Evil on the March

Dr. Malcolm Cross

Last Sunday, January 27, was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  To remember the Holocaust is necessary not only to preserve the accuracy of the historical record, but to help prevent future genocides as well.  One of the reasons why genocide can exist is because those who could prevent it may be unable to understand that it could happen without their intervention.  During World War Two, initial reports of the Holocaust were disbelieved because it was inconceivable to the Allies that the Nazis would divert so much in effort and resources to genocide and away from combat.  The failure of the Allies to make a stronger effort to use military force to disrupt the Holocaust in progress made it easier for the Nazis to implement and maintain their murderous program.  Today, in America, in Europe, in the Middle East, and throughout the world there is a global movement of fascists and anti-Semites who deny the Holocaust ever happened.  To what purpose?  To lull us into thinking that another Holocaust cannot happen?  To discourage us from vigilance to prevent it from happening?  To make genocide thereby easier to start and harder to stop in the future?

The Holocaust is by no means the only example of genocide.  The slaughter of Armenians by the Turks, the forced starvation of millions in the Ukraine by the Soviet government in the 1930s (the “Holodomor”), the Japanese slaughter of the Chinese in Nanjing in the 1930s, the Communist slaughter of the Chinese in the 1960s and the Cambodians in the 1970s, as well as the murder of five million Gentiles in the Nazi concentration camps in addition to the six million Jews, are also among the mass murders which have blackened the history of the twentieth century.  But the Holocaust is noteworthy not only for its astronomical number of victims either shot or gassed on capture, or worked to death through a regimen of slave labor and induced starvation, but also because it was the product of the merger of modern technology and managerial systems with ancient and irrational hatred.

And the Holocaust is also the most documented of the genocides.  Anticipating the rise of Holocaust denial,  one of the first orders General Eisenhower issued when American and Allied forces liberated the Nazi concentration camps was to photograph, film, and otherwise document the enormity of the crimes discovered in Auschwitz, Treblinka, and elsewhere.  In his drive to preserve evidence of Nazi atrocities, Eisenhower was unwittingly helped by the Nazis’ themselves, whose passion for keeping records, captured by the allies, of their evil matched the evil they committed.

General Eisenhower’s work continues to this day.  Perhaps most notable is the work of the Shoah Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg and headquartered at the University of Southern California, to collect and preserve the testimony of Holocaust survivors who want to witness against the Holocaust deniers.  To that end, the Foundation has collected and videotaped the testimony of thousands of Holocaust survivors, as well as the testimony of the survivors of the genocides and atrocities in Rwanda, Cambodia, Armenia, Guatemala, and Nanjing.  

The work of the Shoah Foundation and other truth-tellers is, if possible, even more necessary today.  Living witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides are dying off, while efforts to deny these genocides keep being born, and the rise of anti-Semitism, racism, religious bigotry,  nationalism, and tribalism throughout the world create the potential for new genocides to occur, especially if the world no longer believes in the possibility of genocide.  Knowing of past genocides does not guarantee against attempts at future genocides.  But if the civilized world knows genocide is possible, contrary to the claims of Holocaust deniers, it may be better prepared to reduce the evil the Holocaust deniers and their minions may inflict in the future.


Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present).  He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014.  He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.

6 Comments

  1. PLEASE give that Holocaust a rest already. In his book Crusade in Europe, Eisenhower NEVER ONCE mentioned gas chambers, nor any program to exterminate the Jews. Get the book. Look through it. And give me a call when you find what I’ve told you isn’t there.

    • Well, clearly, Dr. Cross is outmatched, here, and shall withdraw his editorial immediately. You read one whole book on the subject! You’ve got him cornered now, for sure!

    • Dear Mr. Rucker: Another reader sent me the following information: I have a copy of “Crusade in Europe”, Eisenhower’s memoir. Whoever wrote that comment is apparently a deliberate liar. Here’s what he wrote on page 408-9: “The same day [April 12, 1945] I saw my first horror camp. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain, however that I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.

      “I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that `the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.’ Some members of the visiting party were unable to through the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton’s headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.”

  2. The fact that a particular book doesn’t mention a particular event doesn’t mean the event never happened. The proof of the Holocaust is so conclusive that there is no room for debate. As Edward R. Murrow once said, some stories don’t have two sides.

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