Obviously, the Holocaust is a prominent part of WW II, a prime example of all genocides and the culmination, the ultimate form of Antisemitism, and more. The question is, should a Holocaust museum mainly commemorate WW II, all genocides or Antisemitism, or all or nothing of the above? Should it be about the past (what happened), the present (it’s not perfect yet), the future (what could but should not happen) or a combination?
Only presenting the Holocaust as the icon and summery of Antisemitism misses out on teaching the whole spectrum and history of Antisemitism.
But adding this context should not be so overdone that the Holocaust becomes but one trivial example of hatred for Jews.
It should also not be presented as the only serious example and consequence of Jews’ hatred. As if being an Antisemite is OK as long as one doesn’t want to exterminate all Jews.
And Antisemitism is not just bad because ultimately, it could lead to something as bad as Auschwitz. Without that, it’s a terrible oppression too that makes Jews’ lives unsafe and spoils the moral stature of Gentiles.
It should also be stressed that most Jews were murdered not by people steeped in evil or even their collaborators but rather but the silent majority that didn’t care (enough). Indifference is the worst form of any hatred.
No proper overview of the horrors of WW II can lack mentioning the Holocaust. The goal to exterminate the Jews was a prominent part of Nazi ideology, agitation, and Hitler’s speeches. It too symbolizes prominently how evil Nazism was but also how well post-WW II Germans as a nation now rejects this evil past.
However, the Holocaust was not all that was bad in WW II, as we also have the senselessness of war, the great profits of the weapon industry, the moral fall of the Christian West (only in Asia, fleeing Jews were welcome without quotas), the 50 million people who died, the power of evil and the righteousness of allies to fight totalitarianism and militarism even far from home, and the collaboration of supposedly decent people and nations (the USA) with evil, before, during and after WW II. The difference should be stressed between common soldiers’ idealism and heroism, compared to the rulers and rich’ callousness and evil, for easy profit and fame.
Although the demise of any person is terrible, a difference must be made between the death of perpetrators, of innocent bystanders and of deliberate victims. This should not be done to the extent that it seems as if one life is worth more than any other but also not, to the other extreme, as if the perpetrators were just victims of circumstance too. The failure to recognize and resist evil must be highlighted and deplored.
The Holocaust cannot be properly presented as just one general example of genocide whereby all mass murders on Peoples are horrific. The latter point is true but the Holocaust stood out as it was committed by the supposedly highest civilization at the time against a People that stood at the cradle of Monotheism, a hatred that is still vibrant and virulent (with ups and downs) among billions of Monotheists.
However, not should be forgotten that the world’s indifference about the Armenian genocide heartened Hitler in his belief that he could also get away with destroying all the Jews.
And the German Nation’s example should be presented as proof that every group can humbly repent and redeem itself, even from the most wicked behavior, which does it proud rather than humiliates it.
It is true that, sadly, wars between religious groups have painted the globe red for so long. Still, there is an enormous difference between Hindus and Muslims, Protestants and Catholics, Christians and Muslims, etc., going to war to enlarge their power or impose their worldviews, and Monotheists trying to eliminate the first and powerless Monotheistic Nation.
The latter is not for power but from hatred. Trying to convert Jews to other religions and refusal to try send converted Jews back to their People, are therefore not merely a form of religious competition but extraordinary wickedness, a creeping form of religious supremacy and genocide.
Quite some Christians and Catholics and their leaders have realized after WW II, and especially after the proclamation of the Jewish State of Israel, how much their traditions have stood at the wrong side of history for centuries. However, their present solidarity with the Jews, no matter how laudable, is often still marred by uncontested Antisemitic churches and a widespread refusal to own an evil past (unlike the German Nation does).
It must be taught that Jews are a Nation and not a Race or a Religious denomination, with a distinct culture of which an important part is a unique religion. This is the only People not just based on a shared locality, history, language or mindset, but rather founded on a belief that it has a Higher Calling to teach the Highest Morality to all people — without any expectation of Gentiles to become Jews.
The Nazis also going after converted Jews shows that racism rather than religious competition lies at the basis of the Holocaust.
Also political hatred for Jews, libeling that they control or would like to rule the world, is by necessity rooted in this racist view that Jews must be of irredeemably morally inferior roots.
The question if seemingly Caucasian Jews are targeted by White racism too, is interesting. Yet, American Whites should not enter this discussion as they live on land stolen from the Natives, cultivated by Black slaves. (White racists shout to non-Whites that they should go back to where they came from but when Jews do exactly that, they’re called imperialists.)
Decades of commemorations of the Holocaust in the Netherlands, also when led by prominent Jews, were extra bad examples of overburdening to make them “relevant to today” in the sense of connecting them to the need to fight general oppression (genocide, nationalism, racism, etc.). This so much so, that wholly vanished that the main target of the Holocaust was Jews and that Antisemitism is still alive and kicking. (“The New Jews” are … Jews.) The top of chutzpah, of course, was to proclaim those events as “solidarity with the Palestinians suffering” under the hands of “Israeli” (a dog-whistle for “the Jews”). But also less evil well-meaning parallels have often obscured that at the core here lie ills of Jews’ hatred, not general hatred. Acknowledgment of the Dutch’ dark past goes very slow.
When the museum erected at the place of the largest Dutch concentration camp, Westerbork, wanted to broaden its scope, many protested. The non-Jewish director knew better and even accused “Jews” of threatening to kill him. Nor he or the museum ever went to the police or apologized.
In the Low Countries, treason, betrayal of Dutch loyalty, leading to Dutch shame, is still seen as graver than betraying the Jews, leading to genocide.
A Holocaust museum should tell of the prominence of the European, German, Christian-Western industrial genocide on the Jews and at the same time make all the cross-connections between other suffering from Antisemitism, WW II, genocides, religious supremacy, and all other oppression in the past, present, and future, to make it maximally relatable for all Gentiles — but always in good measure, without overdoing that. It shouldn’t be that you can’t see the Antisemitism for the other atrocities.