Thursday, September 15, 2005

"Revisionism" and GR-Heritage

I no longer bother posting on GR-Heritage, the listserve Michael Miller at NDSU set up to discuss the history of the Russian-Germans. I have not posted there since I left California to move to London. Every so often I get e-mails regarding pieces on the list that might interest me. The latest such piece is one in a series of bizarre revisionist posts seeking to justify Stalin's deportation of the Russian-Germans to Kazakhstan and Siberia. Similar pieces as well as posts minimizing the earlier Tsarist deportation of Russian-Germans from Volhynia have appeared periodically there for years now. They are the product of a small group of really warped people.

It is bad enough when people rewrite history to deny, minimize or defend such crimes against humanity. It is truly astonishing when such pieces are written by people ethnically related to the victims and posted on a forum meant to discuss the history and culture of the victimized people from their point of view. Imagine a Jewish heritage board in which Holocaust deniers regularly posted arguments that the Nazis had a legitimate fear of an international Jewish conspiracy. A fear that justified their deportation of Europe's Jews to Auschwitz and other camps. Actions they claim that had wrongly been portrayed as an attempt to exterminate the Jews as a people rather than necessary security measures with some unintentional deaths. Now further imagine that these deniers are themselves Jewish and speak Yiddish. That is pretty much the situation now on GR-Heritage regarding the Russian-Germans. It has become dominated by revisionists dedicated to minimizing and justifying Russian and Soviet crimes against the Russian-Germans. I gave up debating with these exact same people on the list years ago. Still it is very disturbing that such a situation continues to exist. I can not imagine any other ethnic group allowing one of its heritage boards to be used in such a perverse fashion.

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