Today, Jan. 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Just less than three weeks ago, the McMinn County, Tenn. School Board voted unanimously 10-0 to ban Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, which is a metaphor for the Holocaust from its curriculum. The news broke within the last 48 hours of this post of the board’s decision to ban this book in which cats represent Nazis and mice represent the Jews mostly, even though others suffered at the hands of the Nazis during this time.
Even before World War II ended in Europe, allied forces were discovering the atrocities of what happened. The Holocaust consisted of forcing mostly Jewish people, Gypsies and others in Europe into concentration camps where they were forced to do labor for little food. If anyone’s seen Schindler’s List, they know of what happened in Krakow, Poland. But it was far worse than that.
Nazis experimented medically on people. Josef Mengele, nicknamed the Angel of Death, among others did experiments on people I won’t even mention here. These were living breathing people. And this was less than 100 years ago. People probably reading this had grandparents who served during WWII who helped liberate the camps. I remember watching Band of Brothers on HBO in which the Easy Company soldiers found Kaufering camp consisting of mostly Hungarian Jews. Some of the soldiers were puzzled at what they saw. It’s a hard episode to watch but an important one.
The Holocaust wasn’t and is nowhere near the Covid-19 vaccination requirements. But yet people compare it to the Holocaust. If a company fires an employee who refuses to get a vaccine, then that’s the company’s policy. This is the result of Republicans and voters pushing for Right-To-Work states where it can happen. Why should other employees and their families and their customers be put at risk?
Now, hypothetically, imagine a world in which people were expected to show their vaccination cards. If you didn’t have one, a law officer pulled out their handgun and shot you in the head. Imagine no one gets their vaccinations in a family, then, they are removed from their homes, regardless of whether they paid for the living space, and put them in a concentration area, such as a ghetto. They are forced to lived with other people who don’t have the vaccine. People die on the streets from lack of food, water, and/or from exposure.
This is what happened in the Holocaust to people who were mostly Jews. Even those that were able to escape the ghettos and camps, still lived in constant fear every day a random person they pass by on the street would report them to authorities. Or they’d be ganged up upon and beaten severely.
Oh, and those hiding from the Nazis and SS had to remain in doors or in closets at almost all time. Imagine what Wladyslaw Szpilman, who was the subject of The Pianist, had to go through. He had to remain indoors, hoping he wouldn’t make enough noise in the apartment buildings to alert the other residents. He couldn’t get too close to the windows. He had to spend every day for weeks if not months isolated with nothing to do but read and reread books.
And think. He thought about the families that were at the camps dying. He thought about the days when he used to play the piano but couldn’t even listen to music out of fear it would alert the authorities. Also, he lived in fear every day, they’d be a knock at the door and stormtroopers would break down the door and kill him.
Yet, people are being asked to only go out if they really need to. Oh, and wear a mask if they can even if they don’t have symptoms. While, you’re at it, can you wash your hands and use hand sanitizer?
Oh, my God, what a fucking nightmare!
Of course, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke recently at a rally comparing getting a vaccine or washing your hands to what many people went through, including Anne Frank and her family. And Evangeline Lilly, the actress from Lost and who will probably be booted from the MCU, was there. She spoke out about not being forced to put stuff in their bodies and blah, blah, blah, which is fine if she wants to think that. But she shouldn’t be allowed to work on movies where she could jeopardize the lives of hundreds of people.
And just like Covid, there are people who want to say the Holocaust didn’t happen. But it’s funny that those who say Covid isn’t a big deal but compare the requirements to the Holocaust are the ones said the Holocaust wasn’t real. Also, slavery wasn’t too bad back during the antebellum days. And change in voting laws are actually going to help people.
The same people who deny the Holocaust don’t want to discuss how the men were treated at the Tuskegee experiments. And they’ll deny that Indigenous Native Americans were treated as bad as they were. But when you mention abortion, they’ll compare that to the Holocaust.
Personally, I think it’s probably because the Holocaust happened at the same time as Jim Crow was occurring in America and people didn’t want to draw the parallels. And you can clearly see they existed. Black people weren’t allowed to use facilities and could be lynched just based on false information. How many black people were killed for no reason other than the color of their skin?
We have a long way to go in the world to prevent genocides and human atrocities from happening. And requiring someone to get a Covid shot to get a job is as far away from extreme as it can be. Companies can require people to piss in a cup for drug testing at random even though someone smoking cannabis, even for medical purposes, gets fired from their job, so what’s the difference?
I keep telling myself things will change for the better as those who are my age range or younger get more in power but I’m not sure it’s going to be that simple. The first thing we have to do is remember that bad things happened and people who may have been perceived as good did them. I once heard someone say the soldiers who worked at the camps were following orders but it didn’t excuse their actions. They may have done bad things, but they still could have been good husbands and fathers. But that doesn’t erase the fact that a lot of husbands and fathers died at the hands of other “good husband and fathers.”
In this country and in this world, we have a hard time accepting the fact that bad things happen and nothing good can come out of it. That’s exceptionalism. And we need to stop that. What we need to do is to prevent it from happening any chance we have.
What do you think? Please comment.