Jonathan Wolfman's Blog
APRIL 8, 2011 6:56AM

Restoring A Third Reich Relic in the Heart of the Holocaust

Rate: 20 Flag

 - liberated Mauthausen prisoners -

       Adolph Hitler was born in Austria. That nation later housed the notorious Mauthausen camp where 200,000 Jews and others were gassed, shot, worked and clubbed to death. You likely know all that, at least the contours.


     Now Austria will restore the camp in a desire to blunt rising neo-Nazi feeling. Project managers, reports the Associated Press, believe their $2,400,000 plan could "serve as an important contribution" to Austria's efforts not to permit its youth to forget the horror their country helped create just seventy years ago.

    Mauthausen will house exhibits teaching about mass extermination, an area "specifically designed for remembrance" of those who died, as well as numbers of educational programs. I applaud the Austrian Interior Ministry for starting this important work. There, in a heart of the planning and execution of the holocaust, memory will live on, as it should, and perhaps serve as a partial antidote to neo-Nazi poison.




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The motivation for doing this is more than memory; it's foward-thonking.
I join you in your applause, Jon. By looking history straight in the eye - regardless of how ugly it may be - do we remember, and stand a chance to not repeat our mistakes. Good for the Austrian government.

I hope it works, Jon. Unfortunately the kind of hatred growing in the Nazi pysche knows no shame. Maybe it can help stem the poisonous tide from engulfing people whose consciences are not yet extinguished.
Matt that's the hope and I'm encouraged Austria's trying. :)
I think this is good. It is forward thinking because of the rise of anti-Muslim fervor in Europe, which is taking on a new level of intensity in the current economic climate.

That said, we also need to realize the failures of Western Capitalism and Democracy in preventing this recession and the rise of right-wing, neofascist groups. Zizek discusses this phenomena at length in many works. The problem is that there are many un-integrated elements of the working class and lower middle class in Europe. They were temporarily integrated after WW2, but they have been disposed of and are re-embracing the ideology that offered solutions, the last time they felt betrayed by Democracy and Capitalism.

While I applaud Austria's efforts, the problem and the solutions are much deeper. In a sense, this Matthausen approach may only be window dressing and not avert what is coming, should Western governments not take seriously the issues of alienation, unemployment, angst and frustration among its youth.

The Fascist and Nazi movements didn't spring-up in a vacuum and many of the structural, economic and social fissures that allowed them to emerge were not so much healed, as temporarily bandaged after WW2. The bandages have been removed and the old wounds have re-opened and are once more begining to fester.

Unless democracy and Capitalism can offer the youth of Europe, America and Latin America something REAL in terms of a brighter future, a secure existence and closer community with their fellows, then the totalitarian and authoritarian ideologies of this world will continue to appeal to the downtrodden...
Ernesto thanks for this analysis.
Sounds like good news. I get the impression that Austrians were, to some degree, able to escape the blame for what happened because they could pose as a country that was occupied by Nazi Germany. Considering that many Austrians welcomed the Anschluss, that image was rather dubious. Perhaps this signals that a new generation of Austrians are about to address the part their people played more honestly.
Nor perhaps, tho the stated reasons for this are a concern about neoNazi Austrian youth.
Too many young people do not realize the horror of what happened. My late father in law spent time in Bergen Belsen and my kids understand the horrors.
Everyone should be reminded of the travesty,
Rated with hugs
It should never be forgotten or it will surely come again. The seeds of it are still very much alive in many ways. Thank you for this post.
L'Heure yes; it's just far too easy to forget. What Austria's doing's right.
I have been a visitor to this camp back in 1976. I have written about it before, standing in the 'shower' gas chamber, seeing the 'meat hooks' where people were hung and the 'disection table' close enough to touch it.

I am reminded about the tsunami in Japan. 600 years ago they placed markers all along the area of where the tsunami had hit with warnings to build their future homes in the hills. They have now said that the first generation remembers, they tell their children, they remember, then in the third generation, there is some forgetting. Then as time wears on, it is only the markers to remind. Well, all those whose families by tradition and sayings on those markers lived in the mountains and did not go back for things....they lived. Those who built and lived below the markers, towns in fact, died.

Refreshing memory, accepting the hard learned lessons of the past, distinguishes us in our evolution, as a species which can learn. There will always be those who will forget, because they chose to, because it is convenient. In the past this is very true. In Japan an old grandfather moved above the line. Their home was safe, they survived. Their grandchildren, attending their school below the line are still not found.

Three generations to forget, a lifetime to regret. What will you do?
I am glad this is happening. I worry though that too many are failing to see a Nazi-like anti-Semitism that is growing, and very often taught, in much of the Islamic world. I fear that a neo-Nazi movement will rise there - neo Nazi in the sense of wanting to exterminate Jews. We need to focus our attention to education in that area - if it is possible - as well. Recall the "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is a big seller in the, specifically Arab Islamic world, and that Iran is run by a Holocaust Denier.

Let us not be complacent.
Oh, and rated with thanks.
Barbara thanks; and you're correct. It's not simply antiZionism if The Prtotocols are standare fare there.

For those who are interested, more on the "Protocols".
Good for Austria. It would be dangerous to allow the memory of that horror to fade.

Tor yes; everything good requires a start.
Let us hope Jonathan although these days it is hard to believe in the goodness of humanity. rated
Rosy this is a good example of it.
Wheres my comment? I rated and commented but it seems to have disappeared, unless I said something wrong, which it couldn't be, because I agree with you!
Scanner I sure didn't delete it! OS troubles again, I suppose.
Thank you for reading/commenting.
We must never forget nor will we.

Bud I'm pleased Austria is now doing its part.
This is a good beginning. My fear, with the passing quickly of survivors of that war, that it will be easy to forget. It is one of the reasons I place so much emphasis on the real meanings of Memorial and Veterans' Days. We can only learn from our mistakes. Sheila made the point exactly, of forgetting. We can only move forward by keeping the past clearly in the rear view mirror.
I find this really interesting and wasn't aware of it, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. I don't remember which Austrian pointed out that Austria had it made either way in WWII: If the Nazis won, they were Germans; if the Allies won, they were Austrians. For perhaps the first time they're acknowledging their role.

I did business with a Viennese company for years. One young man whom I knew back in the late Eighties/early Nineties told me he was afraid people would think he voted for Waldheim. That may have been one of the first times the Austrians were identified with their role in WWII to the international public.
Absolutely, yes. It's desperately important to remember the truth. Especially as the number of living eye-witnesses and survivors dwindles.

Good for Austria to keep that legacy alive and to counter neo-Nazi poison.

Actually a lot of people now refer to these constant reminders as the Holocash memorials. Read Finklestein's the 'Holocaust Industry'. And here's what a former Israeli cabinet Minister has to say about the use of the Holocaust:

I think what we really need are memorials all over the world for the daily slaughter of the Palestinian people by imported Caucasian Jews from Europe. In fact the Gazans are the latest victims of Hitler.
This story brightened my day.
You can check B' tselem sources, but I'd say the Israelis kill on average one Palestinian every single day. Here's last week's toll; headlines on BCC but won't find it anywhere in the U.S's " independent media.

Of course we know that all Palestinians killed are " terrorists" and any Israeli killed is another 'Anne Frank".
Also watch:
Thanks for all these last few comments, even Salmander's. It's important bc it serves to show precisely why what Austria's now done it critically important.
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