Category Archives: Holocaust

Hot Air

Teach Yourself

The ex-big bossman of British Jews, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday this morning to deliver the obligatory PR for his own boss, god.

The interviewer brought up an episode wherein that Brit kid named Harry, who has no job but is rich because he’s in line to become the toothless leader of the toothless former empire, was compelled to come see Sacks to get a spanking a few years ago. See, Harry’d gone to a costume party dressed up as a Nazi officer, which is a real riot unless, of course, you’d happen to have lost all your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles in Hitler and Himmler’s Final Solution.

Sun Front Page

R. Sacks chewed Harry out and Harry followed up with the most heartfelt of apologies. Well, not really. Harry himself didn’t apologize at all but the publicity office of purposeless UK royal family issued a statement saying that he “has apologised for any offence or embarrassment he has caused.” The kid may have gathered a gang of Final Solution survivors in the office where he performs his non-job to beg their forgiveness for his sartorial faux pas but no record of any such personal mea culpa exists.

Anyway, the Rabbi revealed that Harry was shocked to learn about the Holocaust when he came in for his tongue-lashing — even though he’d attended all the best schools in England. Sacks said it was an indictment of the British school system.

I’ve got news for him: I went through 16 years of parochial and private schools in this holy land and I am prepared to testify in a court of law that I never once heard the term Holocaust uttered in any class.

Yet, I knew of it from the time I was at least 10 years old. I’d read newspapers and magazines, thumbed through encyclopediae, and watched TV documentaries. It seems anybody who’s been alive from the year 1945 on should know of the Holocaust.

Holocaust/Public Domain

Really? Harry Never Once Saw A Photo Like This?

Dig: I’ve never heard a single note from any Taylor Swift recording, but I know a few things about her. You do, too. Any of us can identify her as that vanilla country singer who was once humiliated onstage after receiving a Grammy award. For that matter, I’ve never heard a single note of any Kanye West recording, but I know who he is, especially the part about him humiliating Taylor Swift onstage.

I needn’t have studied pop music history in a top-flight institution of higher learning to know these things. There is the phenomenon, after all, of cultural osmosis.

So, why wouldn’t a rich kid who attended all the best schools and, presumably, had access to books, newspapers, magazines, and documentaries know at least a little something about the Holocaust? All you need to know is one thing: the figure, six million. Once you know that, how can anything else you learn about the program of extermination be shocking?

So, yeah, Rabbi, the schools of our two Anglo nations (well, our own nation is only sort-of Anglo anymore) are indeed lacking in many ways, but it’s incumbent upon each and every one of us to actually learn things on our own.

A young man of wealth, privilege, and entitlement who doesn’t know about the Holocaust is an idiot.

 

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” — Hannah Arendt

OUTDOOR LOVIN’

The IDS this morning runs a story about the Starlite Drive-In, the first outdoor movie theater in the state.

Built in 1955, it still stands at 7630 South Old State Road 37. The Starlite opened for the 2012 season this past weekend, drawing about 500 cars for a double bill of “The Hunger Games” and “Mission Impossible 4.”

The Loved One and I plan to get out to the Starlite sometime this summer so we can make out in the car.

PISTOL LOVIN’

I’m trying not to jump on the Trayvon Martin bandwagon at this moment because, as a very, very prominent attorney in these parts reminded me the other day, we don’t know many of the facts yet.

Trayvon Martin And George Zimmerman

Highly emotionally charged incidents like this one draw the ranters and the ravers out of the deep woods. Like that despicable New Orleans cop who tweeted, “Act like a Thug Die like one!”

Never mind the borderline illiteracy of the man’s wireless ejaculation, this officer of the law is saying if you walk around wearing what he considers to be the uniform of gangsters, you ought to have your life taken.

The cop has been suspended without pay. If I’m the chief of police, I fire his emotionally unqualified ass forthwith.

Anyway, the shooter claims he and Martin had a scuffle. Let’s assume that’s true. Should we be able to pump lead into people whenever we find ourselves in a fight? Especially when we’ve been trailing them in the dark?

See, these are the chickens that come home to roost when you’re a nation in love with guns.

FRANKFURT LOVIN’

The German city of Frankfurt has a new mayor. Peter Feldmann, a Social Democrat, takes over the fifth largest city in Germany on July 1st.

Feldmann beat the Christian Democrat candidate with 57 percent of the vote.

Feldmann is a Jew.

Man.

Feldmann

It’s ironic. I’d just watched the movie “Downfall” (originally “Der Untergang“) the other day. It’s a German production with English subtitles. You can get it on Netflix.

The movie recounts the last 12 days of the Nazi regime and is set primarily in Hitler’s underground bunker. It’s as powerful a piece as you’re likely to see. Much of the story is based on the recollections of Hitler’s stenographer, Traudl Junge.

The actual Junge opens the film by saying, essentially, How should I have known what those guys were doing? I was just a kid.

Junge

The movie’s coda carries a different tune. I won’t spoil it for you by telegraphing it here.

Anyway, Hitler’s surviving boys always said Yeah, we screwed up but at least we did something about those pesky Jews.

In the movie, Hitler doesn’t allow the possibility that he screwed up but he seems most proud of the fact that he stood tall against the Jews.

Bruno Ganz As Adolf Hitler

A few people who were forced onto cattle cars and shipped off to concentration camps are still alive to this day. Most of them wore the mandated Star of David.

It’s been only 75 years since the end of the Holocaust. And, yeah, anti-Semitism now and again makes a reappearance in Europe.

But Frankfurt has a Jewish mayor.

I thought you might appreciate some good news.

MIES LOVIN’

Didja catch today’s Google Doodle?

March 27th is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe‘s birthday so Google put up a stylized image of one of the architect’s most notable designs. It’s Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology‘s campus on the South Side of Chicago.

Crown Hall

Mies, as he’s known familiarly, was perhaps the key figure in 20th Century world architecture. The simplicity of his work was stunning. His famed aphorism, “Less is More,” was the imprimatur for a generation of architects who filled the world’s big cities with box-like, prismatic skyscrapers.

Mies’s 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive Apartments (1951)

Whereas Mies’s boxes were elegant and visually arresting, the slew of copycats who followed him turned his minimalism into a stultifying conformity.

Michael Wolf’s Photo, “tc 81”

See? Jumping on a bandwagon rarely turns out well.

LOVIN’ YOU

Here’s another reason I love doing this blog. Minnie Riperton‘s song “Lovin’ You” seemed a perfect wrap up for the series of headlines above. So, in the course of researching Riperton, I discovered Maya Rudolph, ex of Saturday Night Live, is her daughter.

That might be common knowledge but now I know.

Cool, huh? Now, an admission — this song really gets on my nerves.

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