60 years after Auschwitz

Updated: 31 January 2011, 23:46

Originally written: 27 January 2005

“Genocide” has a nasty sound to it. Genocide has a deadly history. Genocide is horrific, and horrifically, genocide continues.

60 years ago — 27 January 1945 — the Red Army marched into the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. By the end of 1945, World War II was over, but for the memories. Those memories should have meant, as these famous words suggested: Never Again.

But “never again” really meant, “we are all terribly upset, but let’s forget about it.” A recent survey in Poland shows how well people forget. Only about half of those surveyed knew that the majority of Auschwitz victims were Jews.

The following genocides, politicides, and massacres, were taking place in 2005, according to Genocide Watch: More recent reports in 2008 and 2010 suggest many have abated. Nonetheless, their total is over 10 million people since 1945. Not as fast as the Nazis but strong evidence that genocide continues to be embraced by class-divided society. The 2010 report of "Genocides and Politicides since 1945" shows 35 current genocidal or politicidal conflicts.

In 2003, there were more than 7,000 hate crimes reported by police agencies in the United States. In April 2004, a Jewish elementary school in Montreal, Canada was fire-bombed.

None of that reduces the horror of the Holocaust. All of it — including 6 million slaughtered Jews — shows that class-divided society is incapable of ending the hatred.

Class-divided society is inherently divisive. That division, acknowledged or not, sets the tone for other divisions which focus hatred upon anyone or any group which is perceived to be “different.”

Hatred, however, is not the root of the problem. Hatred is firmly rooted in poverty, which in turn is welded to class-divided society. Capitalism is the last of a string of class-divided societies. Capitalism should be a class-divided society we can look back upon as the last stage before civilization. Today, however, the working class continues to acquiesce to a system of society which has made civilization possible, but blocks or attacks that possibility at every turn.


Hate Crime Statistics — 2003

As reported by the United States
Federal Bureau of Investigation
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