Why we remember the Holocaust but forget the Slave Trade

Published: 2019-08-28 07:30:00
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Many things have happened in the history of mankind, and some are hard to forget. A lot has been written about Holocaust and the slave trade, but currently, people tend to remember the Holocaust and forget the slave trade. In a brief look at the Holocaust, the following unfolded. First, Holocaust represented a bureaucratic, systematic, state-sponsored murder and persecution of six million Jews during the Nazi regime as well as its collaborators. There was also the destruction of five thousand communities. Hence, these represented almost two-thirds of Jews that lived in Europe as well as one-third of the entire Jewry. When Adolf Hitler became the German chancellor in January 1933, the Nazi trusted that Germans were superior racially and regarded Jews as inferior and being a threat to the German racial society. During the Holocaust era, the German regime also attacked other groups due to their alleged racial inferiority (Raul, 2003). On the other hand, some communities got persecuted based on their ideological, political, as well as behavioral grounds and these groups included homosexuals, socialists, communists, and Jehovahs Witnesses. The atrocities that were done during the Holocaust period destroyed many European Jewish societies as well as displaced thousands of Jewish that occupied the entire Eastern Europe (Doris, 2003).

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Alternatively, slave trade represents one of the dreadful crimes that have happened in the history of humanity. Many people were subjected to slave trade for many generations, and it can be said that the business lasted for more than 200 years as pointed out by Hartman (2003). What people must come to realize is that any act of murder, enslavement, persecution, and torture is equal irrespective of when, who, or where. Slaying six million Jewish should not be different from killing six Palestine. In essence, the idiosyncratic act of murder is regarded as very equal. It should not be seen equal if the persecutions go from six to six million. All are an act of murder just increased by six million. Torturing people, dehumanizing them, kidnapping, sexual assault comprise several example of violation of human rights. Therefore, the act of enslavement especially by capturing the victims forcefully is an enormous crime. Therefore, this represents one set of atrocities, and each incident took place over centuries thereby destabilizing the African communities development potential.

During the slave trade, there are a lot of crimes that occurred. Packing and loading of humans on a ship just like sardines then subjecting them to breathing and living in their excrement and on urine represents a set of atrocities against humankind. Capturing as well as selling humans like a chattel constitutes another crime. Further, to disrupt culture, language, name, and religion of the slave is also another set of the offense against humankind. Therefore, both Holocaust and the slave trade represent massive atrocities against humanity yet people tend to remember the Jews Holocaust and forget the slave trade (Ornstein, 2004). The question is, why do we remember the Holocaust but forget the slave trade?

Even though crimes against humanity should be considered the same, the slave trade was absolutely bad, but Holocaust seems much worse and thats why many people tend to remember it and forget the slave trade. The Holocaust is widely remembered because many people were directly murdered. On the other hand, the slave trade was only forcing the individuals to work but not killing the people directly. Even though there are no actual numbers of those who died during the Holocaust, estimates have it that the Nazi killed around six million Jews as well as another five million other groups. Pieces of literature show that around 2.5 million died during the process of the slave trade (Zehfuss, 2006). Just as mentioned earlier, it was not only the Jews were slain during the Holocaust, but other groups such as homosexuals, the disabled, socialists, communists, and Jehovahs Witnesses. Therefore, the numbers that were victimized during the atrocities were far much huge that many people keep on remembering this deadly act that was committed against the Jews as well as other minor groups. The crimes that were perpetrated against humans are far much awful and that why many people tends to remember the Holocaust. Fortunately, many people were raped, beaten, tortured, hanged, starved, burned, as well as shot during the Holocaust. In the view of Kowaleski-Wallace (2013), the mass murder that was committed in the Holocaust remains in the people memory.

Furthermore, the Holocaust had a dreadful intention of wiping out the Jews from the face of the earth and even though the plan never succeeded, the damage was far much awful, killing six million Jews was a horrible act, and many people remember this mostly (Rosenbaum, 2001). The slave trade majorly had the intent of using people as laborers for economical ways which is still a wrong act. Any remaining sentiment/ institution or even racist prejudices remain a huge debate and another testament to the cruelty of humanity against one another. Mostly, people remain cruelty for various reasons such as regional differences, religion, ethnic backgrounds. Further, in the Holocaust, the Jews Themselves were used as slaves. Apart from the German Nazi ruthless killings of the Jews, Poles, Czechs, Gypsies, Russians, Jesuit priests, POWs, communists, Africans, and political prisoners were used as the slave labor that supports the Germans war efforts (Streich, 2002).

On the other hand, the slave trade has been forgotten so much. In viewpoint, this brings me to the knowledge that slave trade may not be regarded as genocide. In the view of United Nations Genocide Convention that provides the provisions for classifying a tragedy as genocide, there must be some characteristics that should be present. Therefore, genocide refers to any acts done with the intention to destroy in part or whole, a natural, a group, racial, or a religious group. Hence, there should be elements of killings members of such groups, causing severe mental or bodily harm to such groups, deliberately causing the group life conditions premeditated to make physical destruction in part or as a whole, or imposing measures with the intent to avert births within the group. Further, there can be a forcible transfer of children of that particular group to another group.

Therefore, in the view of the UN genocide convention (2002), the following can be made about the slave trade. In the common perception, the slaves died; severely harmed in psychological as well as physical ways and the children got forcefully transferred since they were sold to some other slavers. According to Article II of the UN Convention on genocide, all aspects have not been met. Even though the slaves were terribly handled in pathetic conditions on the ships as well as not even staying in superfluity on the plantations, nonetheless, these horrible conditions were not done intentionally to harm the slaves (Neuborne, 2001). Therefore, the slaves that got died on route to the various destinations happened because of starvation, not having sufficient air, as well as due to diseases. The slavers never had the intent to kill the slaves as compared to the Holocaust where the Jews were severely pursued with the main aim of wiping them out on the face of this world.

Consequently, the crimes against humanity that happened in the Holocaust remain so much in many peoples minds as compared to what occurred in the slave trade. In fact, the slaves died in the hands of slavers and may also be caused by doing something that is much disapproved by the owners where they were whipped or even lynched to death. The Jews as well as other minor groups in the Holocaust never stood a chance regardless of what they do or what they did not do and would still be persecuted and tortured. Truly, the experience that the Jews experience in the Holocaust is far much awful, and many generations shall keep on remembering this atrocious act that was committed by the German Nazi and the authorities during that particular period.

Furthermore, some people see slaves as some of the factors that contributed to rising and growth for the big industry and therefore were of economic benefit since they offered cheap labor as well as domestic work. Without quoting names, the individuals that participated in the slave trade view the act as of great significant. The slaves helped a lot in many ways just as mentioned. Only that beating them as well as treating them badly would infer that reduced work in the plantations. The Jews were not entirely valued by those who were responsible for such atrocious acts thus there is no reason they should be treated like slaves. The Nazi had the sole intention of killing them, as well as eradicating the entire race (Gerson, 2007).

Further, the concept of race can be said to have hugely made people to remember the Holocaust. Even though humanity has advanced in several ways since the atrocities, contemporary civilization stays a predicated on the absolute similar harmful concept that revealed themselves during the savage cruelty of the German Nazi. The ferocious infliction of pain that manifested in a form of Holocaust was at its epicenter, the product of ignorance as well the inexorable culmination of three centuries that is based on myth, hatred, and even misinformation (Popkin, 2003). It was mass murder based on the common perception, the conception of race. Therefore, any conflicts as a result of race tend to make people think about the Holocaust that was committed by the Nazi German. Racial conflicts that happen in the history of mankind especially after the Holocaust tend to make many people think about the atrocities that were committed by the Adolf Hitlers regime than the awful things that took place in the slave trade. In essence, the two crimes, the slave trade, and the Holocaust are painful in equal measure and should even be compared, but racial and ethnic conflicts that happen to mankind makes people remember Holocaust and forget the slave trade. A good example that can best illustrate this concept is the Rwandan genocide. The crimes that were committed during this genocide just as a result of ethnic conflict are far much awful. Many people lost their lives during this crime. Therefore, when people think of racial and ethnic conflicts, the memory of Jews Holocaust lingers in the mind of many people (Stewart, 2004).

Finally, the duration that two crimes took place can form part of what people perceive about both atrocities. The slave trade is an activity that has been there for quite some time like over 200 years. In fact, the Holocaust took place when slavery had not ended in some countries, yet it is still remembered more than slave trade (Paul, 2009). However, Holocaust is a crime that started immediately after Adolf Hitler became the German Chancellor in January 1933 and shortly ended in 1945 by the helped of allied powers. Nonetheless, the crimes, as well as persecutions that were made against the Jews, are very vast, and colossal numbers of people died. Therefore, just imagine six million Jews as well as other few millions of minor groups being persecuted in that brief period compared to slave trade that has been there over 200 years. This must be a dreadful crime against humanity that many people tend to remember and tend to forget the slave trade (Bailey, 2005).

In conclusion, both slave trade and Holocaust represent brutal atrocities that have been committed in the history of mankind. The latter is much remembered maybe due to the intensity in which it happened. Mass murders that were perpetrated against the Jews are so worrying. Hence, the Persecutions that aim at eliminating an entire race in the...

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