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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Being complicit

    Israel's foreign minister Yisrael Katz says that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust. If that is true, then surely, the Jews were also complicit in the holocaust? For the same reasons. The Auschwitz ovens were all manned by Jews, for instance.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47277147

    I have no memory of Poland rolling out a welcome mat when Germany peacefully and without conflict annexed Poland in 1939. Quite the opposite. I remember Poland fighting back. Just like the Jews did in the Warsaw ghetto uprising. With similar consequences.

    I think Yisrael Katz is in the wrong here.

    Thoughts?

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    I think true complicity is if nothing will happen to you if you don't comply.

    I don't think workers trapped in a capitalist power dynamic are complicit when they work within a dictatorial system simply because they have little choice.

    Within such a system it is actually very wise to seek to be a dictator.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    I think true complicity is if nothing will happen to you if you don't comply.

    I don't think workers trapped in a capitalist power dynamic are complicit when they work within a dictatorial system simply because they have little choice.

    Within such a system it is actually very wise to seek to be a dictator.
    While you are a broken record who compulsively just say the same thing over and over regardless of context, I would like to say that this time you nailed it IMHO.

    Even a broken clock is correct twice a day

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    I think true complicity is if nothing will happen to you if you don't comply.

    I don't think workers trapped in a capitalist power dynamic are complicit when they work within a dictatorial system simply because they have little choice.

    Within such a system it is actually very wise to seek to be a dictator.
    While you are a broken record who compulsively just say the same thing over and over regardless of context, I would like to say that this time you nailed it IMHO.

    Even a broken clock is correct twice a day
    Part of what you say is just a way to not look at what I say.

    It is not any kind of rational criticism.

    If you don't like the inherent complicity in accepting a dictatorial system don't talk about the subject of complicity.

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    It's complicated.
    Certainly many non-Jewish Poles were complicit, at the very least. In the years prior to the Nazi invasion, there was lots of antisemitic propaganda, hate-speech, threats and violence toward Jews by a large segment of the polish people, with little to no effort by the Polish government to quell it. Much of it was fueled by the Catholic Church, which surprises no one since the Church was highly complicit in the holocaust overall as it has been in countless other acts of genocide and ethnic violence.
    This laid the groundwork, and made the work of the Nazi's far easier, and strongly implies that many Poles were not really being coerced to help, even if they were "following orders." A number of Poles also blackmailed Jews under threat of turning them in.

    However, the Polish leadership did not form formal alliances with the Nazis and there was no Polish SS unit, unlike other occupied countries. Also, there is evidence that millions of non-Jewish Poles risked a lot, even their lives, to help the Jews. And almost 3 million non-Jewish Poles were killed by the Nazis.

    So, the comments by Katz were wrong because they were a blanket unqualified statement about "Poles". OTOH, holocaust enabling antisemitism was a deep rooted and widespread part of Polish culture before the Nazis and remains so today. Recent studies suggest that somewhere between a third to a half of Polish people hold dehumanizing and/or otherwise Antisemitic beliefs about Jews.


    (Note that only some of the measures in the linked paper can be interpreted as "anti-Semitic". Some measures merely assess whether people think that there are Jews who are biased in favor of Jews and seek out economic and political alliances with other Jews.)

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    It's complicated.
    Certainly many non-Jewish Poles were complicit, at the very least. In the years prior to the Nazi invasion, there was lots of antisemitic propaganda, hate-speech, threats and violence toward Jews by a large segment of the polish people, with little to no effort by the Polish government to quell it. Much of it was fueled by the Catholic Church, which surprises no one since the Church was highly complicit in the holocaust overall as it has been in countless other acts of genocide and ethnic violence.
    This laid the groundwork, and made the work of the Nazi's far easier, and strongly implies that many Poles were not really being coerced to help, even if they were "following orders." A number of Poles also blackmailed Jews under threat of turning them in.

    However, the Polish leadership did not form formal alliances with the Nazis and there was no Polish SS unit, unlike other occupied countries. Also, there is evidence that millions of non-Jewish Poles risked a lot, even their lives, to help the Jews. And almost 3 million non-Jewish Poles were killed by the Nazis.

    So, the comments by Katz were wrong because they were a blanket unqualified statement about "Poles". OTOH, holocaust enabling antisemitism was a deep rooted and widespread part of Polish culture before the Nazis and remains so today. Recent studies suggest that somewhere between a third to a half of Polish people hold dehumanizing and/or otherwise Antisemitic beliefs about Jews.


    (Note that only some of the measures in the linked paper can be interpreted as "anti-Semitic". Some measures merely assess whether people think that there are Jews who are biased in favor of Jews and seek out economic and political alliances with other Jews.)
    Being antisemitic doesn't equate with being for the holocaust. It's so extreme I'm sure even most rabid Jew haters wouldn't do it. Why else do you think Holocaust denialism is such a big thing? Even Nazis are usually against it.

    And not to say the most obvious thing, but the main killer of Jews in the holocaust wasn't a will to kill them but incompetence and corruption. It wasn't until late in the game that pure death camps were introduced. It was an accident in history. When the camps were first introduced the plan was to keep all the Jews alive as a slave labour class. But camp commanders and transport staff sold prisoner food on the black market, making it impossible to keep them alive

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    It's complicated.
    Certainly many non-Jewish Poles were complicit, at the very least. In the years prior to the Nazi invasion, there was lots of antisemitic propaganda, hate-speech, threats and violence toward Jews by a large segment of the polish people, with little to no effort by the Polish government to quell it. Much of it was fueled by the Catholic Church, which surprises no one since the Church was highly complicit in the holocaust overall as it has been in countless other acts of genocide and ethnic violence.
    This laid the groundwork, and made the work of the Nazi's far easier, and strongly implies that many Poles were not really being coerced to help, even if they were "following orders." A number of Poles also blackmailed Jews under threat of turning them in.

    However, the Polish leadership did not form formal alliances with the Nazis and there was no Polish SS unit, unlike other occupied countries. Also, there is evidence that millions of non-Jewish Poles risked a lot, even their lives, to help the Jews. And almost 3 million non-Jewish Poles were killed by the Nazis.

    So, the comments by Katz were wrong because they were a blanket unqualified statement about "Poles". OTOH, holocaust enabling antisemitism was a deep rooted and widespread part of Polish culture before the Nazis and remains so today. Recent studies suggest that somewhere between a third to a half of Polish people hold dehumanizing and/or otherwise Antisemitic beliefs about Jews.


    (Note that only some of the measures in the linked paper can be interpreted as "anti-Semitic". Some measures merely assess whether people think that there are Jews who are biased in favor of Jews and seek out economic and political alliances with other Jews.)
    Being antisemitic doesn't equate with being for the holocaust. It's so extreme I'm sure even most rabid Jew haters wouldn't do it. Why else do you think Holocaust denialism is such a big thing? Even Nazis are usually against it.
    Denying the holocaust does not mean that you sincerely are against it. It means you have a motive to lie about the events that were a natural byproduct of the ideology you endorse.

    The holocaust was systematic violence against Jews (and others). Violence is a reaction to fear and hatred, and everyone knows this. The level of fear and hatred spread (along with small scale violence) by many Poles (and the Church) against Jews without a doubt helped to create the cultural climate that made the scale of violence of the holocaust possible. That makes them complicit.
    Plus, their anti-antisemitism was the same as that being voiced by the Nazis, who were acting on the basis of this worldview. Thus, it is beyond reasonable doubt that a large % of Poles were willingly obedient and almost certainly some were driven by their antisemitism to give the Nazis more help than they had to to save their own lives.

    And not to say the most obvious thing, but the main killer of Jews in the holocaust wasn't a will to kill them but incompetence and corruption. It wasn't until late in the game that pure death camps were introduced. It was an accident in history. When the camps were first introduced the plan was to keep all the Jews alive as a slave labour class. But camp commanders and transport staff sold prisoner food on the black market, making it impossible to keep them alive

    You might want to rethink the level of apology and excuse you are giving to the Nazis. It was no "accident". It was a byproduct of the culture and circumstances created the antisemitic hatred that the Nazis (and many Poles) had propagandized for years prior and the gradually increasing violence such propaganda inherently causes.

    And dude, "Impossible to keep them alive"??? Murdering and starving the Jews to death was the only possibility only if one has the mindset that doing so is of so little concern that other options are not considered. First, every person involved with or who knew about the selling of prisoner food knew they were killing the prisoners. There was a culture and context that encouraged and allowed the knowing killing of innocent Jews to happen, and antisemitism was the foundation of that culture. Then after there was no food to feed them, there was a choice to kill them and let them die, make an effort to stop the selling of the food, deport them to allied areas, etc.? These were a group of people who are all innocent of any crime other than being a Jew and many children. Those other options are only "impossible" if one has an antisemitic view of Jews as subhuman and of no moral worth. So again, everyone (including the Poles) who promoted this antisemitic view was a causal contributor to the death of every Jew in the holocuast, whether murdered or died from starvation and disease.
    Last edited by ronburgundy; 02-18-2019 at 09:44 PM.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    You might want to rethink the level of apology and excuse you are giving to the Nazis. It was no "accident". It was a byproduct of the culture and circumstances created the antisemitic hatred that the Nazis (and many Poles) had propagandized for years prior and the gradually increasing violence such propaganda inherently causes.

    And dude, "Impossible to keep them alive"??? Murdering and starving the Jews to death was the only possibility only if one has the mindset that doing so is of so little concern that other options are not considered. First, every person involved with or who knew about the selling of prisoner food knew they were killing the prisoners. There was a culture and context that encouraged and allowed the knowing killing of innocent Jews to happen, and antisemitism was the foundation of that culture. Then after there was no food to feed them, there was a choice to kill them and let them die, make an effort to stop the selling of the food, deport them to allied areas, etc.? These were a group of people who are all innocent of any crime other than being a Jew and many children. Those other options are only "impossible" if one has an antisemitic view of Jews as subhuman and of no moral worth. So again, everyone (including the Poles) who promoted this antisemitic view was a causal contributor to the death of every Jew in the holocuast, whether murdered or died from starvation and disease.
    Meh... we have surviving loads of documents where high Nazi officials wrote angry letters to camp commanders because it made them look bad when the prisoners kept dying. All the Nazi slave labour production camps produced much worse than both projected, but also facilities with free labour. This was a major problem for the Nazi government and hampered the war effort. The Nazi government had a major incentive to keep them alive... yet still failed. Many of the slave labour camps demanded specialised skilled labour. These barely produced anything at all, because skills couldn't be maintained among the workers long enough to make new workers proficient. Nearly all died while still being useless apprentices. This was a big problem because these plants had been built at great cost for the government. Overall the slave labour camps only ended up costing the Nazi government. The concentration camp system didn't even pay for itself.

    And to drive home the point. When the Eastern front opened up the concentration camps were filled up with Russian war prisoners. These were also supposed to be kept alive and strongly worded letters from Himmler were sent to camps. Yet, these also died, even faster than the Jews that preceded them. This led to a purge of camp commanders and several ended up as prisoners in the same concentration camps they once ran. Because they let their prisoners die. The Nazi government took this very seriously.

    It wasn't a bi-product of antisemitism. It was a bi-product of that totalitarianism and state run companies are inefficient. Because the incentives of the people running these places is to kiss ass of the people higher on the ranking ladder. Not to produce whatever is needed to be produced by their company. And since they all have monopolies it's impossible to compare and track their performance. Since everybody on all levels have an incentive NOT to be honest in their reporting. This was true on all levels in the Nazi government.

    The same things happened in the Gulag, the Chinese re-education camps or the Cambodian. You can't claim these institutions were in practice death camps because of antisemitism?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    You might want to rethink the level of apology and excuse you are giving to the Nazis. It was no "accident". It was a byproduct of the culture and circumstances created the antisemitic hatred that the Nazis (and many Poles) had propagandized for years prior and the gradually increasing violence such propaganda inherently causes.

    And dude, "Impossible to keep them alive"??? Murdering and starving the Jews to death was the only possibility only if one has the mindset that doing so is of so little concern that other options are not considered. First, every person involved with or who knew about the selling of prisoner food knew they were killing the prisoners. There was a culture and context that encouraged and allowed the knowing killing of innocent Jews to happen, and antisemitism was the foundation of that culture. Then after there was no food to feed them, there was a choice to kill them and let them die, make an effort to stop the selling of the food, deport them to allied areas, etc.? These were a group of people who are all innocent of any crime other than being a Jew and many children. Those other options are only "impossible" if one has an antisemitic view of Jews as subhuman and of no moral worth. So again, everyone (including the Poles) who promoted this antisemitic view was a causal contributor to the death of every Jew in the holocuast, whether murdered or died from starvation and disease.
    Meh... we have surviving loads of documents where high Nazi officials wrote angry letters to camp commanders because it made them look bad when the prisoners kept dying. All the Nazi slave labour production camps produced much worse than both projected, but also facilities with free labour. This was a major problem for the Nazi government and hampered the war effort. The Nazi government had a major incentive to keep them alive... yet still failed. Many of the slave labour camps demanded specialised skilled labour. These barely produced anything at all, because skills couldn't be maintained among the workers long enough to make new workers proficient. Nearly all died while still being useless apprentices. This was a big problem because these plants had been built at great cost for the government. Overall the slave labour camps only ended up costing the Nazi government. The concentration camp system didn't even pay for itself.

    And to drive home the point. When the Eastern front opened up the concentration camps were filled up with Russian war prisoners. These were also supposed to be kept alive and strongly worded letters from Himmler were sent to camps. Yet, these also died, even faster than the Jews that preceded them. This led to a purge of camp commanders and several ended up as prisoners in the same concentration camps they once ran. Because they let their prisoners die. The Nazi government took this very seriously.

    It wasn't a bi-product of antisemitism. It was a bi-product of that totalitarianism and state run companies are inefficient. Because the incentives of the people running these places is to kiss ass of the people higher on the ranking ladder. Not to produce whatever is needed to be produced by their company. And since they all have monopolies it's impossible to compare and track their performance. Since everybody on all levels have an incentive NOT to be honest in their reporting. This was true on all levels in the Nazi government.

    The same things happened in the Gulag, the Chinese re-education camps or the Cambodian. You can't claim these institutions were in practice death camps because of antisemitism?
    None of this escapes the fact that antisemitism that viewed the Jews as subhuman and of little moral worth was the foundation for putting them in camps to begin with (no matter their original purpose), and the basis for letting them die in those camps rather than letting them go. Without a cultural worldview that cast the prisoners as subhuman, there is no way that all the people who made it and allowed it to happen would have done so. If not for that antisemitism, the Jews would have been released as soon as keeping them alive and healthy become a problem. Few of those Germans would have allowed a kennel of dogs to die in those circumstances, but they viewed Jews as lesser than dogs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Israel's foreign minister Yisrael Katz says that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust. If that is true, then surely, the Jews were also complicit in the holocaust? For the same reasons. The Auschwitz ovens were all manned by Jews, for instance.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47277147

    I have no memory of Poland rolling out a welcome mat when Germany peacefully and without conflict annexed Poland in 1939. Quite the opposite. I remember Poland fighting back. Just like the Jews did in the Warsaw ghetto uprising. With similar consequences.

    I think Yisrael Katz is in the wrong here.

    Thoughts?
    Yisrael Katz may be wrong, but probably not for any of the reasons you have cited. While Jews performed all of the manual labor needed to maintain the camps in which they lived and died. This included the removal of bodies from gas chambers and disposing of them, by whatever means was employed. To say they were complicit in the Holocaust is disingenuous at best.

    While I doubt there are many people still alive who were complicit, the Nazis had very little trouble identifying and corralling Polish Jews. While the Poles may have resisted the German Army for a while, little resistance remained after the surrender, and what followed could only be called craven complicity.

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