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Was Shalamov right?
#1

Was Shalamov right?
Varlam Shalamov (author of Kolyma Tales and GULag survivor) wrote that There is a much that a man should not see, should not know, and if he should see it, it is better for him to die. Was he right? Wrong? Or it entirely depend on person and circumstances of said person life?

I think that he was right - "ordinary" suffering can break one spirit and when it comes to cruelty human imagination is boundless. After certain things happening I think death may be thought as sweet release, like when one would be Shoah survivor forced to live with survivor guilt.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#2

Was Shalamov right?
Yes.

And at the same time, so is C. S. Lewis, much as it pains me to quote (and agree with) him (esp. in light of how he'd "defend" the existence of suffering in the world of a supposedly good god): “There must, whether the gods see it or not, be something great in the mortal soul. For suffering, it seems, is infinite, and our capacity without limit.”

And as a rather appropriate example of Shalamov being right - I am still to read Kolyma Tales and might never do it... exactly because I'm not sure I want to know... there was a scene in my book yesterday about people being tortured with molten metal... it's a fantasy book and the specifics were made up, but torture with molten metal, being poured in people's orifices (yep, every single one you can think of) was common in the glorious past...

It would appear that it's not just our capacity for enduring suffering without limit... so is our capacity for inventing and inflicting it on others...

So yeah, there are things we should not have to see... and yet...

Which is why I actually cried when Denis Mikwege was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year. The things he has seen (not to mention barely escaping an attempt on his life) and yet to keep treating raped babies, among the rest of the horrors he's seen? There aren't enough Nobel Prizes in the world for him...
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#3

Was Shalamov right?
No doubt, there are lots of situations where I would rather be dead. And, if you grow old enough, death does become a friend as your hormones (instinct of survival) and physical capacities keep receding.

Death doesn't scare me, but lots of other things do.
[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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#4

Was Shalamov right?
(08-30-2019, 03:31 PM)Szuchow Wrote: Varlam Shalamov (author of Kolyma Tales and GULag survivor) wrote that There is a much that a man should not see, should not know, and if he should see it, it is better for him to die. Was he right? Wrong? Or it entirely depend on person and circumstances of said person life?

I think that he was right - "ordinary" suffering can break one spirit and when it comes to cruelty human imagination is boundless. After certain things happening I think death may be thought as sweet release, like when one would be Shoah survivor forced to live with survivor guilt.

Seeing (or experiencing) some things can break some while others are made stronger by over-coming.
No way to generalize.
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#5

Was Shalamov right?
(08-30-2019, 03:31 PM)Szuchow Wrote: Varlam Shalamov (author of Kolyma Tales and GULag survivor) wrote that There is much that a man should not see, should not know, and if he should see it, it is better for him to die. Was he right? Wrong? Or it entirely depend on person and circumstances of said person life?

I think that he was right - "ordinary" suffering can break one spirit and when it comes to cruelty human imagination is boundless. After certain things happening I think death may be thought as sweet release, like when one would be Shoah survivor forced to live with survivor guilt.

Some people, children for instance, should be shielded from the darker aspects of life because they can't handle them psychologically.

Most adults, however, need a clear understanding of life in all its details to be able to make informed decisions.

However, if by knowing and seeing Shalamov meant to experience for oneself, then obviously it would be better to die in certain circumstances.
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#6

Was Shalamov right?
My problem with all of this is how do we create torturers, child rapists, suicide bombers, and callous military actions. If there is anything that should be unknown it is these.
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#7

Was Shalamov right?
(08-30-2019, 07:44 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: My problem with all of this is how do we create torturers, child rapists, suicide bombers, and callous military actions.  If there is anything that should be unknown it is these.

 Nature /nurture

My perception is a lot of things can be made  and something  are innate. Sometimes the same things.

Are   psychopaths created  or born?  I suspect it may be either or both .

I do not accept  Shalomov's claim .The same experience  can have very different results. It  is my long perception  that war brings out the very best and the very worst in people. I suspect the outcome depends largely on what is already inside the person.

Sorry to use Godwin's law ,but it's simple  ; During WW2 ,the Nazi had the Einsatzgruppen .These were  SS units in  eastern Europe, followed behind the regular German army  in eastern Europe. .Their task was to round up and murder Jews  especially.. Men, women and children, by shooting . It is estimated that the einsatzgruppen murdered over ONE MILLION people . Historical reports  I've read claims that large numbers of the murderers had nervous breakdowns . It was for the sake of the mental health of his SS that Himmler eventually  used gassing to murder the Jews. 

Amon Goth, of Schindler's List, was a raging alcoholic . Rudolph Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, was apparently unaffected by the horrors. He is quoted as saying "Does a rat catcher feel sympathy for the rats?"  

The most infamous of all, Adolf Eichmann was also apparently unaffected. 

A startling discovery was how utterly banal *many of the Nazi monsters seemed to be. A lack of empathy or conscience  are traits of the psychopath . How did those men become so?  Were they in fact psychopathic, or simply able to  rationalise their actions  as "only obeying orders"? Did that allow them deny any personal responsibility, in good conscience? 

I  have long wondered if there is a common thread/attitude found in survivors of the holocaust. From whence came the strength of mind to survive? Innate or learned? 

*"EichmannIn Jerusalem ;The Banality Of Evil" Hannah Arendt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichmann_i...ty_of_evil




(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((9))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

 Some studies worth looking at: "Shoah" a nine hour documentary in, in two parts, 15 years in the making consisting of interviews with survivors of the Holocaust. I've only watched a couple of hours, it's pretty hard going. 

Available free on Youtube.Link below to the first half:



Another source is 'Yad Vashem,' the largest repository  of information about the holocaust  in the world .  Just search the name on Youtube
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#8

Was Shalamov right?
My dad was marred deeply by his experiences in WWII. He could not speak about it, I only found out from uncles and aunts he had tried to explain things to. By the time I was born, he had already crawled into an alcoholic shell.
I can see Shalamov's point.
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#9

Was Shalamov right?
(08-30-2019, 11:50 PM)skyking Wrote: My dad was marred deeply by his experiences in WWII. He could not speak about it, I only found out from uncles and aunts he had tried to explain things to. By the time I was born, he had already crawled into an alcoholic shell.
I can see Shalamov's point.

 I can too, ,but just not as a broad generalisation. 

I'm so sorry for  what  you must have endured as the child of an alcoholic. ---and of course, the living hells your father must have endured, during and after the war. .  ( A recovering alcoholic, I know of what I speak) 


WW2 destroyed my father . Children don't understand the 'why' of things, they only understand the  "what" . In my case it was "my dad is a cunt" (as were  ALL his ex army mates,  they seemed to me to have almost the same personalities.)

 It wasn't until dad was 70 that he was finally diagnosed with PTSD . That meant that poor man lived with fear for the rest of his life  after the war.

Fathers and sons can be pretty hard. Fortunately for me, I don't have any children.  Part of the reason is I was afraid I'd be like my dad.
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#10

Was Shalamov right?
(08-30-2019, 03:31 PM)Szuchow Wrote: There is a much that a man should not see, should not know, and if he should see it, it is better for him to die. Was he right?

No. Deadpan Coffee Drinker
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#11

Was Shalamov right?
(08-30-2019, 11:36 PM)grympy Wrote: I do not accept  Shalomov's claim .The same experience  can have very different results. It  is my long perception  that war brings out the very best and the very worst in people. I suspect the outcome depends largely on what is already inside the person.

If the outcome depends on person there are still things that some person should not see. Soldiers and murderers are one thing but I think that Shalamov statement ring especially true to former concentration camps inmates or GULag survivors like he himself.

Quote:Sorry to use Godwin's law ,but it's simple  ; During WW2 ,the Nazi had the Einsatzgruppen .These were  SS units in  eastern Europe, followed behind the regular German army  in eastern Europe. .Their task was to round up and murder Jews  especially.. Men, women and children, by shooting . It is estimated that the einsatzgruppen murdered over ONE MILLION people . Historical reports  I've  read claims that  large numbers of the murderers had nervous breakdowns . It was for the sake of the mental health of his SS that Himmler eventually  used gassing to murder the Jews. 

Amon Goth, of Schindler's List, was a raging alcoholic . Rudolph Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, was apparently unaffected by the horrors. He is quoted as saying "Does a rat catcher feel sympathy for the rats?

It shows that Holocaust wasn't all that modern. Gas chamber may be prime association but not insignificant percentage of victims was shot. Add starvation, death marches during the end of the regime and work and it is possible that gas chambers weren't primary means of killing. Hilberg did breakdown by cause of death that much I can remember even if actual numbers escape me.

As for Einsatzgruppen I recommend Believe and Destroy: Intellectuals in the SS War Machine by Christian Ingrao if you want something of unorthodox insight into it.

Quote:The most infamous of all, Adolf Eichmann was also apparently unaffected. 

A startling discovery was how utterly banal *many of the Nazi monsters seemed to be. A lack of empathy or conscience  are traits of the psychopath . How did those men become so?  Were they in fact psychopathic, or simply able to  rationalise their actions  as "only obeying orders"?  Did that  allow them deny any personal responsibility, in good conscience? 

I  have long wondered if there is a common thread/attitude found in survivors of the holocaust. From whence came the strength of mind to survive? Innate or learned? 

*"EichmannIn Jerusalem ;The Banality Of Evil" Hannah Arendt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichmann_i...ty_of_evil


Percentage of psychopaths (or sadists, can't remember and don't have book on hand) in the nazi ranks wasn't much higher than national norm if I recall correctly - you can find more info about it in Understanding Genocide. The Social Psychology of Holocaust. It was not necessarily lack of conscience - being convinced that they're doing preemptive strike and thus are protecting their families played a role in the willingness to kill, just like indoctrination, dehumanization and apparently wanting to do a good job (last one is from Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying by Sönke Neitzel, Harald Welzer). In fact one can argue that conscience was there as Himmler needed to devise another method.

Also Eichmann wasn't so banal - In his 2006 book, Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes and Trial of a "Desk Murderer", Holocaust researcher David Cesaraniquestioned Arendt's portrait of Eichmann on several grounds. According to his findings, Arendt attended only part of the trial, witnessing Eichmann's testimony for "at most four days" and basing her writings mostly on recordings and the trial transcript. Cesarani feels that this may have skewed her opinion of him, since it was in the parts of the trial that she missed that the more forceful aspects of his character appeared. Cesarani also presents evidence[/color]suggesting that Eichmann was in fact highly anti-Semitic and that these feelings were important motivators of his actions. Thus, he alleges that Arendt's claims that his motives were "banal" and non-ideological and that he had abdicated his autonomy of choice by obeying Hitler's orders without question may stand on weak foundations.This is a recurrent criticism of Arendt, though nowhere in her work does Arendt deny that Eichmann was an anti-Semite, and she also did not claim that Eichmann was "simply" following orders, but rather had internalized the clichés of the Nazi regime.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#12

Was Shalamov right?
i think a lot of what one is or is not equipped to see depends much on the individual -- age, background, emotional proclivities towards empathy or its lack.

There's a chapter in Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich which explores in some detail the gruesome duties of the Einsatzgruppen as sworn to at Nuremburg. It was tearful reading for me, literally. But I read it, because we all hear about the heights to which humans may rise, but rarely learn about the depths which humans might plumb.

I've seen a few people turned inside-out as a firefighter, and it ain't pretty. At the same time, I'm not plagued by nightmares or toxic nihilism. I just know now that the Universe doesn't give a shit about any single one of us.

By reading that chapter from Shirer, or accounts of other atrocities, I myself feel more and not less sensitized to the dangers of the evils that some people are willing to perpetrate. I understand that others do not share my perspective.

I think that some folk have seen horror and blanched at it; others have seen horrors and have found sick inspiration; others have never seen horrors and retain a misguided optimism; and still others have never seen horrors and because of that ignorance are happy to prescribe them ... for others, of course.

As a result of my readings and limited experience, I'm better aware of the potential depravities of humans -- and forewarned is forearmed. No doubt other have read the same accounts said to themselves, "fuck, yeah!"

There's no one simple answer.
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#13

Was Shalamov right?
Thank you Comrade Cat.

Didn't know that about Eichmann's character, although it makes sense.

I'm somewhat loathe to mention a conclusion s I've only recently reached , lest I be accused of being antisemitic :

I've begun to think that care needs to betaken when reading Jewish author's books about the Shoah. It seems to met that they may be too close to the issue to be objective.

You've just given reason to question Hanna Arendt's views . A book I quite liked' "Hitler's Willing Executioners ; Ordinary Germans And The The Holocaust" , by Daniel Goldhagen, has been savage by critics for its simplistic generalisations. I try to filter out generalisations when reading (very useful on this forum at times) so, mentally replaced 'willing" with 'knew of" .

I didn't think the book was terrible, but accept that it has problem,.The problems do not invalidate the whole book, in my opinion. I have no problem with the concept of collective guilt, in principle .

A agree with the sentiment of the following:

"First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me "

(Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller 1892-1984)

((((((((((((((((((((((9)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

@ Thumpalumpacus :

Firefighter?

Wow! I've never understood how Firefighters and anyone who sees people in extreme crisis manage. I guess the simple answer is a lot don't . You have my thanks and my admiration.
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#14

Was Shalamov right?
I have not had to endure anything like the Holocaust but have had my share of adversity. I have come to believe that, while many can in some ways transcend suffering (or if you will, make lemonade out of lemons) there is still an inexorable, non-zero mental, emotional and physical cost to suffering, compared to not suffering. Or more succinctly, I have come to the conclusion that suffering ALWAYS diminishes the sufferer. Some things can't be un-seen or un-known. Some things take up residence in your psyche and exert a certain gravitational pull that you are always working against. As others have pointed out, some bear this burden better than others, but it is still a burden.

This is why I believe we must never stop attempting to ease all suffering at every possible turn. It is not to be tolerated or ignored. Ever.

That is not to say that we should always intervene in the natural consequences of people's bad choices so as to deprive them of the feedback loop that would motivate them to be better persons. If we did that, we'd never, for example, allow our children the privilege of growing up. But at the same time, empathy and compassion demand that we never callously consider even self inflicted suffering to be some kind of just desserts; it is, rather, the regrettable cost of living in an imperfect world that we are always humbly trying to improve.
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#15

Was Shalamov right?
(08-31-2019, 05:05 AM)grympy Wrote: Thank you Comrade Cat.

No problem.

Quote:Didn't  know that about Eichmann's character, although it makes sense.

Banality of evil I think don't quite fit with nazi regime - if working towards the fuhrer a concept introduced by Ian Kershaw is right descriptor then nazi evil is hardly banal (as in done on orders without deeper reflection). Rather it is done thoughtfully in the hope of recognition.

Quote:I'm somewhat  loathe  to mention a conclusion s I've only recently reached , lest I be accused of being antisemitic :
 
I've begun to think that care needs to betaken when reading Jewish  author's books about the Shoah. It seems to met that they may be too close to the issue to be objective.

One could argue that the same could be said about Germans (or Poles considering quite recent Holocaust law). If author is familiar with Latin sentence sine et ira studiothen nationality matters not. Care however should be taken with any history book - I already seen Beria and Josef Tiso apologies, one written by French historian and one by Polish former diplomat. Worst book on Shoah that I read was written by a Canadian. Fact that some books about Shoah written by Jews are criticized (though I doubt that the books deserve the same condemnation) don't mean anything.

Quote:You've just  given reason to  question Hanna Arendt's views .  A book I quite liked' "Hitler's Willing Executioners ; Ordinary Germans And The The Holocaust" , by Daniel Goldhagen,  has been savage by critics for its simplistic generalisations.   I try  to filter out  generalisations when reading   (very useful on this forum at times) so, mentally replaced 'willing" with 'knew of" .

Two Jewish authors whose works are criticized do not mean that Jewish historians work on Shoah is suspect, only that some fault was found in their books.  By the way magnum opus of Holocaust study was written by another Jew - late Raul Hillberg.

Quote:I didn't think the book was terrible, but accept that it has problem,.The problems  do not invalidate the whole book, in my opinion.  I have no problem with the concept of collective guilt, in principle .

I read likes of Browning and Kershaw critiquing it so while it may not be worthless it is not something that I will bother with, especially knowing other Goldhagen book - Worse than War. Mass Murder, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity -  and not being impressed with it.

Quote:A agree with the sentiment of the following:

"First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me "

(Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller 1892-1984)

It is good quote but sentiment contained within is overused - I saw it cited when nazi views were censored by state by proponents of what could be described as absolute free speech. I don't give a damn about what will happen later but I will not stand with (neo)nazis. But that is just inflation of words I guess.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#16

Was Shalamov right?
(08-31-2019, 04:13 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: i think a lot of what one is or is not equipped to see depends much on the individual -- age, background, emotional proclivities towards empathy or its lack.

Can't disagree here.

Quote:There's a chapter in Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich which explores in some detail the gruesome duties of the Einsatzgruppen as sworn to at Nuremburg. It was tearful reading for me, literally. But I read it, because we all hear about the heights to which humans may rise, but rarely learn about the depths which humans might plumb.

I would say that one needs just to watch/read news to see depths of cruelty - dead kids being kept in barrel used to pickling cabbage isn't fragment of gruesome history book but piece of news from Poland from few years back. Same with Jospeh Fritzl or US mass murderers. Hunger in Africa is also mentioned if one want example of cruel indifference on massive scale.

Quote:I've seen a few people turned inside-out as a firefighter, and it ain't pretty. At the same time, I'm not plagued by nightmares or toxic nihilism. I just know now that the Universe doesn't give a shit about any single one of us.

That is healthy attitude. I held similar (if not the same) one.

Quote:By reading that chapter from Shirer, or accounts of other atrocities, I myself feel more and not less sensitized to the dangers of the evils that some people are willing to perpetrate. I understand that others do not share my perspective.

After years of reading about genocides, wars, revolutions and famines there is hardly a subject that moves me yet it still happens - like with the scene from Svetlana Alexievich book that I spoke before*. I know not if this lack of moral horror when reading makes me a worse or better man (or if it has no bearing) but that's how it is.

Quote:I think that some folk have seen horror and blanched at it; others have seen horrors and have found sick inspiration; others have never seen horrors and retain a misguided optimism; and still others have never seen horrors and because of that ignorance are happy to prescribe them ... for others, of course.

There is as many reactions as there are people but I think that books showing inhumanity of nazis, bolsheviks, khmers, or maoists should be significant part of school lecture pool. People I'm afraid are prone to forgetting the past.

Quote:As a result of my readings and limited experience, I'm better aware of the potential depravities of humans -- and forewarned is forearmed. No doubt other have read the same accounts said to themselves, "fuck, yeah!"

Second sentence is particularly foreboding. I mean, I know that sick people are among us but hypothetical person that cheers for nazis when reading about Shoah is nearly making me froth at mouth just by thinking about it.

Quote:There's no one simple answer.

I agree but on the other hand I would argue that there is a simple answer for individual who should be able to judge whether he want to live with certain memories.  

*That is memory of Russian child on whom German soldier split scalding hot soup. With no provocation (though what kind of provocation could warrant it?) and in middle of WWII when food wasn't exactly easily available in USSR.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#17

Was Shalamov right?
(08-31-2019, 12:02 PM)Szuchow Wrote:
Quote:There's no one simple answer.

I agree but on the other hand I would argue that there is a simple answer for individual who should be able to judge whether he want to live with certain memories.  

Exactly, it's an individual decision, and no one single answer works for everyone.
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#18

Was Shalamov right?
(08-31-2019, 11:44 AM)Szuchow Wrote:
(08-31-2019, 05:05 AM)grympy Wrote: Thank you Comrade Cat.

No problem.

Quote:Didn't  know that about Eichmann's character, although it makes sense.

Banality of evil I think don't quite fit with nazi regime - if working towards the fuhrer a concept introduced by Ian Kershaw is right descriptor then nazi evil is hardly banal (as in done on orders without deeper reflection). Rather it is done thoughtfully in the hope of recognition.

Quote:I'm somewhat  loathe  to mention a conclusion s I've only recently reached , lest I be accused of being antisemitic :
 
I've begun to think that care needs to betaken when reading Jewish  author's books about the Shoah. It seems to met that they may be too close to the issue to be objective.

One could argue that the same could be said about Germans (or Poles considering quite recent Holocaust law). If author is familiar with Latin sentence sine et ira studiothen nationality matters not. Care however should be taken with any history book - I already seen Beria and Josef Tiso apologies, one written by French historian and one by Polish former diplomat. Worst book on Shoah that I read was written by a Canadian. Fact that some books about Shoah written by Jews are criticized (though I doubt that the books deserve the same condemnation) don't mean anything.

Quote:You've just  given reason to  question Hanna Arendt's views .  A book I quite liked' "Hitler's Willing Executioners ; Ordinary Germans And The The Holocaust" , by Daniel Goldhagen,  has been savage by critics for its simplistic generalisations.   I try  to filter out  generalisations when reading   (very useful on this forum at times) so, mentally replaced 'willing" with 'knew of" .

Two Jewish authors whose works are criticized do not mean that Jewish historians work on Shoah is suspect, only that some fault was found in their books.  By the way magnum opus of Holocaust study was written by another Jew - late Raul Hillberg.

Quote:I didn't think the book was terrible, but accept that it has problem,.The problems  do not invalidate the whole book, in my opinion.  I have no problem with the concept of collective guilt, in principle .

I read likes of Browning and Kershaw critiquing it so while it may not be worthless it is not something that I will bother with, especially knowing other Goldhagen book - Worse than War. Mass Murder, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity -  and not being impressed with it.

Quote:A agree with the sentiment of the following:

"First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me "

(Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller 1892-1984)

It is good quote but sentiment contained within is overused - I saw it cited when nazi views were censored by state by proponents of what could be described as absolute free speech. I don't give a damn about what will happen later but I will not stand with (neo)nazis. But that is just inflation of words I guess.
 
Pretty erudite stuff. Thank you . Perhaps the "Then they came for---"  may be overused, but I think it is still pertinent .The sentiment perhaps more pithily expressed by Edmund Burke ;"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph  is for good mento do nothing" 

 I take your point about Jewish writers.   For me, more a matter of being as objective  as possible. I became aware of the Shoah in about 1963.  The first book about Nazism I  read was the same year; "The Scourge Of the Swastika " by Lord Russell of Liverpool . I have always had a deep sympathy  for Jews as victims of the Shoah . I think I may have been a bit too uncritical; perhaps giving me an unbalanced view .    

I am  not  so uncritical as to be incapable of criticising State Of Israel 

Before hearing of Arendt, I had read that the private lives of  senior Nazis especially tended to be very bourgeois. The writer likened them to  burgermeisters. That can be seen as banal I think. Heavy on the hypocrisy perhaps.  

I think the laws in Germany and Austria against holocaust deniers and neo Nazis are excessive but understandable .My position is that free speech must include the freedom to offend.
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#19

Was Shalamov right?
(08-31-2019, 11:01 PM)grympy Wrote: Pretty erudite stuff. Thank you .

Erudite? I wouldn't call it so but I'm glad that you appreciate what I write.

Quote:Perhaps the "Then they came for---"  may be overused, but I think it is still pertinent .The sentiment perhaps more pithily expressed by Edmund Burke ;"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph  is for good mento do nothing"

It may still be pertinent but I think it may ascribe too much power to individual - whether or not I would stand aside it would change nothing and same goes for any other single person.

Quote:I take your point about Jewish writers.   For me, more a matter of being as objective  as possible.

I have good experience with Jewish historians - Omer Bartov, Yehuda Bauer, Raul Hilberg and I think few more. If one treats duty of historian seriously then nationality is no problem.

Quote:I became aware of the Shoah in about 1963.  The first book about Nazism I  read was the same year; "The Scourge Of the Swastika " by Lord Russell of Liverpool . I have always had a deep sympathy  for Jews as victims of the Shoah . I think I may have been a bit too uncritical; perhaps giving me an unbalanced view .

I had general knowledge quite early in my life but it was going to University that made me look into this more deeply. Sometimes I think that I should learn German to have access to more books though as Polish obviously isn't language of most research done on the subject (though most complete edition of Hilberg book was in Polish) and it would be nice addition to whatever info I can find in English language.

Whether I'm too uncritical or not I'm not best person to judge as self assessment can easily led one astray. 

Quote:I am  not  so uncritical as to be incapable of criticising State Of Israel

For me these both subjects bear no relation to each other. Obviously one can criticize Israel because one is antisemite but Shoah is not a protective umbrella shielding this country from any criticism. Criticism that seems to be deserved from what little I care to know about it.

Quote:Before hearing of Arendt, I had read that the private lives of  senior Nazis especially tended to be very bourgeois. The writer likened them to  burgermeisters. That can be seen as banal I think. Heavy on the hypocrisy perhaps.

Nazism had some egalitarian undertones but that leadership lived luxurious life is thing to be expected from totalitarian state. Just look at USSR which (in theory at least) was far more egalitarian. It ruling class did not share the poverty stricken life of general populace.

Quote:I think the laws in Germany and Austria against holocaust deniers and neo Nazis are excessive but understandable .My position is that free speech must include the freedom to offend.

I think that nazis should not be free to spread their poison as it is not merely offensive but hateful, subversive and frankly tolerating of such scum years back showed why this is bad idea.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#20

Was Shalamov right?
(08-31-2019, 11:01 PM)grympy Wrote: Pretty erudite stuff. Thank you . Perhaps the "Then they came for---"  may be overused, but I think it is still pertinent .The sentiment perhaps more pithily expressed by Edmund Burke ;"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph  is for good men to do nothing".

I sure agree with the sentiment, but from the point of view of a writer (or perhaps an orator? I don't know) the refrain of "then they came ..." in this case is a textbook case for writing good rhetoric or perhaps polemic. It drives a point home.

Burke's is solid and to the point, but also easily-missed by the casual reader, who is, after all, the target market, because writers want to change minds, right? Drumming it out in cadence, almost verse, grabs the attention of the reader and makes the point that much more memorable.

Repeating the refrain drives it into the brain. It's good rhetoric that refuses to get lost in the middle of a dense page. I think Niemoller chose his cadence well.
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#21

Was Shalamov right?
Yes, suffering can break a person to the point where recovery is impossible.
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#22

Was Shalamov right?
(09-01-2019, 02:23 AM)GenesisNemesis Wrote: Yes, suffering can break a person to the point where recovery is impossible.

 'Can' being the operative word.

July 15 this year, my most beloved friend died. We had been friends for 47 years.  

He had been , diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer in October last year.  He endured great suffering .Yet he faced the ordeal with dignity , stunning courage, and  even good humour , to the end. I miss him dreadfully.

He is one of my life heroes, for the way he lived ,what he accomplished, and the many lives he touched.
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#23

Was Shalamov right?
(09-01-2019, 03:42 AM)grympy Wrote:
(09-01-2019, 02:23 AM)GenesisNemesis Wrote: Yes, suffering can break a person to the point where recovery is impossible.

 'Can' being the operative word.

July 15 this year, my most beloved friend died. We had been friends for 47 years.  

He had been , diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer in October last year.  He endured great suffering .Yet he faced the ordeal with dignity , stunning courage, and  even good humour , to the end. I miss him dreadfully.

He is one of my life heroes, for the way he lived ,what he accomplished, and the many lives he touched.

I am sorry for your loss. Looks like your friend was consistently awesome to the end.
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#24

Was Shalamov right?
(09-01-2019, 04:50 PM)mordant Wrote:
(09-01-2019, 03:42 AM)grympy Wrote:
(09-01-2019, 02:23 AM)GenesisNemesis Wrote: Yes, suffering can break a person to the point where recovery is impossible.

 'Can' being the operative word.

July 15 this year, my most beloved friend died. We had been friends for 47 years.  

He had been , diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer in October last year.  He endured great suffering .Yet he faced the ordeal with dignity , stunning courage, and  even good humour , to the end. I miss him dreadfully.

He is one of my life heroes, for the way he lived ,what he accomplished, and the many lives he touched.

I am sorry for your loss. Looks like your friend was consistently awesome to the end.

Thanks. Yes. To me, this was a great man .
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