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July 11, 2003

Unseen History:

For those of you happening upon these pictures for the first time, an explanation of how they came to appear on this site can be found in the first post in this series.

A list of all the Unseen History posts can be seen here, and will eventually be mirrored here.


We end where we began, at the Ohrdruf work camp, where the American experience of the Holocaust began, with what was for an all to short time the only concrete evidence the West had of the vast Nazi death machine. Other proof came all too soon, in massive, overwhelming amounts. At the height of the Reich campaign against undesirables within and without its death camps numbered in the thousands

Click on picture for a larger version.
S & G 61331

THIS PHOTO SHOWS: Some of the prisoners who were mercilessly massacred by the Nazi SS men lie on the ground at the prison camp. Many of the men were naked and in the last stages of starvation when they were executed.
British Combine - Acme Photo F 15486 from Sport and General.

Click on picture for a larger version.

It takes a special sort of ignorance to look at pictures like the one above, to gaze upon the results of a campaign calculated, approved and directed by Germany's highest leaders, a campaign willingly executed by the vast majority of its citizens and think; "The United States sure was horrible to the Native Americans."

It's hard to believe such wilfull ignorance exists when evidence that can allay it is literally available at the touch of a finger. Yet exist it does. Scan the comments on many of the posts in this series and there it will be, standing out from those around it like a corpse at a wedding.

As the eyewitnesses to the Holocaust grow fewer in number, the meme that conflates the American Indian's experience in the nineteenth century with that of the Jew in the twentieth grows more pervasive. Not that comparisons with the Holocaust need be confined to that example alone, but the experience of the native American is greatly tempting to those of a certain mindset.

"Never Forget" means nothing to these people, because they don't know what they're never supposed to forget was in the first place. Their lack of historical knowledge allows them to peer into the past and see patterns that never existed, much as a child percieves monsters in the shadows of a night-darkened closet.

For those who promulgate the argument, the point is not to equate the native Americans of the 1870s with the Jews of the 1940s. Frankly, they couldn't care less about either group. The equation they are interested in is not Native American = Jew, it's United States = Nazi Germany.

It's a deeply flawed idea on many levels, which is one reason its main appeal is limited to those ignorant of history, an argument so weak it can be refuted with one word.


Geronimo, the Apache who died in a Florida prisoner of war camp in 1909, yet who fought for so long and so hard against the U.S. that his very name is a symbol of bravery. Geronimo, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment.

If one wishes to prove that Nazi Germany and America are equivalents, then one must first produce the Jewish Geronimo, reknowned throughout Nazi Germany for his bravery, the Jew whose fame is so everlasting that a German Army regiment has taken his name for its own.

Failing that, the Jewish Cochise, "incomparable as a leader and a strategist," would also be acceptable.

Or the Jewish Crazy Horse, whose image has been slowly carved into a mountain over the last 55 years by a World War II veteran and his descendants.

Or Sitting Bull, whom thousands of Americans paid to see and cheered for as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show And Exhibition.

It's not like there aren't examples to pick from. Jews fought back against the Nazi regime in the Warsaw Ghetto, at Bialystok, at Sobibor, Treblinka and a hundred other locations, known and unknown.

Yet there are none. America took those whom it oppressed and made them heroes. Germany.......well, we know what Germany did.

None of this is meant to denigrate or whitewash the suffering of the North American Indians, 6000 to 7000 of whom died as a result of actions directly sponsored by the British and American states. Millions more died as a result of disease, especially in the years before the English arrived on the continent, or due to the slow, worldwide grind of culture against culture, a grind that continues to this day. The American Indians died, over hundreds of years, like the Gauls, the Maratha, and the Nubians before them. People have died throughout history because of where they were, because someone else wanted the land they lived on. Others surrendered, and survived.

The victims of the Holocaust died because of who they were. They died regardless of whether they fought or surrendered. 6 million died in 7 years.

The numbers alone make comparisons between the Holocaust and the American Indian experience ludicrous. 7000 deaths over 400 years, versus 6 million in 7.

If that is not enough, there is a final bit of evidence, one that speaks directly to the nature of the respective governments overseeing the fate of the Jew and that of the American Indian.

In 1944, the German bureaucrat in charge of Jewish Affairs, an intimate of Hitler, was Adolf Eichmann.

In 1870, the American bureaucrat in charge of Indian Affairs, an intimate of President Grant, was Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian.


Barring another overlooked Army Surplus cabinet, this is the last post in the Unseen History. Thanks for stopping by to read them.

Postscript: Some final thoughts on the Unseen History posts are here.

Posted by Bigwig at July 11, 2003 12:37 AM | TrackBack
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My paternal Grandmother was part Cherokee and part Black slave.

Tons of Indians assimilated.

No Jews assimilated into the Third Reich, that is for sure, unless the rumors about Hitler and Heydrich are true.

Posted by: Michael Strickland at July 12, 2003 08:44 PM

Magnificent in the compass of the horror. Horrible in what you've shown. You have created an important document that requires publication. Particularly affecting is the last bit demolishing the Jew=Indian concept. You are to be congratulated. There are a few of us who have seen a deathcamp (mercifully, as a tourist) and will not be dissuaded that this did indeed happen and with a merciless, industrialized intensity that are the true "memes" of the 20th Century. Carry on.

Posted by: Alex at July 13, 2003 06:44 PM

The Indian Assimilation is a good point. I should have thought of it, esp as according to family rumour my generation is either 1/16th Creek or Choctaw, a percentage that would allow us Native American status if my family had kept up the tribal ties.

Posted by: bigwig at July 14, 2003 01:32 AM

i am doing a class project and i need some pictures of death camps, can someone help me get some more pictures?

Posted by: Teniya at May 12, 2004 10:51 AM

i am doing a class project and i need some pictures of death camps, can someone help me get some more pictures?

Posted by: Teniya at May 12, 2004 10:51 AM

i am doing a class project and i need some pictures of death camps, can someone help me get some more pictures?

Posted by: Teniya at May 12, 2004 10:51 AM
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