As I have written about before, I am currently involved in writing a screenplay THE RED LETTER about the Israeli Nazi hunter Tuviah Friedman, whose 15-year quest led to the finding of Final Solution architect Adolf Eichmann. Yet, while I often write about the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis, I do not mean to overlook the murder of so many other Nazi victims including Gypsies, homosexuals, political dissidents, and mentally deficient people.
As Ina R. Friedman says in her book THE OTHER VICTIMS: FIRST-PERSON STORIES OF NON-JEWS PERSECUTED BY THE NAZIS: “Of all Hitler’s intended victims, only Gypsies and Jews were to be exterminated completely. No member of these groups, from infants to grandparents, was to be permitted to live.”
The Gypsies, who are more correctly called Romani, are on my mind as I prepare to visit Germany. This will be the first time I have returned since May 1972 when my husband and I left Munich where we had been stationed with the U.S. Army. (We were NOT in Munich in September 1972 when 11 Israeli Olympic athletes were taken hostage and murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.)
When I am in Munich again I hope to re-visit Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp, which opened in March 1933 just two months after Hitler took over as Reich Chancellor of Germany. I will never forget seeing three Romani standing together in a doorway at Dachau — two men and a woman — and thinking that they too had come to mourn the murdered victims of their people.
When I was last in Berlin my husband and I had security clearances so that we could not go into East Berlin. Now that the Berlin Wall has fallen I will be staying in what was formerly East Berlin. And there are two memorials in Berlin that I plan to see:
- The first is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold.
- The second is the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism designed by Israeli artist Dani Karavan.
While it is important to honor the memory of the Nazis’ victims commemorated by these memorials, it is equally important to remember the history that these memorials represent as well as the often-quoted sentiment: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
I can only hope that the competition between countries taking place at the Rio Olympics right now continues to be the only arena where countries come to blows with each other. The world does not need more memorials to future murdered peoples.
© 2016 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Phyllis is available by skype for book group discussions and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Her Kindle fiction ebooks may be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller — and her Kindle nonfiction ebooks may also be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller