Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Pt. 4 - An Addendum
I know that Pt. 3 was supposed to be the last part, but after some feedback I thought a Pt. 4 might be in order. Many thanks to Jim Coyle for asking the question that inspired this posting.
The question I overlooked : What do spectators think at events where there are Waffen SS reenactors present? The answer is a serious, "I'm not quite sure!"
I've seen different reactions, a few of which were kind of subtle, and a few that were vocal. Let's re-cap. Please note that any conclusions drawn are merely personal opinion.
I feel that spectators, just like other reenactors, look on the SS with a morbid curiousity. Morbid from the aspect of what the SS represents. Battlefield accomplishments aside, the SS represents death! Plain and simple! The SS administered the death camps, and the SS masterminded the death of some 11 million people. I think from the history aspect, people see the SS up close and personal and want to find out what they are all about? There is no admiration. There is no respect. Most people are familiar with the Holocaust, but may not be distinctly familiar with the SS and their part in it. Thus, it becomes educational to a point.
I overheard someone questioning an SS reenactor with, "Why would you want to do that or represent that?" The answer was that it is part of history, but at the same time, a direct answer was avoided. That in itself made me wonder why, and what was trying to be avoided? If you are so proud of what you do, why don't you defend your choice and stand up for what you believe in?
Sometimes, outright hostility comes out. I heard of (second-hand info., so make of it what you will) of a confrontation between someone who had relatives who died in the death camps and a group of SS reenactors. It got hostile to the point of law enforcement coming and the event ending.
Most times, though, they are just ignored, the idea being "Just because they are there, we don't have to even acknowledge them. Don't glorify them, Don't accept them. Maybe they'll get bored and go away." It never works, but the idea is there. They can do their thing, and tomorrow we'll all go home.
I've seeen the rituals and heard the oaths. They do happen! Supposedly it is all secret, but at reenactments after midnight, anti-Semetic rituals are sometimes performed, and oaths and indoctrination happen. Event organizers sometimes prohibit them from coming, but then the whole dicrimination issue comes into effect. The SS use the same freedoms and beliefs that those whom they represent despised, and they hope this will benefit their cause.
As can be expected, SS reenactors always get first-class invites to Aryan Nation events. They personify what these events are all about, so they are treated like VIP's. Since most SS reenactors share the beliefs of the event, they attend, but in an effort to divert attention, they rarely attend in uniform. They don't want to be perceived as extremists!
Hello? You are at a Neo-Nazi event, and you own uniforms and equipment that represent mass-murderers! How much more extremism do you need?
The best advice I can give is to stay away. Don't show interest. Don't cause confrontation. Let them believe what they want. Just like a radio station you find offensive or a tv show you don't like. Don't try to regulate them away, as that will only encourage a fight and draw attention (exactly what they want!). Just don't watch or listen to their programming agenda!