Reflections on Constantine's Sword

Reflections on Constantine's Sword

I recently finished James Carroll’s book, Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, and it seems to unfortunately relate as much to our times today as the times focused on in The Mischlinge Exposé in regards to a polarized, fundamentalist society. Here are some quotes that stood out while reading:

Hatred of the other became society’s scare-driven urge to eradicate an alien part of itself.
...moved against doubt in the traditional way - by repressing existential anxiety, defining it as evil, and projecting it...
Universalist absolutism thrives on the diminishment of the other.
— Padriac O'Hare
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Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.
— Joyce Carol Oates
The nature of truth required modesty toward oneself and respect toward all others.
Difference is to be respected, not condemned.
We understand one another, if at all, only through analogies. Each recognizes that any attempt to reduce the authentic otherness of another’s focus to one’s own with our common habits of domination only seems to destroy us all, only increases the leveling power of the all-too-common denominators making no one at home. Conflict is our actuality. Conversation is our hope.
— David Tracy
When the problem is defined as belonging to the victim group, the “solution“ becomes that groups removal.




The Invention of Human Races

The Invention of Human Races

Dresden's Deutsches Hygiene-Museum (a medical museum) is currently presenting an exhibit on racism, titled, “Racism. The Invention of Human Races”. The exhibit was recently profiled in Jewish Voice from Germany and I was struck by the image of the skin color chart from 1900. I hope to contribute the Mischlinge Exposé to this important exhibit.

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A new bibliography addition from Robert Proctor

A new bibliography addition from Robert Proctor

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I recently finished Robert N. Proctor's book, Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis. What was so disturbing is how the finest minds in science and medicine paved the way for barbarity, and that the Germans were inspired by the Americans for their “leadership in racial hygiene”.

A review quote from Harvard University Press:

“Robert Proctor demonstrates that the common picture of a passive scientific community coerced into cooperation with the Nazis fails to grasp the reality of what actually happened—namely, that many of the political initiatives of the Nazis arose from within the scientific community, and that medical scientists actively designed and administered key elements of National Socialist policy.”

And another poignant review quote from the Journal of Public Health Policy:

“It is easy to be simplistic about the Nazi period, to think of the German people as somehow different and capable of enormities that others would never be capable of committing. Not only is this facile, but Proctor's book, in adding complexity and subtlety to our understanding of the Nazi phenomenon, also clarifies our vision of what the opposition within Germany was, what was thought, what was attempted, and how it failed.”

Alex Ross on the precursors to Nazism

Alex Ross on the precursors to Nazism

Alex Ross published an April 2018 article in The New Yorker on the scholarly research into the international precursors of Nazism, titled “How American Racism Influenced Hitler”. I read the article at the same time that I was reading Robert Proctor's book, Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under The Nazis, and the tie-ins were stark. The article is deeply disturbing, and the comparisons to our current climate left me feeling distraught. It is my hope that projects like The Mischlinge Exposé can use personal stories to help make room for compassion.

Americans have an especially insatiable appetite for Nazi-themed books, films, television shows, documentaries, video games, and comic books. Stories of the Second World War console us with memories of the days before Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq, when the United States was the world’s good-hearted superpower, riding to the rescue of a Europe paralyzed by totalitarianism and appeasement. Yet an eerie continuity became visible in the postwar years, as German scientists were imported to America and began working for their former enemies; the resulting technologies of mass destruction exceeded Hitler’s darkest imaginings. The Nazis idolized many aspects of American society: the cult of sport, Hollywood production values, the mythology of the frontier. From boyhood on, Hitler devoured the Westerns of the popular German novelist Karl May. In 1928, Hitler remarked, approvingly, that white settlers in America had “gunned down the millions of redskins to a few hundred thousand.” When he spoke of Lebensraum, the German drive for “living space” in Eastern Europe, he often had America in mind.
— Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Miami Holocaust Memorial

Miami Holocaust Memorial

While on break in Miami for Passover, I visited the Holocaust Memorial and the emotional, and gut-wrenching sculpture by Kenneth Treister. I also had the honor of meeting survivor Henry F., who is 94 and going strong!