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POETRYETC Home

POETRYETC  2005

POETRYETC 2005

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Subject:

Re: (memorial) Snapshot

From:

Kenneth Wolman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 30 Jan 2005 13:04:43 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (68 lines)

At 12:22 PM 1/30/2005, you wrote:
>Among the suggestions made concerning the re-education of the young
>prince who wore a Nazi armband to a party were that he should be sent
>to visit Auschwitz (one newspaper had the jaw-dropping headline, "Send
>Him To Auschwitz"), and that he should be made to watch Schindler's
>List.

Ah, Prince Harry, by the Grace of God a genetically addled moron out of one
moron by another moron?  Send him to Auschwitz?  To do what?  As the
representative the Royals?  Actually, from what I heard of the programming
of the event, it might have been somewhat effective.  An opening with the
screech of a train whistle and searchlights being flashed on...pretty
powerful stuff.  Assuming you're ready to receive the message.  Think,
though, that Harry could have met Dick ("it's all about us so let's co-opt
it") Cheney, the man who, having already taken over the functions of Hell,
is seeking new ideas to make his Gulags even more effective.

>Schindler's List?

I don' t want to do film criticism here, but believe it or not, I have no
problem forgiving Spielberg for the film's shortcomings, as an "educational
film" (barf) it probably did a great deal of good.  And anything that
advanced the careers of Liam Neeson and (especially) Ralph Fiennes can't be
all bad.

>My mother was taken whilst still at school in London to a cinema to
>see documentary footage of the camps. They probably took Geoffrey Hill
>to see the same footage, at a similar age. They don't do that to
>school-age teenagers any more. Perhaps they should.

That's sad.  Those are better than Spielberg, better than any fictionalized
account (no, I have not seen Night and Fog because I don't wish
to).  Newsreels and the Edward R. Murrow radio broadcasts from inside
Buchenwald where he he said "I pray you to believe what I have said about
Buchenwald. I reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most
of it, I have no words." There's a story that when the newsreels of the
camp liberations were shown in London in the late spring of 1945, people in
the audience tittered uncontrollably. The phenomenon seemed to define
"nervous laughter," the first sight of something so horrible you couldn't
cry or react normally, the only way the emotions had an exit was through
what seemed like inappropriate giggling.

More to the point...do people learn from this?  Any of it.  Schindler's
List, Edward Murrow, newsreels, guided tours of the camps?  What do we want
to believe?  Listen to a Hutton Gibson or many others like him, and it was
all artifice, an act to make it look as though something happened which didn't.

My ex-wife's uncle Max was an enlisted man in the US Army who found himself
in April 1945 inside Germany.  I don't know which camp it was, probably
Buchenwald, but someone came to the men encamped down the road and said "We
need Jewish soldiers who speak Yiddish to translate for the people being
held in there."  Max volunteered, not quite understanding what he was
volunteering to do until he got there and found out by screaming, smells,
and the sight of something it's hard to imagine now, for those of us who
have seen the same newsreels and films.  Now, the Max Katz I knew would
have told you anything about anything.  In fact you could not shut him
up.  But he never spoke about his experience as a liberator.  He simply
could not discuss it.

Ken

-------------------------------------------------

Kenneth Wolman  www.kenwolman.com               kenwolman.blogspot.com

"This is the best of all possible worlds only because it is the only one
that showed up."-- Russell Edson

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