By Franz Schandl
[This essay published in: Junge Welt, 2/3/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.balzix.de/f-schandl_Immer%20wieder%20Auschwitz_feb-2005.html.]
We live in times of a double trivialization. One is well known; the other will be discussed here. That Auschwitz is relativized in other atrocities is annoying. That Auschwitz relativizes everything else is also unbearable. No conflict will be seen any more as a particular atrocity (in which its special characteristics are analyzed) but will be projected somehow on the Shoah and thus made small. Auschwitz itself is no longer explained from the historical development. Conversely, every current event is immediately connected with Auschwitz.
Before purely hallucinated fascists, one no longer sees the real fascists. Before purely phantasizd anti-Semites, one cannot recognize the real any more. Auschwitz must be prevented in any case, wherever, whenever and however if no other argument occurs. Reference to the Nazis is made almost everywhere and becomes a popular all-purpose weapon that can be inserted and applied at any time. Yesterday’s atrocity serves as justification for today’s atrocity, not as a warning. Auschwitz becomes an alibi.
In this fascinating logic, the holocaust functions as an excuse for diverse crimes, bombardments, invasions, raids and torture. After 1945, exhausting the extravagant Nazi comparisons (supported by the insane totalitarianism theory) was the method of the ideologues of the Cold War. Today these ideologues seem to prevail worldwide. In Auschwitz, the most excellent reason is found for waging wars sought by the centers of power. “Resist the beginnings” becomes a liberal farce. The tragic historical irony is that the mad consequence of middle class rule appears as a justification of the same. This view of things amounts to the sheer affirmation of American foreign policy – whatever its goal.
Thus the great crime against humanity takes the rap and allows or even demands other crimes against humanity. Auschwitz becomes the pretext for diverse atrocities and the incentive for preventing what is worse. Fighting Auschwitz prophylactically is even argued – today in Iraq, tomorrow in Iran and the day after tomorrow in Russia, China or Venezuela. There are enough shooting candidates. Official Germany demonstrated how this functions in Yugoslavia. By means of a new analogy, ruthlessly enforcing its own interests becomes possible. What an achievement! Auschwitz has become an export-hit over which the West in general and Germany in particular can rejoice.
Everything thrives by accusing others of being Nazis. People even casually reflect on whom nuclear bombs cannot be dropped. The all-pervasive propaganda of the culture industry is part of this free enterprise mission for freedom and democracy. The ideological cluster bombs of western values have an effect. In the name of the Enlightenment, they fortify a pro-imperialist consensus that reaches into the left. The civilization mystery play completely darkens the course of the real free enterprise democratic barbarization.