Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 248
June 2, 1997

"Never Again"


I was stunned and, although the details have left my consciousness, twenty-five years later the stark horror remains vivid. The book "Babi Yar" told of a ravine in the Soviet Union into which over one hundred thousand Russians--Jews and non-Jews--were machine-gunned and covered over.

That book made the enormity of the Holocaust descend on me. The sermon which followed spoke of my incomprehensibility and my outrage. Yet, this year's Holocaust remembrance, instead of evoking that outrage, left me strangely unsettled. I have followed that disquietude to its source.

I find that today's Holocaust remembrances make suffering solely a Jewish experience. It is estimated that twelve to fourteen million people died in the extermination camps (how obscene it is to write so casually of two million people--more or less). In remembering the 6,000,000 Jews why is no mention made of the millions of others who died? Not just Jews, but also Gypsies and homosexuals were targeted for total extermination. Do we not grieve for them? I once read that 85% of Polish Roman Catholic priests perished in the camps. The numbers are comparatively minuscule, but the percentage is truly horrific. Why no mention of them?

When "the final solution" was being discussed among the Nazi leadership in the late 1930's, someone said that the world would not tolerate it. Hitler replied, "What did the world do about the Armenians?" What has the world done about the Armenians? And what about East Timor, Bosnia and Rwanda? Such blood and death make thin the cry coming forth from Holocaust remembrances--"Never again!"

Recent admissions of the torture of prisoners by Israelis, justified to stop terrorism, make that nation more like, than unlike, many other nations in this world. The bloodletting continues.

One person wrote, "The Holocaust ... has also become a metaphor for our century. There cannot be an end to speaking and writing about it." That is as it should be. Holocaust exclusivity, though, diminishes the full evil.


--Robert H. Tucker
2 June 1997


© Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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