Scrapbookpages Blog

February 22, 2010

School bullying in America

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:27 pm

I’ll give you a clue as to how old I am: when I went to school, bullying was not a word.  Bully was a word, but it was always used as a noun, never as a verb.  Bullying is a gerund, and back then, school kids knew a gerund when they saw one, but the word bullying did not exist.

All through grade school and high school, I never saw a physical fight, nor even a verbal altercation.  Everyone got along with everyone else and there was never any name calling or verbal abuse, much less knife fights or pounding with fists. There were no “mean girls,” no gangs, and no one carried a gun to school; mass murder, as at Columbine, was far, far in the future.

What was the reason for this  school paradise?  In a word: diversity.  There was a complete lack of diversity.  Everyone in my school was of the same race and the same ethnicity.  I lived in a town where the people were more than 50% German-American.  The word diversity, as used today, was unknown.

Children reading in a classroom in 1940

In the 1940s, little boys typically wore overalls, or corduroy pants with suspenders, to school.  Little girls always wore dresses, never pants or shorts, in the classroom. Note the complete lack of diversity in the classroom.

Before I went to college, I had never seen anyone who was of Greek or Italian or French ethnicity, and certainly not anyone who was Asian or Hispanic. Even in my college classes, there were no Asians or Hispanics or African Americans. There were some Jews, but they had their own sororities and fraternities; they didn’t mix with the other students.

At school dances, when I went to college, there was always an intermission when all the students faced the Confederate flag, and with our hands over our hearts, we sang “Dixie.”  I kid you not. My college was in a part of Missouri known as “Little Dixie.”  Frat houses flew the Confederate flag.  Bullying was unknown on our segregated campus.

Many parts of Missouri, where I lived, were still segregated back then, including my home town.  African Americans were allowed to live in the town, but they had their own schools and churches.  Other nearby towns were “sundown” towns where a sign warned African Americans not to let the sun set on them in this town.

One time, a teacher in my high school assigned everyone to write a paper about their “nationality.” Back then, nationality was the term for ethnicity.  When asked “What is your nationality?” no one ever said “American.”  Our nationality was the country from which our ancestors had come to America.  In my school, there were only three possible answers: Germany, England or Ireland.

We didn’t need to have a Holocaust survivor to come to our school to teach us how to be tolerant and to stand up to bullies. Every kid in my school was already tolerant.  We had one student with a wooden leg, one retarded student who didn’t graduate until the age of twenty, and we even had one cretin.  No one made fun of these students or taunted them.  There were fat kids and skinny kids, but no one was rude enough to mention another student’s weight.

Staged photo of boy dipping little girl's pigtail in ink

In my grade school, the desks had ink wells, but no little boy would ever dream of dipping a little girl’s pigtail into the ink.  Every student at my school had a fountain pen, and at recess, our favorite activity was trading fountain pens.  Every day, my classmates and I would have a different fountain pen. That was the kind of amusement we had.  The photo above was obviously staged.

When I went to the home of one of my classmates for supper, I always knew that the food would be exactly like what we had at home.  Everyone in my town dressed the same, listened to the same kind of music, and attended a Christian church. Everyone had the same values and the same morals.

Race was something that we studied in our geography books. Everybody was a racist, but back then, it was considered normal thinking.  Political correctness was unknown, except at Columbia University, where it was called “cultural Marxism.”  The concept of political correctness was brought over from Germany by Jewish professors who were kicked out when Hitler came to power in 1933.

Yes, yes, I know that nationalism and racism are bad, and political correctness and  diversity are good.  Diversity is what makes America great. America is a melting pot and that explains why America is the greatest country in the world.  Without diversity, America would be like Nazi Germany: We would have Gleichschaltung* with everyone thinking and acting alike. Before you know it, we would have a Holocaust in America.  Diversity is what keeps America divided and safe from the unthinkable.

* Gleichschaltung is a German word coined by Hitler.  It is too complicated for me to explain it to you, so google it yourself.

The liberation of Dachau scene in Shutter Island

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 5:10 am

I’ve been reading hundreds of reviews of the movie Shutter Island, looking for one in which the reviewer understands the Dachau Massacre flashbacks, but so far, no luck.

For example, here is a quote from a review by Arron Mesh posted on the Willamette Week Online web site on Feb. 19 at 6:34 p.m.

As Leo gazed at the dead bodies piled like human waterfalls at Dachau, a woman seated behind me at the screening asked, “Is that the Holocaust?” Yes, ma’am.

No, ma’am, that’s not the Holocaust.  The Holocaust, with a capital H, was the state sponsored genocide of the Jews, which took place in what is now Poland, not at Dachau. And yes, I know about the Gypsies, the homosexuals, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and all the others that the Nazis considered to be inferior, but they are not counted as part of the big H.

Political prisoners at Dachau were illegal combatants

Dachau was the equivalent of Guantanamo bay.  It was a prison camp for “enemies of the state.”  The majority of the prisoners at Dachau were “political prisoners” who were there because they had been captured as illegal combatants, who were fighting in violation of the Geneva convention of 1929.

Poland never surrendered in World War II, and the Polish soldiers continued to fight as illegal combatants, instead of fighting on the battlefield.  It was perfectly legal, under the Geneva Convention of 1929, to send them to a concentration camp instead of a POW camp.

Polish prisoners celebrate Dachau liberation

According to the official report by the US Army, there were 31,432 survivors in the main Dachau camp, including 2,539 Jews. Some of the Jews had been brought to Dachau from ghettos in Lithuania.  Others had been brought to the main Dachau camp from the sub-camps just a few weeks before the liberators arrived. Some of the Jews had arrived only the day before.

Some of the Jews at Dachau had originally been sent to Auschwitz, but had been brought back to Germany when the Auschwitz camp was abandoned.  When the Americans entered Germany in March 1945, the Germans started bringing the Jews from the sub-camps to the main Dachau camp so that they could be turned over to the Allies.

Women who were brought from the sub-camps to Dachau

The dead bodies that the American soldiers saw were prisoners who had died in a typhus epidemic that started in December 1944 and accounted for half of the deaths in the 12-year history of Dachau.

The American soldiers couldn’t understand why the Dachau camp was not in pristine condition, at a time when Germany was 8 days away from surrendering, after fighting a war for 6 years.  Every major city in Germany had been bombed; refugees were clogging the highways, trying to escape from the Soviet soldiers who were raping and pillaging their way across Germany. Food was scarce because all the men who normally produced the food were in the Army, including, by this time, old men and young boys.

Dachau had been bombed by American planes three weeks before, and there was no electricity nor running water in the camp.  There was plenty of food though, because the transportation system had broken down and Dachau was the only camp that the Red Cross could reach.  Just the day before the Americans arrived, the Red Cross had brought in 5 truck loads of food.

The Germans were doing the best they could to feed the prisoners; they were cooking over wood burning stoves and hauling drinking water into the camp.

The Germans were trying to stop the typhus epidemic — without access to vaccine and DDT which America could have sent through the Red Cross. The toilets wouldn’t flush without running water and the prisoners had not been able to take a shower for three weeks.  The barracks were terribly overcrowded because around 15,000 prisoners had recently been brought in from the sub-camps.

If the American soldiers had arrived in 1938 at Dachau, they would have been astounded at how neat and clean the camp was.  They would have complained about the Nazis being too hard on the prisoners, making them take their shoes off before entering the barracks and insisting that the prisoners keep everything in perfect order in their lockers.  Dachau was like an Army boot camp, only worse.

The political prisoners at Dachau were there to be rehabilitated and to learn the most important Nazi virtues which were painted on the roof of the main building where all the prisoners could see them.

Cross put up by the Catholic prisoners at Dachau

The German words on the roof translate into English as follows: “There is one road to freedom. Its milestones are: Obedience, Diligence, Honesty, Orderliness, Cleanliness, Sobriety, Truthfulness, Self-Sacrifice, and Love of the Fatherland.”

The American liberators should have looked at the uniforms of the German soldiers before taking revenge because of the conditions in the camp.  Some of the German soldiers who were killed were Wehrmacht soldiers or Waffen-SS soldiers who had no responsibility for the concentration camps.