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The Holocaust Then And Now

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I have never visited, nor will I ever enter, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. It opened twenty years ago to help world leaders and citizens to “confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy.” These certainly are worthy goals – and pompous platitudes.

To be true to history, an American Holocaust museum should comprise one large empty room, draped in black. That would symbolize what the American government did – essentially nothing – to try to save European Jews, like that 7-year old boy in Warsaw, from Nazi extermination.

To be sure, it was not only an American failure. In his chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Yitzhak Zuckerman struggled to understand the reticence of Zionists in Palestine: “Why wasn’t it possible for them to come to us?” Had only ten paratroopers reached the ghetto, “nothing fateful would have changed, but it would have been different. . . . they would come to us in our distress.” But nobody came.

Especially in Israel, but not only there, Holocaust museums, rather than mollify visitors with trendy political correctness, might confront Zygielbojm’s bitter anguish and Zuckerman’s eternally haunting question.

Jerold S. Auerbach is the author, most recently, of “Against the Grain: A Historian’s Journey,” published in May by Quid Pro Books.

About the Author: Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy,” to be published next month by Quid Pro Books.


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3 Responses to “The Holocaust Then And Now”

  1. It's always better to hate everyone, kill African refugees and start a nuclear war with Iran. The person who wrote this just does'nt get it. That's what we have become as a people, haters of everything not Jewish. With such attitudes, we will continue to earn the scorn and hatred of the rest of the world. Jewshaveeven become experts. At hating each other. Six million lives wasted if all we learned from itisto hate everbyone. Feh.

  2. Daniel J. Sieradski says:

    never again to us! **** everyone else! #jewpremacism

  3. Despite the fact that I disagree with your assessment, Jeanette, of what "we" as a "people" have become, as well as your repeated use of absolutist language to characterize your view, I don't hate you. "Become the change you wish to see in the world." Shabbat shalom.

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