I had a cousin who did this...was there for the liberation or quasi-liberation of a camp, Flossenburg, which like many death camps in Germany's own borders was evacuated with everyone capable of walking moved to another camp (in this case, I believe it was Dachau where all of the inmates capable of moving were taken). If my WW2 history is correct, I believe most Nazis moved the populations of death camps further South and East as the last months of the war came until giving up on it completely and usually not even bothering with the final liquidations of the camps.
I have his war diary somewhere...it's a long story how all of his WW2 stuff came into my possession. This basically fucked him up so bad that not long after coming home from the war he committed suicide, and Flossenburg wasn't even close to the worst of it. Reading through his journal and all of his stuff from the war for a high school project pretty much changed me as a person in terms of understanding the European end of the war and the Holocaust.
I went though this personal resolve to understand the Holocaust as much as I could and confront the specter of Holocaust denial. I asked myself "So, how *do* we really know the Holocaust happened? What is the evidence?" So I spent time reading and watching documentaries and basically just learning tons about the Holocaust until I not only understood the unquestionable evidence that it all really did happen (despite the Nazi's best attempts to cover up what they could) but the downward spiral of pure evil that led to it.
Studying the Holocaust, even at just a layman's level, is at once educationally an intellectually gratifying and horrible and disgusting and makes you want to forget you ever even began it.
You may have have seen it already, Stanley, but I recommend a documentary by Errol Morris called Mr Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred Leuchter, Jr.
It's been years since I've seen it, but the gist is that Leuchter "got" to witness an execution via electric chair as a little kid, which prompted him to make a few changes to the design to make it more humane (though he doesn't actually know what he's doing). I don't want to summarize the whole thing here--especially since I think it's a fairly well-known doc--but he eventually ends up getting roped into the Holocaust denial thing. That leads him to Auschwitz, where he tries to disprove that the Nazis used gas chambers, which is what eventually leads to his titular fall. Anyways, Errol Morris is fantastic and it deals with some of the stuff you touched on in your comment.
TinyUrl'd the Wiki
From the Wiki: "The Holocaust has been used in movies as a way of increasing drama in a sense that the triumph of the human spirit never looked so triumphant against the horrors. This movie attempts to do something very different. It's to try to enter the mindset of denial. You are asked to reflect on the whole idea of denial in general, not as some postwar phenomenon but as something that was inherent in the enterprise itself. You would think it would be the easiest thing in the world to identify this behavior as wrong, horrific, depraved. Those people did these things. To me, the question is how. With Mr. Death, it's about finding out why Fred Leuchter holds these views." - Errol Morris
...it seemed like the most evil response to such a heartfelt story.
i suppose in the context of the current state of affairs in the world it was in poor taste. next time i'll write 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB afterwards so we know what is jokes.
I have seen Mr Death, actually, thanks for the suggestion (and I do recommend it for thsoe who haven't). Leuchter strikes me as someone who is not a Holocaust denier for ideological reasons, but because he's just a profoundly stupid person. For those unfamiliar with Leuchter, he's an engineer who helped design the modern electric chair and then went into infamy after being asked to examine the "evidence" that gas chambers were used in concentration camps. He did gas chromatography tests on pieces of wall from the chambers (which wouldn't work anyway) and found no evidence of Zyklon B (you wouldn't) and his "research" was used by Neo Nazis to say the gas chambers never existed. Leuchter himself did not associate with Neo Nazis or any particular political bent...he just thought he was smart and that his opinions were smart.
A lot of people seem to think you need to have some Bond-villain style gas chamber to kill the amounts of people the Nazis did, but actually Zyklon-B is so highly toxic to people it takes very little to kill. It has to be used in far greater amounts for its intended purpose which is to kill insects and parasites.
Holocaust deniers are hung up on the idea of establishing that the level of killing the Nazis engaged in would be physically impossible therefore it never happened, but as anyone who studies the Holocaust industry in Germany will quickly learn, the bottleneck in the Nazi process was never *killing* people. Killing was easy...the Nazis would have killed far more if possible. The gas chambers were essentially the most perfect method devised. The bottleneck was in disposing the bodies and even with the development of crematoriums specifically designed for this purpose, they still could not burn enough bodies to live up to the expectations of the Reich. Auschwitz came the closest, but there were several other camps that got pretty close to the body counts.
Thus Ron knew firsthand how the nazis made jews wear flair.
He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.
If you want (and I advise against it) to step into a dark world of commentary in holocaust denial, well, here ya go:
but it does turn you into a chronic internet asshole.
The only way to win a fight with a Nazis is to let them kill you.
I think it was Nietzsche that said, "You are what you eat." As long as you don't cannibalize Nazis, you should be fine, philosophically speaking.
The Soviets liberated Auschwitz. They also had gulags. Not everyone who fights Nazis is virtuous.
The fight between anarchist antifa and white nationalists looks less like Easy Company vs. punctilious Germans than it looks like the Wehrmacht and the Red Army taking turns putting Eastern European villages to the torch.
Man, hack one election and americans suddenly start thinking the soviets were exactly as bad as the Nazis.
Guess if we're going to use the village burning metric, then americans are just as bad as Nazis because of Vietnam.
Yeah I'm pretty sure we can classify both Stalinists and Nazis as capital-E Evil, but that doesn't mean we can't differentiate them.
I like how Zizek illustrates the difference in one of his little anecdote-speech-sniffs:
What happened in Soviet Russia is a true tragedy because the people who started it believed it would be a good thing. It had positive potential and still turned out terrible, and thus it's a true tragedy.
What happened in Nazi Germany is not a tragedy, it is only horror. The terrible things that they did were exactly according to plan.
And by the way if you think the "anarchist antifa" look anything like Stalinists, you need to turn your brain back on and read what they write (both the anarchists and the Stalinists).
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