Bearing Witness

Normally when we travel, The Gotham Gal posts about the things we do. She is a way better travel blogger than I am.

But today we did something that I want to talk a bit about.

We visited the Auschwitz concentration camps in southern Poland.

This is the first time I have visited one of these camps.

I have been to the various Holocaust memorials and have seen the photographs and heard and read the stories.

But being there in person is something else.

Staring into the rubble of a gas chamber (one of four at Birkenau) where hundreds of thousands were murdered because of their ethnicity and faith takes your breath away and fills your heart with dread.

It is not a pleasurable experience in the least.

But it is a very moving one.

One of the things I have come to understand about life is that bearing witness is something we must all do. We cannot avoid the pain of humanity. We must stare it in the face and feel it.

We did that today and I am glad we did.

#Blogging On The Road#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pascal_Levensohn

    Thank you, Fred, for sharing this experience. My cousin, Melanie Levensohn, died at Auschwitz in December 1943. My wife, who is German, wrote her first novel based on Melanie’s true story. My wife’s name is also Melanie Levensohn.Pascal

    1. Richard

      what the blog post omitted is any mention of extermination of the Jewish People?? This is why these camps existed in the first place – they were designed to exterminate the Jewish Gene Pool – the Final Solution: It was not about exterminating ideas or beliefs as Fred seems to suggest, there was no opt out for Jewish converts, no opt out for Jew of any beliefs, no opt out for any Jew of any ethnicity or talent. None.

      1. ispecul8

        “where hundreds of thousands were murdered because of their ethnicity and faith” <— I think that was pretty clear in his post. Maybe it so obvious or maybe the post is meant to also shed light on the many other Genocides that have taken place as well. The point is we must all bear witness. I think it was an excellent and profoundly moving post.

        1. Richard

          You’ve made my point – there were about 900,000 Jews raped, beaten and/or gassed this camp. The camp was designed to kill 1.6 million Jews a year. The complete plan was to kill 11 million European Jews. The Nazi weren’t shy about dystopia. This wasn’t about ethnicity – most were Germans – and little to do about faith – hitler was an atheist.

          1. ispecul8

            Richard you are obviously passionate about this issue. I just thought you may have misread the post. I’m not here to quarrel with you. Peace be with you and FYI “Jewish” is both an ethnicity and faith.

          2. Richard

            <- is the equivalent to a finger point – I would look up the definition of quarreling. – it doesn’t take someone passionate – which I far from – to point out the lack of understanding of Fred’s post and your comment, it just takes someone paying attention.

          3. ShanaC

            Actually, the jewish community most devastated by the holocaust were sephardim from Greece, specifically areas that are next to the balkans (population went from 100k to 7k – basically their entire customary and jewish legal life is gone. You can’t find someone who can lein greek style anymore. And that community was as old as the Gemara itself), Effectively, the Sephardic population of the balkans is gone. https://encyclopedia.ushmm….Poland had the largest losses because it had the largest starting population (over three million in 1933).German jews were kinda average in losses, but they also had an unusual population skews in the counts in that their wealthy and young got out early because the nazis didn’t have a plan in place on day one, plus citizenship was stripped way before the final solution was implemented. To explain. From USHMM: Germany had a Jewish population of 565,000 in 1933 and just 37,000 in 1950. Both my great aunt (who is amazingly, still alive) and my grandmother (who I am named for) were alive in 1950. They were both born in berlin (I have found the address they lived in in 1933). in 1950, my great aunt was establishing a kibbutz and my grandmother was technically stateless and immigrating to NY/getting married. In fact, the kibbutz my great aunt was establishing was almost all religious zionist german jews from the kindertransport (one of whom ended up her husband). None of them are counted in the 37k in germany. They all keep german jewish customs and behaviors, including annoying ones about being on time (that’s a joke for those into german jewish jokes). And it isn’t terribly uncommon- 2,200 american soldiers in ww2 were jewish german or austrian refugees serving as counterintelligence translators – and many had sisters or parents or younger siblings still in the US…(we’re going to remember the holocaust correctly. there were 6 million jews and 2 million other people, including roma and sinti, gay people, communists, and people who just spoke out and did the right thing. they deserve to not be forgotten either. Not all jewish communities were affected equally by the holocaust nor memorialized equally. Some were more privileged than others and aren’t remembered as well. I grew up not being educated about this stuff in a Jewish community where they talk about holocaust every year on yom hashoah. Despite being ashkenazi, I don’t want it to become a hagiographic experience where people don’t learn and reflect. Eg: my maternal grandfather’s family, all of whom died, he came from a chassidic family from poland. It’s the kind of thing where there are actually pictures of idealized pre-ww2 shtelt life that you see in memorials and discussions – but it whitewashes the lived Jewish and non-jewish experience of Europe of the interwar period unless I look around. My classic example is… She’s a secular jewish woman from Satu Mare, the town that satmar chassidim are from. Apparently, this was normal in Romania, but she and the norms she was part of were effectively forgotten in popular and visual culture until Roman Vishniak’s missing negatives were found. And she’s lucky, because Roman Vishniak took her picture The jewish people of Sarjevo deserve to not be forgotten, but frankly they probably won’t be because there are basically no balkan jews, their community started out relatively poor and unconnected from the other jewish communities in the states both pre and post war by custom and language as sephardic ladino speakers, and what remained got devolved into a civil war between the Serbs and Croats. The only reason we talk about GBLT and the holocaust is because a gay communist jewish man, Avram Finkelstein, reused the pink triangle about AIDS as a member of Gran Fury. I really don’t think we’d be memorializing Weimar Berlin gay underground club culture and its relationship to art if that hadn’t happened. I’ve never had a conversation or seen a specific memorial around the Roma and Sinti, largely because they are poor and highly discriminated against to this day – and it shows that no one talks about them despite himmler making it a pet project to kill them. There’s a tiny webpage on the USHMM for them (… ) And I think I’ve had maybe one or two conversations about communists and other objectors because of the White Rose, and not with anyone I grew up with, and not on Yom hashoah.So I made a decision. I’m not going to forget these people. I’m not going to forget that antisemitism is part of a larger reactionary locus, and that just being different can make you targeted I’m not going to forget their lived experiences were in part what the nazis trying to stamp out, be that gemara or crazy art, or loving someone who has the same gender as you or just not sharing your politics. Antisemitism is just the early warning sign. One last thing When I look at that girl from the photo, from Satu Mare, there’s no real way to say she’s jewish or not if it hadn’t been for Roman Vishniak’s notes. She’s just a person who lived and smiled at a camera one day, and who probably died because someone hated one factor about her. That in her case it was her judaism isn’t important. She could be any female holocaust victim smiling at the camera, and if the photo was colorized, she could look like a 20 something today in vintage clothing in some obscure town. And that could be said about any victim on the holocaust, except there’s no random photo. At the end, we’re all the same dust, but it wasn’t necessary to for her to die young.On my population numbers:https://encyclopedia.ushmm…. <- note they are using a maximial definition. Internal nazi documents about austria, for example, put the number lower because they have weird definitions, and then you get weird halacha issues

      2. ShanaC

        One of the reasons Judaism is seen as dangerous by antisemites is it is associated with cosmopolitanism and the development of ideas, because minority groups often come with new ideas. It’s why when Dachau (which was the first concentration camp) was started in 1933, it wasn’t actually intented for Jewish people. It was meant for political opponents and “undesirables” in general because the Nazi governemnt hadn’t come with the final solution yet. That same year was also the year of the havara agreement… and also one of the background motifs to the 5th aliya, including1) Why the core downtown/white city areas of Tel Aviv have a strong Bauhaus flavor2) Why hebrew university’s degree program is structured the way it is (it’s based on german universities)Also, ironically, this linkage and the same unclearness about the final solution as a plan and where and how it was going to be implemented is the reason the US got the nuclear bomb. Enrico Fermi left italy to save his wife, Laura Capon, who was Jewish, and his two children.

        1. Richard

          Racism has its roots dig into inferiority (Early Church Antisemitism)Hitler’s Antisemitism has its roots dug into the conspiracy of stopping Jewish power / domination (suggesting superiority of at least monetary / science / thought)Note that the modem antisemitism is similar to that of hitler.

          1. DJL

            So Rep. Omar Tlaib is like Hitler. Makes sense to me.

          2. ShanaC

            that’s not what I said

          3. ShanaC

            it’s shifting in some ways, staying the same in others.Early church antisemitism is highly specific depending on how early we are talking about because they have/had an authenticity issue around tanach.

        2. pointsnfigures

          Final solution….Nazi conference in 1941….I saw some drawings from it at the Chicago Art Institute at a special display they had featuring Russian propaganda posters…creepy as hell. Good thing it wasn’t final in sum, sad it was final for 6MM or more.

        3. jason wright

          “One of the reasons Judaism is seen as dangerous by antisemites is it is associated with cosmopolitanism and the development of ideas, because minority groups often come with new ideas.”Does this same principle account for perceived modern islamophobia? See ‘The Strange Death of Europe’ by Douglas Murray.

          1. ShanaC

            to this day the issue of cosmopolitanism and the development of ideas of urban still classically associated with antisemitism (variations of this message comes up in the letters involved in all the far right wing shootings on synagogues in the past few years) – that said, to some degree yes, because of issues involving migration of minority groups in general and the fact that they often like settling in cities, locii of the cosmopolitan. Cities are great enviroments to set up in relative anonymous comfort due to their size neighborhoods and communities of support where you can use your original language for first wave immigrants. Cities have infrastructure for importing obscure ingredients for your immigrant food, since you might not know how to cook the local cuisine yet. Cities have jobs, including ones where you might not need to know the local language when you arrive!!! Cities make it easier to transition, which is why cities have things like chinatowns and jewish neighborhoods, and italian neighborhoods, and now indian neighborhoods and somali neighborhoods and russian neighborhoods as immigrant waves have changed. But then your neighbors come visit and fuse with you.I have a friend who is writing one of the top pieces of fanfiction with a huge chunk of alt-history of vikings circa 1040 on ao3. There’s a black viking character due to intermarriages and the Varangians, who fought for the eastern roman empire before it fell. this is both historically accurate and tends to mildly freak people out, because how does that work. But people have always migrated, cultures have always mixed (sometimes friendily, and sometimes not). That’s ok. I don’t really feel like writing numbers with roman numerals when I add and my favorite food is still baked ziti (which if you think about it, is the ultimate fusion food). People really need to take a chill pi

  2. awaldstein

    I like the idea of ‘bearing witness’ as a responsibility. I am going to adopt this.If I could turn back time, I would speak to then elderly women who was a member of our synagogue as a young kid, who carried her tattooed number from Auschwitz on her arm.

    1. lisa hickey

      Yes, I really like the idea of ‘bearing witness’ as a responsibility. It is actually something that can be practiced every day. Seeing and calling out systemic injustice, supporting marginalized individuals and communities, and working to understand the moral complexities of our time are all things that can be woven into the fabric of our being.

      1. awaldstein

        Somewhere in here there is a relationship between this idea and gratitude and the reality that we can’t move forward without both.Was really struck that the theme for the Zoomtopia conference this year was just that–gratitude.Forcing that front and center in this huge tech event, supporting it with speakers, and a host of little things like no plastic anywhere, make me optimistic.

        1. lisa hickey

          I actually have mixed feelings about the word “gratitude”. I think it is being weaponized in a couple of ways:1) It’s weaponized when it’s used to minimize harm of catastrophic harm intentionally done to people: “Everyone can feel gratitude no matter what their circumstances. Look at Victor Frankel.” There should never be an implied reason why someone should feel gratitude about human rights abuses.2) It’s weaponized when it’s used to ignore privilege: “I’m grateful I was born in a zip code that helped me get good educational opportunities.”Don’t feel grateful about systems of privilege. Change the system.On the other hand, ‘no plastic anywhere’ at a huge tech event makes me happy. Bearing witness to abuses against our environment should be a no brainer. Thanks for sharing that.

          1. awaldstein

            My father rightly made me read Elie Wiesel as a young man and my sense of the meaning of that word, is from him.Gratitude as sustenance is something that works for me.tening.And I see quite a few companies adopting the UN’s SDG platform which is very heartening.

          2. lisa hickey

            To be clear — I am not in any way suggesting individual people shouldn’t *feel* gratitude if that is helpful for them—especially in order to survive. I am just pointing out that it is often used in our culture as a way of minimizing harm and making people feel guilty for fighting against their circumstances. It’s the weaponization of the word I have a problem with, not the individual feeling.

          3. awaldstein

            never thought of it that actually.false humble bragging certainly, weaponized not really.thanks.

          4. Girish Mehta

            What a great comment.”Don’t feel grateful about systems of privilege”.Great point.

          5. lisa hickey

            Thank you. I’m glad you see the importance of that statement. Being able to internalize that becomes a foundation for real change.

    2. ShanaC

      1) She might not have wanted to speak at the time. My grandfather who was in aushwitz and died earlier this year (we think in his late 90s) didn’t want to talk about it until his 80s. He spoke about it I think 3 times. Once to one of my cousins who he went on march with, once he recorded, and once for a school thing at the yeshiva that my cousins went to way within the past decade2) Speaking of recordings, lots of survivors did record. Many of them are in the public record https://collections.ushmm.o… (they also have other records available)

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks Shana.Trust you are well.

  3. Paul Brown

    Great post, Fred. I just recently returned from Ghana, where I led a group of students on a trip that included a trip to the Elmina Slave Castle on Ghana’s Cape Coast, where as many as 4 million Africans were “processed” as part of the Atlantic slave trade. I had similar feelings. Not fun, but necessary and important. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

  4. Sergei Shevlyagin

    Well said, I had the same feeling when I visited years ago and didn’t have the words to summarize my feelings. Your last paragraph is a succinct explanation. Thank you.

  5. Ushir Shah

    What a poignant post Fred. Back in 2002, I visited Dachau’s concentration camp during a backpacking trip through Europe, before marriage and before kids. It moved me to tears and since then, I’ve told countless people that visiting one of these places is so moving, and so important for all of us to do so we don’t forget. Once my kids are older, I plan to take them so they can “bear witness” as well.

  6. William Mougayar

    Doing what you did today is on the bucket list. Definitely.Being there and seeing for yourself takes it to another experience level that cannot be replaced.

    1. Vendita Auto

      Trust me it is sadly commercialise

      1. Richard

        There were many a hero to lift your spirits, one was Gino Bartali.

        1. Vendita Auto

          I am sure there were many thousands of unknowns who refused to serve none of which would IMO consider themselves hero’s

  7. Jim Chappell

    Fred, thanks for the post and comments. During a Yom Kippur dinner last week, our Israeli guests were commenting how profound the experience is in Poland. While we haven’t been there, it’s certainly deserving of our time.

  8. jason wright

    To me it’s always been a sense of the unbearable to witness such things. I’ve been to Munich several times, but i haven’t wanted to go to Dachau. It’s just too dark for me.Rene Girard lays it all out in his work on mimetic desire and the scapegoating mechanism. I think this is what happened in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.I very strongly recommend Girard’s Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World. It’s the most illuminating book i’ve ever read about the human species, culture and violence.

  9. sigmaalgebra

    I’ve seen lots of movies, documentaries, etc. I wouldn’t go there.I have tried to understand how such a thing, such things because broadly there are more examples than just from Hitler, could, did happen and ask if they could happen again.So, I got some of the more important books and read them. When I put down the last of those books, I guessed that, yes, such things could happen again. Well, apparently in Cambodia, they did. Maybe now in China they are.Hitler fairly directly killed millions of people. WWII killed 50 million, maybe 100 million people. How many people were killed in Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia while we were fighting there? Maybe millions. How many people died in the Iran-Iraq war? Some reports are millions. Stalin killed, Mao killed, total, well over 100 million?So, now we see a nice historical timeline from the big bang, quasars from very early supermassive black holes, supernovas and neutron stars making the elements of the periodic table, supermassive black holes directing the formation of galaxies, solar systems like ours forming from exploded stars, and starting about 5 billion years ago, about 1/3rd of the timeline, earth and … in a billion or two years, life.Then us: We haven’t changed much in 40,000 years, but we really started to understand with Newton. Then Maxwell, Einstein, Schroedinger, …. Then the timeline, the strong force, the weak force, the Higgs field, the standard model, chemistry, biochemistry, and our present situation.While we have a lot of questions left for just how God did it, we know a LOT, enough to be close to what God had in mind.And we are near the end of any interesting part of the timeline since in another 5 billion years or so nearly everything will be getting cold and dark.In simple terms, we are about it, about the most interesting there is and can be in this universe, the end, objective, goal, purpose that God had in mind.So, what “end” is that? That we kill a major fraction of ourselves? All this whole 14+ billion year timeline to the end that is us and where one of the main things we do is kill it off?Makes no sense.Apparently to have something reasonably good from that 14+ billion years we can’t count on just God’s system or Darwin’s but have to use our intelligence to FORM something better. Net, it’s up to us. The clock is ticking, for us and for the universe. Now we do God’s work or it doesn’t get done.

    1. Vendita Auto

      Who’s BS God are talking about

      1. sigmaalgebra

        The one that lit the match of the fuse that started the big bang.

    2. jason wright

      Roger Penrose may have a surprise for you.

  10. Vendita Auto

    Watched “The World At War” many times & sent copies to my grand children even if they never watch them it is a duty of care to continue watching the death camps to bear witness to what my species is capable of: Still upsets me:

  11. Mac

    A small business owner, in our South Carolina town, was one of the children who survived Auschwitz. You never saw him when he wasn’t smiling and offering you a welcome you would expect from an old friend. He was never seen in public without bright colored clothes and a vintage styled Gatsby hat to match. He greeted you with a broad grin and never acted as though he was a victim of anything. Maybe that was his way of “bearing witness” and dealing with the pain of such horrors. Clearly, he wasn’t going to let that experience define his life.

  12. Richard

    Now you can see first hand what complete fools the SQUAD are when trump they sell US policies as concentration camps, what complete fools each and every journalist are who referred to President Trump as Adolf Hitler. The dumbing down of America has worked.

  13. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Those who have not visited and consumed the following place of interests would find value in it.1. National Geographic Society located the Clotilda. (Look it up)2. National Museum of African American History and Culture Smithsonian 1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560 Ph. 1-844-750-3012 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum 6325 West Jefferson Avenue Detroit, Michigan 48209 [email protected]. National Memorial for Peace and Justice Montgomery, Alabamahttps://www.nationalgeograp…5. Badagry, Nigeria6. Benguela, Angola7. Luanda, Angola8. Cape Coast Castle, Ghana9. The Bunce Island Slave Castle, Sierra Leone10. Goree Island, Senegal11. The Republic of Cape Verde12. Ghana Slave Castles…13. http://slaveryandremembranc…Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENTANT

    1. pointsnfigures

      National World War Two Museum in New Orleans.

  14. JohnN

    Thank you for sharing, Fred. May be out of topic, but recently read a moving story about a newly promoted US Navy Real Admiral Huan Nguyen, a Vietnamese war refugee who bored witness to atrocities of war with all his immediate family massacred

  15. john

    Here is a clip from a lecture where the professor talks about imagining yourself as an Auschwitz guard.

  16. ShanaC

    I went on march – personally I was overexposed and knew too much what to expect by the time I got to Auschwitz-Birkenau.I found Majdanek much more of a shock, mostly because it was just as is minus the two memorials, one of which is a protected pile of ash. I laughed in fear because I couldn’t conceive how terrible yet mechanic people were. It took me years to understand why I laughed.Whatever your reaction is – it’s normal.

  17. Che

    Sadly, after many decades later, this is still happening around the world.(persecution of minorities)Sri Lanka and Myanmar are recent examples come to mind.Normally, people tend to think that some despot or certain elements in the power is the one responsible for such atrocities and ordinary citizens has nothing to do with that.It is far from the truth, the moderate voices in the majority population is silenced by the loud calls for the blood of the “others” by the rest. This eventually leads to the rise of strong authoritarian figure, who of-course defends and rescue the victimized majority community from the evil outsiders.

  18. pointsnfigures

    My friend Marc Rubin was there….as a teen. Got out, came to America. Joined the Army, fought in Korea. Became a ditch digger. Eventually, became one of the largest developers of real estate in CA. Built the Inland Empire. He’s an amazing man.When you are able to objectify people and turn them into objects, you can or will allow others to do unspeakable horrors to them.

  19. pointsnfigures

    If you get a chance, watch the video on Tibor Rubin. Met him a couple of times. Amazing guy. Passed away in 2015.… I am better for meeting him, and the world is better because of him.

  20. JLM

    .I first went to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the mid-1970s when I was in the Army on an exercise called Reforger which simulated the first wave of reinforcement to the American armies — we had three in Germany at the time — in the event of a Russian attack. I was focused on Fulda opposite the Fulda Gap, the main tank invasion route out of Czechoslovakia.An officer in my unit had had his family killed at Auschwitz and wanted to go to Poland to see the place. Nobody was game to do it, so I said, “What the Hell, I’ll go.” We were out of the field cleaning gear waiting for a ride back to the States after a couple of months.He figured we could go to Vienna and catch the train to Krakow. Of course, the Iron Curtain was in full force and we were both officers with TSBISCI-D clearances. In those days, you could travel around Europe with your GI ID card, but you could not go behind the Iron Curtain. We both had passports that didn’t identify us as officers.We did it and arrived on a cold, rainy day.It was not as cleaned up and “commercialized” as it is today. The Russians had left it intact. It was a little overgrown, but all of the places were there. A lot has been demolished since then, so maybe it was even more horrible.The Russians left entire blocks in East Berlin demolished until they pulled out to remind the Germans of what the Russians had done to them. I suspect that was their attitude at the time toward Auschwitz as well. Of course, it being in Poland and the local Poles having had no blame, made for an odd situation. A local guy took us around in an American Jeep and put us up in his barn.I remember not being able to draw a full breath as if there was an iron band around my chest. I remember standing there with this officer and watching him trying to imagine what was going on in his head. We sat on the edge of a foundation for an hour. He had his eyes closed. I recall sensing the presence of an unbelievable evil and the sheer magnitude of it. It was a factory of death.The entire encampment is more than 40 camps, death sites, ovens, subcamps. The place was enormous.I remember one other thing that speaks to the necessity to witness and speak of this evil. My father, battlefield commission in Italy in the infantry, had had to visit Auschwitz at the end of WWII. Eisenhower required all officers to visit the concentration camps so they could tell the story correctly. My father never spoke of it to me until much later in life after I had been there.I was very proud that my father had been one of the men who had killed those fucking Nazi bastards. It is not a noble thought. It is not up lifting. It was a raw, elemental, unrestrained, violent, repugnant thought. I told my Dad and he nodded at me and told me he felt the same. Every story that he eventually told me about fighting the Krauts in N Africa and Italy took on a new tone. I now knew who our enemies were and why.I was also proud that I was in the US Army and that my job was going to be the same thing. That I was going to kill people who did that kind of stuff. I was proud that America still trained men to do that dirty kind of work and if called upon I intended to do just that.I trained with Israeli commandos at a later time in Israel after the 1973 war when the Israelis came within a hair of losing except for Golda Meir getting Richard Nixon to send her tanks and ammunition. When I spoke to these commandos — less than two years removed from the fighting, some with recently healed scars — I remember one beer liberated night, the kind you can only have being around combat soldiers, hearing a young commando captain say, “The most dangerous thing in the world is a Jew with a gun in his hand.”The convo went on and I could sense the anger, the frustration, the hopelessness of these men whose relatives had been marched into the gas chambers. For the rest of time, I will remember that captain when I hear someone say, “Never again.” Israel will never allow the world to do to Jews what the Germans did.I don’t think we spoke on the train back. We had a huge shit storm when we crossed back into Austria that required a consular flunky to come fetch us. I was expecting a huge problem with the US Army because of my clearance, but my battalion commander was only concerned with whether I had had enough leave time and whether I signed out.The world needs to understand the sheer magnitude of the death factories that the Germans built to kill, often, their own countrymen. Anybody who compares anybody to Hitler or invokes the Nazis in a conversation needs to know what a horrible comparison that truly is.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Vendita Auto

      What happened is within all homo sapiens be it German or a – another doubt that evolving AI will change that, sadly it is not part of the educational curricula

    2. jason wright

      I’ve canoed the Fulda going north, getting out at Kassel. Beer and cheese, swans and midges. Far from the madding autobahn. I enjoyed it.

      1. JLM

        .The sausages. You forgot the sausages.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. jason wright

          I was a veggie at the time. Some people think i still am, even when they see me eating meat.

          1. JLM

            .No fear. I was not and ate your share in addition to mine.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. AlexSF

      https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Here’s someone who lost his entire family to the Nazis and fought with the partisans in the Polish forest against the Nazis, survived, made it to America where he built himself a successful life and wrote an amazing book about the entire experience. He’s still alive in the Bay Area and decidedly disagrees with you.…I too have been to Auschwitz nearly 20 years ago and felt the same way that you did. My family lineage goes back in Poland for 250 years and nearly the entirely family was killed during the Holocaust. The only reason my part of the family survived was that my grandfather saw the writing on the wall and fled to Russia in the 30s. Now I’m not comparing this administration to Nazis but still find it unfathomable how you personally could listen to the news every day and still support them. I’ll honestly never understand it and always come back to this quote.“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

      1. JLM

        .WTF does your comment have to do with my memory? It’s just a bullshit cheap shot.Of course you are comparing this admin to the Nazis — that’s the kind of hyperbolic thing that lefties do and pretend they are not doing it. There is plenty to criticize in an erudite manner without resorting to overblown, grandiloquent exaggeration.As I have said innumerable times, I like this admin’s policies.I like their policy on the border because I live in Texas and see it first hand. I like that they passed the First Step Act (something that four Presidents tried and failed at). I like their tax policy changes. I like their forcing our NATO countries to pay their fair share. I like their driving energy independence, unshackling from every fart some dictator makes in the Middle East. I like their picking up the can and not kicking it on N Korea, China, Venezuela, Cuba, and Russia. I like their reinvigoration of the military. I like their kicking the shit out of ISIS. I like their being able to be allies with both Israel and Saudi Arabia. I like their sanctioning the shit out of the largest exporter of terror in the world, Iran. I like that they have gotten pipelines built, offshore LNG ports built, and that they have cleared up drilling rights in the ANWR. I like that they withdrew from the Paris Accords, the TPP as much as I like that they entered into the USMCA as well as deals with Japan, Korea, the EU. I like that they call China cheats to their face,while being pragmatic to negotiate with the same cheating faces, and have not stood in the way of revealing China’s enormous atrocities to the Uyghurs and the harvesting of organs. I like that they put tariffs on Canadian softwoods lumber.I like POLICY. I don’t GAS about the cult of personality for or against President Donald J Trump — I have routinely called him the Chemotherapy President — but I do find it remarkable that a guy with absolutely no political experience was able to run a shoe string campaign, capture the message, re-invent how Twitter is used in politics, front up the media, outfox the establishment of both parties, the pundits, the chattering class, the media, and win the election. It is a remarkable story.I did not vote for him as Pope. I liked the guy’s policies. I still do.I am amazed at how he controls the real estate between the ears of every supposedly “thoughtful” person in America while supposedly being a complete moron.I like that he has been able to identify and foil the Deep State in all of its incarnations.Let’s disagree about policy and cut the crap about comparing him to Hitler and the Nazis, huh?Fight fair. Use your words. Use evidence and stop telling me how the fuck you’re feeling — cause nobody really cares.Be well.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…BTW, I bought the book. Looks like an inspiring read.

        1. AlexSF

          For someone who is such an amazing writer, your reading comprehension skills leave a lot to be desired. You are the one who brought up Nazis in an otherwise excellent post about your experience at Auschwitz – which I agreed with completely as I too was overcome with somberness when I went there myself. But you tried to take a shot at people who have compared this administration to Nazis and I was merely pointing out that there are people out there who have earned the right to speak their mind and be taken seriously who disagree with what you said. I figured that you would appreciate hearing the thoughts of someone who faced the worst that life could possibly give him, fought back heroically, came to SF with literally nothing and ended up one of the top real estate developers in Northern California. Especially since he disagreed with you as I know you always enjoy having ideas battle in the public forum. His ideas are that this administration reminds him a lot of Nazis and hates the border policy which you admire.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Now I don’t live in Texas so can’t comment on your experience living there but Will Hurd does represent the areas of the Texas/Mexico border and he’s not a fan of the policies unless you consider him a part of the left too. If you read my previous comments to you carefully, you’d remember that I’m a registered R and didn’t vote for Obama. You try being a R in SF and let me know how it goes for you? I don’t know you personally but feel pretty confident saying I’ve probably lost more friends than you have to arguments about politics so stop trying to dismissively lump anyone who disagrees with you as someone from the left. Defenders of this presidency do not have a monopoly on patriotism. Tom Nichols is right, for supposedly being tough guys, defenders of this administration sure do whine and complain a lot.…My issues with this administration are purely policy based. I am completely against their fiscal policy of massive deficits and especially their foreign policy of sucking up to dictators while pushing away their allies. And I can’t stand the wanton corruption and incessant lying that has permuated through the entire party every single day. All politicians stretch the truth but these guys just make stuff up whole cloth, it’s not even close to being true. I don’t like their border policy and as an immigrant, find the demagoguing of immigrants disgusting. And personally find how they’ve split the country even more apart for political gain deplorable. I could give you plenty more examples but need to get my Sunday started.Hope you have a great Sunday too!

          1. JLM

            .”But you tried to take a shot at people who have compared this administration to Nazis ….. “What I said: “Anybody who compares anybody to Hitler or invokes the Nazis in a conversation needs to know what a horrible comparison that truly is.”I purposely stated my objection in a general term as I meant it that way. The comparison to Hitler and the Nazis in any context is repugnant. I never mentioned the administration, politics, or any specific application. That was not by accident.When you attempt to lay out policy objections, you list things that are not policies — “demagoging of immigrants” is not a policy. Funding the border wall is a policy issue.Will Hurd would not have been re-elected if he had decided to run. I don’t agree with him on a number of things. I am not a knee jerk supporter of anyone just because one perceives I should be defined by a party affiliation.I vote for a good number of Republicans because I like them as candidates and I like their policies. I also embrace a great number of policies that are clearly “not” Republican.As an example, I am in favor of universal health care and universal education. Where I differ from some other advocates is how these benefits are funded, paid for, and delivered.I am also in favor of universal service — everybody giving 2-3 years to the country after high school or after college. I wrote about that here: https://themusingsofthebigr… [I pretended it was Andy Yang’s idea, but it was not. It sort of sounded like a Yang idea, no?]You have a damn nice Sunday. It’s lovely here in Austin By God Texas and I just sent My Perfect Granddaughter home to Savannah.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  21. DJL

    I hope this highlights the absurdity of modern political rhetoric referring to Trump (or anyone) as a “Nazi.” To put anything the US or one of its leaders does on par with the horrors of Nazi Germany is beyond ignorant. To me it is a total insult to the Jewish people and what they endured.Calling anyone you disagree with a Nazi is a sickening, uneducated, lazy cop-out.