Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, March 10, 2017

Referencing the Holocaust

"[They] had to witness helplessly as the Jews of that [Hungarian town in 1944] town were herded by  gendarmes into cattle cars and how the gendarmes threatened and drove off local citizens, including his [supporter of client Anita Krajnc] mother, who were trying to give them [Jews being transported to death camps] water." 
"The Nazi[s] forced Jews and gays and gypsy [sic] and those they saw as others into trains and trucks and carted them off to slaughter. Is it the same right that the Crown now argues that [the farmer] has, that it was legal?"
"There are many important parallels that we can draw from the two things. One is our inability to have emotional contagion, somehow. Why don't we feel the suffering of others? How do we close ourselves out to that, whether it be Jews being herded into a train or whether it be pigs?"
Gary Grill, lawyer appealing before an Ontario court

"Everyone knows that giving water to thirsty Jews on a cattle train is a small act of charity and what really should have happened is they should have been saved, you know, from being gassed and murdered. And what I did was a small act of charity to that pig who was slaughtered."
"I feel guilty. If I'm guilty of anything it's for not doing enough and I'm sure the people who didn't do enough for the Jews and for others, that's the guilt that they feel." 
Anita Krajnc, defendant charged with public mischief
Anita Krajnc gives pigs water near a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ont. Krajnc is on trial charged with criminal mischief charge for her act.
Anita Krajnc gives pigs water near a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ont. Krajnc is on trial charged with criminal mischief charge for her act. (Elli Garlin)

It grates on Jewish sensibilities to hear time over time, the Holocaust as an episode of the most barbaric, sordid episodes in human history, a near-total genocide, being named as an example of horrors befalling victims of far more trifling events. As though the casual evocation of the grim history of a totalitarian government bent on overturning the world order, adding a sideline of mass extermination could be compared with infinitely less far-reaching, but compellingly sad events.

As though such comparisons deliberately trivialize the annihilation of millions of innocent children, their mothers, fathers, grandparents -- leaving survivors traumatized in a lifetime of mourning -- while the stunned world that preferred to avert their eyes under the pretense that such barbarity represented an overactive imagination, did nothing in response to stop the carnage.

In this instance, comparing that dread time in history to the carting off of animals to a slaughterhouse, with no pity or concern for the conditions in which the animals were kept prior to slaughter.

But this woman, 49-year-old Anita Krajnc, responded in compassion to the plight of thirsty pigs and attempted to give them water to assuage their thirst. In so doing, earning the umbrage of the farmer who was carting the animals, leading to the criminal charge of mischief for daring to approach and proffer some relief to the animals.

Now on trial for her public offence, her lawyer has likened her reaction and the response it elicited to the incomparably desperate condition of human beings treated like cattle on their way to the slaughterhouses of the Third Reich.

A society, however, immune to feelings of compassion for the anguish and suffering of animals, reflects a society which is so hardened-off of emotional support for other animals, that it is hard to imagine it would react compassionately if it were other humans in their midst who were the subject of inhumane treatment, and seen to be suffering before their very eyes. As such, perhaps it is apt indeed to contrast and conflate the two events.

It is no small cruelty to maltreat animals, no less so than to do the same to human animals.

The German population is known to love animals and to care for them, on the other hand. Their general support for ensuring that life was tolerable for animals they viewed as requiring the care of humans did not, unfortunately extend during the Nazi era to those other animals living among them who were considered to be dispensable sub-humans in a general atmosphere of anti-Semitism, and contempt for Gays and for Roma.

The window dressing of animal care on the one hand, and the willingness to submit to the propaganda machine portraying Jews as expendable scum, a convincing argument in the mass psychosis of hatred.

Is this a case for a universal conscience, or an example of the magnitude of horror minimized by slighting the existential rights to conscionable support of all animals?

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