Monday, September 28, 2009

A Century of Horrors ( a book report)

Communism, Nazism, and the uniqueness of the Shoah
By Alain Besancon

This is a very short book, only 94 pages. It was originally published in French in 1998. The English translation was published in 2007.
There were several purposes. The first was to bring to light the carnage inflicted on innocent people during this century. The second to point out how readily we understand the Nazi slaughter but know so little about what happened in Russia and China under Communism and third the definition of the word Shoah.
His claim is that the number killed under Communism ranged from 85 to over 100 million. While the millions killed by Germany have been well documented, those under Communism are clouded in mystery as the borders were sealed and there doesn’t seem to have been concern on the part of the Western countries to find out and perhaps stop it. It has always been the case that a tragedy to a person or even in the case of the World Trade Center where over 3,000 died is deemed of great importance but when the number is in multiple millions the human mind is not capable of grasping the enormity of it. These were not only Jews but also other ethnic groups.
A large part is devoted to the ongoing hatred of those of the Jewish faith. We see it today with the leader of Iran threatening to wipe out all in the State of Israel. There are deep references to religion in general with specific emphasis on the ‘chosen” people and their part in the crucifixion of Jesus.
Shoah is the word the Jewish community prefers as compared to holocaust. Holocaust indicates sacrifice. Shoah means catastrophe which they feel is more appropriate to describe the senseless paroxysm of evil that occurred.
This is not light reading. In my mind hatred between people’s and religions is ongoing. It can only end in complete tragedy for all mankind. That is the conclusion I reached after reading. How tragic that we cannot accept all people as equals.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 28, 2009

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