Eisenhower and the Holocaust

Dear Friends,

I feel pretty gullible, but can't bring myself to take down this post. I apologise in advance to the University of Kentucky for ever publishing it last night. The good news is that the email subscription feed didn't go out yet.

Aparently the email forward that I re-published below is a lie. The original UK, United Kingdom, rumor had been transposed to U of K, University of Kentucky, by an overzealous individual, obviously someone who worries too much. But there are Holocause deniers who hold positions of power.

So. Can we worry too much about this topic? I don't know. I'll let you decide. I own my paranoid thinking. Is it functional? It's a good example, perhaps, of how that kind of thinking CAN be functional, in the end can generalize warranted concern. You decide.

The only truth to the forward is that President Eisenhower did say what he said, did what he did. And we shouldn't forget what he said. Or did I get that wrong, too?



I tell myself, Don't blog, get something done, get something constructive done, pull away from the computer. File receipts, do your taxes. Just do it, pull away. You have to prepare for class on Thursday and it's a busy week. You could fold some laundry. Get on that treadmill that you use to hang your sweaters.

And then I get an email like the one I'll show you in a minute.

A little context. Sunday is a work day for me. I take off Saturday, so I'm at the office by 9:00 on Sunday and I'm lucky if I leave by 2:00. I see patients from the minute I walk in the door until I leave. There's none of this 10 minutes between patients to chart and think or eat peanutbutter.

In good weather I ride my bike, but we're still thawing out here in Chicago, and today was a mess of rain on snow. FD drove me to work and he picked me up. The plan was to make two shiva calls before returning home to shovel in some food.

Do you know what a shiva call is? It's a visit to someone who has recently lost a 1st degree relative, meaning a parent, a child, a spouse, or a sibling. The mourner has seven days of staying home, meeting with visitors. The community visits. It's never fun, this visit, but it's one of those things that you do because you know it's the right thing to do.

And you often learn from it.

Today, on these two calls, we saw friends who had both lost parents. Both parents had survived the Holocaust. Between them, I believe they'd been in four concentration camps, two labor camps, had walked the Death March, and survived the war by the skin of their teeth. Or do we say the grace of G-d.

One friend told me that her mother never talked to her or anyone else about what happened to her. The only story she ever told about her years in the camps was a "good" one, in which a guard hid a piece of bread in her sewing drawer, daily, at a work camp. Having lost parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents in the Holocaust, this woman spent the rest of her life in social service, helping the elderly.

Another friend told of how her parents had met one another as orphans after the war, lone survivors of their respective families. Her father had survived the camps and escaped the ovens only to die in a fire late in life, and her mother couldn't take the abandonment, never recovered emotionally. She died of a broken heart.

After each visit, as we made our way to the car dodging puddles and slush, FD remarked that these people, this population would one day soon no longer be among us.

Survivors. The survivors of World War II are dying out. Their memories will die with them. It's very scary.
And I nodded, worried that harm could come to the memorials, the museums (we live in a violent world), and that no one 200 years from now, might believe what had happened in Europe to six to ten (or is it 9 to 11) million Jews, gypsies, prisoners of war, Russians, ethnic Poles, Slavs, Jehovahs witnesses, religious and political dissidents, the disabled, gays, lesbians. . .

Then, as if to validate his thesis, tonight I get this forward. Generally I don't like forwards. But the friend who sent it is special so I opened it up and I read it.

Here you go. You read it, too.

Eisenhower in Dachau

It is a matter of history that when Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps, he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect: "Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the track of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened".. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke
In Memorial

This week, the University of Kentucky removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offended' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred.

This is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it. It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.

This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian peoples looking the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide!

Be a link in the memorial chain and help distribute this around the world.

Don't just delete this. It will only take a minute to pass this along.

So I passed it along. Do what you feel you should do. Don't like chain letters? Hey, I don't either. But at some point you have to be proactive in life.

It skips by pretty fast.



Anonymous said…
May your friends be comforted by the memories of their parents and the love of those around them.

The claims about Kentucky are not true. It's an internet rumor (see clip from U. of KY website pasted below). It's usually a good idea to verify inflammatory info like this before forwarding it to others in order to prevent the perpetuation and exacerbation of conflict, ignorance, and hate. What is particularly sad about this is that the rumor began with a story about the Holocaust curriculum in the UK -- and somehow UK (United Kingdom) got "translated" to UK (Univ. of Kentucky). Just a sign of the depth of ignorance underlying this rumor. (And by the way, the UK-United Kingdom rumor was false as well.)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2007) − The University of Kentucky has announced that a rumor, claiming the school has removed Holocaust material from its curriculum, is not true. The false claim has been circulated via e-mail.

The Judaic Studies Program of the University of Kentucky, in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences Department of History, offers a course designated as History 323: The Holocaust.

According to an explanation found on the investigative Web site Snopes.com, a message claiming that schools in the United Kingdom would no longer teach about the Holocaust in their history classes began to circulate via e-mail forwards dated back to April 2007. As the message wound its way across the Internet, someone took the abbreviation for the United Kingdom (UK) to stand for the University of Kentucky, and altered the message to implicate the institution. This version has been forwarded to several people and understandably raised concern among alumni, students and other friends of the University of Kentucky.

The original message about the United Kingdom is of uncertain veracity, and any statement linking the University of Kentucky with this rumor is completely false.

"The academic administration of the University of Kentucky would never permit such a grotesque lapse in its commitment to the principle of academic freedom. Let us bury this rumor. It is a distortion of the realities on and off campus," said UK Assistant Provost Richard B. Greissman.
transom said…
Your concerns that we never forget are indeed important, but note this is not happening - please see snopes.com or this news release on the University of Kentucky web site

Tex said…
Wow. Shame on the U of K.

I take a tiny bit of comfort knowing that the Library of Congress is hard at work collecting oral histories from other survivors of that time, and withing the last year (should the students of denial need further proof) the International Committee of the Red Cross released some 47 million Nazi records of the Holocaust.

I don't understand why anyone, regardless of their faith, would need to deny the source of some of the most astonishing stories of the triumph of the human spirit.

It is more than a mitzvah, my friend, to sit Shiva with these friends. It is a blessing.
Anonymous said…
it's spam and it's not true. You should always check first.
Jay said…
I'm responding because I think your point about memory is so important that I don't want to see anyone discredit you. The University of Kentucky did not change their curriculum. See http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/holocaust.asp

There was one school in the UK (United Kingdom, not University of Kentucky) that proposed removing the Holocaust from the curriculum to avoid inflaming the Muslim community. I think this change was rescinded a few months later but I'm not sure - either way, it was one secondary school in the rural north of England, not a major university in the US.
therapydoc said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
therapydoc said…
Thanks everyone for exposing the rumor. I'm leaving it up to promote Snopes. I'm pretty sure the subscription email feed that announced ths post hasn't gone out yet. Whew. I'm going to edit it right now!
Andrewx said…
I think wether you believe the "Holocaust" or not is a seconadary issue. The fact is most people don't really know much about it. If you ask a common man on the street they may mentions things like;6,000,000, Hitler, gas chambers, Himmler, Auschwitz, Dachau and maybe a few more thigns but most dont know amything more than tyhey have been told. The real sad part of the "Holocasut" story is that it has taken all of the attention from others who have suffered. There were almost 60 million people who died in WW2 and all we hear about it the damed "Holocaust Holocaust Holocaust Holocaust". It's become a new religion for some, a never ending novel for others, and a political and cultural vice for the Jewish community. Who is truly defaming the memory of the dead?
Anonymous said…
The holocaust was real, and it was conceived at a council at Wansee, where the extermination of all European Jews, Gypsies, Catholic priests, homosexuals, and mentally retarded people were to be gassed with Zyklon B,a deadly gas. This is all available in universities around the US, as well in DC in the Library of Congress. Only ignorance of bigotry can result in Holocaust denial. It happened during the short reign of the Third Reich, which was Hitler's dictatorship in Germany between the mid-30s and his death in 1945, as the Russian and US armies were approaching Berlin, as the war was being won by the allies.