No monopoly on the misery of millions

Jan 19 2006

Daily Post Comment

IT comes to something when people start squabbling over genocide. Jewish people, renowned for their self-deprecating, world-weary humour, would undoubtedly find something here to chuckle about.

And there is certainly an exquisite irony in the claim that the planned contribution to Cardiff's Holocaust Memorial Day by the city's rabbi, Charles Middleburgh, was dropped because organisers were concerned the events were becoming a little "too Jewish" - wording they strongly deny.

What they do admit to being concerned about, however, is that Holocaust Memorial Day must reach "every section" of our society..

And we agree. No-one in this world has a monopoly on victimhood or extreme suffering - even though European Jewry bore the brunt of the Third Reich's crazed blood-lust, and the word "holocaust" has become synonymous with the premeditated extermination of their millions of innocents.

Holocaust Memorial Day is an annual service to honour the victims of the holocaust "and other genocides" - of which there are tragically all to many.

The European Holocaust alone included, apart from some six million Jews, hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti (sometimes known collectively as Gypsies), Russians and other Slavic peoples, Poles, Communists and political dissidents, the mentally or physically disabled, random intelligenzia, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutherians and even Catholic clergy.

It is thought the total death toll reached anything from nine to 11 million, brutalised, enslaved and murdered in cold blood.

Since then the world has learnt little and the past three decades alone have witnessed genocides in Cambodia, North Korea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, East Timor, Kurdistan, Uganda and Bosnia - and the list is not nearly inclusive..

So many people in so many different countries, in fact, that a single day cannot begin to do them all justice. And if any young person today still thinks the destruction of the Jews in Europe in the first half of the 20th Century marked an end to man's inhumanity, they are very much mistaken. It had hardly started.

So let us all gather together in peace to reflect on these appalling statistics, and contemplate that every single one of these numberless tens of millions was not just a number but somebody's son or daughter, in all likelihood unarmed, whose only crime it was to have been born.

Wales' First Minister Rhodri Morgan says the controversy over the day only served to bring it to the public's attention.

He is right. For this day, any publicity is good.

About time someone stated it publicly that the Jews do not have a monopoly of the Holocaust but it should also be stated that while others such as homosexuals, communists, clergy, etc. were put to death in the camps only Jews, Gypsies and Slavs were thus for reasons of race despite the fact that the Jews keep claiming that it was only them that were persecuted and put in the camps for their race and the Gypsies were put there because they were (regarded as) asocial. Maybe they should read the documents and also the statement by Commander of Einsatzgruppe D, Otto Ohlendorf when he said at the Nuremberg trials: "There was no difference between the Gypsies and the Jews. At that time, the same order applied for both." But that is something that they do not wish to see.