I saw this image on a friend's Facebook wall today which prompted me to think... and reply.
The Holocaust, despite a vocal handful of deniers, was a tragic and real event in world history.
While the image and caption here offer a warning to Americans that should be considered, it also portrays significant misconceptions about the Holocaust that should be dealt with.
First, six million people did not perish in the Holocaust. Over 11,000,000 died.
Second, holocaust survivors and their children take great exception to the notion that Jews (the largest, though not only, group of victims) did not fight back.
Holocaust Victims DID Fight Back
Historians point to numerous acts of defiance and a handful of times large scale resistance was mounted, most notably the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as proof victims did not always march blindly to their death.
However, this was far from the only uprising to be found in the annals of history. Jewish partisans rose up against their oppressors despite the harsh odds. I encourage you to consider the true story of these Jewish partisans who fought the Nazis during World War II as described in the PBS documentary Resistance. (Click Play on the video to watch the full documentary free.)
Who Blindly Followed Death?
Yes, many Holocaust victims were duped into believing circumstances weren't as dire as they were.
This is understandable. Who can fathom the depths of human depravity that would fashion the world's first facilities to mass exterminate millions of fellow human beings?
Most of us want to believe in the kind spirit of humanity despite evidence to the contrary. And most of us cling to hope beyond hope.
Sadly, history repeatedly shows the heart is desperately wicked: who can know it?
Yet the true blindness wasn't found in the Holocaust's victims or survivors.
The blind were the common members of German society.
How Do You Kill 11 Million People?
Beside the obvious comparisons many make with gun rights and other freedoms, there is one critical aspect of American society which parallels Hitler's Germany leading up to the Holocaust.
A dearth of truth.
Lying politicians and the corruption found between big business and government regulation has become so commonplace as to no longer inspire outrage in Americans. (I'm a firm believer in the free market and capitalism, but corruption is wrong no matter where it's found.)
What once would have led to cries for impeachment is now a weekly or daily ho-hum news headline to soon be replaced by the next scandal.
The problem in America - just like in Nazi Germany - is a lack of insistence by the public on truth and right. We're so off base I wonder if half of Americans could even define where right is any more.
So yes, we would do well to heed the warning in the image.
I don't see any extermination camps on the horizon in America.
But I don't believe the Germans did in the 1930s, either.
Beside watching the movie above, I HIGHLY recommend buying and READING "How Do You Kill 11 Million People" - this short, 80-page book by Andy Andrews.
It's a true eye opener to the foundation of the Holocaust. Particularly, it helps us understand how so many everyday Germans could let such outrageous events happen all around them without lifting a finger to prevent them.
Will WE learn from this history lesson? Or not?