Why a nym? Because today, as too often in history, there are things it’s not safe or at least not wise to say under a real identity.
I’m just introducing myself today and have nothing controversial to add yet to this wonderful new blog. While I’m here, though, I might as well add value. My namesake Vladka was one of the many women of the ghettos who had to make choices every day about who she would be and what she would do, even under circumstances where many people would say that there were no choices, or none but bad ones.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the Atmosphere. — Thomas Jefferson
The American Revolution had been over just three years when a group of Massachusetts farmers rose up against their state government and even tried to attack the (federal) Springfield Armory. Their reasons should have sounded familiar and noble to anybody who’d just lived through the revolt against England: unjust taxes and an unresponsive, corrupt, crony-filled government.
Thomas Jefferson was one of the few former revolutionaries who took the news of the rebellion with aplomb, even approval. While other former rebels (including the formerly rabble-rousing Samuel Adams) were calling for death for the Shaysites, Jefferson wrote the above words to Abigail Adams.
I thought about Jefferson and the Shaysites (and for that matter the Whiskey Rebels) today after reading about Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. This morning CW and DD announced a new product that authoritarians everywhere will hate and fear: the Ghost Gunner. As Wired puts it:
I didn’t get to see all the outside exhibits. I did get to see the ones that really called to me, and one that didn’t, but it stopped me cold when I got to it.
The first one we came to on the path we took was the cattle car. Beside the cattle car engraved into a wall behind it was testimony given at the Nuremberg trials. It’s the story of a man who was a prisoner in one of the cattle cars. He told what gems he traded a German towns person at a train stop for a cup of water. He traded some outrageous sum, a diamond maybe? But I think it was all the wealth he had left for that cup of water. There was a woman in the car with him who was determined he was going to give part of it to her little son. Not herself, her little son. And she kept after him, and kept after him until finally he did give her a little of the last for her son. He said when he left the cattle car the little boy was laying on the floor unresponsive and not moving. Yes, you can be unresponsive and the body still move.
There was a section called “The Garden of the Righteous Among The Nations”. There are walls arranged by country. On each countries wall are the names of those who are not Jewish that risked their lives to save the lives of Jews. On each tree is the name of a person and their country. No, it’s not a forest. There are a lot of trees, but it’s not a forest. I can only hope there were many cases of just regular people helping, that no one ever heard about.
There is a a HUGE pillar called “Pillar of Heroism”. This is probably my favorite sculpture. It’s so tall I can’t even get the whole thing in a picture! This picture is from the Yad Vashem site. At least you can see what it looks like.
There is a stone plaque near it inscribed “Now and forever in memory of those who rebelled in the camps and ghettos, fought in the woods, in the underground and with the Allied forces; braved their way to Eretz Israel; and died sanctifying the name of God”.
A few thoughts on all this. First, the movie Defiance. It starred the anti-gun twit Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski. Why does this anger me so much? Because part of the movie shows him going to a poor Russian farmer he had connections with and begging for a gun and ammunition. The farmer manages to procure one and gives it and the ammunition to him. The next time you see the Russian farmer he has been tortured and killed and the message left it was because he helped the Jews. One would think old Daniel might use some of his wealth to buy a clue, but that seems to happen with actors and actresses about…… never. He never catches on this stuff happened, and there is no reason it couldn’t again. And yet he uses the platform he gains from his movie fame to preach his anti-gun screed. No, I don’t see many movies. Most actors and actresses I refuse to enrich with either money or fame.
I think the world’s moral compass has gone nuts. While we see the outcome of allowing a group to be isolated and vilified, we now allow groups to freely play the “victim” or “racism” card to shut down open discussion on any topic they don’t want people to talk about, or when facts are about to get in the way of their agenda. And the opinions they seem to try hardest to shut down are the Judeo-Christian values that are most likely held by most of the population of this country at least. Politicians on the left and the “news” media freely join in this game labeling those that support traditional ways of life as “extremist”. They label returning military veterans as “extremist” and a threat. Then they condemn them to a socialized health care system, made worse purposefully by the VA. Politicians and the elitists on the left are creating different classes of citizens, but to what purpose I wonder. The majority in the past has rather meekly backed down when faced with such accusations of intolerance or racism or_____. I mean after all, most of us were raised to be polite, not purposefully giving offense to any. Far too many do not understand that giving offense, is the least of their problems. The left does this with a reason. It seems those preaching most loudly for “tolerance” have—none.
I remember when I first made the “hummus team” the fellow in charge at the time and I were having a discussion on guns. I know shocking. But he asked me why I was so insistent (ok, maybe he used a stronger word, I don’t remember) I turned and looked him in the eye and said “Because when I say NEVER AGAIN I MEAN IT! Not your people, not my people. Never again will any group of people be at the mercy of government that wants to exterminate them. EVER. I want to make sure there are tools there that can back it up. Words sometimes aren’t enough”. After he started breathing again, we ended up having a really good discussion about his time in the service and his M1.
The sculpture that tore at me? The one I hadn’t looked for, the one that didn’t call to me? The one that was on our path out of the gardens. It was made of iron I suppose. It appeared to be just stick bodies piled up, arms and legs supporting the layer on top, horrifying in it’s simplicity. Perhaps I was meant to see and share it. There are things in this life that are not a game. They are a warning, a message. We ignore it at our own peril.
Why do I write about such sad things? Patterns, for one. Are you seeing them? Such a tragedy in the history of man-kind? Because if I can put enough detail about some of these people out there that you remember them, and you think about them from time to time, even though you never met them? Then in a way their lives are still touching others. The nazis failed. They didn’t snuff out their lives. People are still thinking of them, they are remembered, perhaps their surviving family will merit a prayer? Perhaps our country will get a prayer? Then the nazis failed. I win. You win. They lose. Good plan.
I’m not really Israeli, I’m not Jewish, but I care deeply about Yad Vashem, and you should too. Why? Read on.
Get coffee, get a BIG cup of coffee.
This was my first big adventure, after landing at Ben Gurion airport with it’s plaque telling when it was freed by the IDF on the 10th of July 1948 in the War for Independence.
The visit to Yad Vashem starts out in a theater. It has a looping film showing slices of life, conversation and music in the days before the madness began. It’s like being behind the lens of a camera that is panning a street. There are apartment buildings and you see people through the windows doing things like having dinner, practicing a violin, teaching, visiting. Then you might see a office building, or a factory. Through their windows you see people doing things. Eventually the panning shifts and you see country side with people working, children playing. Slices of normal life, the way life should have remained for them, but didn’t. Yad Vashem covers why it didn’t, what happened when it didn’t and the final “victory”, which it was, but at a fearful price.
The first of the displays talks about what life was like, before the nazis (nazis don’t deserve capital letters) really had power, they were just beginning to grow in their influence. How many of the Jews were professional people, like doctors, lawyers, teachers. Many if not most, I imagine, of the children went to school, like other children. They had families, lives and their synagogues. Slowly that began to change. Initially Germans resisted the attempts to vilify their neighbors that had lived among them for so long. It took hitler (he doesn’t get capital letters either) a while to change people’s mindsets. When he first began to attempt to blame the Jews for all the ills Germany was undergoing, they didn’t buy in. Given time, and help they were not only willing to turn a blind eye, they did buy in.
I think if we look at where some of that help came from and what it was it could be very useful for us today. What is it they say? Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.
I guess one of the things that struck me about how life was “before” was the feeling of trust. The Jews thought they were safe. The Germans, Poles, and others were their neighbors. They had “coexisted” for a very long time. Co-exist is a lovely sentiment, makes a darling bumper sticker (or an advertisement for who would be an easy target when things go south) and if all parties were willing it would be wonderful. But history seems to show us one of the parties in the “coexist” will decide they don’t want to “coexist” they want to rule, or destroy another party, and they set about doing it. The rest of the museum deals with the result of the “coexist” mindset.
Some of the exhibits, many actually would have film clips you could watch. Some of footage shot during the holocaust, some of survivors, some of observers. One was of a woman that told of her Mother having made a hiding place in the closet and when the nazis would come she would shove them in it. The last time the nazis came she talked them into letting her get her coat. She opened the closet, quietly said “Good-bye girls, if I’m not back by night, go to the TenBooms” I have to wonder if that would be Corrie TenBoom, the author of “The Hiding Place”. Quite a book and a movie. She didn’t come back. Some of the people knew who betrayed them. It was their friends, and neighbors. People they had known and trusted for years. But why would these former friends betray them to such a horrific fate? The museum had some very compelling evidence how it could happen.
A very charismatic leader came to power using the slogan “Hope and Change”, whoops wrong slogan, hitler’s was just “Hope”. Hope for Germany. Germany had been in a sad state of affairs since the last war they started, their debt was crushing them. And Mr. Germany (who wasn’t really German) knew who to blame. The Jews, he was very upfront about his feelings, but the low info voters blew off the warning signs in his book Mein Kampf. So hitler promised Germans he would provide ice cream, rainbow strew and free hitler phones to all when he was elected. He purchased a newspaper to spread his screed. Tyrants today do not need to go to such lengths as the print media is pretty well on board and does the screed spreading for free, as they’ve bought in to the ideology. Pretty much the same with TV, for those that get out of line and really are investigative journalists you can read my post on Sharyl Atkisson. Or perhaps study the late Andrew Breitbart. And, he had his new propaganda minister to help out. I don’t know if the media back then were willing participants, or if they were forced but you began to see “cartoons” of Jews handing out poison candy to unsuspecting children. In fact there is a whole collection of these cartoons. Some of them were used in schools, proving “common core” is really nothing new. You can see several of them here. http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/thumb.htm They sort of remind me of the way that cartoonist for the Kansas City “Red Star” portrays gun owners. I haven’t taken that rag for years, if they can’t report a story involving a firearm accurately after it has happened why would I think anything else they report is accurate? Vilification of Jews in cartoons was nothing new, it occurred in the middle ages as well, and the nazis happily revived some of the old woodcuts. Wikipedia has info here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewpig it’s called Judensau. I will tell you before you look, it’s vile, the only reason I’m giving the link is I saw a platter with that woodcut image in the museum. Yep, people served food on them, there were also plates so people ate off them.
The culture was changing that made it not only acceptable but desirable to isolate and vilify one group of people. An artist named Charlotte Salomon (Apr 1917-10 Oct 1943 Auschwitz) did a series of paintings that chronicled her life entitled “Life or Theater”. They showed the changes in life the longer the nazis were in power. Her family had been quite comfortable before all the “hopey-changey” stuff took place. Her Dad was a surgeon, which became one of the prohibited professions for Jews. Charlotte had gained University acceptance to the United State school of pure arts, but in time she refused to go as it wasn’t safe. She and her husband fled to France where she continued to paint. When the nazis intensified their search in France for Jews, she and her husband were found. They were sent to Auschwitz, she was gassed the day she arrived and she was pregnant. Charlotte had turned over her paintings to a trusted friend for protection. She told the friend they were her life, she painted frantically towards the end. She lives on through the series of paintings. You can read more about Charlotte in wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Salomon
There was a picture of a beautiful young girl, she had long thick auburn braids in the picture. The braids are in the display case below, still braided, still thick and rich in auburn color. The owner long ago murdered. Part of the piles of things collected in the camps, like hair, teeth, glasses, shoes, some of this was re-purposed for the German army. And piles of bones and bodies, lots of the bodies those things used to belong to. The jewelry of course had been confiscated.
My hands down favorite part of the museum was the section dedicated to the resistance. It was pitifully small. When you realize what the nazis did to the children of G-d, I suspect it might make the Egyptians look like a bad date. The weapons of resistance were pitifully few, and pitifully poor. I saw a rifle labeled as a pistol grip. Phooey! It was a rifle with the stock broke off. I’m sure it was easier to hide, but that’s all it was. There was one or two magazines laying beside it. Yes, there were a few other things in that section, but not enough. There should have been a room piled with magazines, rifles and all manner of things that had been used to defend the people. Two quotes struck me from this section.
Today it will be half a year since our destruction began [July 1942]. Had we but resisted then, at least as much as we resisted during the last deportation [January 1943], the Nazis would not have succeeded so easily in destroying such a large Jewish community. If the Jews had at the very least not gone of their own free will, but stubbornly hidden as they have been doing in the last few days – then the deportation would have lasted for months on end. One shudders to think that it required a quarter of a million Jews to give their lives, for the remainder to understand the reality of the situation and come to the right conclusions. From the diary of Shmuel Winter
“It is impossible to put into words what we have been through. What happened exceeded our boldest dreams. The Germans fled twice from the ghetto… My life’s dream has come true. Defense in the ghetto has become a fact. Armed Jewish resistance and revenge are actually happening. I have witnessed the glorious and heroic combat of the Jewish fighters.”~~Mordechai Anielewicz, Warsaw Ghetto, April 1943
I had coffee with a friend not long ago, we were talking about this. I said “If I were in charge, Yad Vashem would be a very different place. There would be rooms and rooms showing the different methods that were used to fight off an aggressor dedicated to erasing a section of the population off the face of the earth”. There would have been rooms showing the trials, and what happened to those that became tyrants and served tyrants. There would have been rooms dedicated to the victory celebration and one room to commemorate the six people that died fighting to save the lives of the innocents, because six people would have been all of the innocents that died. The death toll on the tyrant side would have been much higher.
So while the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto realized they were in a fight for their lives (finally) and news of the uprising began to come out, the rest of the world seems to have emitted a collective yawn. And so the poison gas flowed through the sewers, the tanks rolled in, fire spread and the people died. In recent times events have occurred that should make people sit up and take notice or at least open their eyes a bit wider in alarm, seems only to prompt only the changing of the channel to American Idol and people grab a coke with a smile. Putin rolls into the Ukraine and barry draws another red line in the sand. Isn’t it interesting that Putin is using the same excuse hitler did to invade countries? Well, when a country has ineffective leadership (at least in a positive direction, taking the country down the drain he’s a master at) you get things like the first lady holding up a sign begging a terrorist group to give back kidnapped girls. Yeah Mooch, that’ll do it.
Women in the camps didn’t have it any easier. They had to deal with things like Bloody Brigitte, she always struck till there was blood, she released her dogs on the prisoners. This sadistic German nurse spent time in prison for her crimes. I’m quite sure the prison she spent time in was much nicer than the ones she presided over.
There were also displays of pieces of medical equipment that could be used to determine if someone was Jewish, based on facial feature measurements. Now we don’t need those things, we have biometrics. They had helpful little “family tree” examples to determine the fate of someone’s life based on their grandparents.
I tend to look at patterns, and I’m seeing one. I’m seeing a pattern of a segment of a population being vilified by politicians, cartoonist ridiculing political and religious beliefs. Any attempt by the pitifully small remnant of a “news” media to point out the corruption is stifled. Anyone speaking out against it can look forward to IRS intervention to shut them down. And one party has called for the IRS to shut down political dissent. And yet from those espousing “tolerance” (but only for certain groups) are the very ones that push such policies using bully politics. You think people aren’t losing their jobs because of political or religious beliefs? Ask a pair of twin brothers that lost their new show on HGTV because it came out they were……..sssshhhhh, “Christians”. The same tactics have been tried against a store selling chicken sandwiches and a man that made & sells duck calls. WOW. So, HGTV pulled the new show. Darn, I will miss “Property Brothers”, but hey, they don’t want “my kind” of viewer,so I will oblige them, and their sponsors. You know, that’s the thing about a pattern, I’ve never bought a pattern for a shirt and ended up with a saddle blanket. They are worth paying attention to.
There’s nothing I can say about this clueless, feckless twit that hasn’t been said already by the Internets. I’m just here to show you irrefutable proof that Moms Demand Action frothing lunatics are also ignorant of history.
And we know what happens to those who forget history.
And no, this is not a joke. Nor is it a troll account on Twitter. Until very recently, Alison A. Martin’s Twitter account was very much active and very much real.
Yes, the photo above was from an actual conversation one of the guys I follow on Twitter had with a Moms Demand Action leader!
It’s quite obvious Alison A. Martin had no idea who Josef Goebbels was, so she replied in the usual gun-grabber flippancy.
I’m betting that after a cursory Google search, she realized what she said. But in typical gun grabber style, she deactivated her Twitter account, deleted her other social media, and went into hiding, so to speak, rather than admit and own her mistake.
Cowardice, ignorance, and lack of personal responsibility… all trademarks of Bloombergian idiots.
Meet your adversary, and take the time to ridicule it.
And then fear for the future of this nation, if there are actually political activists out there who are so stunningly ignorant about World War II, the Holocaust, and the Nazis.
I thought this was an appropriate first post for the Zelman Partisans.
Jews. Guns. No compromise. No surrender.
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