Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/02

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Subject: [Leica] Leitz and the Holocaust
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 11:12:29 EDT

Why do we not talk about these, at least not with the intensity with which we
refer to the Jewish holocaust? is it because we have no excuse for standing
idle while people are being massacred with impunity? Or is it because the
Jewish vote in the USA is very powerful while there is little representation
by the other respective
nationalities? --Joseph Codispoti
- ---------------------------------------------------------------

I think the reason the European Holocaust is foremost in Western minds is that
it occurred at all in Christian Europe. It strikes at the very heart and soul
of everything we believe in. It comes down the generations to us like a
running sore.
We ask ourselves, why did our moral institutions fail us? Why didn't Western
values prevent this horrendous crime? Why didn't Westerners as individuals
meet the test? An even deeper fear underlies the Holocaust: What effect will
it have on Christianity? Why did it fail in the crunch? Is Christianity dead?
Did it die in Auschwitz? If so, what will replace it? 

The difference between the Holocaust and the other genocidal acts is also one
of scale and methodology. The Holocaust was carefully prepared. Hitler used
the lives  of innocent people as ransom. It was cold-blooded political murder
carried out in an industrial operation. The Germans carefully robbed and then
murdered their victims. Compared to the Holocaust the other persecutions never
had the deadly organization of concentration camps designed to rob, murder
millions efficiently, and before the end to reduce their humanity by working
and starving them to death. 
German doctors, lawyers, engineers and private corporations were used to make
the process as total as possible. 

The Germans used anti-semitism as the legitimizing force that would further
their goals throughout Europe. Their propaganda was designed around anti-
semitism to mobilize and create a movement which they could lead. No other
persecuting entity did that to such a degree. 

Joe, it isn't merely Jewish people who are calling German corporations to
Something deep in the spiritual roots of Westerners is trying to come to terms
with what happened. 

How sad that Leitz was involved in the Holocaust. And how ironic that Swiss
banks  brokered the victims' loot for war materials, and the Swiss state
denied haven to those victims. 

It is the dimensions and moral bankruptsy of the West that we are struggling
with, Joe. The lawsuits and the settlements are merely symbols of a collective
shame. Great as Leicas are, I still regard my M3 with fear and trembling for
what it represented in the ever recent past.