it can’t happen here

Its called the Wheel of Conscience. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, it sits at Pier 21 at the port of Halifax and commemorates a number of issues. Much like war memorials in their role in actually redeeming and condoning and perhaps normalizing the use of force; the question has to be asked whether the jag of Holocaust related monuments actually contribute to an understanding or contribute to the sense of the “other”, the creation of spheres of alienation and an entrenchment of the status-quo. Or is it simply a holocaust industry to keep the sheep grazing on the right side of the pasture? Canada’s intransigence in accepting Jewish refugees is the equivalent of war crimes and complicity with the enemy. But then, the slaughter of native people and the incarceration of innocent and dutiful Japanese citizens shows a generalized approach that reflects a values incoherent with the precepts of Christianity of which the government espoused.

---The luxury liner MS St. Louis was first turned away by Cuba, then the United States and finally Canada before returning to Europe just before the outbreak of war. Of the 900 German Jews aboard, almost a third died in the Holocaust. --- read more:

Obviously there was hatred. But from whence it came?  Julie Sperling: Canada’s active attempts to rise above its marginality became evident when it began fostering the creation of a literary culture. However important a national literature is to a country’s identity, a canon nevertheless needs to be fortified by an articulated national rhetoric comprised of myths that citizens willingly allow themselves to believe in. Civil ideology does not develop naturally; it has to be created, reinforced and even altered to suit the times. Canada is not exempt from myth-making. As Daniel Francis argues in his National Dreams: Myth, Memory and Canadian History: “Because we lack a common religion, language or ethnicity, because we are spread out so sparsely across such a huge piece of real estate, Canadians depend on this habit of ‘consensual hallucination’ more than any other people.” Read More: a

"George Segal’s Holocaust Memorial Sculpture in San Francisco Dozens of Holocaust memorials have been built in other places that are very far removed from the sites where the events actually took place. One of these, bearing the simple title The Holocaust, is adjacent to the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Within a flat concrete surface, approximately 20 feet square, a fully clothed man stands staring across a barbed wire fence toward the Golden Gate. Behind him are strewn the naked bodies of ten men and women. All eleven figures are cast in whitened bronze, a medium that is familiar to those who have encountered the works of the American sculptor George Segal (1924–2000)." read more:

“Libeskind has said the central elements of the imposing mechanical sculpture are four spinning gears, symbolic of the guts of a ship’s engine and “a cynical bureaucracy.” The words hatred, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism appear on the face of each gear, with an image of the St. Louis in the background. The shiny cylinder is surrounded by the map of the world showing the ship’s route….

“The gears … provide the mechanism to move the wheel in the vicious circle that brought tragedy to so many lives and shame to Canada,” Libeskind says on his website. The son of Holocaust survivors in Poland, Libeskind is best known as the master planner behind the ambitious 2003 proposal to create a row of cascading office towers to replace the World Trade Centre complex destroyed by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. The architect also designed Berlin’s Jewish Museum, the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, England and the expansion of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, among other high-profile projects. The Halifax sculpture was commissioned by the Canadian Jewish Congress after Citizenship and Immigration Canada set aside about $500,000 for the monument and an education program that includes a national, bilingual curriculum for high school students. Read More: a

Warsaw Ghetto monument, "Sewers Escape" ---Over the years, and especially in the dark period of the 1980s, when Poland was under Communist military rule, dozens, at times hundreds, would join him, in remembrance of the dead, and in defiance of the government. After 1989, in the newly independent and democratic Poland, the custom oddly continued. Though Edelman had been a militant activist of the ultimately victorious Solidarity movement, he refused to accept that any government — left or right, Polish or Israeli — had the right to speak in the name of the dead. Nor did he try to speak for them: At the ceremonies that grew around him, there were usually no speeches. One rare exception occurred under military rule in 1983, when Solidarity activist Janusz Onyszkiewicz read out loud a letter of support from the movement’s leader, Lech Walesa, and was promptly arrested by the authorities for the act. (After the fall of communism, Onyszkiewicz became independent Poland’s first minister of defense.) The democratic authorities of post-1989 Poland recognized and respected the “Edelman ceremonies,” as they became known, and timed their own appearances at the monument to the ghetto uprising so that they would not disturb the aging resistance leader, Read more: image:

Clearly, the Halifax memorial brings the enormity of the Holocaust into sharp focus, but….

“I argue that today, Jewish people of European descent enjoy white privilege and are among the most socio-economically advantaged groups in the West. Despite this privilege, the organized Jewish community makes claims about Jewish victimhood that are widely accepted within that community and within popular discourse in the West. I propose that these claims to victimhood are no longer based in a reality of oppression, but continue to be propagated because a victimized Jewish identity can produce certain effects that are beneficial to the organized Jewish community and the Israeli nation-state. I focus on two related Holocaust education projects – the March of the Living and the March of Remembrance and Hope – to show how Jewish victimhood is instrumentalized in ways that obscure Jewish privilege, deny Jewish racism and promote the interests of the Israeli nation-state. ( Jennifer Peto ) Read More: a


National Post: Mr. Farber explained that the congress has neve

ked Ottawa to apologize for the wrongdoings of those in power at the time — most notably Frederick Charles Blair, the head of immigration, and Vincent Massey, Canada’s high commissioner to Great Britain (and later Governor-General) who, according to the 1982 book None Is Too Many, “worked through External Affairs to keep Jews out of Canada.”

“Within [the Jewish] tradition it is not really permissible to demand apologies,” Mr. Farber said. “It is more accepted for people to do T’shuva, which means to make amends.”


"The destiny of Lidice children is the saddest part of the Lidice tragedy. The children were separated from their mothers in the gymnasium of the Grammar school in Kladno. The children were moved by train to Lodz where they had lived for 3 weeks in a collection camp. The youngest child was only 1 year and six days old the oldest boys were under the age of 15, girls were under the age of 16. On June 2 their destiny was decided. Few children had secretly received correspondence lists so that they could write to their relatives. Afterwards there was a command for their movement to the extermination camp in Chelmn. The victims were taken to a castle and were told that they would continue their journey. They had to undress; they only could keep underwear, a towel and a soap so that they could take a shower before the journey. Afterwards they were taken to a truck that was specifically modified for 80-90 people, where they were killed by exhaust gas in 8 minutes. This is where the trace of Lidice children ends...." Read More:

Sperling: …Greenstein begins by citing one of Canada’s most important literary critics, Northrop Frye. In his oft-quoted “Conclusion” to the LiteraryHistory of Canada, Frye likens Canadian history to Jewish history directly before launching into his well-established theory of the “garrison mentality.” Frye describes the Canadian imagination as consisting of “small and isolated communities surrounded with a physical or psychological ‘frontier’ […] such communities are bound to develop what we may provisionally call a garrison mentality.”10 It involves persistently taking a defensive stance against the world’s larger influences—an image of helpless Canadians huddled together besieged by the vast nothingness of the wilderness on one side and the aggressive capitalism of America on the other comes to mind—as well as being preoccupied with asserting social and moral values. Greenstein proposes that Frye’s Canadian garrison is interchangeable with the ghetto, the only difference being that one spans out over thousands of kilometres, and the other over thousands of years. Although the terms can be helpful, as will be demonstrated in the following, they can also be quite misleading. Read More: a

Warsaw Ghetto. Jennifer Peto: By focusing only on victimization as a potential motivation for identity formation, my original research questions inadvertently reified Jewish victimization, ignored white-Jewish privilege and, I believe, offered little hope of understanding how Jewish identities – both Zionist and anti-Zionist – are formed. Instead of taking Jewish victimhood as a fact, I have made it the very subject I want to interrogate. I start from the premise that Jewish people of European descent are a group that today holds power and privilege. In Israel, this dominant group oppresses Palestinians and non-white Jews. Worldwide, the organized Jewish community works tirelessly to support the racist Israeli state and in doing so, aligns itself with oppressive forces in their own countries. It has become abundantly clear that the historical victimization of Jewish people has not led the mainstream Jewish community to support anti-oppressive or anti-racist politics. This phenomenon cannot be blamed on a lack of knowledge about this history of oppression because the last thirty years have seen a proliferation of well-funded memorial projects, feature films and an enormous literature..." read more: image:


David Rubinger photo. June 10, 1967. Norman Finkelstein: Like most ideologies, it bears a connection, if tenuous, with reality. The Holocaust is not an arbitrary but rather an internally coherent construct. Its central dogmas sustain significant political and class interests. Indeed, The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world's most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a "victim" state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status. Considerable dividends accrue from this specious victimhood — in particular, immunity to criticism, however justified. Those enjoying this immunity, I might add, have not escaped the moral corruptions that typically attend it. From this perspective, Elie Wiesel's performance as official interpreter of The Holocaust is not happenstance. Plainly he did not come to this position on account of his humanitarian commitments or literary talents... read more: image:

Highly Recommended: “…as martin luther king said, violence begets violence, and peace cannot be achieved through war. similarly, at the core of pacifist-anarchism stands the belief that a free society cannot be achieved by means of a dictatorship, not even by the proletariat, as we have seen. we cannot hope to see the expansion of “thou” in society as long as our social and economic systems rely on “its” for their very functioning. peace cannot be achieved through war. pacifism extends also to the micro-issues of a community. after the holocaust, martin buber went so far as to ask the israeli court to grant clemency to adolph eichman. life is sacred, even his. to protect a life, even eichman’s, is to defeat and emerge victorious over the nazi enemy. ( hune margulies) Read More:

…clearly, pacifism represents an enormous challenge, and one humanity has yet to ever fully try. it is my thinking that the history of the jewish people in the diaspora could be seen as an example of heroic survival agains all unimaginable odds through the practice of pacifism. the jews survived through two millennia of diaspora persecutions and the holocaust, precisely for having responded to astonishing aggression solely with the astonishing force of their spirit. satyagraha was the constant of jewish diaspora history (see in this regard martin buber’s letter to mahatma gandhi). it is not the same now that the jews have become a sovereign nation. but the witness of human history as a whole speaks of a very different and despairing story. peace is every step, as thich nhat hahn says, but rather than the committed steps of peace we have chosen the locked-steps of the battle fields.” Read More:

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