Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.
Nazi's Were the Ultimate Bullies
This rant is graphic in content, and viewer discretion should be used.
We sat there on the gymnasium the other day, all the students and staff of St. FX High, to listen to a little old lady. She had a story to tell us. She was just what you would expect a little old lady telling stories to be like: short, frail, kinda cute in her own way, charming, she talked slowly, carefully. She told us she had nice legs – we laughed. She was kinda like a grandma, that we’d all gather around, to hear fairy tales told to us.
But this was not a happy story she was about to tell us.
Her name was Dr. Eva Olsson. She started talking about bullying. “How many people here have been bullied?” she asked. A few of us put up our hands. She talked so slowly at first, many of us fast-paced individuals wondered when she was going to get to the point.
Several minutes later, as she went on, some of us started to twitch, as young people often do. The gym floor and the bleachers were uncomfortable. Just as a stir of irritation was about to set in, she noticed us, and told us about her uncomfortable ride – packed into a train car like cattle, standing room only, for four straight days, with only two pails of water for the entire crowd, as her family journeys from their home in Hungary, to a little place in Poland, called Auschwitz.
From that moment on, and for the next 90 minutes, we were transfixed. Even with 800+ students, you could hear a pin drop.
Eva Olsson is was a survivor of the Shoah, or as it is known to most of us, the Holocaust of World War II, having been through Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.
She described the third Reich, the Nazi movement, lead by Adolf Hitler, in a way I have never thought of before – they were the ultimate bullies.
And its true, when you think about it. What motivates a person to bully? Usually their fearful and insecure, so choose to feel powerful by hurting others, particularly the weak. Then they get addicted to the rush they get from it, and justify it by convincing themselves that those they abuse are less than human, with convenient labels like, “nerd, geek, fag, slut,” – words of hate.
This same mentality, taken to its ultimate extreme, is exactly what the world saw during the Shoah, the Holocaust. Nazi’s: the ultimate bully.
That’ll make you think twice about bullying someone again, won’t it?
She told us her story. We didn’t like what we heard.
She told us of the death trains, packed to overflowing, with some people dying of exhaustion on the way.
She told us of the men and young women, marched off to slave labor, living on one bowl of potato skin soup and a cup of coffee a day.
We heard about the gas chambers, women, children, elders, stripped of their clothes and hearded to their deaths, and the ovens, burning night and day, filling the air with the ash of human remains.
We heard about SS soldiers being instructed to shoot babies as they are held by their mothers, so that they can kill them both at the same time, and save bullets.
We heard about the shoes, the clothes, the toys, the glasses, the gold teeth left behind. We heard about the SS socks, made of human hair.
Some of us, I think would very much have liked to close our ears – but we new, we had to hear it. And we knew that this woman had earned the right to be heard.
And we need to hear it. As I got ready to write this talk, I did a Google search – Eva Olsson’s website was easy to find – evaolsson.ca – but what was also easy to find, in the same google search, a website of holocaust deniers – a holo-HOAX they called it – it was people who don’t believe it happened, don’t believe people can be so evil.
And so the bullying continues.
Thing is – they can be so evil. Or more accurately, WE can.
Eva was asked by a student, how does one keep their faith, after going through all the horror she’s lived through? She told us, “I don’t blame God. God didn’t make Auschwitz! Evil men made Auschwitz!”
So we need to hear – we need to LOOK – and see what we are capable of IF we let our baser instinct take over, IF we get addicted to the power rush of hurting others, IF we let evil people get away with their crimes, IF we remain silent, IF we let the darkness, that lives inside of ALL of us, take over.
We have to look at the cross of Jesus Christ for the same reason. There on the cross, we see all the hate, all the crime, all the torture and rape and anguish and racism and evil that WE are capable of.
We look so that it won’t ever happen again.