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Beginning to remember the other holocaust

By Bruce Walker
web posted April 4, 2005

Americans will soon again be called to remember, as they are every year, one of the worst crimes in the Twentieth Century: the Holocaust, HaShoah, that part of Nazi genocide and democide which caused the calculated murder of six million innocent Jewish men, women and children in ways monstrous ways difficult for normal human beings to fully grasp.

Although some might ask why America has created a Holocaust Memorial and why Americans are called upon to recognize that half of Nazi democide which involved Jews, there are good reasons. Focusing attention on Jewish suffering in the Second World War helped found the State of Israel and helped keep America strongly behind Israel in its half century struggle to survive.

Jews at the end of the Second World War were in a different situation than other victims of Nazi savagery. Nazis murdered one quarter of the entire Czech population - a mind numbing figure - but there was a Czechoslovakia after the war ended. Nazis murdered many millions of Christian Poles, but there was a Poland after the war.

Jews had no such homeland. What were Jews to do? Stay in lands soaked by the blood of their children and parents in HaShoah? No, recognition of what is commonly called “the Holocaust” was essential in 1948 and it remains important today.

But it is much less important today to remember the six million murdered Jews or even the six million non-Jews murdered by the Nazis sixty years ago than it is for Americans and for America to begin to remember the one hundred million victims of Communism in the Twentieth Century. Why?

Because only those who study history and who care about history truly appreciate the vastness of this forgotten democide. It is a searing indictment of the lax, smug Leftism of Hollywood that the Gulag, through whose horrific camps more than seventy million men, women and - yes - children has been utterly ignored. There is no “Schindler’s List” or The Diary of Anne Frank or The Hiding Place which chronicles the unimaginable suffering of these tens of millions.

Because America is the conscience of the world. Why did America feel compelled to create a Holocaust Memorial? America, after all, loathed Nazism from the beginning. Communists helped Nazis for the first two years of the Second World War. While America was providing Lend Lease to Britain, the Soviet Union was sending vast amounts of raw materials to the Third Reich. If America does not begin to remember the Other Holocaust, then no one else will.

Because America, which has rightly determined to remember a holocaust in which its hands were clean, has determined not to remember another greater holocaust for which it had some indirect complicity. While the Red Army fought the Great Patriotic War (the Second World War), the Soviets continued to fill the Gulag with men, women and children, traveling the same black, hopeless crammed cattle car road to slow death that Jewish men, women and children sent in other crammed cattle cars.

America, while this was happening, provided enormous material support to this regime for the reasonable purpose of ending the Nazi regime, but if the American government could have stopped the Holocaust, as some alleged, by bombing the railroads leading into Auschwitz, then how much more easily could America have even prevented the murder of millions by our Soviet ally, which depended upon vast amounts of American support simply to survive?

During the Cold War, the Gulag continued to be filled with Zeks and the children of Zeks, whose mortality rate was about fifty percent per year, well into the 1980. Those who formed opinion and images in America during these decades - Leftists - ignored then and ignore today the greatest mass murder in human history - the one hundred million Ukrainian, Tibetan, Polish, Korean, Russian, Khmer, Rumanian and Chinese victims of communism.

America must begin to remember the Other Holocaust. Communism, unlike Nazism, is not dead. Putin today dips his toe into the water to see if the Cold War against communism is still cold. The Korean Hitler has created a Treblinka that dwarfs Treblinka. China ponders Tiananmen Square wonders whether the genocide of Tibet, much more recent than HaShoah, is still treated as nothing.

The ghost of Hitler is dead, but the ghost of Stalin is not. What better time for Americans and their government to recall these than when we remember their dead brothers and sisters in Nazi death camps? If we do not begin to remember the Gulag and the Killing Fields and Tibet and the vast apparatus of communist democide, then it is inevitable that we can and we will forget HaShoah.

Bruce Walker is a contributing editor with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.

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  • How many did communist regimes murder? By R.J. Rummel (May 1998)
    Political science professor R.J. Rummel adds up the victims of the greatest genocide of the 20th Century: The war on human life by communism
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