Less study of nazi crimes at German university


This United States government-commisioned video by director Billy Wilder is called Historic Stock Footage: NAZI DEATH MILLSCRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

Frankfurt university winds down research on National Socialism

21 July 2015

If the Goethe University in Frankfurt gets its way, future teachers will no longer receive instruction in the history of National Socialism. This is the only conclusion to be drawn from the recent attacks by the university’s education department on the Center for Research on National Socialist Pedagogy.

The head of the Education Department has decided that student attendance of lectures on National Socialist pedagogy will receive little or no official recognition. Students in the teacher training program will no longer receive any credit points, while students in the master’s program in education will, in future, receive only half as many credit points as previously. The credit points correspond to the “certificates” that were previously awarded to students as proof of their academic achievement.

The short statement from the department and the Academy for Educational Research and Teacher Education does not deny depriving student teachers of credit points. In a bureaucratic manner, it refers to the “joint agreement of all German states,” produced at the Culture Ministry Conference on Teacher Education. According to this agreement, topics studied have to concentrate on “instruction, training, diagnostics, and school development.” National Socialist pedagogy, which is ascribed the status of a “special topic,” is considered a “requirement neither in Frankfurt nor in other German or international institutions of teacher education,” the statement reads.

The Research Center for National Socialist Pedagogy was set up four years ago as a pilot project at Frankfurt University. By 2013, it had worked out a two-semester course of study aimed at providing all student teachers and pedagogy students with a knowledge of National Socialism, its crimes and ideology. This course of study has now been carried out successfully three times.

The lectures were always well attended and were frequently overflowing. Professor Benjamin Ortmeyer, who leads the research center, made comparative analyses of pedagogical writings during the period of National Socialism, and researched topics such as National Socialist propaganda against the workers movement and the enforced conformity of opinion (Gleichschaltung) of the Frankfurt University during the Third Reich.

Ortmeyer invited Theresienstadt concentration camp survivor Trude Simonsohn to one of his lectures. Another time, he spoke about Josef Mengele, the concentration camp doctor at Auschwitz-Birkenau, who had written his doctoral dissertation in Frankfurt on “race research” and about whom the professor has written a book (Beyond the Hippocratic Oath: Dr. Mengele and the Goethe University).

The past four years have clearly shown that the course of study on National Socialist pedagogy answers a growing demand. The study of the Third Reich by prospective teachers is all the more important, since the German university and media establishment has evinced a clear trend towards downplaying the role of National Socialism and the lessons of the World War II.

This historical revisionism is closely connected with the revival of German militarism and the aggressive foreign policy of the German government. For example, Herfried Münkler, who teaches political science at the Humboldt University in Berlin, said at the beginning of the year in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “It is barely possible to conduct a responsible policy in Europe based on the notion: We are to blame for everything.” Münkler argues openly for German hegemony in Europe.

Münkler’s colleague Gunther Hellmann is also pushing for a new foreign policy strategy on the part of the German government. He wrote a book for the Munich Security Conference in 2015 and promotes the new white paper of the armed forces on the web site of the Defense Ministry.

Consequently, it cannot be viewed as accidental that the university management refuses to secure the Center for Research on National Socialist Pedagogy in its curriculum. The department has cut even the modest funding that it had previously provided to the academic staff at the research center, who subsist largely on third party funding provided by the Hans Böckler Foundation, which is close to the trade unions. The presidium will temporarily provide funding, but this is only guaranteed until May 2016.

One of the topics that the research center has already examined illustrates how important the continuation of its work would be. This topic is the enforced conformity of opinion (Gleichschaltung) and the role of the university rector, the infamous Ernst Krieck. In 1939, Krieck wrote, “as in the city of Frankfurt, so also at its university, Marxist ideology and the Jews of a foreign type penetrate and advance. During the epoch of systems, ever more Jews and supporters of Marxism gained academic chairs. … All these elements must be wiped out. … At the same time, the student body will also be purified of them.”

The passage can be found on a panel in the exhibit that was created by students at the university for its 75-year anniversary celebration in 1989: “The brown seizure of power. University of Frankfurt 1930-1945.” The exhibit documents the book burning, suppression and expulsions, “race research and hereditary biology,” and every kind of active support that the Goethe University gave to fascism.

The exhibit plates are still hanging in the old cafeteria building at the Bockenheim campus. Their days are numbered, however, since the university moved to a new location at the Westend campus five years ago. Although the hundred year anniversary of the university was celebrated with great pomp last year, there was no comparable effort or expense put into examining its National Socialist past, and no concrete plans have yet been made to move the exhibit to the new location.

Etruscan women exhibition in 2011


This 2014 video is called Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia (UNESCO/NHK)

Lucas Knitel told on 27 November 2011 about the exhibition on Etruscan women at the Antiquities Museum in Leiden.

This exhibition is the counterpart of the present exhibition about Etruscan men, in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam.

In this culture in ancient Italy, women had a relatively strong position (somewhat like Egypt), if compared to Athens and other Greek states, Rome, and Mesopotamia.

We do not know as much about Etruscan culture as we might like. Much of their temples and other buildings were made of wood, so few of these survive. We also know much more about rich Etruscans than about poor ones. And the Etruscan language is still a problem. Not because of their alphabet, similar to the Greek alphabet; but because their language is unrelated to most European languages in antiquity.

There are varous theories on the origins of Etruscans. Eg, Italian nationalists tend to claim they were “autochthonous” ancient Italians. Another theory claims they were immigrants from Asia Minor. Mr Knitel tended to favour a third theory: that Etruscans were immigrants from central Europe. In what is now Austria, the Rhaetic language was spoken in antiquity. It seems that Rhaetian is related to Etruscan.

Religious violence in Asia


This 2012 video is called ROHINGYA in Arakan, Burma. Al Jazeera Investigates – The Hidden Genocide.

From the International Institute for Asian Studies in the Netherlands:

Religious violence in South(East) Asia: domestic and transnational drivers of intolerance against Muslim minorities

Date & time
15 June 2015, 09:15 – 17:00 hrs

Venue
VU University Amsterdam, Metropolitan Building room Z-009
Buitenveldertselaan 3, Amsterdam

The seminar
The majority Buddhist and Hindu societies of South(East) Asia are not traditionally associated with conflict and intolerance. Yet recent years have seen a surge in international reports of religious tensions and violence by Buddhist and Hindu majorities towards Muslim minorities in the region. India’s political leadership since 2014 has long been associated with repressive practices and episodes of violence against Muslim minorities. In Sri Lanka, Muslims have been an often forgotten minority during the conflict, and a rise in hostilities against them has been reported since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

The government of Myanmar has long repressed the Rohingya minority, but in recent years this hostility has spread to the larger population, with Buddhist monks playing a seemingly significant role in inciting hate speech and violence against Muslims and their perceived supporters. In Southern Thailand, long-standing grievances of the Muslim population have largely remained unaddressed by the central government. In all these cases, religious diversity has been perceived as a source of nationalism and conflict, but also as a starting point for peacebuilding efforts.

While much attention is being paid to transnational networks of radical Islam, anti-Muslim sentiments in the religious and political sphere are also acquiring a transnational character, and international media increasingly report on supposed cross-border alliances between religious extremists from various sides. This seminar will analyse these developments by comparing regional dynamics and local circumstances, and look beyond the simplistic notion of religions that cannot co-exist. Historical patterns and newly emerging trends will be discussed in order to contextualize the rise in hostility towards Muslim minorities in the South(East) Asian region in recent years. What has been the role of governmental and non-governmental forces such as religious leaders and the media in this process? To what extent are these sentiments created by cross-border networking, and how are they linked to specific political transitions or domestic policy imperatives?

Download the programme and abstracts

Attendance is free of charge, lunch and drinks included.

The speakers
Prof. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Iselin Frydenlund, PRIO/University of Oslo
Dr. Matthew Walton, University of Oxford
Dr. Khin Mar Mar Kyi, University of Oxford
Dr. Alexander Horstmann, University of Copenhagen
Dr. Ward Berenschot, KITLV Leiden

Registration
If you would like to attend the seminar, please register via the form on our website by 10 June.

Contact
For enquiries about the seminar, contact Ms Martina van den Haak, m.c.van.den.haak@iias.nl

Inuit of northern Greenland and global warming


This video says about itself:

Living with the Inugguit

In 2010, Dr Stephen Leonard embarked on a year-long trip to live with the Inugguit of north-west Greenland, the northernmost settled people on Earth. His aim was to record the language, stories and songs of these communities. The traditional life of the community and its future is potentially threatened by a number of factors, one of which is climate change. Dr Leonard lived as a member of those communities, travelled on hunts, and recorded and filmed as he went. Here he talks about some of his experiences and reflects on a year spent in the midst of a fading culture.

By Gwyn Griffiths in Britain:

Book review: The Polar North

Monday 17th November 2014

A new book on the Inugguit people, who are struggling to survive in the face of environmental catastrophe, is a warning to us all, says GWYN GRIFFITHS

The Polar North
by Stephen Pax Leonard
(Francis Boutle Publishers, £20)

THE POLAR North is a remarkable story of tiny Inugguit communities with a culture and a language spoken by less than 1,000 people struggling to survive in the hostile environment of west Greenland and in a world that is changing culturally and environmentally.

The book’s two main concerns are the effects of global warming and globalisation on a precarious way of life and it is no small feat of endurance that Stephen Pax Leonard was able to survive the harsh environment and be accepted by a close-knit, often claustrophobic, society for a whole year during his research.

The immediacy of the writing makes for a gripping narrative and although Leonard at times hints at depression in the dark period of the year as well as discomfort during that of 24-hour daylight, he does not dwell on it. What he has produced is a scrupulously honest but hugely sympathetic view of these communities.

The book has stark warnings, primarily of climate change. Since the early 1990s it has not been possible to travel by dog sledge to Canada because the Smith Sound is now partly open all year round.

In January 2011, the sun rose two days earlier than normal over Ilulissat and the best explanation for this is a shocking one. The ice cap is melting, lowering the horizon.

As the sea ice, fundamental to the Inugguit way of life, contracts so does the culture. The transmission of stories, through which vital survival information was transferred, is dying out and the young people of north-west Greenland have only a fraction of the knowledge of the old hunters.

Empty minds become glued to Danish children’s television and violent video games. Alcohol abuse and suicide are major social problems.

The passing of a language and culture of fewer than 1,000 speakers may be irrelevant to many but if the polar Inugguit are the canary in our cultural coal mine, then such a loss may have more relevance than we realise.

There is never any opposition to biodiversity but language activists, linguists and anthropologists are constantly being asked to defend linguistic and cultural diversity.

Fifty per cent of the world’s languages will not exist by the end of this century and we are on the road to the fastest rate of linguistic and cultural destruction in history, driven by the forces of globalisation and consumerism.

The book examines with fascinating detail the links between language and the environment, along with the subtleties and nuance of Inugguit communication.

An excellent introduction to the subject and, in providing a wider context of concern, an essential read.

British government spied on historians Hobsbawm and Hill


This video from Britain says about itself:

2 October 2012

Historian Prof Eric Hobsbawm is interviewed by Simon Schama about his work and his extraordinary life. With archive clips from Eric’s previous TV and radio appearances.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

MI5 spied on Hobsbawm

Saturday 25th October 2014

MI5 spent years keeping Marxist historians Eric Hobsbawm and Christopher Hill under surveillance, according to newly released government documents.

Files released by the National Archives at Kew in west London yesterday reveal that MI5 closely monitored both academics for years, opening their mail, tapping their phones and scrutinising their contacts.

The files on Hobsbawm show how he fell foul of the authorities during his time as a sergeant in the Army Education Corps during the second world war, when his tendency to leave left-wing literature lying around saw him marked out as a “bad influence.

“We know that Hobsbawm has been continually in touch with prominent communists and with party headquarters and there is no doubt that he is a keen and very active party member,” one report from 1942 noted.