Comparing the Holocaust to Everything

In analyzing how we treat Europe’s refugee crisis, Dan Stone makes the argument that our actions and the lens we view such things through is heavily influence by World War II and the Holocaust specifically. Stone says that the world never properly came to terms with the Holocaust, and so now it colours the way we think about all kinds of different crises. For example, we might not pay attention to something as much as we should if we deem it ‘not as bad as the Holocaust.’ Stone invokes a 1945 quote from Alan Moorehead that warns that the “danger of indifference” will always be present, bringing up many tragedies that happened over the course of the war which Europeans didn’t care to hear about, unlike the Holocaust, which was huge news. There is a paradox here in how we treat crises or tragedies. For example, we have a tendency to analyze tragedies in regard to how they compare to the Holocaust, which either leads to an incorrect likening of some tragedy to the Holocaust, or if we do not liken some tragedy to the Holocaust, it is downplayed and minimized because it is ‘not as bad as the Holocaust.’ Stone says that it is correct that Europe’s current refugee crisis is not like the Holocaust, but once we begin to insist upon that idea, there is the danger that we don’t respond seriously enough to the problem. For Stone, this seems to stem from the idea that the Cold War was not comprised of the postwar period, and that the postwar period could not happen until the end of the Cold War, so we are only now grappling with the consequences of World War II and the Holocaust, as we try to compare them with every new crisis. However, Stone does not provide any solutions to this problem which he, in my opinion correctly, identifies. How can we properly analyze and take notice of tragedies that went unnoticed by Europeans in World War II and accurately and appropriately respond to the current refugee crisis?

One Reply to “Comparing the Holocaust to Everything”

  1. It is true that the Holocaust is and will most likely stays as the reference for tragedies and migration due to oppression for the twenty first century. Should the indifference from some countries toward the refugee crisis be compare to the Holocaust in terms of coming to term with their own participation or not ? That is the issue that Stone argues with Poland in particular.
    But as mentioned in his article , other massive migrations and genocide happened since the Holocaust in Europe and the response was not appropriate. Despite former Yugoslavia facing a terrible tragedy in the early 1990s, Europe has still to process the repercussions of massive immigration within its borders and now the question becomes: how to deal with migrants coming from outside of Europe ? Solving the issue of migration is a daunting task that requires more than the temporary solutions that we see today but dealing with the past and acknowledging its importance may open the door to better responses for the future.

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