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Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
2 months ago

20% – 20% !!

For god sake if I stated the warranted kicking of each one of those pathetic kids is the ass followed by a proper b***h-slapping, it would take me several life times even if I stuck to my work 10 hours a day, six days a week… oh well, times awasteing,better get cracking!

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sylvestre

It may not be as bad as you think — there are reports that the questionaire was badly written, and many people who answered that the holocaust was a myth were not using ‘myth’ to mean “definition 2b — an unfounded or false notion” but rather definition 2a — a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone especially one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society”. See: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myth

Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
2 months ago

My lying eyes/ears I guess…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

Who’s going to open the batting on this one?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 months ago

Too difficult.

N Satori
N Satori
2 months ago

Well, we in the post-Christian West are partial to a bit of conscience-examining self-criticism (he who hath no sin upon him cast the first stone and all that) so a good starting point would be to ask yourself which group of people would you secretly like to see eliminated in order to make the world a better place for people like you?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I can think of no one, what about you?

Glynis Roache
Glynis Roache
2 months ago

How about ‘the West’ in its entirety? I suspect that would be popular.
As an article that compares the methods available to a wordsmith in terms of dealing with difficult subject matter and those available to a film maker, I found this piece interesting. As it pertains to history, I found it disturbing. As I did my own reactions. I was torn between being horrified that a significant proportion of American youngsters did not even believe in the holocaust and a sinking feeling that we are yet again broadcasting the topic. Of course, we need to preserve history in order to learn from it. Not to mention, given the current situation re Israel, how this particular episode must have affected the deep psyche of the Jewish people. (The concept of intergenerational trauma and the idea that it could be transmitted epigenetically was initially stimulated by the holocaust, though it became more effective currency in other hands).
However, at the same time as recognising and acknowledging the need to remember, I had an unworthy surge of ‘why do we keep hammering the West like this?’ The worst excesses of the Germans, the darkest aspects of the British Empire, the exploitation of slaves in the USA, the marginalisation of the aboriginal inhabitants of USA, Australia, Canada etc. We seem to be endlessly revisiting/reviewing all of this, not only telling but formally teaching our children and our children’s children what blackguards we were, how we should be ashamed of our histories and our privilege, how we should exonerate ourselves by giving it all away to those who have much cleaner souls than we. Here, have our country. You deserve it. We don’t. You’ve seen the movie. 
     Am I ashamed of this inner conflict? I acknowledge it and I don’t like it. Yet it’s there. Must do better. But I can’t help thinking of the words of Shakespeare’s Mark Antony : ‘The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones …’
So it will be with the West.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Glynis Roache

Cecil Rhodes’s exhortation:-
“ Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life”, has been good enough for me, my children and grandchildren. Even my dogs get a sense of it!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Pure genius!
How very sad he died so young, he may even have kept us out of WWI.

Paul
Paul
2 months ago

You can’t help but expose yourself more and more, can you?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul

I am an Imperialist, do YOU have any objection?

Warren Francisco
Warren Francisco
2 months ago

If you’re an “Imperialist”, why do you constantly harp on the US when it acts imperiously on the world stage? Surely you’d admire our chutzpah. We inherited it from you!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

‘You’ didn’t read the handbook properly, and thus will need to improve’.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 months ago

You are an imperialist TODAY? Seriously? The (formal) British Empire was largely a millstone around the neck of this country, which did little if anything to help the lives of ordinary people. Many of our own subjects were stunted and malnourished as they joined up to fight the Boer War, and later, the Great War. British investments in the US and Latin America were far more lucrative than any in the (very undeveloped) formal Empire.

It couldn’t possibly last in any case – and didn’t. Eventually it was inevitable that continental size states such as some permutation of the US, China, Russia would supplant us. Germany and the US were outperforming us industrially in the 1890s.

Fortunately we didn’t on the whole try to do a France and hang on to far flung colonies.

And just look at the demographic legacy today…….

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

All too true, but just as you are nostalgic about Trotsky and Class War, so am I about the late Empire. (warts and all.)

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 months ago

I really don’t think it’s the Corbynite Andrew Fisher

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Did you get that quote from a drama on BBC radio 4 ?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 months ago

My childhood dog was a dachshund (long -haired miniature) . Now I feel part German . The trauma !

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Glynis Roache

 “…the exploitation of slaves in the USA,”
The exploitation of slaves throughout the entirety of human history. Including to this day!

Glynis Roache
Glynis Roache
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

That is, in fact, the principle behind my entire premise. A premise which is, after all, nothing more than an interpretation/extrapolation of my own ambivalent reaction to the article.

Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

You actually read that whole comment??

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
2 months ago

What language is this ‘essay’ written in?

Adam M
Adam M
2 months ago

Too wordy but I kind of get the point. He’s saying this film should have been more like ‘The Death of Stalin’?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 months ago
Reply to  Adam M

No, he was saying what he was saying….. Which, you know, is complex! Not every thought can be expressed as a tweet…..

Ron Kean
Ron Kean
2 months ago

It’s one thing to sit alone and write a book. I don’t understand the motivation to produce a movie about this.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron Kean

I’ve seen the film. Whilst “the banality of evil” phrase is written all over it, it might’ve been counter-stamped with “the banality of modern movie-making”

Claire D
Claire D
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Something as ‘Evil’ or transgressive as Auschwitz – This is already well defined and understood.
What the movie appears to do is state – Look at how evil it is – through the juxtaposition of kitsch parody of middle class German life with the real material horror just over the fence.
As if the most heinous crime was in breach of good taste, rather than indeed of murder.

Morry Rotenberg
Morry Rotenberg
2 months ago

Gobbledygook!

Nell L
Nell L
2 months ago

I saw the movie without having read Amis’ novel. But I have read Commandant Hoess’ autobiography and used it for my modern Western Civ history class. The movie is a perfect depiction of the Hoess family’s world as revealed in the autobiography but it leaves out some important facts. His female servants were not just Polish girls as stated in the film but were Jehovah’s Witnesses imprisoned at Auschwitz for their opposition to the Nazis. Hoess’ wife gloated about how kind the girls were to her children. Some have criticized the film for depicting the “ordinariness” of the Hoess family’s life, but those critics have it so wrong. What is depicted is how utterly evil Hoess and his wife were as they lived their “ordinary” life at Auschwitz. His wife Hedwig is as evil as her husband: enjoying her comfortable lifestyle, bragging about being the “queen of Auschwitz”, tending her beautiful garden as crematorium chimneys belch out human smoke, and snapping at her servants that she could have their ashes spread nearby if she wanted to.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 months ago
Reply to  Nell L

I don’t know whether it is great, or terrible that people don’t get what a few us do @Nell.
Great, if we accept that global conditions permanently changed to prevent another Auschwitz.
Terrible if the changes are pipe-dreams.

David Gardner
David Gardner
2 months ago

Brevity is not tolerated at Unherd.

Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
2 months ago
Reply to  David Gardner

Ha

Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
2 months ago

Dear God, that was a difficult article…

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 months ago

I get this article having visited a preserved concentration camp (Bergen Belsen?) almost 40 years ago in the DDR.

All cleanly swept, windows cleaned, instruments in the mortuary/vivisection area neatly lined up on large, shiny tiled tables with spotless stainless steel troughs, oven doors in the crematorium oiled, carts to wheel around corpses in neat rows.

I couldn’t shake the visceral horror of the camp being ready for the next shipment.

You had to be there indeed.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
2 months ago

Difficult subject matter to know how to respond here but I think I will look to find Amis’ book. a very different way of looking at things I suspect. I just happened to watch a ‘short’ on YouTube yesterday by Monty Python wherein John Cleese as SS man asked Michael Palin as prisoner and torture victim how to make a Nazi mad. “Stamp on his corns”, was the response. Ridiculous but made me laugh.

Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo
2 months ago

The Holocaust happened before I was born but I have ever been deeply dismayed by its bleak reality. But when I survey our more recent past to the other genocides and mass moral outrages that came and went during my life, I wonder: why those real-time horrors transpired with so little intervention or even persistent collective memory? Those of us well-schooled in and outraged by historical Nazi atrocities beyond our temporal ability to undo did so little regarding Pol Pot in Cambodia or Rwanda that occurred in real time during our lives. A couple of movies and books but otherwise already forgotten.

Our moral indignation about the Holocaust failed to translate into agency on behalf of humans caught in genocides playing out before a mostly disinterested audience. It causes me to worry that, instead of inducing a sentinel mindset regarding present and future genocides, the Holocaust collective awareness–reiterated (justifiably) so often in movies, books, and academia–inadvertently and counterintuitively inoculated subsequent generations against the duty to address real-time genocide. By that I mean that perhaps in the process of watching something as powerful as Schindler’s List, e.g. we exit a theater so morally outraged that we are thoroughly convinced of our own personal righteousness; but that very conviction conveys on us a free pass that allows us to experience virtual virtue without the expensive and messy business of actual real-time moral intervention.

Jae
Jae
2 months ago

For another interpretation read “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.” Despite its huge success it got a mixed reception from some scholars, some saying it damaged Holocaust education, others claiming it introduced awareness in young readers.

I read it as an adult and wept.