Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/08/29

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Leica and Nazis
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 08:49:12 -0400

I know I shouldn't get into this, but I can't help myself...

To paraphrase 	Gertrude Stein: A slave laborer is a slave laborer, is a
slave laborer. To suggest that the slave labor system and the holocaust are
somehow different, seems to suggest that perhaps one was "okay" in war time,
and the other wasn't. Well, it wasn't "okay," it was equally reprehensible,
and the two grew out of the same mind set.

I'm not getting into the debate over who did or did not make use of this
inhuman practice, or whether particular executives from particular companies
did or did not attempt to protect Jews or other potential victims of the
Nazis. I am not an historian of the German optical industry.

But I do take offense at what appear to be attempts to differentiate between
one unjustifiable practice and another.

Can't we all just agree that what went on in Germany from '33-45 was
inexcusable. And similarly, agree that the perpetrators of those acts are
long dead, and the folks who are today running companies that were active
during those years bear no "guilt" for what happened then, and bear no
relationship to their predecessors other than an ability to manufacture
fabulous optical equipment?

To continue to do otherwise brings up the obvious issue that some among us -
and I am NOT pointing fingers at ANY individuals - pay fantastic premiums to
own examples of those optical instruments bearing the symbols of the regime
that exterminated literally 10s of millions of  "inferior peoples,"
including Jews, Slavs, Catholics, homosexuals, the retarded, the halt and
the lame, and those who disagreed with the very idea that there are
"superior" and "inferior" people.

(By the way: Yes, I am Jewish. And one of my major clients happens to be a
corporation that was a cornerstone of A.G. Farben.)

- ---------
In any event, slave labour and the holocaust are different things on a
broad level.  The German slave-labour system, the process which eventually
sent Sauckel to the gallows, involved non-Jewish personnel.  There was a
similar system using Jewish labour, but that was done at SS-owned factories
which were closed down in '45.

Marc  FAX:  +540/343-7315
Cha robh bas fir gun ghras fir!