Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung

Sean

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Perhaps this should be in the Critical Race Theory thread, but I didn’t want it to get lost. Great piece of writing in my view, I highly recommend reading the whole article.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/06/03/slavery-us-germany-holocaust-reckoning/

Excerpt-

The United States does not yet have the stomach to look over its shoulder and stare directly at the evil on which this great country stands. That is why slavery is not well taught in our schools. That is why the battle flag of the army that tried to divide and conquer our country is still manufactured, sold and displayed with defiant pride. That is why any mention of slavery is rendered as the shameful act of a smattering of Southern plantation owners and not a sprawling economic and social framework with tentacles that stamped almost every aspect of American life.

snip

Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung refers to Germany’s efforts to interrogate the horrors of the Holocaust and the rise of Nazism. It has been a decades-long exercise, beginning in the 1960s, to examine, analyze and ultimately learn to live with an evil chapter through monuments, teachings, art, architecture, protocols and public policy. The country looks at its Nazi past by consistently, almost obsessively, memorializing the victims of that murderous era, so much so that it is now a central feature of the nation’s cultural landscape. The ethos of this campaign is “never forget.”

snip

[SIZE=1.25rem]By the time West German President Richard von Weizsäcker delivered a[/SIZE][SIZE=1.25rem] [/SIZE]speech marking[SIZE=1.25rem] [/SIZE][SIZE=1.25rem]the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II in May 1985, the landscape had already shifted. Weizsäcker, then 65, was a leader in the center-right Christian Democratic Union, a former Wehrmacht captain whose father was the chief career diplomat for the Third Reich. And yet, there he was, gray-haired and solemn before the Bundestag, shifting the conventional narrative by asking his country to reconsider and[/SIZE][SIZE=1.25rem] [/SIZE]remember the true nature of the nation’s past[SIZE=1.25rem]: “We need to look truth straight in the eye.”[/SIZE]

“The young and old generations," he said, "can and must help each other to understand why it is important to keep memories alive. It is not a case of coming to terms with the past. That is not possible. It cannot be subsequently modified or made undone. However, anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to new risk of infection.”

Those words should reverberate and haunt us today in America, where a resurgent wave of white nationalism is widely visible. At a time when America’s political parties are at war over the teaching of critical race theory in schools, it is hard to see how our governing leadership could possibly reach consensus about acknowledging and examining the horrors of slavery. Could someone in the conservative camp challenge the party’s prevailing ideology and demonstrate the introspective courage shown by Weizsäcker? I wish the answer were yes.

I am not suggesting that slavery and the Holocaust or the forced removal of Native American peoples are all in the same vein. They are each distinctly diabolical. But comparing these two countries’ paths forward from a dark past is instructive because it sheds light not on comparative evil but instead contrasting redemption. The United States helped dictate the terms of Germany’s future after the war. In the decades after that, Germany outpaced the United States in coming to terms with a shameful past that collided with the country’s preferred narrative.

By the time West German President Richard von Weizsäcker delivered a speech marking the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II in May 1985, the landscape had already shifted. Weizsäcker, then 65, was a leader in the center-right Christian Democratic Union, a former Wehrmacht captain whose father was the chief career diplomat for the Third Reich. And yet, there he was, gray-haired and solemn before the Bundestag, shifting the conventional narrative by asking his country to reconsider and remember the true nature of the nation’s past: “We need to look truth straight in the eye.”

“The young and old generations," he said, "can and must help each other to understand why it is important to keep memories alive. It is not a case of coming to terms with the past. That is not possible. It cannot be subsequently modified or made undone. However, anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to new risk of infection.”

Those words should reverberate and haunt us today in America, where a resurgent wave of white nationalism is widely visible. At a time when America’s political parties are at war over the teaching of critical race theory in schools, it is hard to see how our governing leadership could possibly reach consensus about acknowledging and examining the horrors of slavery. Could someone in the conservative camp challenge the party’s prevailing ideology and demonstrate the introspective courage shown by Weizsäcker? I wish the answer were yes.

snip

Imagine traveling through an American state and coming upon small, embedded memorials that listed key facts about the lives of the enslaved. Their names. Their fates. Their birth dates. The number of times they were sold. The ways they were separated from their families. The conditions of their toil. Imagine how that might shape the way we comprehend the peculiar institution of slavery, its legacy and its normalized trauma. Imagine if there were similar embedded memorials for Indigenous peoples, who were forced from their land, relegated to reservations far from their normal ranges and regions. Imagine stopping to fill up the tank at a roadside gas station and noticing the reflection off a gleaming brass marker that bears the names of the tribal elders who once lived where you are standing.

 

AJ Oliver

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Many Germans own up to that very dark past . . 

Japan and the US have yet to do anything remotely like that.  

After horrendous crimes, Herr Paulus did his part to make it a little bit right. 

It starts with fessin' up . . 

I watched this earlier today . .  (wonder if my stalkers will follow me here. I don't care  @LB 15




 

AJ Oliver

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chum said:
That was interesting AJ. 

What’s the point?
The point is that Paulus, like West German President Richard von Weizsäcker cited above, thought that Germany needed to "look history straight in the eye"; 

and Germany has done so far better than other countries like the US and Japan. 

 

Burning Man

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Perhaps this should be in the Critical Race Theory thread, but I didn’t want it to get lost. Great piece of writing in my view, I highly recommend reading the whole article.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/06/03/slavery-us-germany-holocaust-reckoning/

Excerpt-

The United States does not yet have the stomach to look over its shoulder and stare directly at the evil on which this great country stands. That is why slavery is not well taught in our schools. That is why the battle flag of the army that tried to divide and conquer our country is still manufactured, sold and displayed with defiant pride. That is why any mention of slavery is rendered as the shameful act of a smattering of Southern plantation owners and not a sprawling economic and social framework with tentacles that stamped almost every aspect of American life.

snip

Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung refers to Germany’s efforts to interrogate the horrors of the Holocaust and the rise of Nazism. It has been a decades-long exercise, beginning in the 1960s, to examine, analyze and ultimately learn to live with an evil chapter through monuments, teachings, art, architecture, protocols and public policy. The country looks at its Nazi past by consistently, almost obsessively, memorializing the victims of that murderous era, so much so that it is now a central feature of the nation’s cultural landscape. The ethos of this campaign is “never forget.”

snip

[SIZE=1.25rem]By the time West German President Richard von Weizsäcker delivered a[/SIZE][SIZE=1.25rem] [/SIZE]speech marking[SIZE=1.25rem] [/SIZE][SIZE=1.25rem]the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II in May 1985, the landscape had already shifted. Weizsäcker, then 65, was a leader in the center-right Christian Democratic Union, a former Wehrmacht captain whose father was the chief career diplomat for the Third Reich. And yet, there he was, gray-haired and solemn before the Bundestag, shifting the conventional narrative by asking his country to reconsider and[/SIZE][SIZE=1.25rem] [/SIZE]remember the true nature of the nation’s past[SIZE=1.25rem]: “We need to look truth straight in the eye.”[/SIZE]

“The young and old generations," he said, "can and must help each other to understand why it is important to keep memories alive. It is not a case of coming to terms with the past. That is not possible. It cannot be subsequently modified or made undone. However, anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to new risk of infection.”

Those words should reverberate and haunt us today in America, where a resurgent wave of white nationalism is widely visible. At a time when America’s political parties are at war over the teaching of critical race theory in schools, it is hard to see how our governing leadership could possibly reach consensus about acknowledging and examining the horrors of slavery. Could someone in the conservative camp challenge the party’s prevailing ideology and demonstrate the introspective courage shown by Weizsäcker? I wish the answer were yes.

I am not suggesting that slavery and the Holocaust or the forced removal of Native American peoples are all in the same vein. They are each distinctly diabolical. But comparing these two countries’ paths forward from a dark past is instructive because it sheds light not on comparative evil but instead contrasting redemption. The United States helped dictate the terms of Germany’s future after the war. In the decades after that, Germany outpaced the United States in coming to terms with a shameful past that collided with the country’s preferred narrative.

By the time West German President Richard von Weizsäcker delivered a speech marking the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II in May 1985, the landscape had already shifted. Weizsäcker, then 65, was a leader in the center-right Christian Democratic Union, a former Wehrmacht captain whose father was the chief career diplomat for the Third Reich. And yet, there he was, gray-haired and solemn before the Bundestag, shifting the conventional narrative by asking his country to reconsider and remember the true nature of the nation’s past: “We need to look truth straight in the eye.”

“The young and old generations," he said, "can and must help each other to understand why it is important to keep memories alive. It is not a case of coming to terms with the past. That is not possible. It cannot be subsequently modified or made undone. However, anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to new risk of infection.”

Those words should reverberate and haunt us today in America, where a resurgent wave of white nationalism is widely visible. At a time when America’s political parties are at war over the teaching of critical race theory in schools, it is hard to see how our governing leadership could possibly reach consensus about acknowledging and examining the horrors of slavery. Could someone in the conservative camp challenge the party’s prevailing ideology and demonstrate the introspective courage shown by Weizsäcker? I wish the answer were yes.

snip

Imagine traveling through an American state and coming upon small, embedded memorials that listed key facts about the lives of the enslaved. Their names. Their fates. Their birth dates. The number of times they were sold. The ways they were separated from their families. The conditions of their toil. Imagine how that might shape the way we comprehend the peculiar institution of slavery, its legacy and its normalized trauma. Imagine if there were similar embedded memorials for Indigenous peoples, who were forced from their land, relegated to reservations far from their normal ranges and regions. Imagine stopping to fill up the tank at a roadside gas station and noticing the reflection off a gleaming brass marker that bears the names of the tribal elders who once lived where you are standing.
I actually like the concept.  I think we as a whole nation need to have a reckoning with this once and for all to have any hope of putting it behind us and moving on as a nation united.  I have no issue with having the gov't issue a public apology to african descendants of slaves.  I think President Biden needs to get right on that.   What's stopping him?  Even better would be a bipartisan "truth and reconciliation" commission to air all the grievances of the past and to highlight the horrors of slavery and what its done to our current citizens over generations.  But in the absence of the GOP coming on board (yeah I know, silly to even contemplate it) - nothing is stopping the Gov't from doing it anyway.  

One thing though.... it's a two way street.  If we have this big "Come to Black Jesus Meeting", and actually make some changes to acknowledge and address the sins of the past, I do expect the need for the African-American, Asian-American, Mexican-American BS to stop and be replaced with just "American".   Because those descriptors will no longer be needed if they are fully integrated and accepted finally into society as should have happened a long time ago.  I get that descriptor was somewhat of a survival / coping technique.  But if this is carried out similar to the German model above....... and is successful- why would they need hyphenated terms anymore?  Are there Syrian-Germans?  Turkish-Germans?  Jewish Germans?  Or are they just called "Germans" as they should be?  And for the record..... I'm talking about on official gov't forms and such.  We've always had Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans and such..... but none of that was captured on a form or used in an official context.  It was just internal to their own identity.  But I don't see the need for discriminators in official business.... because its..... well...... discriminatory.  

 

AJ Oliver

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I actually like the concept. 
As far as I am aware, Field Marshall Paulus is the only high ranking officer to plead guilty to crimes against peace and humanity in a court of law (Nuremberg). 

Bob McNamara did fess up, but only much later and not in a judicial proceeding. 

I share some responsibility myself for not resisting that evil Vietnam War while I was on active duty - I waited until I was discharged. 

 
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Somewhat gilding the lily there.  Yeah, ok, maybe some Germans talk about it.  But there's also been a big push in their culture to erase it entirely.  Owning anything Nazi is illegal.  Buying / selling anything nazi is illegal.  Display Nazi symbols is illegal.

I think you've got an American that heard a neat word and didn't realize that the Germans have the same struggles we do.  A large portion of their population wants to simply pretend it didn't happen.  They lift their noses up and say 'well *I* didn't do that*' and walk away.  Another portion pretends to be addressing it while making it illegal to even discuss.

Naw.  We're all human and we're all screwed up in some way.  It's just good to have the conversation and understand it, rather than be denialist and drink the koolaide.  (I'm looking at you @Sea warrior ).

It's like the people who want to talk about our WWII era as the 'greatest generation ever'.  All while racism was rampant and females were second class chattle.

(Hey Sea Biscuit - lemmie know if you need me to define 'chattle' for you).

 
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Sean

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I think you've got an American that heard a neat word and didn't realize that the Germans have the same struggles we do.  A large portion of their population wants to simply pretend it didn't happen.  They lift their noses up and say 'well *I* didn't do that*' and walk away.  Another portion pretends to be addressing it while making it illegal to even discuss.
Just to clarify, in Germany, promoting  holocaust denial is illegal. You know, fake news. It’s certainly legal to discuss it. 
 

From Wiki -

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_denial

Holocaust denial is an antisemitic conspiracy theory[1][2] that asserts that the Nazi genocide of Jews, known as "the Holocaust", is a myth or fabrication.[3][4][5] Holocaust deniers make one or more of the following false statements:[6][7][8]

 

Grrr...

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Just to clarify, in Germany, promoting  holocaust denial is illegal. You know, fake news. It’s certainly legal to discuss it. 
 

From Wiki -

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_denial

Holocaust denial is an antisemitic conspiracy theory[1][2] that asserts that the Nazi genocide of Jews, known as "the Holocaust", is a myth or fabrication.[3][4][5] Holocaust deniers make one or more of the following false statements:[6][7][8]

I didn't say they were deniers.  I'm merely pointing out that, like many Americans, there are some things that they would simply prefer not to acknowledge and would like to sweep under the rug.

Deniers are a whole different level of crazy and they all deserve to end up in the dustbin.

 

Ventucky Red

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Somewhat gilding the lily there.  Yeah, ok, maybe some Germans talk about it.  But there's also been a big push in their culture to erase it entirely.  Owning anything Nazi is illegal.  Buying / selling anything nazi is illegal.  Display Nazi symbols is illegal.
Many Germans have no problem owning up to the Holocaust or the evils of the Third Reich.  Many of them also lost in this. 

Oh! you can own Nazi stuff...

https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-confusing-rules-on-swastikas-and-nazi-symbols/a-45063547

I hear a lot about Germany, USA, and Japan... what about the Great Britain?  Their history isn't exactly squeaky clean.

 
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AJ Oliver

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I think you've got an American that heard a neat word and didn't realize that the Germans have the same struggles we do.  A large portion of their population wants to simply pretend it didn't happen.  They lift their noses up and say 'well *I* didn't do that*' and walk away.  Another portion pretends to be addressing it while making it illegal to even discuss.
Disagree in part: Germany has many holocaust sites which all the school kids visit; and there are memorials to German war crimes all over the country - even on the sidewalks. (see below) Their excellent global media giant, Deutsche Welle, covers it regularly and very well. 

As of several years ago, it became legal to purchase "Mein Kampf" - lots of people are reading it. 

While Germany could do better, I think it is undeniable that they own up to their ugly past FAR FAR better than the US, Japan, Russia, Britain, etc. 

Japan in particular is totally blind to the crimes of the Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere, and school teachers, journalists, politicians, etc. can get in trouble for raising it as an issue. 

image.jpeg

 
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Grrr...

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Disagree in part: Germany has many holocaust sites which all the school kids visit; and there are memorials to German war crimes all over the country - even on the sidewalks. (see below) Their excellent global media giant, Deutsche Welle, covers it regularly and very well. 

As of several years ago, it became legal to purchase "Mein Kampf" - lots of people are reading it. 

While Germany could do better, I think it is undeniable that they own up to their ugly past FAR FAR better than the US, Japan, Russia, Britain, etc. 

Japan in particular is totally blind to the crimes of the Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere, and school teachers, journalists, politicians, etc. can get in trouble for raising it as an issue. 

View attachment 445589
I think it's safe to say some folks in the US have owned up.  I've taken it upon myself to do research on the issues - in fact I took a military history class in college that covered many of our 'bad' wars, and even bad events, starting from the revolutionary war and continuing up and through the late 90's.  Some were eye-opening, some were terrifying.

 

Sean

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Fellas, the subject essay is about the American right. Germany is a convenient foil for the author as they faced who they had become and worked to better themselves. 
The question is, will the Trumpist wing American right follow suit some day relatively soon. If not, we have an ugly future ahead of us. 

 

Steam Flyer

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Fellas, the subject essay is about the American right. Germany is a convenient foil for the author as they faced who they had become and worked to better themselves. 
The question is, will the Trumpist wing American right follow suit some day relatively soon. If not, we have an ugly future ahead of us. 
You're kidding, right? They think they're doing it for the good of -their- country. They think God ordains them to be the ruling class.

- DSK

 

Sea warrior

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Somewhat gilding the lily there.  Yeah, ok, maybe some Germans talk about it.  But there's also been a big push in their culture to erase it entirely.  Owning anything Nazi is illegal.  Buying / selling anything nazi is illegal.  Display Nazi symbols is illegal.

I think you've got an American that heard a neat word and didn't realize that the Germans have the same struggles we do.  A large portion of their population wants to simply pretend it didn't happen.  They lift their noses up and say 'well *I* didn't do that*' and walk away.  Another portion pretends to be addressing it while making it illegal to even discuss.

Naw.  We're all human and we're all screwed up in some way.  It's just good to have the conversation and understand it, rather than be denialist and drink the koolaide.  (I'm looking at you @Sea warrior ).

It's like the people who want to talk about our WWII era as the 'greatest generation ever'.  All while racism was rampant and females were second class chattle.

(Hey Sea Biscuit - lemmie know if you need me to define 'chattle' for you).
I underlined the only significant words in this whole word salad.

lol

 
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I underlined the only significant words in this whole word salad.

lol
So.... Sea biscuit believes in two states.  You either have racism everywhere, or you don't have it at all.  And you either treat women like chattle, or everything is perfect.

There is no in between.  It stretches his little horsey mind too far to imagine that while things may be better, they aren't as good as they need to be.

 
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