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  • Writer's pictureBridget Walsh

Holocaust Memorial Day - 27th January, 2023


Remembering the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust of the Second World War. Killed by the Nazi racist ideology, that spawned hate for Jews, Gypsies and Roma and many others.


As a writer, I write about the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1851, in which more than one million people died. This happened just one hundred years before the Holocaust in Europe


From my reading and research I find that the two catastrophes have some things in common.


1. Unfettered, legal, governmental power over defenseless human beings.

Laws were passed regarding property, evictions were commonplace. Property confiscated. Human beings reduced to their most vulnerable state. In Ireland, these things took years to produce the class of poverty stricken Irish paupers that would endure the Great Hunger.

The German Government under Hitler achieved thsi in a few short years.


2. Death used as a tool.

In Ireland starvation and immigration was seen as a way to get rid of ‘human encumbrances.’ In Europe, Nazi Germany used almost every imaginable method of murder, including gas chambers for more efficient methods of killing.


3. Cultural and racist tropes against the disenfranchised innocent victims.

It was common for many newspapers and illustrated posters to show poor Irish people with ‘simianised’ features, ungrateful, lazy and sly.

Punch and The Illustrated London news are examples. These publications had millions of readers in the United Kingdom.

In the twentieth century, the Nazis used this kind of propaganda massively to ‘educate’ the German nation and other nations they invaded about the ‘Jewish Problem’.


4. Many accomplices.

People in government, like Charles Trevelyan who used the Famine to clear the land of Irish Catholics who had not ‘modernised’. He blamed the victims for being lazy and corrupt and deserving of death.


The entire German Nazi government and German people, beginning in the early 1930s.


In the lead up to and during the war, world governments, including the US and Britain, maintained racist attitudes that made it impossible for many Jews to find sanctuary in their darkest hour.


Conclusion:


I'm not sure what to make of this. I think it shows the world is very interconnected and examples will be copied by others. Also racism is a terrible thing and can lead to unimaginable horrors if left unchecked.


I'm currently reading: 'Human Encumbrances. Political Violence and the Great Irish Famine.' by David P. Nally. I'll write a review when I've finished it. On p23 at the moment.

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