First my apologies, this post could be triggering for some. I thought a long time before writing this as I did not want to put anything out there that could cause distress but in the end felt this topic needed to be addressed - particularly with recent events.
The voice on the tapes is chilling. Not in the classic sense as in a horror film but in its banality. It’s cold matter of fact delivery.
“Jews who are fit to work should be sent to work. Jews who are not fit to work must be sent to the Final Solution, period.”
That was among the many statements said on tape by Adolf Eichmann one of the Nazi architects of the Holocaust. Eichmann was taped in a series of interviews by a Nazi sympathizer and journalist while in hiding in Argentina after WWII. Eichmann wanted his role recorded for history and released after he died. The tapes were held by a private collector and only recently released for use in a documentary “The Devil’s Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tapes”.
Only transcripts of the tapes were previously available as an outcome of Eichmann’s trial for his crimes in 1962. Eichmann had been given transcripts by the interviewer and annotated them himself. Only those annotated pages were allowed in the trial, but those alone were enough to prove guilt.
The horrors of the Holocaust are well documented both with physical evidence and in video. US forces filmed the result of the liberation of the camps as they freed them at the end of the war. More recently survivors tales have been recorded for posterity through a program of the US Holocaust Museum. The German Government has also made Nazi records of the camps available.
And now we have Eichmann in his own words admitting the crimes first hand.
Bottom line, The Holocaust happened.
Why do I bring this up now? Why in a blog about Diversity and Inclusion? Because it is in the news again.
Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are in the news. Athletes, Entertainers and Politicians are giving voice to anti-Semitic myths and Holocaust deniers. They use their social media posts, public statements and meetings to elevate those who share Eichmann’s ideology. Anti-Semitic slogans are being draped over highway bridges.
These acts have a real world impact.
According to the Anti-Defamation League Antisemitism is on the rise. In 2021 there were 2,717 antisemitic incidents in the US. That is a 34% rise over the prior year and the highest number since the ADL started recording in 1979.
Anti-Semitic behavior cannot be tolerated. Period. Full stop.
But it happens and it results are horrific. The Tree of Life synagogue shooting four years ago on October 27 2018 saw 11 people die shot and killed in the worst act of antisemitic violence in the US. The trial of the alleged shooter was recently set for April 2023. It is impossible to pull this out of the context of increasing level of antisemitic rhetoric and statements. A recent HBO documentary “A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting” shows the impact of the event not just to the victims but to the community at large.
More recently, this November the FBI announced it had received a credible threat to Synagogues in New Jersey.
The recent statements by public figures on social media and the willingness of public figures to raise the profile of Holocaust deniers and other antisemitic voices is just as impactful and frightening in many ways as a person with a gun. To use their platforms to give antisemitic ideas credibility is unconscionable in my view.
These tweets, posts and news reports of dinners with their implicit threats are potentially as damaging to people’s mental health as the events themselves. They impact people in and out of work. Your teammates at work will probably put on a brave face but could be understandably distracted.
As an ally I do try and understand how these events impact teammates. I don’t ask anyone though as I don’t want to cause people to relive their discomfort. As I talk about in my post on how to react after events (click here), I educate myself. I do reach out but to ask how they are doing but I try not to pry. This is not “woke”, this is just being human.
As we go into this holiday season let’s take time to remember all those who celebrate holidays different than our own. We may not celebrate the same holidays but we can certainly respect each other’s faith.
As always I hope this helps. I look forward to continuing the conversation. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.
All the best,