Suffering Worse Than Death

 Posted by on 17 January 2014 at 10:00 am  History, Holocaust, Medicine
Jan 172014

A while back, I had to look up the spelling of Dr. Mengele’s name, and as a result, I came across this horrifying article: Why One Auschwitz Survivor Avoided Doctors for 65 Years.

The transport to Auschwitz took two weeks. His sick father died on the journey. Upon arrival, they had to strip and submit to an inspection. Ganon’s mother and five siblings were then sent to the gas chambers.

Yitzhak Ganon was taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau hospital, where Josef Mengele, the so-called “Angel of Death,” conducted grisly experiments on Jewish prisoners.

Ganon had to lie down on a table and was tied down. Without any anesthetics, Mengele cut him open and removed his kidney. “I saw the kidney pulsing in his hand and cried like a crazy man,” Ganon says. “I screamed the ‘Shema Yisrael.’ I begged for death, to stop the suffering.”

After the “operation,” he had to work in the Auschwitz sewing room without painkillers. Among other things, he had to clean bloody medical instruments. Once, he had to spend the whole night in a bath of ice-cold water because Mengele wanted to “test” his lung function. Altogether, Ganon spent six and a half months in the concentration camp’s hospital.

Although I read a slew of books on the Holocaust last year, I avoided reading about the gruesome experiments of Nazi doctors. For someone to deliberately inflict suffering worse than death on innocent people, including children. As much as I want to recognize the historical facts and honor the victims, it’s far, far too horrifying imagine.

  • Questioning Questioner

    I recently read a book about the (very few) German Jews who, probably merely for their own personal survival (and therefore quite understandably), concealed their religious identity and joined the Wermacht (a few of them even got into the SS). The book made a huge, multi-paged point about how a great number of German Jews were victims of the Nazi holocaust simply because “they were so authentically German that they just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that their countrymen could do such a thing” (ie: they didn’t flee in time). It made me wonder: if these Jews were completely integrated into German society – if they were as German as even the most “aryan” German was – then was it possible that maybe – JUST MAYBE – not all of the Nazi’s complaints about the Jews were completely unfounded? If non-Jewish Germans were able to come to the conclusion that it’s perfectly moral to sacrifice others for the sake of one’s own (ie: one’s own group’s) (alleged) self-interest, then weren’t Jewish Germans equally capable of such a notion? As Leonard Peikoff proved in his book “The Ominous Parallels”, Nazism didn’t just happen overnight. That the seeds were already there. That it wasn’t some radical departure from German culture – but rather it’s consistent, logical conclusion. So, with that in mind, if German Jews were just as German as non-Jewish Germans, didn’t they also share this culture? Didn’t that mean that the Nazi’s complaints had at least SOME basis in fact? That it wasn’t all just socialist/altruist hatred of the famously self-interested Jews, but actually a hatred of Jewish unscrupulousness and opportunism (ie: exploiting the chaotic mixed economy of the Weimar “republic” for their own personal gain, the consequences to the “goy” be damned)?

    (Oh, and yes, please be sure to interpret even raising this question as a secret desire to commit genocide against Jews. Any and all criticisms of Judiasm indicate that, of course – as the modern American narrative teaches us).

    • Michael Hardy

      If you’re saying German culture was bad and German Jews participated in it, then that doesn’t give non-Jewish Germans any grounds to think the Jewishness of their Jewish countrymen was a reason to complain about them. This is like saying that brown-eyed people are not superior to others; therefore we have justified complaints about brown-eyed people.

    • c_andrew

      Q2, I notice that you are rather nebulous in your concretes – as in providing none of substance. Krupp – the arms maker – also exploited the chaotic mixed economy of the Weimar Republic. Any number of other “interest groups” did the same. Why? Because it you’re trying to stay alive in such a society, any number of survival actions could be deemed “exploitative” by those willing to look for such things. As our modern American narrative teaches us.

      I notice what you don’t mention: the actions of the Freikorps, the brownshirts, the various communist militias. Interest groups that not only exploited the chaotic mixed economy but were among the primary causes of that chaos.

      I also notice how you are equivocating the question of self-interest by trying to make it a group attribute. It isn’t. Freely associating individuals may combine their interests in an ad hoc manner, but your framing of the question is an attempt to equivocate the moral standing of Jewish Germans – the victims of aggression – with non-Jewish Germans – who were complicit in the violence committed. And that is a very clumsy division to make.

      Plenty of non-Jewish Germans were also victims of the Nazi state. For some it was just deserts because by supporting the rise of the Nazis, they made their own deaths at Nazi hands possible. For some it was flat out victimization since they opposed the rise of the Nazis and were accorded the fate of all losers in a totalitarian struggle. I do not include the Communists as hapless victims but merely historical losers who would have done the same to their targets had they prevailed.

      So, let’s make plain your language. Your assertion is, essentially, that because the Jews did not conform sufficiently enough as Germans as to be indistinguishable – particularly with their persistence in pursuing self-interested endeavors – then the victimizing Germans who persecuted, expropriated, and killed them should not be judged harshly from a moral perspective because they were just fulfilling a cultural imperative in which the Germanized Jews were also participating, albeit in different roles. And that that distinction and the Jewish “participation” constitute the “basis in fact” for “German complaints” that legitimize the subservient role into which the Jews were forced, and the mayhem inflicted upon them by the Germans in question.

      So let’s not pretend that that your mealy-mouthed indictment of the Jews is anything other than what it is; an attempt at moral inversion by blaming the victims and exonerating the murderous individuals of the Nazi regime under the flag of a cultural imperative. The fact that you attempt to use “The Ominous Parallels” as support for this indicates that you either did not understand the book in question, or that you did understand it and are intent upon ignoring its entire premise.

      And since you’ve already stated that you don’t have the courage of your convictions to proceed to full advocacy of genocide, let me assuage your fears; there are plenty of morally culpable positions to occupy between the cultural now and a genocidal future. And not all of them are filled by merely useful idiots.

      For others of you with intellectual honesty who wonder about this particular time in history, Peikoff’s “The Ominous Parallels” gives you a very high overview from a philosophical/political/cultural perspective. For those of you who wonder what the social/economic mechanism is behind the scapegoating of successful racial and cultural minorities, I would recommend Dr. Thomas Sowell’s “Race and Culture” trilogy. I believe he has written an additional book in that series, but I have not yet read it.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha