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Heroes June 16, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

There’s a lot of truth in this piece here on Anne Frank which makes an appeal for an appreciation, not of her as a sort of mythologised heroic figure of perfection but rather a very human, imperfect, entirely normal young girl and woman. And to me that is crucial to understanding the reality of fascism (and indeed anti-semitism) and the utter inhumanity of what fascists did to Anne Frank and many millions of other people:

Most Americans turn hushed and reverent at the mention of the Holocaust’s victims. This is well-intended; reverence seems like a necessary corrective, especially in a time when manifestations of racism and anti-Semitism are on the rise. But reverence also does damage. When people insist on the perfection of martyrs, they forget that one of the great violences accomplished by the Nazis was in robbing their victims of their right to be seen as real, complex people. In the eyes of the Nazis, Anne and Helga weren’t people; they were insects, subhumans.


The remedy for that dehumanization isn’t deification. Yet that’s exactly what we flirt with when we insist that the people murdered by Hitler were perfect. Idealizing the Nazis’ victims—cordoning them off from the flaws the rest of humanity is subject to—may be an attempt to rebalance the scales, but there’s something deeply untrustworthy about it.


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