Take a glimpse into the future. It is scary indeed if Brigham Young University Prof. Ron Hager’s perception of the Holocaust is the kind of thinking that will go down as the meaning and memory of the Holocaust. Talk about the hole left by the gradual disappearance of Holocaust survivors!
Prof. Hager is the author of a book that has nothing to say about the Holocaust: 21st Century Wellness. Yet, it contains this sentence:
“The people in the [Nazi concentration] camps who did not tap into the strength that comes from their intrinsic worth succumbed to the brutality to which they were subjected.”
Prof. Hager also wrote: “A sense of inherent self-worth can be a source of strength or motivating that can help those struggling, in this case in concentration camps, but also for anyone.”
Strength from a sense of inherent worth? What is Hager talking about? Supposedly, about Nazi concentration camp inmates, already severely malnourished from days, weeks or years of imprisonment in a ghetto, who were coerced into a three-day train ride, squeezed into a cattle car, forced to stand the whole time, with no toilet facilities and no food. That was their condition upon arrival at the camps. We would like to see how much strength and sense of self-worth Prof. Hager would muster if he were coerced into such a filthy, frightening and dangerous journey.
Immediately after which, the concentration camp inmate would be stripped naked, shaved bald, denied access to his clothing, dressed in a prison uniform without regard to its or his size, then sent to hard physical labor for 12 hours a day, fed one bowl of soup daily and nothing more — how much strength from intrinsic worth would Prof. Hager summon?
Death in the concentration camp had absolutely nothing to do with one’s sense of intrinsic worth and everything to do with the continuous violence, starvation and excrement to which the Jewish inmates were subjected, and to the random acts of murder, sometimes one at a time, sometimes hundreds or thousands at a time, that the concentration camp inmates were forced to witness. In writing about the Nazi concentration camps, one Holocaust historian has written of the ubiquitous excrement. If Prof. Hager lived through that unspeakable, unique suffering, we wonder how confidently he would pronounce judgment on Holocaust victims.
Prof. Hager highlights the absolute ignorance to which this watershed event in Jewish and human history may be subject as the decades pass. Meanwhile, Bearface Instructional Technologies, the publisher of Hager’s book, whose subject has nothing to do with the Holocaust, should reevaluate his book by the normal standards of accuracy to which all textbooks should be held.
This book is sold to 15 universities! We hope that Prof. Hager’s ignorance and flippancy are not what pass for a college instruction these days. How many editors let Prof. Hager’s Holocaust comment pass without raising a question? That is scarier than Hager himself.
Worse than Holocaust denial is Holocaust triviality and flippancy. This is because Holocaust denial is blatantly inaccurate on its face; it is not taken seriously because it is easily refutable. Trivialization of the Holocaust, on the other hand, can pass for truth. Witness Prof. Hager. Witness — and beware.
Copyright © 2018 by the Intermountain Jewish News