Gone Away: To Germany & Austria – 5: Unique Holocaust Museum & Memorial
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Gone Away: To Germany & Austria – 5: Unique Holocaust Museum & Memorial

[Continued from Oct. 16]

“There is a great proverb, that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

— Chinua Achebe, Nigerian novelist

Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer, was a courageous man. He did not hide himself like Saddam Hussein of Iraq in a hole nor did he run away to Argentina or some friendly country seeking refuge like some of his collaborators. He killed himself, not to suffer a public humiliation like his ally Benito Mussolini, the Duce, who was hung upside down in a public square in Rome.

I have heard, in defeat defiance — it was Hitler. In victory forgiveness. All Hindu kings had this “Yuddha Dharma” (ethics of war) and needless to say they paid the price. One of the reasons for Muslim occupations and rule in different parts of India for nearly 600 years is just the failure of Hindu Kings to liquidate the defeated enemies.

In retrospect, one could even say if America had not entered the war and dropped the atom bomb over two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I guess the historians might have had to write a different kind of history of World War II and also of India with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as the President or Prime Minister of free India. Of course, this is the big “Ifs and Buts” of history. Which is why, I quoted the great proverb prevalent in Nigeria. Let it be.

Hitler’s Bunker and Chancellery: On 16.10.2017 I had written about Hitler’s Bunker in Berlin. Germans seem to feel deeply disturbed for the crimes against Jews that they have obliterated almost all the buildings and structures connected with Hitler except for the Reichstag (Parliament) building. This picture is of the place where Hitler’s Chancellery and the Bunker stood, now beyond a trace of recognition. Visitors read an information board displayed there and go.

At 5.30 pm sharp, our guide Tom, who has by now become my friend, bid goodbye with a hug after narrating the last part of his biography confessing that he was and is a gay and also an artist — painter. I was pleased with his honesty and wondered how every smiling person has his hard days, long journey, not knowing where he will be tomorrow. And yet, to be positive about the future is all that matters for living. Otherwise, it is like being more dead than alive. With apologies to Swami Vivekananda.

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No wonder, when I sought a picture with him for my album, he readily agreed and pecked my forehead (see pic). Later, there was a scandalous laughter among my people. For obvious reasons.

In the earlier episode though I had written about Hitler’s Bunker and his end, I could not publish the picture for want of space. I publish one here.

The following day, having got the Bethala of a guide from behind our back, we decided to find our own way. We called for a taxi and soon we discovered the driver was a Muslim, not from the colour of his skin. He was as fair skinned as any local German. Apparently, he was from Turkey and a devout Muslim who flaunted his religion rather brazenly — a beard and a rosary, prayer beads, in the right hand with rings having religious symbols on his fingers. Wondered how he could count the prayer beads and drive. GoK.

Field of Stelae: Holocaust Memorial at Berlin. Picture right shows the depth of the criss-crossing passages running in horizontal and perpendicular order.

We took a drop at the Holocaust Museum and the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe — a unique Memorial known as Field of Stelae (an upright stone slab, see pic). It is like a maze. There are 13 pathways which are wheelchair-accessible. The books, literature, cinemas about Holocaust and the persecution of Jews during Hitler’s rule were mostly written and produced by Jews, a race very intelligent and creative. Naturally, there could be exaggeration, I thought. However, after visiting Dachau in Munich I changed my opinion. About it later.

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The World War II and the German Government’s conduct towards its own citizens under Hitler, specially the minorities — Jews, Sintas and Roma — and the way they were persecuted should be a lesson to all the Governments all over the world. I was wondering why in Hitler’s scheme of persecuting the minorities Muslims were not mentioned. Could be, their number was minuscule and presence negligible. Could be also for the reason Turkey remained (wisely) neutral between both the Axis and the Allies until it saw victory for Allies and (again wisely) joined the Allies in February 1945, just before the war ended. Good. May be, that is the reason Muslims don’t figure in the evil design of Hitler like what he did to the Jews.

Jews were persecuted in every way possible, apart from Hitler’s “final solution” for Jewish problem (if it was a problem at all). For example, from 1st April 1933 Jewish shops should not be entered by Germans by race. Hitler’s private force called SA would put up posters: “Germans do not buy from Jews.” Or “Germans buy only  at German shops.” Germans abroad were also asked to boycott Jewish shops. The Jewish manufacturing companies were also threatened. However, bread is more important for a human being than pride. The campaign was stopped when it was found people did not take part in the boycott.

In the evening, we saw a musical entertainment show at the theatre close to our hotel which was sans creativity, only sound and colour.

[To be continued]

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October 26, 2017

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Gone Away: To Germany & Austria – 5: Unique Holocaust Museum & Memorial”

  1. theskywalker says:

    Hitler was a courageous man and followed the Yuddha Dharma? What a twisted logic! He hid inside a bunker, deluded and becoming a raving maniac oblivious of the defeat he was facing from the Allied and Red armies, and surrounded himself with Yes men who told him lies just to ensure that he heard what he wanted to hear. He sent so many brave German soldiers-many of them were not Nazis, to die for a pathetic cause of mere expansionism of his rule and subjugating neighbouring countries under his Iron thumb.
    Saddam Hussein was hiding in a hole in the ground in his native town,-not dissimilar approach although Saddam’s hole was not a fortified bunker.
    If one wants to quote Yuddha Dharma, one should be ready to say that for warriors or the king s or the leaders of an empire, the best death is in the battlefield-when they come out and fight the enerny; in the case of Hitler, fighting the advancing enemies-Red army and Allied army, in Berlin and die in the scarred last battlefield of Berlin, not shooting oneself to death, a suicide, a cowardly act, that you cannot read in Hindu great war stories of Ramayana or Mahabharatha. I do not think there is much to choose between Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein in terms of cowardice. Both were not brave generals-Hitler was a lowly corporal who usurped power and Saddam too was a minor officer in the army ( and leader of a bunch of miscreants).
    Saddam Hussein faced a trial-although some kind of Kangaroo court. Where as Hitler knew if captured, he will be put on a proper trial in a properly constituted court, and tried according to the international laws. He know he would be made to justify his actions including his responsibilities in the Holocaust-a despicable act. He left his cabal members who lived with him in that bunker just to do that. Some strange Yuddha Dhrama indeed!!

  2. Thethreewisemen says:

    The Fuhrer was courageous says this article’s author, who should look int the meaning of courage, and should read the account of Mahabharata war, particularly how Abhimanyu fought in that war for example. As the poster above comments, hiding in a bunker underground , shutting oneself from the realities outside-of how the war was going and how his soldiers were dying in thousands , and coming out to lead a battalion to confront the enemy, was not the mark of a courageous leader. His field marshals, most of them were very proud and brace Prussian soldiers fought not for him but for Germany in WWII. One of them used to refer to Hitler as ” that corporal hiding in that hole in Berlin”. No where in WWII history Hitler was referred to as courageous, that was not to Germans soldiers were not courageous-they were, most of them were not Nazis, like my first boss in my company in 1960s, who later became a brilliant engineer, but who in 1940, was an ace fighter pilot in Luftwaffe-the Germany Air force. He was indeed brave. He too used to ridicule Hitler as the coward hiding in a bunker.

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