Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Over at Crooks and Liars, I linked two pieces. First, at the Conversation, "The 1938 Kindertransport saved 10,000 children but it’s hard to describe it as purely a success":

One of the UK’s most significant child rescue efforts began on December 1, 1938: the Kindertransport.

Following the November pogrom of the same year – when SA paramilitary forces and German civilians perpetrated acts of state-sponsored violence against the Jewish population, their places of worship and property – pressure built on the UK to help Jewish citizens in the German Reich. In response, the British government decided to waive visa requirements for unaccompanied minors fleeing persecution.

Aid organisations both in the UK and on the continent leapt into action, and the first “Kindertransport” arrived in the country on December 2, bringing around 200 child refugees to the UK. Overall, approximately 10,000 children and young people arrived before the scheme ended with the outbreak of World War II.

Today, the legacy of the Kindertransport is frequently discussed as a positive example of the UK’s humanitarian attitude towards refugees in the past. However, in the last 20 years, extensive research has shown that the legacy of the 1938/39 Kindertransport should be seen in a more critical light. Yes, it was a visa waiver scheme initiated by the UK government, but financial and organisational support was largely provided by charities and volunteers. It also only allowed those under the age of 17 to find refuge in the UK. Adult refugees had to meet very restrictive criteria and most applications from adults were unsuccessful.

Second, at NPR, a rare positive story, "A Toy Monkey That Escaped Nazi Germany And Reunited A Family":

The monkey's fur is worn away. It's nearly a century old. A well-loved toy, it is barely 4 inches tall. It was packed away for long voyages, on an escape from Nazi Germany, to Sweden and America. And now, it's the key to a discovery that transformed my family.

The monkey belonged to my father, Gert Berliner, who as a boy in Berlin in the 1930s rode his bicycle around the city. Clipped to the handlebars was the toy monkey.

"I liked him," recalls my dad, who is now 94. "He was like a good luck piece."

Both pieces are worth checking out.

My longer, original posts on the Holocaust and related themes can be read here.


opit said...

Funny thing, though. ( Introductory aside : I am a Canadian born after WW II who speaks no German and has never been to Germany. My father bombed for the RCAF in Europe, but that is an unrelated matter - although he expressed outrage over the firebombing of Dresden. ) Why is this particular Holocaust - which mother assured me was never covered in the Canadian press in wartime - such a matter of interest ? It is not as if there is even any particular interest in the millions of non Jews who were murdered - or of the fate of Germans post WW II. For that matter, one can wonder about murders in Kenya, Belgian Congo, Laos and Cambodia and Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and the idea that "Who would Jesus bomb ?" ( if you follow the 'Korean War' the answer should be obvious ). So. About 'the Holocaust' I know nothing. I see representations from the usual liars responsible for the Iraq Math War ( 1.5 million Iraqis killed after the invasion, 500,000 before due to sanctions ) that I should care. I do, actually. I care that the best analysis of the situation strongly suggest 'smoke and mirrors' are in play. On a whim I looked up the Ahmadinejad interviews about 'the Holocaust' on YouTube. Anybody who observes that 1) history made unavailable is nothing to learn from and 2} there is zero evidence that Israeli Jews learned anything at all from the ordeal because of the treatment of Arabs and Palestinians is far too logical for comfort.

Batocchio said...

I'm not familiar with Holocaust education in Canada, but it looks like Toronto has the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, and there's also the Montreal Holocaust Museum and Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. In Washington, D.C., the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum has an excellent permanent exhibit and their website has a number of resources for learning about the Holocaust, learning more about other genocides, and tackling Holocaust denial.