Tag Archives: Holocaust denial

What it means to me to be the child of Holocaust Survivors

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Not too long ago, a millennial of Asian descent asked me what it was like to be raised by Holocaust survivors.  The importance of indicating his background is to highlight the difference of his life from the life he was asking me about.  Although I think human beings are inherently the same when you break through all the superfluous crap, I recognize the impact environment and circumstance has on molding an individual.  So the question made me think about this topic more deeply than I had in quite some time, and in light of the events that have taken place in my life over the past 6 months I decided to share, in the hope that I help address issues of concern not just to people that fall into the same category that I do, but for people looking for answers about who they are and where they are going.

Since I am very aware that we live in a world where people often find sport in attacking the words that others share, let me make a few things very clear before you read on.  The information you are hopefully going to go on to read is not based on historically verified facts or scientific studies.  This is based entirely on my personal feelings and interpretations.  If your reaction is, “why should I care how he feels?”, that is fine with me.  Just like that same person can’t tell me I am right or wrong for how I feel, I can’t tell that same person what to care about.  But hopefully it is understood that at least part of my motivation is to help people that struggle with feelings they do not understand or even worse, understand but can’t deal with.

My initial response to the question was probably the most honest response I had ever given to any question regarding my parents and what it was like to be raised by people who lived through Nazi-occupation.  I called it 2 sides of the same coin.  On one side I recognized that there is an inevitable dysfunction to being raised by people who went through what my parents went through. On the other side of the coin, even before without addressing the special qualities my parents exhibited in their lifetime, being raised by Holocaust survivors almost forces you into seeing things that are more important than what is relatively superficial nonsense.

Coming out of the ashes of the war in 1945, it needs to be understood that not all Holocaust survivors had the same or even similar experience.  There seems to be a universal understanding among all decent people, whether they have a direct connection to Holocaust survivors or not, that degree of suffering is not a contest.  No one ever says to a Holocaust survivor that was not in a concentration camp that they were lucky in comparison to someone who survived the camps.  And while it is clear that had my father not helped my mother find places of refuge and do so much to keep her from being captured by the Nazis that she would have likely suffered horrors unimaginable likely followed by death, who is anyone to measure the devastation of seeing your world be decimated and the feelings associated with running for or fearing for your life for close to 5 years?  And who can understand seeing everything you know and believe in be wiped out as though it was a disease?  As soon as I was old enough to understand with some maturity what my parents went through, my value system was impacted by how I interpreted their life experiences.

I never felt guilt.  I was not made to feel that way.  Mostly because for as long as I can remember it was made very clear to me who the guilty parties were.  Nazi and Nazi collaborators were the mass murderers that murdered my ancestors, and living my life in a good and happy way would be more of a slap in the face to their efforts than it would be a disregard for what the Jewish people suffered through in my parents’ native Holland and the rest of Europe.  I have however always felt a responsibility.  It would probably take extensive therapy for me to understand to what extent I try to do good things and to what extents I follow Judaism based on the responsibility I feel, but I am honest enough to admit that it is certainly part of the equation.  I know that although in today’s very partisan political climate we can debate what is anti-Jewish sentiment or action, I do know that I have zero tolerance for those things I consider to fall into those categories.  This is about how I feel when I recognize that taking place in society or my environment.   I know that nothing feels more important to me than the survival of the Jewish people, but I also know I reconcile ethically by having the same intolerance for attacks on the survival of others, again, when I see it as taking place. This same factor explains why Israel is important to me.  Israel not only represents a safe haven for the Jewish people escaping persecution, but it also highlights the thoughts and ideas of those who have a disdain for the Jewish people.  That is not to say that any opposition to the positions of the Israeli government is anti-Jewish, but it does alert any honest individual to the fact that being anti-Israel is more often than not a code word for anti-Semitism.

So all of these viewpoints and philosophies are at least somewhat a result of being raised by Holocaust survivors.  But it would be hard to refute the idea that some of my flaws are not a result of that as well.  To know that for sure would be to know what degree of the imperfections of my parents were passed on to me are a result of their experience during the war was passed on to me.  I maintain that it may be close to impossible to identify that with any accuracy and I loved and respect my parents and their memory too much to pick apart whatever flaws they may have had, but I will offer up one fear I believe I inherited from my upbringing.  A fear, that to be brutally honest is very likely a contributing factor behind the time I have put into writing this piece and much of the other things I write.  It is the fear of not making a difference.  For my grandparents, my father’s parents who refused baptismal papers because they would only die the way they were born, as Jews, for my ancestors who were killed in the concentration camps, for the 6 million, and for my parents who felt the pain of that time until the day they died, I feel that I have a responsibility to do something that matters.  There is a fine line however between feeling a sense of responsibility and feeling a burden, and although I was not made to feel guilt, whenever that sense of responsibility has felt like a burden, a feeling of guilt sets in, because I know, that my “burden” is nothing compared to those that suffered during that time.  Nevertheless, it is a reality that sits with me and one I need to address from time to time.

I do leave you with two very important points.  First one being that one of the reasons I am writing this piece is to hopefully help any other children of Holocaust survivors with unresolved feelings they may have difficulty dealing with, and the second one is to accentuate the most important factor in this entire discussion.  The Holocaust was a reality.  The enormity of it was so significant that it not only resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews but it still impacts the world and generations in so many ways.  The specifics being a discussion for another time.  Reality, good or bad, does not disappear just because you want it to.  It does not disappear because of perverse and distorted ideologies.  It needs to be confronted, something I will continue to do that for as long as I am able.  Sometimes it is my burden, but I am thankful to God for the fact that usually it is my responsibility.  One I accept without issue.

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Why we need to stop the misuse of the word “Nazi”

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In recent years there has been a growing and concerning trend in regard to a word as familiar globally as any other word.  That word is Nazi. The trend I speak of is in the use of the word in a descriptive, subjective form, as opposed to the literally specific form necessary to keep an understanding of the evil it represents.

A number of people who knew that I intended to write this piece have actually thanked me for doing so.  Any attempt to try to change the thought pattern of an anti-Semite or other form of bigot that uses Holocaust denial as a means of forwarding a perverse agenda is a waste of time.  A more worthwhile venture is to make sure those who have open minds and pure hearts are afforded the opportunity to know the truth.  The truth is that improper use of the word Nazi dilutes the horrors of what took place under the Nazi-occupation in Europe.

This post is neither a political statement nor an apology for those that misuse power.  This is more of a perspective check. Calling someone a Nazi because they do something damaging to other individuals, or even worse calling them one because it is your perception they are doing so, detracts from some critical facts.

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi war machine sought out and killed in staggering numbers.  According to jewishvirtualibrary.org the numbers break down as follows.

Jews: up to 6 million

Soviet civilians: around 7 million (including 1.3 Soviet Jewish civilians, who are included in the 6 million figure for Jews)

Soviet prisoners of war: around 3 million (including about 50,000 Jewish soldiers)

Non-Jewish Polish civilians: around 1.8 million (including between 50,000 and 100,000 members of the Polish elites)

Serb civilians (on the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina): 312,000

People with disabilities living in institutions: up to 250,000

Roma: 196,000–220,000

Jehovah‘s Witnesses: around 1,900

Repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials: at least 70,000

German political opponents and resistance activists in Axis-occupied territory: undetermined

Homosexuals: hundreds, possibly thousands (possibly also counted in part under the 70,000 repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials noted above).

As a son of Dutch Jewish Holocaust survivors, the Jewish number hits very close to home, as it does or has done for many others I have known or still know over the course of my lifetime.  The Nazis destroyed entire worlds.  They wiped out an entire Jewish civilization in a large percentage of Europe.  They tortured, they raped, they conducted experiments, made people dig graves before shooting them in cold blood, and put together one of the most efficiently cruel means of mass murder by gassing to death multitudes of people.  Frankly, although these facts are accurate, this does not capture the true horror of what took place.  For that one needs to research the numerous pictures and accounts of the events that took place.

And yet many people today refer to anyone with ideologies opposed to their own as a Nazi.  This is not a left and right issue.  This is also not a justification nor a means of disregarding dangerous viewpoints or ideologies.  What this is instead is a specific statement as to what separated Nazi Germany from much of what people refer to today as Nazi behavior.  I’ve seen people on the right call Barack Obama a Nazi.  I’ve seen people on the left call Donald Trump a Nazi.  You can criticize, even despise the Iran deal or the situation on the border, but neither of these facts put either president even close to being in the same category as Adolf Hitler.  Furthermore, even if one would feel strong critique for Israel’s handling of the Palestinian situation or feel a disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, invoking Nazi atrocities as a comparison to today’s Israel is nothing more than a disingenuous use of a term to promote a dangerous anti-Semitic political agenda.

None of this is to say that we should turn a blind eye to the dangers that exist both in our respective countries or abroad.  But it is important to note, that if one is to learn from history it starts by doing everything necessary to study it accurately.  What the Nazis did  between 1933 and 1945 is perpetrate an evil unlike anything the world had ever seen.  To improperly identify and remember what took place not only dishonors all those murdered, it puts us all in greater danger of seeing it take place once again.

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Open Letter to Carl Maziali, VP of Media Relations at USC Regarding his acceptance of a faculty member’s mockery of the Holocaust

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Dear Mr. Maziali,

I find it hard to believe that I even have to write a letter of this nature to the Vice President of Media Relations of an established and respected university.  I’ve heard many anti-Semites spew their filth the direction of my people, so when an Iranian mocks the murder of 6 million Jews I’m no longer surprised, but when a representative of an institution such as USC excuses and sanctions his behavior I realize our society has reached new lows.  I also believe someone has to answer for it and be held accountable.

I am referring to the professor in your school by the name of Alireza Tabatabaeenejad, who in a series of tweets made it very clear what he thinks about the Holocaust. It all started when Professor Tababajabadahut defended Iran’s Holocaust denial cartoon contest by asking what is anti-moderation about holding such a contest.

It went on further when Tabababumble was confronted by Noah Pollak, Executive Director, Emergency Committee for Israel on twitter:

@alirezat I mean, do you think a million were killed, or around 6 million, or in between? Just curious as to how you think about it

@NoahPollak I really don’t know. I should read about it. Why?

@alirezat bad analogy. This wasn’t a murder. It was a genocide carried out in the name of anti-Semitism. Try again.

@NoahPollak Logically, I cannot say “antisemitism” and “denial of the Holocaust” are necessarily equivalent.

 

For me to address Tababuthead’s comments would be giving him more credibility than he deserves  and it would imply that I think you need me to make you aware of the despicable nature of his comments, which I am sure you don’t.  Your response when confronted on his comments was, “professors can say whatever they want.”  Interesting.  So does that mean it would be acceptable in your opinion for a professor to say something along the lines of slavery was no big deal, or all people who get AIDS deserve it? Since you are not debating the morality and ethics of the comment, merely the professors’ right to say “whatever they want“, one can only infer comments such as these would also be acceptable under your interpretation of USC’s guidelines.

Your approach is a disgrace, and to make it seem as though you are hiding behind some sort of free speech concept is cowardly and weak.  USC is not a government institution, it has rules, and these rules need to be enforced, regardless of whether or not you personally like Jews.

This needs to be addressed and corrected or brought to the attention of as many people as possible.  That choice may very well be yours to make.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Open Letter to Ron Jones regarding BBC’s The Big Questions’ tweet:”Is it time to lay the Holocaust to rest?”

 

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Dear Mr. Jones,

“Is it time to lay the Holocaust to rest?”  I would say “good question”, but in truth it is not a good question.  It is not a wise question, nor a sincere question.  It is a question that exhibits ignorance and hate and lack of understanding of the world as it is meant to be.

I do not know what connection you or your personal viewpoints have to this question tweeted by BBC’s;The Big Questions, but since it is produced by Mentorn Media and you are the Executive Chairman, it is you I will address regarding this matter.

Naturally, as a Jew, I am beyond offended.  I am only in my 50s, so the fact that I never knew my grandparents nor my mother’s only brother and my father’s younger sister, should already indicate that this is not ancient history we are talking about.  To be frank, even if it was ancient history I would find this question offensive.  Should we put Passover to rest as well while we’re at it?  After all, it WAS only Jews who were slaves in Egypt.

6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.  To make it easier for the small-minded people at the BBC to comprehend, that is the equivalent to filling up Wembley Stadium 66 times.  The question is not an example of enlightenment through journalism, rather an irresponsible, ignorant, and quite honestly a disgraceful opening for a discussion that should not even be considered in the civilized world.

The very question is not much different from blatant Holocaust denial, a media tool perpetuated most significantly by the Iranian government, a regime that has expressed its desire to wipe Israel off the map, a process that would lead to almost the same amount of Jewish deaths.  The question might as well be, “is it time to get rid of the Jews?”

Even from a non-Jewish perspective the question is offensive.  It’s not as though we live in a world without evil.  We still see people getting tortured, persecuted and murdered.  Is it time to put slavery to rest?  How about the Cambodian genocide? Or the Armenian genocide? For that matter we might as well put the Rwandan genocide to rest as well.  After all, we would hate to get in the way of BBC’s quest for enlightenment.

Even without putting the Holocaust to rest the Jewish people face threats and challenges.  If we put the Holocaust to rest it will lead to those acting as though it never happened, empowering those that wish to see it happen all over again.  We as a person are not prepared to let that happen and nothing a staunchly Arab-influenced BBC does will change our resolve.

NEVER AGAIN is the motto many of us live by, and that is exactly the opposite of putting the Holocaust to rest.  Get over it.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Terrorist Denial:Not as Cynical as Holocaust Denial but maybe as dangerous

islam_holocaustAfter my last article addressing the tragedy in Ottawa titled,  Canadian shooting: What we know–and RATHER NOT know–a day later, someone in social media responded to me with the following statement: “David, again you hit the nail on its shank. You rather not know. It’s obvious you have a hate on for Muslims. If you actually look at the facts and circumstances of these two villains, they both had failing lives, they were unproductive, dissatisfied with life and recent converts to something that gave them a chance to “check out”. Years ago it would have been the KKK, or the doomsday survivalists or the tea party. They didn’t want to give meaning to their lives, otherwise they would have become Buddhists, Sufis, humanists or any other altruistic belief system. They converted to something they knew would end their life. ISIS attracts psychopaths and losers. They confuse ISIS with Islam. We don’t use the KKK as the calling card for Christianity.”

Naturally out of respect for this individual I won’t use his name, and those who would be able to identify him possibly already saw it next to his name so I personally am not revealing it. I normally have no issue with criticism, however, I found the comment so disturbing that I felt compelled to address it further.

In addressing me he says. “It’s obvious you have a hate on for Muslims.” Yes of course.  I’M the problem.  On a day when a 3 month old Jewish baby gets run down by a Muslim and a young Canadian soldier doing nothing other than standing guard gets shot in the back by a Muslim, I am the one who is wrong for stating the fact that it was Muslims who did this.  I am the problem because most of the military conflicts going on in the world involve Muslims. I have said it before and I will say it again.  I know the majority of Muslims are not violent, but most of the violence taking place today involves Muslims in one way or another.  I know there are Muslims who want no part of this, but I also know that not enough of them are stopping this from taking place.  I know that just as Hitler wanted to do during the reign of Nazi Germany, there are people today that want every last Jew on the planet killed.  Most of these people are Muslim.

“ISIS attracts psychopaths and losers. They confuse ISIS with Islam.” So does Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, to name a few. We’re not talking hundreds of people here.  We’re talking hundreds of thousands of people. Maybe he is right.  Maybe they are all psychopaths and losers, but unfortunately they are also all Muslim.  I don’t enjoy saying that, but it’s the truth.  I know Muslims that I like and if I meet someone who is Muslim I don’t immediately assume the worst about them, but that doesn’t mean I am going to run from the truth.

As a son of Holocaust survivors I believe it is my responsibility to acknowledge danger where I feel it exists even if it means offending some people.  To do otherwise would be like going back in time to 1938, knowing what is coming and worrying more about the good Germans than the large number either standing by while evil takes over or even worse, being part of the evil.  I can’t and won’t remain silent.  I owe it to the memory of the grandparents I never knew, the grandparents murdered by the “psychopaths and losers” of the last century.  Today a large percentage of Muslims are not terrorists, but an overwhelming percentage of terrorists are Muslim.  To deny this is not only stupid, it’s irresponsible and dangerous.

 

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Nazi-style propaganda

Iran-Missiles11For those who want to even remotely consider accepting the word of a country like Iran, the following report should tell you exactly what kind of people are in control of this fascist government. In a report reminiscent of some of the most vile lies ever told about the Jewish people, Iranian state-run PressTV has come out with a report claiming that the Islamic State is selling Iraqi and Syrian children to Israel.  Their claim is that the trafficking is being done in order to take these children and populate the settlements in the West Bank.  READ REPORT HERE

This type of propaganda is the next step up from the Holocaust denial Iran has been so famous for over the years.  What makes it even more bizarre is that even as ISIL runs rampant through their neighboring countries, Iran somehow has found a way to bring Israel into the equation.  And yet, as usual, the world remains silent.  Some may have been mislead into believing that Iran has become a more reasonable and reliable player in global politics, but this report is just another example of how this Iranian government is run by liars potentially capable of the same evil as Nazi Germany.  Are these the people you would trust with nuclear weapons?  I think not.  The world better wake up before it is too late.

 

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Blind Faith

Since this website is not a forum for political endorsement I will not declare my personal allegiance in the upcoming presidential election.  Ask me in another forum and I will have no shame in stating my preference and speak with me one on one and I will gladly debate you, but unless I feel something is unquestionably relevant to the survival or history of the Jewish people, I will do my best to stay on point.  This website, one that was set up to promote the book Jew Face, is being used to bring to light holocaust denial, holocaust mentality, anti-Semitism, and historically relevant facts as they pertain to the Holocaust and my parents’ experiences.

So today I will speak of the upcoming election, but in a way I have not seen anywhere else till now.   When 6 million people get murdered by a force as strong as the Nazis were between 1933 and 1945, there is very little criticism given to the victims.  And rightly so.  The innocent victims, people who were merely guilty of being born Jewish, did nothing to deserve their horrible fate.  The brutality of the Nazis is well documented and needs to be continually documented so that it will never be forgotten.  There is however one criticism often given to the victims as a group.  This criticism is that they listened blindly and followed like sheep.  Now I do not have the arrogance to make this criticism because none of us know what we would have done in this situation.  However, this argument may be backed up by looking at those who did stand up and fight, or recognized what was going on and did not follow blindly.  My father, Nardus Groen, was one of those people, and although he was the first to credit it to good fortune and God’s blessing, it is hard not to make an argument that his behavior lead to his survival, my mother’s survival, and the existence of their entire offspring, yours truly included.

So heading into the November election, whether you are Conservative or Liberal, love or hate President Obama, Republican or Democrat, I have one strong request from you.  Use your mind.  Don’t blindly follow anything.  If you hate Obama, I guarantee you that some of the criticisms of your sources are either spun or fabricated, and if you love Obama I guarantee the same.  Do not follow anyone like sheep.  Even those you consider to be like minded.  Be fair, be thoughtful, and be aware.  For when you follow like sheep, you are often being lead to slaughter.  And if anything can be learned from the past, it’s that independent thought is a much better road to survival than blind trust.