Rewriting History

From the lighthearted to the truly tragic.

While it’s a stretch for me to pass along the following news story, I find myself needing a forum in which to comment. I hope it doesn’t bend the self-imposed strictures I’ve been formulating for this blog as it begins to take shape. But if ever there was a time to test the rules, this is it, if only to remind me where the limits I will be implementing lie.

Comedy, tragedy and history — these are the typical Shakespearean categories. Yet there are those who deliberately set out to deny history, to debauch comedy, and to trivialize tragedy. If Shakespeare was greatly responsible for inventing our notion of the modern human, as Harold Bloom insists, what are we to make of those who attempt to subvert the documented past of who we were and have been?

It’s getting harder and harder to separate fact from fiction in our spin/no-spin zones. What is this world coming to? Is it not horrifying enough that so-called civilized people can commit such atrocities?

I’m not sure which is worse — that this was a deliberate attempt to obliterate the historical record — to deny the past — or to steal a public memorial to a genocide of epic proportions, a relic to a receding black hole of human intolerance, for somebody’s private collection?

From the Times Online (a brief quote, and link):

The slickly organised theft of one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust sent a wave of outrage around the world yesterday.

The sign that hung over the gates of Auschwitz extermination camp, where more than a million people died during the Second World War, was stolen in minutes. Polish police suspect that the culprits were either neo-Nazis or acting on behalf of collectors or a group of individuals.

The slogan wrought in iron, Arbeit Macht Frei (“Work sets you free”), was the cynical welcome to those entering the camp in the 1940s. One million of the 1.1 million people who died at Auschwitz were Jewish.

The theft in the early hours of yesterday was seen as an attempt by right-wing extremists to muddy the narrative of the Holocaust.

MORE: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6962317.ece

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