Scrapbookpages Blog

October 20, 2012

“Hate murdered Eva Olsson’s family” at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:27 pm

Eva Olsson, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, “has spoken to more than one million people over the past decade and has speaking engagements that stretch well beyond her 90th birthday,” according to a news article which you can read here.

I previously blogged about Eva Olsson here.  On that blog post, I mentioned that Eva Olsson was telling students that when the Nazis ran out of Zyklon-B pellets for the gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen, they burned children alive in the ovens (plural).  (This was an obvious lie because there was no gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen and only one cremation oven.)

In her latest talk at an American school, Eva Olsson told the students that “People were forced in gas chambers screaming and moaning. After 20 minutes, it was silent.”

I have always heard that the Jews were told, on their way to the gas chamber, that they were going to take a shower, after which they would get clean clothes and hot soup.  But not according to Eva Olsson, who witnessed her family members going to the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Her relatives were forced into the gas chamber, screaming and moaning.

In her latest talk, Olsson told the students that when she arrived at Auchwitz-Birkenau on May 19, 1944, she was separated from her family and “before she could blink, her mother, her father and most of her siblings disappeared never to be seen again.”

Auschwitz-Birkenau was 425 acres in size.  Did her relatives disappear into the barracks in this vast camp, or did they disappear into the gas chamber? According to Olsson, she witnessed her family going into the gas chamber and fortunately, she was wearing a watch, so she knew that it took 20 minutes for them to die.

This quote is from the news article:

For Olsson, it was the beginning of a nightmare that wouldn’t end until she and her younger sister were liberated by British soldiers [at Bergen-Belsen] just hours before prisoners were to be executed by Nazi soldiers on April 15, 1945.

Bergen-Belsen was voluntarily turned over to the British soldiers on April 15, 1945, after weeks of negotiations, but according to Eva Olsson, the Nazis were planning to execute all the prisoners on the very day that the British soldiers were due to arrive.

This quote is also from the news article:

When bullying happens, people need to stand up and stop it, said Olsson, adding that whether a person is a bystander or a bully, neither is innocent.

“Hitler could not have done what he did without the bystanders in Europe. That’s how he got away with it,” she said.

“Hate is what murdered my family,” said Olsson, adding “acceptance is how we achieve peace.”

The obvious bully and hater here is Eva Olsson, who is poisoning the minds of innocent children with her obvious lies.  The bystanders here are the school administrators who allow Olsson to spread her lies.

You can read about the Bergen-Belsen camp on my website here.  You can read about the history of Auschwitz-Birkenau on my website here.

September 20, 2012

Holocaust Education comes to Hermann, MO

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:18 am

This morning, I read a news article on the online Columbia Missourian newspaper, which you can read in full here.

This quote is from the article:

[Elie Wiesel's book] “Night is crucial to me,” said Flynn.  It was the first Holocaust novel she taught when she began teaching in Hermann.

What’s wrong with that?  Why shouldn’t students in Hermann, MO be taught the Holocaust, the same as students in every other school in America?  At least, the book “Night” is being taught as a novel in the classrooms in Hermann.

This website tells you about the town of Hermann, MO.  It is a town that was established by a group of German immigrants who traveled by wagon train to Missouri in 1839 and founded a town, populated entirely by ethnic Germans.

As a child, I lived in another small town in Missouri that was mostly German-American, but it was nothing like the town of Hermann, which had a population that was exclusively Volkdeutsch. Our High School basketball team played the Hermann team, but we could never win — not against those blond, blue-eyed Übermenschen.

The Holocaust didn’t happen in America and the German-Americans in Missouri were not responsible for it.  Now the ethnic Germans in Herman are being taught that they must forever hang their heads in shame because of what happened in Germany more than 70 years ago.

Do the students in Hermann, MO have just one class on the Holocaust and then get back to studying American history and German history?  No, it goes on and on, year after year; the students have “progressive lessons” on the Holocaust.

This quote is from the article in the Columbia Missourian:

Progressive Lessons

Still, Flynn said one of the advantages of the program is teachers know what knowledge students gain from year to year so they don’t have to go back to the beginning.

“It makes everybody’s job a little bit easier and we avoid some of the Holocaust fatigue,” Flynn said.

She’s planned out lessons for seventh, eighth and ninth grade English students. When selecting the reading material she considered students’ maturity levels and bore in mind students’ realize the atrocity of Hitler’s final solution better when learning about individuals in their same age group affected by the Holocaust.

As a preview to the novel “Friedrich” by Hans Peter Richter, seventh-graders will study the social and cultural conditions that allowed the Nazis to become the ruling party of Germany. The book about two boys, one of whom is Jewish, growing up in Germany during the 1930s and, 40s is historical fiction.

Eighth-grade topics will include a closer view of life for Jews in hiding or captivity. Flynn determined books for their Holocaust unit would likely be “Surviving the Angel of Death” by Eva Mozes Kor and “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Kor’s memoir about living through torture and experimentation at the hands of Dr. Joseph Mengele was adapted for a young adult audience and Flynn prefers the real diary over the lightly embellished play.

Shown in the photo below are some of the 611 Jewish children in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp when it was liberated. The girl on the far right is Miriam Mozes , one of the twins who were forced to be the subjects of medical experiments done by Dr. Josef Mengele. Miriam and her sister Eva Mozes Kor both survived; Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated four days before their 11th birthday.

Miriam Kor is the child on the far right

In the photo below, the child on the far right is Eva Mozes Kor. Her sister Miriam died in 1995, after battling cancer and kidney disease that Eva Kor says stemmed from her treatment at Auschwitz.

Miriam Mozes is the child on the far right

The quote from the Columbia Missourian continues below:

Flynn said the ninth-grade experience will be more immersive (sic) since they will address death marches and killing centers. Students will read “Night,” the devastating account of how Elie Weisel, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, lost his family and innocence as a teenager in Auschwitz.

So the ninth-graders in Hermann, MO will learn about the “death marches and killing centers.”

Will the students be allowed to ask questions?  For example, why did the Jews have to be “death marched” out of the “killing centers?”  Was it because there had not been enough time to kill them at the killing centers, so that they had to be marched to death?  That is the official Holocaust story: the prisoners were marched out of the camps, as a means of killing them, so that they would not be able to testify about what they had seen in the camps.

One of the prisoners, who was marched out of Auschwitz, was Elie Wiesel, who didn’t die on the death march.  He was taken to the Buchenwald camp where he wasn’t killed; he was allowed to live and write a book about the atrocities that he had seen at Auschwitz.

Will the students in Hermann, MO learn about the German-Americans who were put into internment camps in America, and kept there for two years after the war ended?  Probably not.

To me, teaching German-American students about the Holocaust is like putting them in internment camps again. World War II is over and the German people are no longer the enemy.  Enough already!

February 20, 2012

Does Holocaust education inadvertently fuel anti-Semitism?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 6:08 am

An article by Dan Fleshler in The Jewish Daily Forward with the headline “Does Education Fuel Anti-Semitism?” informs us that “a German study says Holocaust studies may increase hatred (of Jews).”  The photo below of the Jewish memorial in Berlin accompanies the article.

Jewish Memorial in the heart of Berlin, the capitol of Germany  Photo Credit: Getty Images

Imagine having a 5-acre field of huge concrete blocks a few yards from the Capitol building in Washington, DC.  The photo below shows a view of the German Reichstag behind the Jewish memorial in Berlin.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe with German Reichstag in background Photo Credit: Deutsche Welle

This quote is from the article in The Jewish Daily Forward:

Focusing on the Nazi era in Germany can make different ingredients in a pre-existing stew of anti-Semitism even more toxic. Exaggerated notions of Jewish power can prompt Germans to blame Jews for unwelcome messages about the Shoah. So says Anetta Kahane, founder of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which funds and operates programs against neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism. “Some teachers think if they just describe the Holocaust it will help change the minds of students who have neo-Nazi and racist feelings. The opposite can happen. Students will say the Jews are preventing them from questioning the Holocaust in class; Jews who control the world media are not letting them talk about it.” What’s more, Kahane told me, “some teachers hold the same views. Teachers are ordinary Germans.”

Is the same thing happening in America?  Are students in American schools hearing too much about the Holocaust in the classroom?  Is the whole world suffering from Holocaust fatigue?  Enough already!

Eva Olsson, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who now lives in Canada, gives many lectures to students in which she tells them about the gas chamber in Bergen-Belsen and that children were burned alive at Bergen-Belsen.

In November 2008, Eva Olsson, who was born into a family of Hasidic Jews in Satu Mare, Hungary, told an audience of 550 delegates to the Upper Canada District School Board’s ACT Now! Symposium in Cornwall that she was sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on May 19, 1944; she was later transferred to Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Eva Olsson and her younger sister Fradel were the only members of her extended family of 89 people who survived the Holocaust, according to her story, published in a news article in the Seaway News on November 6, 2008.

Eva Olsson

The following quote is from the article about Eva Olsson in the Seaway News:

Olsson told the story of her experiences as a slave labourer at a German munitions factory, and as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen in 1944 and 1945.

[...]

As people sat at the Nav Canada Training and Conference Centre trying to hold back tears, she spoke of how she witnessed her mother and three young nieces being led away to the gas chambers on their arrival to Auschwitz, never to be seen again.

[...]

The room fell silent as Olsson told of witnessing firsthand the horror of the “death factories” created by the Nazis. She told stories of German soldiers being ordered to shoot babies in their mother’s arms-killing both mother and child-to not waste two bullets. She spoke of seeing the Angel of Death-Dr. Josef Mengele-and the hospital where he experimented on young Jewish children by infecting them with diseases such as tuberculosis.

[...]

Perhaps the most gruesome aspect of the tale was her recollection of her imprisonment in Bergen-Belsen when the camp ran out of pellets to fuel the gas chambers.

“On that day, five children at a time were put into the (crematorium) ovens alive, five children at a time, to be burned alive,” said Olsson, who contracted typhus in the death camp.

There should be a law against telling stories about children being burned alive at Bergen-Belsen.

The one and only cremation oven at Bergen-Belsen

The photo above shows the one and only cremation oven at Bergen-Belsen.  Sorry, I don’t have a photo of the Bergen-Belsen gas chamber because, contrary to the Holocaust education given by Eva Olsson, there was no gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen.

January 25, 2012

More Holocaust education needed: one in five young Germans has never heard of Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:20 am

Today, the British newspaper Mail Online is reporting this startling news:

ONE-FIFTH of young Germans have never heard of Auschwitz, survey reveals

Does this mean one-fifth of young “ethnic Germans” (Volksdeutsche) have never heard of Auschwitz, or does it mean one-fifth of all young citizens of Germany have never heard of Auschwitz?

It is hard for me to believe that anyone in Germany has never heard of Auschwitz  — unless they are recent immigrants from Africa or the Middle East.  Did the people asking the survey question pronounce the word Auschwitz correctly? If the surveyers used the British or the American pronunciation of the word, the ethnic Germans might not have known what they were talking about.

According to the article in the Mail Online, “Twenty one per cent of people aged between 18 and 30 quizzed about the most notorious Nazi extermination camp had not heard of it, the survey revealed.”   How was the question posed:  Did the survey people ask “What was the most notorious Nazi extermination camp?”

This quote is from the article:

The Nazis built six extermination camps – Auschwitz, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek – all of them in occupied Poland.The murder of prisoners, most of them Jewish, began in 1941 when Nazi officials enacted Hitler’s ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question’.

The “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” was enacted in 1941?  Does that mean “enacted into law?”  NO, NO, NO! There was no German law in which the murder of the Jews was ordered. The murder of the Jews did, in fact, begin in 1941, but the Wannsee conference where the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” was discussed did not begin until January 20, 1942.  So the murder of the Jews was not ordered at the Wannsee conference.

Auschwitz was not in occupied Poland when the camp was in operation, as stated in the Mail Online article.  It was in the Greater German Reich.  So was Chelmno.

Chelmno was located in the Warthegau, a district in the part of Poland that had been annexed into the Greater German Reich after the joint conquest of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939.

This quote is also from the article in the Mail Online:

The survey, published in Stern magazine, showed that of people over 30, 95 per cent had heard of Auschwitz and the crimes committed there.

But less than 70 per cent could name the country it lies in.

Auschwitz is in Silesia which was also annexed into the Greater German Reich in 1939.  Silesia was given to Poland after World War I, in the Treaty of Versailles.  After the conquest of Poland in 1939, Germany took back Silesia.  Maybe 70 per cent of the Germans who were surveyed do not believe that Silesia should belong to Poland.  Or maybe they were answering the question with the name of the country that Auschwitz was in when the camp was in operation.

I’m guessing that the reason the survey found that one out of five young Germans had never heard of Auschwitz is because one out of five Germans are afraid to speak about the Holocaust, for fear that they will get a notice in the mail that they have to pay a fine for breaking the German law against Holocaust denial.  It has been my experience, in visiting Germany many times, that Germans of all ages are afraid to speak about the Holocaust.

I think that this survey might have been flawed by the survey takers not asking the questions in the right way.

I have found that, when talking to German people, one must be very precise.  For example, if you ask for a ticket to Frankfurt, you will hear “Which one?”  Don’t go to Berlin unless you know how to pronounce the name of the city.  If you want to go to Rothenburg, you must specify Rothenburg ob der Tauber.  There are special places in Germany where Americans, who can’t pronounce Dachau correctly, can buy their tickets without being frowned upon for not knowing how to speak properly.

December 24, 2011

what students can learn from Michael Berenbaum’s book “A Promise to Remember: The Holocaust in the Words and Voices of its Survivors”

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:26 am

I have not read Michael Berenbaum’s book A Promise to Remember, published by Boston Bulfinch Press in 2003, but a review of the book by Robert Hutcheson, a teacher in Missouri, gives some insights into what this books offers to students in Holocaust education classes.  You can read the full review here.

This quote is from Robert Hutcheson’s book review:

In “The Sonderkommando” chapter, Sam Itzkowitz (see CD) tells of his experiences and describes the death of Bess Platka, the details of which should be shared in pre-college classrooms only with care and discretion. She strangles her baby rather than letting the SS man do it, throws the corpse in his face, hits him over the head with a large beer bottle, and grabs his gun and empties the chamber into him before she meets her own death. This chapter also uses the rather famous and somewhat lurid sketches of David Olére (who painted under the name “Prisoner No. 106144”) which one should also use with great care in the classroom (I would not use most of these myself, though his later painting, “The End of Law and the Rights of Man,” 1950, at the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters House could be used with older students if a print can be obtained). The photo of clothing falling out of a warehouse door (22), however, pointedly and silently witnesses to some of the prisoners who were gassed at Auschwitz.

I have highlighted two different sentences in this single paragraph.  The story of Bess Platka is reminiscent of the story of Franceska Mann, who shot an SS man at Auschwitz.  I previously blogged about her here.  Note that Bess Platka didn’t wait for an SS man to grab her baby and kill it in some monstrous fashion.  No, she took the initiative and got revenge for all the babies whose heads had been bashed against a tree by a German soldier! I previously blogged about head bashing stories here.

The last sentence in the quote above is about the clothes found in a warehouse at Auschwitz.  The clothing “pointedly and silently witnesses to some of the prisoners who were gassed at Auschwitz.”

Clothing spilling out of a door at Auschwitz-Birkenau

How does this clothing prove that prisoners were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau?  (more…)

August 2, 2011

Holocaust Educational Trust is “re-humanising” the Nazis for today’s students

In today’s news, I read an article here about how British teachers are planning to “convey the Holocaust to teens.”  This quote is from the article:

Fresh from a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, teachers from Furness College, Barrow, Sandside School, Ulverston, and The Lakes School, Troutbeck Bridge contemplated how to bring the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust into the classroom.

With the haunting horrors of the former Nazi concentration and death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau still at the forefront of their minds, teachers gathered together to discuss how they will present the complexes of the Holocaust and its modern day messages to young people.

It was this quote, from the middle of the article, which caught my attention:

The educational body says a challenging element for teachers and students will be re-humanising the Nazis, as they were humans and not monsters.

The introduction of gas chambers was a method which made killing more humane for the perpetrators.

If the British teachers try to re-humanise the Nazis by telling the students that it was more humane to gas the prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau, they will be making a big mistake.  Gassing could be more humane than other methods of killing — if it is done the right way, so as to give the prisoners a quick and easy death without suffering.  But that is not the way it was done at Birkenau.

In 1988, Fred Leuchter, an American gas chamber expert, climbed down into the ruins of Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau and observed that there was no way to heat the Zyklon-B gas pellets to 78.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is necessary to release the poison gas. Leuchter pointed out in his Report that it is necessary to heat the pellets before the poison gas will be released.  With no quick way to heat the pellets, the prisoners were crowded together in the dark while they waited for hours for their body heat to release the gas and put an end to their suffering. After the prisoners were packed into the gas chamber like sardines, the babies were thrown in on top of their heads. We know this because when the Sonderkommando Jews came into the gas chamber minutes later to remove the bodies, the babies were always at the top of the pile.

It would have taken 10 hours to ventilate a room after Zyklon-B was used. Krema I, the location of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp, did not have a fan to air out the room, so it would have taken even longer until the Sonderkommando Jews could have safely entered the gas chamber to remove the bodies.

No way could this be called a humane way to murder the Jews.  This was not even humane for the perpetrators who probably had nightmares about killing babies in such an ignominious way.

On this web site, you can read this quote about the lack of a heating device in the Krema II gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau:

Temperature (too low)
[Krema 1 & II] There was no heating capability in any of the facilities which would have been required, firstly, to drive the gas from the Zyklon B and mix with the air, and secondly, to avoid condensation of the gas on the walls, floor and ceiling. When the hydrogen cyanide condensed into a liquid, it was absorbed by brick and by mortar. Condensation would have made the area very dangerous for anyone who came into the facility to remove corpses. (32-9088)…….During the time he had inspected the facility in February, 1988, the temperature in the room was 10 or 12 degrees Fahrenheit. In Leuchter’s opinion, if Zyklon B pellets had been dropped into the chamber in such circumstances, with no heating capabilities, it would have taken more than several hours for the gas to leave the pellets and permeate the room. Holocaust literature alleged that gassings took place in winter.

If the Nazis had wanted to be humane, they would have built the Auschwitz gas chambers the proper way, using a machine to heat the pellets.  The photo below shows a machine that was provided by the Degesch Company, which manufactured and sold the Zyklon-B pellets, along with their machine which was designed to heat the pellets to the proper temperature.  This machine automatically opened a can of Zyklon-B and dumped the pellets into a wire basket, so that they could be retrieved and sent back to the manufacturer to be filled with Zyklon-B and used again.

Degesch machine used to heat Zyklon-B pellets

Oh sure, the British teachers can show their students photos from the famous Auschwitz Album, which might suggest that the SS men at Auschwitz were human, but you can’t get around the fact that the Nazis were not humane because they allowed the Jews to suffer for hours in the Krema I and Krema II gas chambers which definitely did not have a way to heat the Zyklon-B pellets. It would have been more humane to just shoot the Jews.

The photo below is from the Auschwitz Album.

SS men and women auxiliaries having fun at Solahutte, near Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944

March 12, 2010

Should the Holocaust be taught in American schools?

Should the Holocaust be taught in American schools? Unequivocally, YES.  But not in English class, nor in Social Studies, nor in any class except World History. The students need a background in history before they are introduced to the Holocaust.  The Holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum; there was a lot of history that led up to it.

To give you an idea of why Holocaust students need a background in history, Otto Ohlendorf, one of the war criminals on trial at Nuremberg,  defended his actions, on the witness stand,  as historically necessary to secure “lebensraum in the German East (Poland).” Then he started talking about the Thirty Years War.  The Thirty Years war took place from 1618 to 1648.  Ohlendorf was on trial because he had led one of the Einsatzgruppen units that executed Jews in Eastern Europe during World War II. So what did the Thirty Years War have to do with anything?  That’s what the prosecutors at Nuremberg wanted to know.

How can students understand the Holocaust if they don’t know anything about the Thirty Years War which changed the course of European history? How can students understand Nazi Germany if they know nothing about World War I?  In the future, the two World Wars will probably be taught as one war that lasted from 1914 to 1945; it might even be called the Thirty-one Years War.

Unfortunately, the teaching of the Holocaust in American schools is combined with teaching about Rwanda and Darfur and taught as the history of genocide, not as European history.

When I went to school, back in the Dark Ages, we started studying World History in the 5th grade; by the time I finished the 8th grade, we had studied everything up to and including World War I.  My grandchildren didn’t study history of any kind, except the Holocaust and black history, until the 9th grade. Up until the 9th grade, they had “Social Studies” instead of history.

How can today’s students understand “the Third Reich” if they don’t know anything about the First Reich?  I can still visualize my 5th Grade World History book that had a picture of Charlemagne on the cover.  I couldn’t wait to learn about Charlemagne, but I didn’t cheat by reading ahead in the book.  Today’s 5th graders can tell you who Adolf Eichmann was, but Charlemagne — who cares about him? Every high school student in America can tell you what the Einsatzgruppen were, but the Thirty Years War, they don’t know.

Teaching the Holocaust is mandatory in American schools in 5 states.  The most important aspect of this instruction is that the Holocaust is allowed to be taught in any class, not necessarily in a history class.  It can be taught in music or art classes or in a reading class. Holocaust survivors are brought in to tell their stories to the students.  But the students have no background in history, so they can’t evaluate these stories; they just soak up everything like a sponge and don’t question anything because they don’t know what questions to ask.

It used to be that American History was a required course for college students.  Now the students can fulfill this requirement by studying Black History, or Women’s History or the Holocaust.  No one cares about American History any more, much less World History.  Now it is only the history of minorities and second class citizens, who have been victimized, that is important.

I think schools should teach the Holocaust, but in order to get into the class, the students should be required to pass a test in World History. That way, Holocaust classes would be open to 5th graders, but only if they have the background to understand it.

The film Schindler’s List, which is based on a novel, should not be shown in schools, except to students who know enough about history to understand which parts of the movie are true and which parts are fiction.

March 4, 2010

Teaching hate in American schools

Whom are American school kids taught to hate?  According to a Fox News report, in the Muslim schools in America, they are taught to hate American Christians and Jews.

In regular public schools in America, the children are not taught to hate Muslims, nor Christians nor Jews, but Holocaust education is mandatory.  It is called “Teaching Tolerance.”  Kids are taught that they should not be like the Nazis, who were the worst people in all of human history because they were racist, anti-Semitic, and bigoted.  The Nazis were German, so this amounts to teaching hatred of the German people.

Holocaust education sometimes begins in American schools with the reading of The Diary of Anne Frank, the story of a Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis for 25 months.  My grandson was assigned to read this book when he was in the 5th grade.  I found out much later that he didn’t read a word of it, but just pretended that he had — like Jake, the little boy in the TV show “Two and a Half Men,” who just pretended that he had read The Lord of the Flies.  A 10-year-old boy cannot be expected to appreciate a book like the Diary of Anne Frank.

The problem with Holocaust education in American schools is that the Holocaust is introduced before the children study any history at all, except Black History in the month of February.  I asked my grandson if he knew that there was a war going on while Anne Frank was in hiding.  When he answered “Yes,” I asked him which war it was and he said,  “The Crusades.”  He had been told, by way of introduction to the Holocaust, that Jews had been killed during the Crusades, so for a boy who had not read the book, this was a good guess.

In my day (the 1940s), school children were taught to hate the “Japs.”  We were at war with Japan, and we learned about Japanese atrocities every single day.  Every school child in America knew about the Baatan Death March which happened in 1942, the same year that Anne went into hiding.  World War II actually started in Europe in 1939, when I was in the first grade, but I don’t recall that this was even mentioned.   In fact, I don’t remember ever hearing the word Nazi until World War II was over. To this day, I don’t even know if there were any Japanese war crimes trials.  All I ever heard about, then and now, were the Nuremberg trials which were shown in the news reels every week.

What I do remember very vividly is going to school on Monday, December 8, 1941, and learning about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The only thing that I knew then about Japan was that Japan was the country that made most of the cheap toys that American children played with.  After the  bombing of Pearl Harbor, all the kids in my school threw out everything they owned that was stamped “Made in Japan.”

We were finally able to rest easy when we were told that the “Japs” in America had been put into internment camps; I remember seeing this in a news reel at the local movie theater.  I don’t think that there were any Japanese people at all in Missouri where I lived, but we were still deathly afraid that the “Japs” might come after us.

At that time, American school children knew nothing about the Nazi concentration camps, at least not in my school, but we knew that the “Japs” had been locked up where they couldn’t hurt us.

Here’s how Wikipedia describes the atrocities committed by the Japanese on the Baatan Death March:

“Beheadings, cutting of throats and casual shootings were the more common actions—compared to instances of bayonet stabbing, rape, disembowelment, rifle butt beating and a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week in tropical heat. Falling down or inability to continue moving was tantamount to a death sentence, as was any degree of protest or expression of displeasure.”

The Baatan Death March was a really big deal.  I remember that we were told that American POWs with red hair were particularly singled out for beheading.  My classmates and I never heard anything at all about any German atrocities during World War II; as far as we were concerned, it was only the Japanese who were the bad guys during World War II.  It was only after the war that we learned anything about the Holocaust, which was not even a word back then.

In today’s schools, the kids do not learn anything about Japanese atrocities during World War II, but they do learn all about the German war criminals and the Nazis.  As a result, there is no hatred of the Japanese people at all now among American kids.  All of my grandchildren have been to Japan for a week long visit; they worked and saved their money so they could pay for their trips themselves.  They love everything Japanese.  One of my grandchildren had sushi for his birthday party one year.  Every year, the grandchildren look forward to hosting a Japanese exchange student for a few weeks during the Summer. Of course, I never tell the grandkids about what we learned about the Japanese when I was in school.

The Silver is the New Black Theme Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 199 other followers