I’ve become aware of the term “Holocaustianity” of late. It’s one of those things that I probably saw and skipped past, not bothering to register it in any way. I’ve never found the Holocaust and WW2 to be very interesting. In the long run, it will fall in importance well behind the Great War and many other wars further back in time. It’s significance to us is due to recency bias and the fact there are still people who lived it.
Anyway, I saw someone use the term “Holocaustianity” on twitter and the responses reminded me of something I saw on Vox Day a while back. That post on the alt-right makes the point that no one under 40 years of age cares about the deification of the Holocaust. This may be true, I have no way of knowing, but it sounds plausible. World War II ended 70 years ago. Most young people have never met someone who was alive during that time.
That said, Western Radicals will never forget and never let the world forget. At least that seems to be the plan. The interwebs tells me the Germans just convicted a 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard of being an accessory to the murder of at least 170,000 people at the concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
A 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard was sentenced to jail in Germany on Friday by a judge who branded him a “willing and efficient henchman” in the Holocaust.
In what is likely to be one of Germany’s last trials for World War Two-era atrocities, Reinhold Hanning was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of at least 170,000 people at the concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Rejecting the defense argument that the former SS officer had never killed, beaten or abused anyone himself, Judge Anke Grudda said Hanning had chosen to serve in the notorious death camp and had helped it run.
“It is not true that you had no choice; you could have asked to be transferred to the war front,” Grudda told Hanning as she read out the verdict.
She said it was impossible that he had been unaware of the murders since he spent two and a half years at the camp and had been promoted twice during that time.
“That shows that you had proven your value as a willing and efficient henchman in the killings,” Grudda said.
The white-haired Hanning, dressed in a gray suit and tie and seated in a wheel chair, listed to the verdict impassively. His lawyer, Johannes Salmen, said they would appeal.
During the 20-day trial that dragged on over four months, the court heard testimony from around a dozen Holocaust survivors, many extremely elderly, who detailed horrific experiences, recalling piles of bodies and the smell of burnt flesh in Auschwitz.
I have no doubt that the death camps were horrible. Russian prison camps were horrible. The Andersonville prison in the American Civil War was monstrous. The Japanese did horrific things to Allied prisoners. I had family die in the Bataan Death March. Of course, the Rape of Nanking and the Turkish genocide of Armenians killed unknown numbers. The point being, war is horrible and industrial war is the most horrible. It’s why we should do what we can to avoid it.
Vengeance after war for the “crimes” of the losers is understandable. Hanging German officers and leading political figures for their crimes during the war made perfect sense. In this case, what the Nazis did was the logical end of Rouseau-ist moral philosophy and that scared the hell out of people in the West, as it should. They needed to find a way to pretend it was an aberration. The Nuremberg trial was an effective way of “proving” that the Nazis were outside the scope of Western moral philosophy.
Still, prosecuting a 94-year old guy, for anything, is of dubious value. It’s not like there had been a 70 year manhunt for this guy. He lived his entire life in plain sight. He did not go around bragging about his time in the war, but he could have been put on trial years ago if it was so important to justice. Clearly, it was not important enough 70 years ago or 50 years ago or even 20 years ago. It’s not like this old man was a danger to anyone or a flight risk.
It’s important now because the people in charge only have a list of bogeymen. They no longer have an affirmative argument for why they should rule and why their preferred system is best. The main argument against Trump, for example, is to chant “Hitler” or “Racist” over and over. The argument for maintaining the monstrosity that is the EU is, well, “Hitler!” Putting a corpse on trial for the Holocaust is just a morality play to remind everyone that the night is dark and full of terrors.
In the US, the Civil War often fills the role of the Holocaust. A mentally ill kid shoots up a black church and the people in charge restart the Civil War, tear down some Confederate flags and topple over some old statutes in the South. The message was clear. Do as we say or the KKK will be riding through the streets and Union Army will be forming on the Potomac. It’s a histrionic madness that is wildly out of proportion to the triggering event, but all they have now is this pointless vengeance.