Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Human Rights Museum's Holocaust exhibit must not be exclusionary

In view of the recent Human Rights Museum controversy regarding Stalin's Holodomor vs. Hitler's Holocaust, let's remind ourselves - AGAIN - that the Holocaust was not exclusively a Jewish horror, but included millions of Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, White Russian and Gypsy victims, all labelled as subhuman and killed-off by the nazis.
It is worth asking what is the exact definition of the Holocaust which is being contemplated as a permanent exhibition (to the exclusion of others) at the Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg. If the Holocaust is being presented as a solely Jewish-focused exhibit, then that is in itself an act of holocaust denial. Those desiring to challenge this fact might read "Overlooked Millions: Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust" by Karen Silverstrim.
Ukrainians were targeted in both horrors.
To dismiss and deny that Stalin's Holodomor was a genocide - and then, to further demean Slavs by diminishing their extermination in Hitler's Holocaust as being of a lower degree of importance than the Jews' - is beyond the pale, plain chauvinistic anti-slavism.
If such is the position ultimately presented by the HRM, then this Canadian tax-payer-funded human rights museum is about human rights propaganda; about a selected hierarchy of suffering.

The Ukrainian Weekly reported on Aug.17, 1986 (pg.4):

"The Other Holocaust: Many Circles of Неll" by Dr.Bohdan Wytwycky was one of five books reviewed together recently in The New York Review of Books in a lengthy article dealing with the Holocaust.
In the review, Gordon A. Craig discussed the main points of the five books: the Jews' plight in Europe and Hitler's plans to eliminate them, the little-discussed fact that millions of Slavs and Gypsies also perished, the German attempt to destroy Polish identity and liquidate the nation, the press's virtual disregard of the slaughter of millions of human beings and the world's disbelief, sometimes deliberate, that such atrocities could occur.
Mr. Craig emphasized that when talking of the Holocaust, one cannot forget about non-Jews who died as a result of the Nazi machine.
"It by now reasonably well known that 6 million Jews died as a result of the policies of Adolf Hitler, but far less so that the total number of non-military victims of Nazi genocidal policies was
probably between 14 and 16 million.
The discrepancy between the two figures has led some students of the second world war to question current usage of the term 'Holocaust' which is usually taken to mean the destruction of the European Jews, and the Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz has expressed concern lest this exclusivist usage tend to make people forget that millions of Poles, Russians, and prisoners of other nationalities suffered the same brutal end," he wrote.
"One can acknowledge that too little attention has been paid to the fate of these other victims without ceasing to believe that there are sound reasons for treating the Final Solution as a special case."
On Dr. Wytwycky's book Mr. Craig commented:
"Meanwhile, as the Jews died, their fate was shared by other people, and it is the unique service of Dr. Bohdan Wytwycky that, in a monograph of less than a hundred pages, he has for the
first time brought together in English the basic facts about the horrors suffered
by Gypsies, Poles, Ukrainians. Byelorussians, Russian prisoners of war; and Ostarbeiter sent to Germany, as well as a list of useful sources for further study of this other Holocaust. Dr. Wytwycky is clearly appalled by the story that he has to tell, which will be understandable
to anyone who reads his description of the terrible scenes that accompanied the final liquidation of the Gypsy camp at Auschwitz in 1944, of the brutalities of Erich Koch, the Nazi commissioner for the Ukraine, who told his staff in April 1942, 'Strickly speaking, we are here among Negroes,' of the arbitrary nature of Nazi terror in the villages of Byelorussia, and of the deliberate mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war, who were worked to death on a regimen of one ladle of beetrot of water a day."
In his book, Dr. Wytwycky expresses horror that the Holocaust occurred:
"One cannot even begin to understand how or why any of this was possible ... In the pronouncements of the Nazis, Jews and Gypsies and Slavs were explicitly described as 'subhumans ... social and psychological inhibitions which normally operate to restrain men's savage impulses were unleashed, and millions of Jewish, Gypsy and Slavic innocents were victimized."
Dr. Wytwycky estimates that as many as 50,000 Gypsies, 3 million Polish Christians, which included half of the educated classes, 3 million Ukrainians, plus 1 million Ukrainian Jews, and one out of four persons comprising the Byelorussian population were exterminated by the Nazis."

How many officials over at the HRM have even read that book? Will the HRM's proposed Holocaust-focus include acknowledging all these victims, or will it be skewed to a Jewish-centric focus?

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