Levy was threatened, heckled and spat upon. Haaretz hired bodyguards to protect him. Yariv Levin, the leader of the Likud Yisrael Beiteinu coalition in the Knesset, said he should be tried for treason, which carries the death penalty in time of war.’

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Berlin opens memorial to euthanasia victims

Michael Cook writes for BioEdge:

‘A memorial to the 300,000 victims of Nazi euthanasia programs was opened in Berlin this week. It is striking piece of modern architecture: a 30-metre-long wall of blue glass in the open air near the Berlin Philharmonic.

[…] The regime had several methods of killing the mentally and physically disabled: starvation, lethal injections or chambers filled with carbon monoxide gas. The so-called T4 program became a trial run for the gas chambers of Auschwitz and other death camps. About 70,000 of the deaths occurred at the program’s headquarters at Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin, thus giving the program its name, Aktion T4.’

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Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’

The Independent reports:

‘Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, have accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the conflict erupted in July. In an open letter released by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and published as an advert in The New York Times, the group calls for a full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel over its “wholesale effort to destroy Gaza”.

“Genocide begins with the silence of the world,” the statement reads, “We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.” The statement also condemns the United States for its financial and diplomatic support of Israel. The signatories express alarm at “the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever pitch.”’

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CIA Intervention in Ukraine Has Been Taking Place for Decades

Editor’s Note: You can also listen to a recent interview with the author of this piece here.

Jeff Kaye writes for The Dissenter:

‘Of all the aspects of the current crisis over the NATO/Russia standoff in Ukraine, the determined intervention into Ukrainian political affairs by the United States has been the least reported, at least until recently. While new reports have appeared concerning CIA Director John Brennan’s mid-April trip to Kiev, and CIA/FBI sending “dozens” of advisers to the Ukrainian security services, very few reports mention that U.S. intervention in Ukraine affairs goes back to the end of World War II. It has hardly let up since then.

The fact of such intervention is not hard to find. Indeed, it’s hard to know where to start in documenting all this, there is so much out there if one is willing to look for it. But the mainstream U.S. press, and their blogger shadows, are ignoring this for the most part. Some exceptions at the larger alternative websites include Jeffrey St. Clair’s Counterpunch and Robert Parry’s Consortium News. Even these latter outlets have almost nothing to say about the approximately 70 year history of U.S. intervention in Ukraine.’

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Israeli Jewish Congress president: ‘We are looking at the beginnings of a Holocaust’

Sam Sokol reports for The Jerusalem Post:

naftali bennett‘The situation facing European Jewry is “simply intolerable, unacceptable and inexcusable,” Israeli Jewish Congress president Vladimir Sloutsker told MKs and foreign diplomats at a special session of the Knesset Immigration Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday. Calling the rise in anti-Semitic incidents accompanying Israel’s invasion of Gaza an “SOS situation,” Sloutsker warned that if left unchecked, such behavior could lead to another European genocide.

“Never before since the Holocaust, have we seen such a situation as today,” he said, referring to the continent-wide demonstrations by pro-Palestinian activists, a number of which have degenerated into violence and many of which have featured racist rhetoric. “We are potentially looking at the beginning of another Holocaust now. These events will only grow in scale across Europe.”’

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Winner of Nazi 1935 “most beautiful Aryan baby” contest revealed to be Jewish

Scott Kaufman reports for Raw Story:

hessy taft‘The winner of a contest in Nazi Germany to find the most beautiful Aryan baby was recently revealed to have been Jewish, the Telegraph reported today.

Last weekend, Hessy Taft presented the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel with copies of the Nazi family magazine Sonne ins Hause that featured an image of her as an infant on the cover.

The image was allegedly selected by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels himself, after it had been submitted by a well-known Berlin photographer, Hans Ballin.’

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Leading figure in Belgian euthanasia to tour Auschwitz

Michael Cook writes for Bio Edge:

‘The head of Belgium’s euthanasia oversight commission, Dr Wim Distelmans, will lead a study tour of Auschwitz in October. Since Dr Distelmans is also Belgium’s leading promoter of euthanasia and its leading practitioner, the tour has already generated some criticism.

Dr Distelmans explains in a brochure that Auschwitz is a symbol of everything that Belgian euthanasia is not: “This site is an inspiring venue for organizing a seminar and reflecting on these issues so that we can consider and clarify confusions.” However, euthanasia opponents have described the initiative as “shocking”.’

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‘Unprecedented’ global study finds 1 in 4 adults anti-Semitic

Josh Levs reports for CNN:

‘One in four adults worldwide are “deeply infected with anti-Semitic attitudes,” the Anti-Defamation League announced, in releasing results of an unprecedented global survey. Nearly half have never heard of the Holocaust, and only a third believe historical descriptions are accurate, the survey found. Carried out by First International Resources and commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League, the survey included 53,100 adults in 102 countries representing 88% of the world’s adult population.’

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Armenian president accuses Turkey of genocide denial

From AFP:

ArmeniaPhotograph: Karen Minasyan/AFP/Getty Images‘s president has accused Turkey of an “utter denial” in failing to recognise the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman empire during the first world war as genocide. On Wednesday the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,offered condolences over the massacres, calling them “our shared pain”. The US hailed the move as historic.

But in a statement on Thursday marking the 99th anniversary of the start of the killings and mass deportations, President Serzh Sarkisian made no acknowledgement of Erdogan’s statement and instead accused Turkey of continuing to ignore the facts.

“The Armenian genocide … is alive as far as the successor of the Ottoman Turkey continues its policy of utter denial,” he said. “The denial of a crime constitutes the direct continuation of that very crime. Only recognition and condemnation can prevent the repetition of such crimes in the future.”

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Palestinian university students’ trip to Auschwitz causes uproar

William Booth writes for The Washington Post:

Professor Mohammed S. Dajani took 27 Palestinian college students to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland a few weeks ago as part of a project designed to teach empathy and tolerance. Upon his return, his university disowned the trip, his fellow Palestinians branded him a traitor and friends advised a quick vacation abroad.

Dajani said he expected criticism. “I believe a trip like this, for an organized group of Palestinian youth going to visit Auschwitz, is not only rare, but a first,” he said. “I thought there would be some complaints, then it would be forgotten.”

But the trip was explosive news to some, perhaps more so because it took place as U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were in danger of collapse, and emotion surrounding the decades-old conflict is high. Controversy was also heightened by rumors — untrue — that the trip was paid for by Jewish organizations. It was paid for by the German government.

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Inside the deep, ugly world of anti-Semitic YouTube

Gaby Dunn writes for The Daily Dot:

undefined[…] Anti-Semitic communities represent the worst of YouTube. Just like Reddit, if not worse, YouTube mostly turns a blind eye to racism in the name of free speech, allowing vigorously uninformed and hateful comments to flourish.

Of course, YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit hate speech, defined as “speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity.” But one stroll through pretty much any popular video inevitably validates Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

But it’s not just YouTube’s comment section—long considered one of the filthiest places on the Web—that’s inundated with accusations that the Jews own the banks and control the media. There are popular anti-Semitic vloggers, conspiracy videos, documentarians, “comedy” videos, and more.

Delve into one of the darker parts of a community mostly known for cat videos and there’s a thriving, terrifying world we’ve lulled ourselves into thinking doesn’t exist.

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Hitler might have married a woman of Jewish descent, according to DNA analysis

From The Huffington Post:

Undated photo of Adolf Hitler, with his dog Blondi.Nazi leader Adolf Hitler might have married a woman of Jewish descent, according to DNA analysis. A new TV documentary will claim that Eva Braun, the lover whom the anti-Semitic fuhrer married shortly before they both killed themselves in 1945, was possibly of Jewish ancestry.

The Dead Famous DNA film – to be screened on Channel 4 Wednesday – tested hair samples which are said to have come from a hairbrush used by Braun and discovered at Hitler’s mountain retreat.

The German leader, behind the mass extermination of Jews during the Second World War, was 23 years older than his lover – who fell in love with him when she was a teenager – and worried the relationship would affect his image, he kept her largely hidden away at his Alpine residence, the Berghof.

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Japan Mystery: Anne Frank’s Diary Torn Apart

Ripped copies of Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl and related books are shown at Shinjuku City Library in Tokyo Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.Arden Dier writes for Newser:

More than 100 copies of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, plus many other related works that make mention of her or the Holocaust, have been ripped apart recently in Tokyo—the capital of a country where sales of the diary are second only to those in the US. Per Kyodo News, some 265 books in total have been vandalized at 31 libraries since last month, with one library describing its affected books as “unusable” after some 10 to 20 pages were torn from them. A library worker in West Tokyo adds, “Each and every book which comes up under the index of Anne Frank has been damaged at our library.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called for an investigation, and points out that “the geographic scope of these incidents strongly suggest an organized effort to denigrate the memory of the most famous of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis in the World War II Holocaust.” For now, “we don’t know why this happened or who did it,” Japan’s library council head tells the AFP. A BBC correspondent points out that Japan has neither a history of Jewish settlement nor a history of anti-Semitism.

 

These 5 Corporations Helped Carry Out the Holocaust

Abby Martin highlights the top five companies that aided Nazi Germany during the height of WWII, calling out companies such as Hugo Boss, IBM and Ford. (Breaking the Set)

The Last Dead Nazi

American soldiers with captured Nazi flag, WWII. (Photo: <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/36919288@N08/4410642934/in/photolist-7HKGtQ-4vSRL7-6Z78ra-4xNiWM-f4gWCW-adtjY4-BPdRa-2ogeQJ-6AzH3K-5nWsUi-8j7yAi-edXNzR-9z5aYM-4W7vLe-5RzkHG-6KWejM-79WRUM-8ojnZE-nEbt9-cPE4gq-coSR2h-7M8i84-9cgu1b-8ofXhv-8ofWzD-95q6Jn-79WRUF-dyFbgE-79X52Z-5Rzoum-eqaLYx-cPErqY-5rwRK2-3mcJy5-8eZibY-7eP151-3L3EiH-4rUJm-boKzLp-6ARRF-MtrvE-8qDi85-7gYyDR-7h3wNb-G7ccm-G7gHM-G7gfn-7h3wLy-yBvZ-4XyC7r-pHGne" target="_blank"> Za Rodinu / Flickr</a>)

American soldiers with captured Nazi flag, WWII. (Photo: Za Rodinu / Flickr)

From Truthout:

[…] Certainly, the planet is improved by the fact that Heinrich Boere no longer resides on the skin of this Earth, but is buried beneath it. He was not the last living Nazi of Hitler’s Reich, but he is among the last. Very soon now – certainly within the next ten years – the sun will rise upon a world without a single living soul who saw what happened, who participated either directly or by way of tacit approval in the formation and defense of the so-called “Thousand Year Reich.”

In my own way, I mourn the passing of Heinrich Boere. Not because of what he believed or what he did; were I able, I would spit on his grave…and then light a candle, and stand a vigil, because Heinrich Boere is important to us all. When men like Heinrich Boere die, we are one step closer to forgetting that men like him lived at all, one step closer to forgetting that party-sponsored murder gangs like the Waffen SS ever existed, one step closer to forgetting that hate-fueled thuggery thrives in economic chaos, can take over, and can wreak bloody havoc.

When men like Heinrich Boere die, we are one step closer to having men like Heinrich Boere among us again, because we forget what they did when they are gone, and by forgetting, we allow them to live again. Sooner or later, inevitably, they rise when we forget.

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