Before all the old Nazis die, let them bear witness

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionOskar Groening, a former Nazi, is going to jail in Germany at age 96.Tony Hovater, 29, a current Nazi sympathizer, has lost his job in the U.S. after being profiled by the New York Times. “Certain aspects of the war years were discussed in the media, invoked by politicians, and portrayed in popular culture.“But when Europeans did mark the past, they did so in self-centered, rather than ‘other’-centered, ways that enabled them to focus on their own suffering and evade a sense of guilt for the suffering of others.“This practice entailed a delicate balancing act, of course, and because of the past’s acute sensitivity, most Europeans simply preferred to focus on the present and future.”Then Groening met a Holocaust denier at his stamp collectors’ club in 1985.He was shocked: He’d seen with his own eyes what the man was refusing to acknowledge.He started writing down what he remembered, and giving it to people to read. People read and were afraid to ask questions.He talked to journalists. The weekly Der Spiegel published an exemplary profile of him in 2005. Though I grew up in a country, the Soviet Union, that was among the victors of World War II, and plenty of those who fought in it were alive when I grew up, it was hard to get substantive stories out of them.What scholars call “unmastered pasts” were as hard on victors as on the defeated.Perspectives outside the approved mainstream were precious; old people guarded their pasts from anyone who might hasten to condemn them or brush aside what they had seen and done.Now, even the luxury of trying to wheedle the stories out of them is largely gone. Truth is about your choice of books. I guess that’s normal, though it certainly isn’t optimal.Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist and founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Anyone on a genuine search for truth should have access to him so he can answer questions from those who didn’t trust mainstream media as conduits.Perhaps the courts should have ordered his oral history recorded and used in schools.Of course, not everyone wants the truth.Last month, a German court sentenced Ursula Haverbeck, 88, to six months in prison for denying the Holocaust.She wasn’t old enough to understand what she witnessed in the 1940s, but plenty old enough to seek out people with Groening’s experience.It’s hard to give someone like Haverbeck the benefit of the doubt.I still want to give it to people like Hovater; I want to think he says the Holocaust is “overblown” because he never got a chance to ask Groening a question. Hovater ended up with books like “The War Path” by British Holocaust denier David Irving, photographed by the New York Times on his bookshelf.He should have ended up talking to someone like Groening.Growing up with a nationalist father between the wars, it was natural for Groening to fall into the Nazi movement.At 19 he volunteered for the SS and for two years served at Auschwitz.He didn’t kill anyone there — that is now clear after an extensive investigation and a trial; he worked as a bookkeeper, counting the money confiscated from the Jews who were brought to the camp and preparing it to be sent off to Berlin.He also stood guard as new arrivals were herded from trains to barracks.He saw a baby’s head being smashed against a truck. He saw a gassing.center_img With its many mundane details and matter-of-fact tone, it was a lot like what Fausset wrote of Hovater.But the writer, Mathias Geyer, wasn’t accused of “normalizing” Nazism because Groening — reluctant as he was to admit his own guilt as a mere “small cog in the machine” — wasn’t interested in normalizing what he saw or did.By talking in response to claims that the Holocaust was a lie, he opened himself up to prosecution.He was sentenced to four years in 2015 as an accomplice to the murder of 300,000 people. This week, a court decided he was fit to start serving the term.AVOID NORMALIZING ITIt’s important to German justice not to normalize his experience, given the rise of the right in Germany in recent years.But he was arguably more use to the world when he was talking freely, denying the deniers.He was a credible witness to those who didn’t believe Holocaust survivors. He knows the story from the other side. It’s a shame the two will never meet or even talk via Skype.After the profile ran, reporter Richard Fausset admitted the existence of a “hole at the heart” of the story.He couldn’t understand how Hovater’s radicalization occurred.Behind this incomprehension lurked another question: How can one be positive about Hitler in 2017?One reason an independent-minded person can turn into a Nazi these days is that there are so few living ex-Nazis left — and that they seldom talked freely while they were still around.A CHANCE TO ENLIGHTENIf one’s life experience leaves a deep mistrust of mainstream narratives, which is far from uncommon, alternatives start to look appealing.But for people of Hovater’s generation trying to figure out the past on their own, it’s hard to find one that’s as real and tangible as the experiences that set off the quest. He asked repeatedly for a transfer and was denied, then finally was sent to the front.Then something happened that essentially made it possible for people like Hovater to become Nazi sympathizers in the 21st century.After coming back from a British POW camp in 1948, Groening told his wife not to ask questions.She didn’t, and neither did their children.Groening didn’t read or watch films about Auschwitz: He didn’t need to.BURYING THE HORRORSPeople like him — and especially those who actually killed — talked only when forced to testify, and then they were fighting for survival, not really telling the story.“After 1945, the memories of these experiences were so emotionally painful at the personal level that most Europeans simply preferred to avoid recalling the past altogether,” historian Gavriel Rosenfeld wrote.last_img read more

Explain how tossing candy is respectful

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion At the Galway memorial Day parade, the Galway Fire Department showed this community the true meaning of Memorial Day as they solemnly marched through the village, eyes straight ahead, while some of the other groups threw out candy to the spectators.After stopping on their way at a huge flag, which they hung over Route 147, the firefighters stood at attention while resident Glenn Babcock, fully dressed in appropriate Scottish attire in keeping with Galway’s heritage, played “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes. It was truly a very moving moment. They didn’t have to throw candy to gain the respect of the spectators. They then moved on, as did the entire parade, to the Memorial Circle at the Galway High School for a nice memorial service.I’m confused. Can someone please explain to me how throwing candy during a Memorial Day parade shows respect to those who gave their lives for our freedom?Thank you, Galway Fire Department.Phyllis SleeperGalwayMore from The Daily Gazette:Police: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Dixons uses the carrot approach to disposals

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The sub-six pack

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Ask secures insurer at 53,000 sq ft Manc scheme

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Xi speaks with Jokowi over phone, says China will ‘win’ battle against coronavirus

first_imgXi also conveyed his appreciation for the trust and understanding extended by his Indonesian colleagues, saying that his recent conversation with Jokowi was a reflection of the robust bilateral relationship between China and Indonesia as comprehensive strategic partners.Jokowi reportedly expressed his sympathies to China on behalf of Indonesia during the phone call.COVID-19, linked to a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected more than 45,000 people since it was first reported early this year with a death toll of more than 1,100 people as of Wednesday.The Indonesian government has imposed a travel ban to and from mainland China since Feb. 5 as well as temporary halt in live animal imports from the country in an effort to prevent the deadly virus from spreading to the archipelago .However, Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian objected to the travel ban as he claimed such a move would likely have a negative impact on the global economy.“In this situation, we need to be calm. Don’t overreact and cause a negative impact on investment and the economy,” he told reporters last week.As of Wednesday, there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.(rfa)Topics : Chinese President Xi Jinping told  President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo that the Chinese government was confident it would “win” the battle against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a phone call on Tuesday night.As reported by Xinhua news agency, Xi said containing the outbreak was the government’s top priority, as evidenced by its commitment to implementing “the most rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures”. #BREAKING: Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks over phone with his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo, expressing confidence in a full victory in the fight against the novel #coronavirus pneumonia epidemic and achieving goals and tasks of economic and social development— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) February 11, 2020He went on to say that China would continue to bolster its cooperation on the mitigation of the deadly viral outbreak with Indonesia and other countries to ensure public health safety.last_img read more

Corona beer takes a hit from coronavirus as brand image suffers

first_imgTopics : Corona, which derives its name from the Sun’s corona and has nothing to do with the virus, is the third-most popular beer in the US, according to YouGov rankings. Guinness is first and Heineken is second.Another reason for the drop in purchase intent could be the perception of Corona as a summer beverage associated with beach holidays, YouGov business data journalist Graeme Bruce wrote in an article published Wednesday. It therefore has substantial seasonal fluctuations, he said. The novel coronavirus has an unlikely victim — one of the world’s most popular beers.Corona has become the subject of memes and videos shared on social media as the toll from the virus climbs worldwide. Reports of an increase in online searches for “corona beer virus” and “beer coronavirus” show the Mexican beer hasn’t been able to escape the association. The so-called purchase intent among adults in the US has plunged to the lowest in two years, according to data from YouGov Plc.The damage has become more severe in recent days as infections spread. Shares of Corona-maker Constellation Brands Inc. dived 8% this week in New York. Corona’s buzz score — which tracks whether American adults aware of the brand have heard positive or negative things about it — has tumbled to 51 from a high of 75 at the beginning of the year, YouGov said.last_img read more

Archeologists call for preservation of ancient structure found in Kediri airport site

first_imgHe said the opening at the bottom was probably a water outlet of an underground water system that supported the hot spring.  “The kingdom of Kediri had a number of underground water systems,” he said. The structure’s proximity to other heritage sites on the slopes of Mount Klotok also indicated it was of the same origin, he said. ”There are four hermitage caves and a temple on Mount Klotok, which are all from the time of the Kediri kingdom,” he said. Nugroho added that construction workers had also recently found ancient clay housewares around a kilometer from the structure Archeologist Dwi Cahyono from state-run Malang University agreed with Nugroho, saying that the structure could be an important Javanese heritage site that needed to be preserved. “The ancient structure could be a special site within the airport that passengers could look at it,” he told the Post. Gudang Garam, through its subsidiary Surya Dhoho Investama, is set to spend around Rp 10 trillion (US$732.4 million) to build the airport, including the acquisition of around 400 hectares of land.The airport, the construction of which is being fully funded by the company, is expected to be bigger than the Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport in Malang and accommodate around 5 million passengers per year.Once completed, it will have a 3,000 meter by 45 m runway that will be able to accommodate a wide range of aircraft, from Boeing B777s to Airbus A350s, as well as a passenger terminal, cargo terminal and parking area.The ancient structure is located just 700 meters from Bedrek hamlet, where some 20 households have yet to agree to the compensation offered by Gudang Garam. “We just want a fair compensation so that we can buy land and build houses with similar proximity and access to public facilities,” said Anis, one of the Bedrek villagers.The airport’s official groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-April. Topics : Archeologists have called for the preservation of an ancient brick structure recently found in Kediri, East Java, in an area set to be developed into a new airport funded by major cigarette producer Gudang Garam. “We have to protect the site where some parts of an ancient structure or building have been discovered,” archeologist Nugroho Harjo Lukito from the East Java Cultural Heritage Preservation Center told The Jakarta Post recently. “We will talk to Gudang Garam because we are going to carry out an initial excavation to determine the size of the ancient structure.”He said Gudang Garam would have to adjust its airport site plan because the cultural heritage site was located within the airport area.  The structure was first reported by Jasmin, 55, a resident of Grogol village, Grogol district, who accidentally discovered the structure a few months ago as he was walking along a riverbank near rice fields that had been acquired by Gudang Garam. He slipped and fell into the river and saw a structure made of bricks measuring around 2 meters high with a small opening at the bottom. “The structure was covered by thick bushes. I forgot the pain in my legs and tried to take a closer look,” Jasmin told the Post, adding that he immediately went to see the village head to tell him about what he had just seen. Nugroho said the structure might be part of a hot spring bath built during the time of the Hindu kingdom of Kediri between 11th and 13th centuries. last_img read more

LIPI biology center identifies 12 Indonesian trees facing extinction

first_imgPriority II species are highly endangered and need urgent conservation efforts. Their geographic range crosses several islands, but exist only in limited areas and have a small population. Trees in this category include the damar mata kucing or white meranti (Shorea javanica) and the Sumatra camphor (Dryobalanops sumatrensis).”Efforts have been made to cultivate them, but not enough to restore a stable population [in the wild],” said Kusumadewi.Priority III species have a broad geographic range, but are threatened with extinction and require conservation efforts. The trees in this category include the ulin or Bornean ironwood (Eusideroxylon zwageri), mersawa daun lebar or maseger (Anisoptera costata), tengkawang or light red meranti (Shorea pinanga), durian karantongan (Durio oxleyanus), red-fleshed durian (Durio graveolens) and saninten (Castanopsis argentea).Many of these species also appear on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.Conservation EffortsKusumadewi said that relevant stakeholders had made a variety of conservation efforts to save these endemic tree species, including on-site (in-situ) conservation and community-based agroforestry to ensure sustainable harvesting practices.She added that off-site (ex-situ) conservation had also been implemented, including setting up tree nurseries and relocating them for planting in areas outside their natural habitat, such as botanical gardens, arboretums and reclaimed land. (aly)Topics : At least 12 endemic species of trees in the country are threatened with extinction, a researcher at the Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Research Center for Biology has said.Researcher Kusumadewi Sri Yulianti said that primary forests originally covered almost 64 percent of land in the archipelago, but forest coverage continued to shrink as a result of land conversion, natural resource exploitation and global climate change, among other reasons.”Such conditions certainly threaten the preservation of forests, as well as various tree species,” Kusumadewi said as quoted by on Tuesday. Of the country’s many endemic trees, 12 rare species are listed as endangered in the Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (SRAK) of the Environment and Forestry Ministry.Tree species are designated as “rare” based on four criteria – scarcity, level of threat, benefits and value, and level of conservation action – and are placed in three priority categories.Priority I species are critically endangered and demand immediate conservation efforts. The endemic tree species in this category have an extremely limited geographic range and minimal population, and are threatened with extinction. Trees designated as Priority I conservation species include the plahar Nusakambangan (Dipterocarpus littoralis), lagan bras (Dipterocarpus cinereus), the resak Banten (Vatica bantamensis), and resak Brebes (Vatica javanica subsp. Javanica).last_img read more

Brazil’s Bolsonaro tests negative for coronavirus

first_img“Don’t believe in the fake news media!” he wrote.Media reports said earlier that Bolsonaro had tested positive for coronavirus and was awaiting the results of a second test to confirm.Bolsonaro, who had previously called coronavirus fears “overblown,” was left in a delicate position Thursday by news that his communications chief, Fabio Wajngarten, had tested positive for COVID-19.The test result came after a trip to the United States during which both Bolsonaro and Wajngarten met Saturday with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and a slate of other top US officials. Topics : Wearing a face mask, Bolsonaro said in a video address Thursday night that he would know “in the next few hours” whether or not he was infected with the virus that has caused a global pandemic.He cancelled a scheduled trip to northeastern Brazil on Thursday and had no events on his agenda Friday.He took his test result as a personal victory.The image he chose to accompany his Facebook post neatly summed up the provocative persona of a president, who has been dubbed the “Tropical Trump.”Bolsonaro, a former army captain who is openly nostalgic for Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985), has repeatedly made the arm gesture — widely known as an “F-U,” “Italian salute,” “Iberian slap,” “bras d’honneur” or, in Brazil, “banana” — at journalists, accusing the media of being biased against him.center_img Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday he had tested negative for the new coronavirus, after a scare over a trip on which at least one infected member of his staff rubbed shoulders with Donald Trump.”The Armed Forces Hospital and [diagnostic laboratory] Sabin have returned a negative test result for COVID-19 for the President of the Republic Jair Bolsonaro,” said a post on the far-right leader’s Facebook page.It was accompanied by a picture of Bolsonaro flashing an obscene arm gesture at the press.last_img read more