The End Of The Holocaust Was Not The End Of Human Atrocities
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The End Of The Holocaust Was Not The End Of Human Atrocities

Cruelty is not just in our history books, it's in our newspapers too.

4
The End Of The Holocaust Was Not The End Of Human Atrocities
Kaitlyn Crouch

Last Friday, I had the awfully incredible opportunity to visit the Breendonk Concentration Camp in Belgium. The camp was largely used for prisoners of war and resistance fighters during the German occupation of Belgium during World War II; of course, many Jews were held there for no tactical reason. The goal of the camp was to break its occupants mentally and physically in the three-to-four months they stayed there before shipping them off to either a prison, extermination camp, or another labor camp further east.

I have yet to figure out the proper way to express how amazing this experience was without sounding insensitive. Everyone I have talked to who has visited a concentration camp has the same problem.

It is easy to think of the Holocaust during the Second World War as the apex of human cruelty. Along with the labor camps in Siberia during Stalin's reign, the concept of beating, torturing, and starving civilians for little to no purpose seems unthinkable now. We learn about and remember the Holocaust in the past tense and think that we are so lucky we will never make that kind of mistake again.

While I hope that sentiment is true, we cannot pretend that atrocities don't still occur across the globe. Though they may seem less dramatic in the absence of a World War as a backdrop, every human rights violation still needs our undivided attention.

Below, I have listed some aspects of the Holocaust that made it so incredibly horrific. Under each of these aspects, I have listed regions where they still happen today.

Genocide

Some victims of the Holocaust were prisoners of war or resistance fighters; they were held in order to gain a strategic advantage over wartime enemies. However, the concentration camps in Eastern Europe served mainly to exterminate ethnic groups the Germans deemed undesirable like Jews and Gypsies. Genocides occurring today, according to Genocide Watch include:

Syria: President Bashar al-Assad, since 2011, has been accused of using Syrian armed forces to terrorize citizens and in 2015 a study by the Syrian Network for Human Rights accused he and his regime of ethnic cleansing— precisely what Nazi Germany was attempting to do...

Sudan: Since 2003, President Omar al-Bashir, with the aid of Sudan's armed forces and a militia known as the Janjaweed, has committed mass genocide against ethnic Fur, Massalit, and Zhagawa peoples (non-Arabs) in the Darfur region.

The Congo: As a result of enduring conflicts in the eastern provinces, the Congo is an insanely tense region. Victims of mass violence usually include civilians, children, and ethnic groups such as the Banyamulenge, the Hutu Banyarwanda, the Hema and the Lendu. These issues have been public since the 1990s and continue today.

Ethiopia: An ethnic Oromo group called Guji and the Ethiopian government has committed senseless crimes against the Burji people since 2009.

Burma/Myanmar: Tyrannical military junta has targeted innocent civilians including ethnic minorities, women and children since the 1970's.

Forced Labor

In the Breendonk Concentration Camp, conditions were terrible for those held within its walls. Some prisoners were held in solitary confinement where they had to stand completely still for eight hours a day; others were forced to perform tough manual labor for no other purpose than to fatigue the prisoners and torture them.

Today, there are too many cases of forced labor to list them all. I have chosen non-sexual cases of forced labor from different parts of the world (though Asia by far has the most cases) to show how widespread and prevalent this issue is.

Uzbekistan: Uzbeki farmers are forced by their government to grow labor-intensive cotton. During harvest time, professionals from all sectors and school-aged children are forced to work in the fields lest they risk a life of unemployment and poverty.

USA: Farm workers, especially non-citizens from Mexico, Haiti or Guatemala, do not share the same labor rights as other US workers. Because of its lack of legality, forced labor in the US goes largely undetected. Perpetrators coerce employees in many ways including debt bondage and physical harm.

India and Nepal: The brick industry in India and Nepal accounts for many cases of forced labor. The law does not protect Kiln-workers like it does other workers. Workers are recruited from poorer states and often go into debt to perform the job for which the industry contracted them. This debt bonds them to years of labor and poor treatment with no hope of escape.

Torture

In order to get information about other resistance fighters (or sometimes because they were simply bored), the SS commanders at Breendonk would torture prisoners, regardless of age or sex. Today, several countries' militia still use torture in some way, though most countries have reached a consensus that there should be strict laws against it. Below are five countries Amnesty International has selected as their target countries to invoke change and I have listed one example of how torture is a problem within said country.

Mexico: The police and security forces sexually tortured several women to coerce confessions related to drug-related offenses and organized crime.

The Philippines: For fun, police officers spun a "wheel of torture" in order to decide punishments for detainees. One option included "20 seconds Manny Pacman" where the police punched the subject for 20 seconds straight; another, deemed "20 second bat," required the subject to be strung upside down for the same amount of time.

Morocco and Western Sahara: Officers attempted to force a man to admit he was involved in terrorist activities by torturing and demeaning him.

Nigeria: Soldiers and police tortured a sixteen-year-old so he would admit to being a part of a robbery.

Uzbekistan: Some citizens that sought asylum in Russia were brutally tortured by security agents after Russian officers forced them back onto Uzbeki soil.

I hope to one day visit a museum that commemorates the atrocities humans have inflicted upon other humans with the satisfaction of knowing that it is all in the past, to realize that we have evolved. However, today is not that day. It is important to learn about atrocities in the past, not just so we won't repeat them, but so we know how to combat similar atrocities going on right now.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.

131109

Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

Last night on "The Bachelorette," Yosef (aka the guy who was accused of sliding into women's DMs before the show began filming) continued his streak of red flags by calling Clare "crazy."

To give you a little more context, this red flag happened after Clare got very upset with the guys on her group date for not making an effort to speak to her one-on-one when the opportunity arose and an awkward silence ensued. Because of this, she was clearly embarrassed and ended up having to ask them to ask her to go for a walk, which was... painful to watch (and probably to live out).

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.

48238

The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

18 Of The Best 'The Bachelorette' Tweets That Perfectly Sum Up Season 16, Episode 2

"Cast an older bachelorette they said, she'll be more mature they said."

66

"The Bachelorette" is FINALLY back, and season 16 is already off to a — dare I say it? — DRAMATIC start.

There is no fandom more involved and invested than Bachelor Nation, so naturally, viewers had A LOT of thoughts during last night's premiere. And honestly, the only thing more entertaining than watching a new episode of "The Bachelor" is following the live tweets fans post while it airs.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tips

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.

201169

For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less

Halloween 2020 is going to be pretty different, but that doesn't mean the ghost stories have to social distance themselves. In fact, after a year like this one, what's a few more horror stories to add to the mix? If you and your partner dare, this boo-zy drinking game will definitely add a little spook into your All Hallows' Eve plans. Think you're brave enough to share your scariest dating stories with your pumpkin this October 31? You've come to the right spot.

This is the Ultimate Spooky Dating Drinking Game. Here's how it works:

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.

120865

When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Halloween is no doubt going to look different this year. Everything this year has been different. But despite that, you can still celebrate the holiday.
While that might not and shouldn't be a giant Halloween party with loads of people, you can still have a good time and celebrate. Here's a list of fun ways you can still celebrate Halloween, and stay safe at the same time.

1. Movie Night

@mamas_cold_coffee

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

I Went To The Mall For The First Time In MONTHS For Fall Trend Shopping — Here's What I Got

My personal thoughts about my most recent shopping experience during the pandemic and some fall fashion trends I'm loving this season.

88

I have yet to find anything better than some good old retail therapy to boost my mood. Shopping has always been one of my favorite pastimes as I love putting outfits together and the excitement of adding new pieces to my closet.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

This Hair Mask Is Like A 5-Minute Head Detox — It's The Best Thing I've Ever Put On My Dry Scalp

It's perfect for anyone who's disguised their dandruff as snowflakes.

9958

- Like face masks, hair masks are a great way to do a more intense treatment that tackles more specific issues like dry strands or an itchy scalp.

- I don't necessarily suffer from dandruff, but my scalp can get a little itchy post-workout and in the colder months.

- I tried the Malin + Goetz Detox Scalp Mask and it was a game changer — my scalp felt cleaner, smoother, and more refreshed than ever in five quick minutes.

- The mask is a go-to for a clean detox of my hair and scalp after I've put a lot of product in my hair or done a lot of styling to it.

Like most self-proclaimed beauty guru and product junkie, I've been obsessed with my hair and hair products for decades. For me, the goal has always been to transform my dry, brittle strands into thick, shiny, and silky ones.

For that reason, I've spent a lot of time (and money) on styling and heat products that have, at times, made my hair look great at the expense of excess product buildup and heat damage.

Keep Reading... Show less

Remember when thin eyebrows were in? Unfortunately, me too. If you've over-tweezed your eyebrows, you know how much of a painful and slow process it is to get them back to a "normal" shape — let alone trying to keep up with the newest trends that seem to come and go every other month.

But, what does that look like nowadays? A defined, thicker brow which, I will admit, takes a lot of time and practice to perfect.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I'm A Student At Drexel University And COVID-19 Has Been Frustrating

My experience as a senior at Drexel University in Fall 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

9890
https://www.linkedin.com/company/drexel-university-online/

I am a senior mechanical engineering major at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Drexel already has a weird quarter term system, so classes began at the end of September. All undergraduate classes are online, either synchronous or asynchronous. However, most graduate classes are still in-person.

As of October 19th, Drexel has 14 active cases (13 students and 1 employee). There has been a total of 113 cases in the Drexel community (104 students and 9 employees).

Keep Reading... Show less

Every true baseball fan knows that October is the most exciting time of the year. There are heartbreaks, joyful victories, and legendary moments in every post-season baseball game.

You may find yourself stuck in a love/hate relationship with the sport for most of the month but there is nothing better than watching your favorite team pile up Ws on their way to the World Series.

Keep Reading... Show less

This semester has been pretty rough for most students. Online classes may have some perks, but overall it's often harder to learn and remember the material. CofC just finished midterms and every student I know feels burned out. This is a very frustrating feeling and it feels like things will never return to the way they were. Remember to go easy on yourself and just do your best.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments