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Friday, August 24, 2012

Ghastly understatement is gross insult in British press

On this date in 1944 the Lodz Ghetto was 'liquidated.'

According to a Poland-based British news magazine, the Lodz ghetto was originally set up as a "Jewish gathering place" and became a source of Nazi materials while the inhabitants lived there.

This makes it sound like the Ghetto was a voluntary community. In point of fact, it was a gated community, one of the worst in Poland during WWII, where Jews were forced to survive, barely live, starve to death, and finally, be herded onto trains and taken to the extermination camps.

The Lodz Ghetto was a "Jewish gathering place" in the same sense that Ground Zero in Hiroshima was a city cemetery. Nothing the least bit voluntary about it. A place of hideous death and suffering. That Nazi material made while the inhabitants lived there was the product of forced labor and was the source, in many cases, of the Jews' own suffering and death.

I raise this for two reasons. One, basic awareness. All over Poland the Nazis herded Jews into involuntary quarters that were over-crowded by a factor of as much as 100, where disease and starvation caused mass deaths, and that were eventually liquidated to the extermination camps like Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Point: The ghettos were part of the death-plan the Nazi's had for the entire Jewish population of Poland. Compliance was not voluntary and any ethnic Pole caught hiding and harboring Jews was shot.

Reason two for bringing this to your awareness today. British laziness? Anti-Semitism? Ignorance? Who knows why this story was so grossly underdescribed. It is a ghastly understatement and it's the Brits who made it. The Poles would not do this.

The accusations of anti-Semitism still leveled at the Poles are tiresome. Some Poles are anti-Semitic, as some Americans are racist against Mexicans, blacks, Asians, etc. But the official media and the official policies are not anti-Semitic. This is on the Brits.

Why? I have no idea. But let's be careful who we char with what brush. As I will be. Maybe this mistake was just laziness. Or a mistaken use of language. Maybe British English IS that different from American English. (I doubt it.) But anyway, the point we should all be clear on is that the Nazi's were the agents of death for Jews, and Poles, in Poland in World War II and today is a very sad anniversary. It led directly to the deaths of thousands of Jews who were stuck in that Lodz Ghetto against their will.

That is worth bowing our heads and asking for mercy.

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