Contrasting Camps

In the comments under this post, Toblerone-scoffing abacab makes this remark:

And precious few know about the Soviet policy of deliberate starvation of entire regions, or of shipping thousands of people out into the tundra or the taiga in the middle of winter and leaving them there without food, shelter or tools.

The Soviets didn’t need extermination camps when they could just dump people in the middle of nowhere with little chance of survival. Solzhenitsyn reports an anecdote about one such group actually surviving until years later, when they were promptly rounded up again, shipped off somewhere else, and perished.

Although this is true, there is still a difference between the Soviet GULAG system and the concentration and extermination camp system run by the Nazis. I put this in a comment at Samizdata recently as an explanation as to why the horrors of the Soviets don’t resonate as much as those of the Nazis:

Every major power has massacred other people or those who they deem a political threat, and what the Soviets did was of much the same form albeit on a larger scale. Furthermore, when you read the accounts of the Soviet terror, there is a definite air of callous disregard: the camps weren’t really built to kill people, they were set up to get them out the way and put them to work. Nobody cared if they died, but nobody cared if they lived either. The Soviet system simply didn’t care about the lives of these people. Even those who were actively identified and shot were often selected simply to fulfill quotas, or killed along with a load of others “just in case”. The Soviets were not the first to do this, and are unlikely to be the last.

What made the Nazis different is they didn’t kill through callous neglect; their victims were specifically selected and the Nazis made sure there wasn’t collateral damage, i.e. they didn’t just massacre the whole village in trying to kill Jews as the Soviets would have done, they expended considerable resources finding the individuals while leaving the rest alone. They cared about the names of their victims, and took their photos, and documented their possessions, all during the process of exterminating them. The Nazis built camps specifically for the purposes of killing people (the Soviets never did) and went about it with an industrial precision. The suffering they inflicted on inmates was quite deliberate and calculated, and not just the result of callous neglect on the part of the administration (or incompetence, as it often was in the case of the Soviets). The Nazis counted their victims and took meticulous records, the Soviets never did. The Nazi administrators and guards were of a totally different class than the inmates, whereas in the Gulags the guards were considered little better than the prisoners, often sharing the same conditions and fate, and there are thousands of cases where prisoners became inmates and vice-versa. This never happened with the Nazis.

So in short, the horrors of the Soviets had been seen before and since; the Nazis, purely because of the way they went about it, inspire a unique horror. From the accounts I’ve heard of those poor individuals who experienced both, the Nazi camps were a lot worse.

When abacab mentions the Soviets dumping a bunch of people in the middle of nowhere with little chance of survival, that would almost certainly have included the guards as well. I don’t like Anne Applebaum’s newspaper columns much, but her book Gulag: a History of the Soviet Camps is excellent and there is an account in there of a few hundred unfortunates being dropped off on an island in the middle of one of Siberia’s enormous rivers. The plan was to get the prisoners to build a camp but there was no wood, so they had to stay in tents. Before they could get anything more robust set up a terrible storm blew through and everyone perished: prisoners, guards, dogs, the lot. It wasn’t so much the authorities wanted these people to die – the ones they considered really dangerous were shot out of hand, along with a whole load of others who were mostly unlucky – they simply didn’t care and were too callous and incompetent to prevent it.

Another point Applebaum makes is that most people survived the GULAG, and the harshness of the conditions varied greatly between individual camps and eras. During the war, when there were severe hardships outside the camps, life behind the wire was particularly tough but conditions improved afterwards. The general idea was to get prisoners working not to kill them off, even if the result was just that. By contrast, the conditions in the Nazi camps were kept universally harsh purely as a matter of deliberate policy, independent of incompetence and outside factors.

The other point Applebaum makes is that the numbers in the GULAG system waxed and waned. The population swelled during times of repression and decreased during periods of relative calm, and it was quite possible for a Soviet citizen to be imprisoned, released, imprisoned again, and released once more. I presume there are instances of Nazi concentration camp inmates being released, but their numbers must be few and I expect are limited to particular groups such as troublesome POWs or non-Jewish Germans. I’ve never heard of anyone being released from an extermination camp, although Soviet POWs were held at Sobibor who may have been. Most accounts of the Nazis camps come from people who were liberated, not released. It’s worth bearing in mind that the inmates of the Soviet GULAGs were never liberated, they were simply released (into exile mostly, but released all the same).

As anyone who has read Applebaum’s book or Solzhenitsyn knows, the GULAG system was abominable in its entirety and absolutely horrific in parts, but it differed from the Nazi camps in some fairly fundamental ways. It’s why a comparison of the two can only be taken so far, and it’s important to acknowledge the differences.

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46 thoughts on “Contrasting Camps

  1. We can, and probably should, also make a further distinction. The Nazis had two sets of camps. Death Camps, of which here were four (Part of Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec) where trains unloaded directly into the gas chambers, and what we might call “concentration camps” which were more like those Soviet ones. It’s the death camps which were truly different.

  2. There were instances of people in the USSR having tools confiscated and being dumped in the Taiga, the guards just leaving them there – intentional death rather than just sheer incompetence and neglect. ISTR that the survivor group that was discovered and re-located had their tools confiscated to ensure that there wouldn’t be a second survival episode.

    Perhaps the bureaucratisation of the Nazis instills a particular horror, but I find the sheer randomness of the Soviet terror to be more frightening. Perhaps for me it’s the fact that with the Soviets you could do everything *right* (according to their metrics), say and do all the right things, and *still* end up with a bullet in the base of the skull, or enjoy a package holiday shoveling shit and salt in Siberia [classical reference 🙂 ].

    Another point – plenty of people were sent to KZ’s (such as Dachau) for a stint and were released, but these were political prisoners and not the Nazis racial targets.

  3. We can, and probably should, also make a further distinction.

    Indeed: concentration camps and extermination camps.

  4. There were instances of people in the USSR having tools confiscated and being dumped in the Taiga, the guards just leaving them there – intentional death rather than just sheer incompetence and neglect.

    I’m sure that’s true but it was more likely to be some sort of bureaucratic SNAFU – a load of prisoners dropped in the wrong place – or the guards simply not wanting to do the job than a deliberate, thought-out policy of killing people by dropping them off in the snow. When the Soviets wanted someone dead they normally just shot him, along with all his pals. Of course, there were also probably incidents of people being deliberately sent to die in the snow but it wasn’t systematic.

    Another point – plenty of people were sent to KZ’s (such as Dachau) for a stint and were released, but these were political prisoners and not the Nazis racial targets.

    Yes, my guess is they’d be troublesome Germans.

  5. Good point about the difference between concentration camps and exterminatoin / death camps. Concentration camps are where they, err, concentrated detainees together in one place. I believe we even did that to Boer partisan families during the Boer War. It is qualitatively utterly different from a death camp. But try getting a BBC type to recognise that we didn’t invent death camps. Good luck with that.

  6. “Yes, my guess is they’d be troublesome Germans.”

    Indeed.

    Solzhenitsyn contrasts the typically paltry sentences they got for actively working against the régime with the more or less automatic “25 years for an alleged joke (accused by someone who coveted my apartment)” that the Soviets handed out in the same era.

  7. The Soviets did kill a lot people rather than put them in the Gulags (according to the book Labour and the Gulags) so comparing concentration camps and Gulags is obviously flawed.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Labour-Gulag-Russia-Seduction-British/dp/1785902040/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510824734&sr=1-1&keywords=labour+and+the+gulag

    Saying that I don’t think this is a very profitable discussion they were both evil and killed millions. You could say that the Nazis were worse because they singled certain ethnic groups, but selling grain abroad whilst you have a famine so bad that cannibalism is pretty bad too.
    Also inventing a class to kill them is quite unique.

  8. It might not make a great deal of difference to the victims but there is something particularly chilling about Teutonic thoroughness in killing. It is well brought out in “Conspiracy” the film with Kenneth Branagh where leading generals etc. discuss the best ways to deal with the “Jewish Problem”.

  9. But try getting a BBC type to recognise that we didn’t invent death camps.

    We didn’t even invent concentration camps: the earliest use of the concept was by the Spanish in Cuba.

  10. “The Nazis built camps specifically for the purposes of killing people (the Soviets never did)”

    Well, I recall Nikolai Tolstoy recounting the Soviets having developed gas chambers by 1938, which if not a camp, is a prison for the purposes of killing people. And loading people onto barges and towing them out to sea for sinking as was done by the Reds in the Civil War is simply a watery version of the same.

  11. Well, I recall Nikolai Tolstoy recounting the Soviets having developed gas chambers by 1938, which if not a camp, is a prison for the purposes of killing people.

    I confess, I’ve never heard of that before.

    And loading people onto barges and towing them out to sea for sinking as was done by the Reds in the Civil War is simply a watery version of the same.

    Not really. I’m not saying the Soviets didn’t kill a lot of people or participate in mass-murder – they did – but the GULAG system, which was mostly camps and prisons, did not exist for the same purpose as the Nazi camps nor did they operate in the same manner. Personally I find this interesting, particularly the point about the guards in the GULAG being ranked little above the actual prisoners in the Soviet hierarchy. Others might not find the distinction interesting, but this is what I’m writing about – not whether the Soviets participated in mass murder.

    Also, if anyone wants to know why the Nazi camps inspire such horror whereas the Soviet ones didn’t, the differences between the two are probably worth recognising.

  12. Wondering how much the above discussion is dependent on stereotypes about national character. Taking the case of prisoners dumped into the tundra to starve without any of means of survival, you would naturally believe it was deliberate in the case of the highly organized Germans, but you could easily believe inefficient and probably drunk Russians simply commandeered their train for a rush shipment of cabbages and then forgot about them.

  13. “Also, if anyone wants to know why the Nazi camps inspire such horror whereas the Soviet ones didn’t, the differences between the two are probably worth recognising.”

    One of those probably being the whole “Uncle Joe and our brave Soviet allies dying in their droves to beat our common Nazi enemies” thing.

    And being on the winning side, of course.

  14. you could easily believe inefficient and probably drunk Russians simply commandeered their train for a rush shipment of cabbages and then forgot about them.

    Absolute blithering incompetence certainly played a part, to a degree you’d probably never see with Germans.

  15. One of those probably being the whole “Uncle Joe and our brave Soviet allies dying in their droves to beat our common Nazi enemies” thing.

    Yup, that’s one reason among several.

  16. “I believe we even did that to Boer partisan families during the Boer War: indeed, just as before that the Spaniards did it in Cuba and the Americans in the Philippines. But Nazi “Concentration Camps” were so called as a deliberate propaganda measure directed against Britain. (So much for the odd belief that Hitler meant Britain no harm.)

    Should the American internment camps for their own Japanese citizens be called Concentration Camps? It would be perfectly reasonable but I’d argue against simply because the term has become hopelessly polluted by Hitler.

    The chap in this link is interesting on the extermination camps. He pours scorn on the standard accounts of Auschwitz but argues that the rest of the horrors happened as advertised. Still, I’m struck by his ‘Auschwitz, with its phony, postwar tourist-attraction “gas chamber”’. I hadn’t known.

    http://takimag.com/article/denial_is_dead_david_cole#axzz4oGTEaplU

  17. One thing I did find rather interesting is that Zyklon B is just a trade-name for hydrogen cyanide. This is what the Americans used in their gas chambers, pellets of it wrapped in a cheesecloth and dropped into water beneath the condemned’s chair. So the “research” wasn’t entirely wasted, then.

  18. “The chap in this link is interesting on the extermination camps. He pours scorn on the standard accounts of Auschwitz but argues that the rest of the horrors happened as advertised. Still, I’m struck by his ‘Auschwitz, with its phony, postwar tourist-attraction “gas chamber”’. I hadn’t known.”

    Not really. As I say up at the top, part of Auschwitz was indeed an extermination, death camp. Very much larger parts were work/concentration camp. It was the only of any of them that were both. This is well known enough that even Wikipedia gets it right:

    ” It consisted of Auschwitz I (the original camp), Auschwitz II–Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp), Auschwitz III–Monowitz (a labor camp to staff an IG Farben factory), and 45 satellite camps.”

  19. “It’s why a comparison of the two can only be taken so far, and it’s important to acknowledge the differences.”

    True but the similarities far outweigh the differences: the fact is that both systems deliberately killed millions of innocents. However, the Soviet massacres have not had the purchase on Western horror of those perpetrated by the nazis because left-wing historians , politicians, academics and the usual slew of SJWs here and elsewhere in the West regard the Soviet (and Maoist) murders as justified by the, apparently, beneficial aims of marxism (cf Eric Hobsbawm). I don’t recall any respectable – or even non-respectable – establishment figures in the UK actually praising nazi murder but present senior members of the Labour party are happy to wave Mao’s Little Red Book in the Commons.

  20. @Tim

    “dumping a bunch of people in the middle of nowhere with little chance of survival, that would almost certainly have included the guards as well”

    That’s an unfounded speculation indeed.

  21. Except I cited an example of much the same thing happening, referencing Anne Applebaum’s book. One thing I recall from my reading about the Soviets, GULAGs and exiles is the authorities didn’t much like leaving prisoners or undesirables to their own devices. The chances of prisoners being left alone, unguarded flies in the face of the evidence of extreme efforts the authorities went to to ensure every prisoner was accounted for and nobody escaped, even from the most remote camps.

  22. @Tim,

    you cited one example and extrapolated it to “almost certainly”.

    On a more important note, the Russian Nazis did not need to bother with extermination camps and the accompanying logistics: the extermination centers were on the outskirts or even right in the middle of major cities.

    The Germans had to locate most of those in Poland. Prof. Timothy Snyder argues that the reason were state institutions: you just could not do certain things in Germany whereas in the stateless territories of former Poland you could. Sort of like why Guantanamo is outside the US.

    I suspect the reason the Nazi camps are “more terrifying” is that the German Nazis were defeated, all their archives opened, and you don’t need to be nice to them any more, whereas the Russian ones are still in power, their archives are closed, and all too many outside are keen on building pragmatic relationships with them.

  23. “Not really”. He states that the gas chamber that the tourists are all shown was built post war. Never mind all the rest (on which he may well agree with you): are you saying that he’s got that wrong? Because when I looked at WKPD earlier today it admitted it, in a rather excuse-making, explain-it-away mode.

    In terms of the the genocide it doesn’t matter: Jews were undoubtedly murdered by the million whether or not the tourists at Auschwitz are deliberately misled. But I think it is fair to enquire “why are these lying liars lying to me?” Of course the answer may be nothing more profound than “to drum up trade”.

  24. @deariemie, yes it was an interesting article and makes a good point about Auschwitz or nothing, that too me is the final solution and would calm the debate down and the title hits the nail on the head. Separate the issues out and tick each of them off.

    I have a current issue going on at work at the moment whereby two related and parallel issues are being intertwined which is not helpful to the resolution for either party. We are behind with some design submittals to our client and we also are going to proceed with a section of the works that is part of this design in Africa (irreversible) that contractually speaking may not be strictly in the spirit of the contract. This has led to emails flying around from my guys in Africa that the client will stop us proceeding. I have since spoken to my client in Singapore and framed the discussion such that yes we can proceed with the works at risk under the contract and yes it is our risk and not his and if it backfires its my problem. Yes we have been a bit tardy with design submissions and we could do better and yes that may affect extensions of time but the two issues whilst related are separate and I dont see any reason why we cannot proceed tomorrow, whilst he got my point he did not categorically agree with me on this but he never said no either. My guys have been told to stop sending emails, keep their heads down, say nothing and are absolutely authorized by me to move ahead tomorrow and in no circumstances should they not proceed even if they receive an instruction from our client not to when I am asleep at night, which I dont think that we will.

    So for those that want to get into the debate and I dont think there are many that do they should approach it as David Cole has suggested and then cool heads will prevail in order to get to the bottom of any the questions he raises.

  25. you cited one example and extrapolated it to “almost certainly”.

    That’s because I can’t think of a single example of prisoners being left alone, effectively free to roam the taiga. Can you?

    I agree with the rest of your post, esp. the bit about the Soviets doing their killings just outside the cities.

  26. @Tim

    ” there were also probably incidents of people being deliberately sent to die in the snow but it wasn’t systematic.”

    And you know this how? Just curious.

  27. “I suspect the reason the Nazi camps are “more terrifying” is that the German Nazis were defeated”

    That works for me, if it had went the other way we would now be having Holodomor memorials times three as well.

    Robert McNamara gave a fantastic interview just before he died and said that if the allies had lost WWII it would have been them that were being tried as war criminals in Japan.

  28. And you know this how? Just curious.

    The same way I know the UK hanged those sentenced to death and didn’t use the guillotine: this stuff has been studied and written about in enough detail. The Soviets preferred shooting people if they wanted them dead, if they merely wanted them out the way or used as slave labour they’d ship them off somewhere. They’re weren’t in the habit of shipping people very far just to kill them.

  29. I mean, for a long time the New York Times readers “knew” that there was no Holodomor, then they “knew” that there was some famine caused by Soviet incompetence, and now the most curious ones can even find out that the policy was quite deliberate extermination of Ukrainians. But that’s only possible because Ukraine is free now. So my guess is we will learn all that was going on in Taiga when Taiga becomes free.

  30. “particularly the point about the guards in the GULAG being ranked little above the actual prisoners in the Soviet hierarchy”

    The Japanese utilized lower caste Koreans as their guards in their Indochina POW camps. Because they were the lowest of low in the Japanese hierarchy to start of with, they were extra brutal in their treatment of the allied POW’s.

  31. Ivan,
    “I suspect the reason the Nazi camps are “more terrifying” is that the German Nazis were defeated, all their archives opened, and you don’t need to be nice to them any more, whereas the Russian ones are still in power, their archives are closed, and all too many outside are keen on building pragmatic relationships with them.”

    Yes, this, and the fact not many in the west carried a torch for the Nazis, but many more had the USSR close to heart.

  32. “not many in the west carried a torch for the Nazis”

    I think there was a far greater level of support for Hitler and national socialism in the West during the thirties than is currently acknowledged by the main stream. Obviously he immediately became persona non grata following the British and French declaration of war on Germany and many would have been frantically scrubbing any traces of connection or support for him after that point in time.

  33. Oh, and btw: in today’s Russia, monuments are being opened to commemorate the establishment of GULAG camps and the professionals who organized them, not their victims. So there are crucial differences indeed.

  34. Because they were the lowest of low in the Japanese hierarchy to start of with, they were extra brutal in their treatment of the allied POW’s.

    Yes, I’ve heard the cruellest of the Japanese guards were in fact Korean collaborators.

  35. I think there was a far greater level of support for Hitler and national socialism in the West during the thirties than is currently acknowledged by the main stream.

    Absolutely. The historical revisionism regarding who supported who in the 1930s following WWII was quite spectacular, and Britain was not immune to it.

  36. I mean, for a long time the New York Times readers “knew” that there was no Holodomor

    Well, you don’t read the NYT expecting to learn anything. Most of the stuff I read was derived from the work carried out by Memorial, who had a lot more access to the archives in the 1990s and early 2000s than they do now.

  37. Ivan,

    A timely on topic NYT article on the Soviets, the Nazis and current day NYT propaganda. It gets better, the imagery and text is by done by none other than the Russian Pulitzer Prize winning fake staged migrant photographer Sergey Ponomarev, although the images in this article are not faked. So that leaves the text.

    See here for Sergey’s best staged migrant imagery:

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=sergey+ponomarev+migrants&rlz=1C1EJFA_enAU729AU732&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjv1bPEnsXXAhWFNJQKHd_VCu4QsAQIMQ&biw=1163&bih=559

    And with all due respect to the many civilians and combatants from both sides that lost their lives in what can only be described as living hell on earth, the article after all this time still fails to identify the root cause for what I suspect is the same reason that you alluded to yesterday, except strangely enough the NYT is located in a so called free country.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/world/europe/russia-stalingrad-anniversary.html

    Absolutely nothing about the monster Stalin being totally responsible for the people of Stalingrad. His instigation of the war, intentionally not evacuating the civilians but making sure he did get the food out of this city named after him. Implementation of his “not one step back” policy or you got an NKVD machine gun in the chest, whilst all the time cowering and hiding or having a nervous breakdown in some distant safe place.

  38. Making excuses for evil is dumb.

    That same evil still exists and will seize on the tiniest such distinction to claim amelioration for their crimes.

  39. “…the camps weren’t really built to kill people, they were set up to get them out the way and put them to work.”

    They were built to kill, just not everybody and not at once, but still a significant share of their prisoners.

    I used to think along the same lines as Applebaum and you but I am now convinced the Bolshevik regime was no less deliberately murderous as the Nazis. The Nazis said, “let’s kill 100% of seven million” and the Bolsheviks said, “let’s do something that will almost surely kill 10% of 70 million, give or take a couple percent.”

    The food rations and the work regime in the labor camps were guaranteed to kill off a certain percentage every year. Likewise, when “de-kulakized” peasant families was deported, say, from Central Russia to northern Urals – or even from the south to the center of Western Siberia, – the inevitable undernourishment was certain to decimate them.

    You could argue that the Kremlin did not expect so many to die in the famine of 1932-33 but there is no arguing it deliberately withheld food from the afflicted areas and stopped dying peasants from traveling elsewhere to survive. It is common knowledge that not everyone dies even in times of severe hunger, but it is also common knowledge that severe undernourishment invariably kills a certain share of the population.

    That was the second act though. The first was the destruction of old imperial elites, the Red Terror that began in 1917.

  40. Bardon
    “I think there was a far greater level of support for Hitler and national socialism in the West during the thirties than is currently acknowledged by the main stream. Obviously he immediately became persona non grata following the British and French declaration of war on Germany and many would have been frantically scrubbing any traces of connection or support for him after that point in time.”

    This is my point, once the extent of the Nazi’s murders were clear, the vast majority who had some sympathy for their ideas dropped them like a hot stone. Most of those who supported the ideas of the Soviets were much more comfortable with the mass murder. Pete Seeger, for example, didn’t get around to seeing the wrong in Stalin until about 2007, more than 50 years after his death.

  41. “Making excuses for evil is dumb. That same evil still exists and will seize on the tiniest such distinction to claim amelioration for their crimes.”

    To kill another human being unnecessarily is probably the ultimate evil act. WWII was a terrible evil event, millions of people were unnecessarily killed, evil things were done and in the human rational some will think that they were doing evil things for the greater good, history may judge these evil doers either way, but more importantly and tragically for us and our children we as humans are bound to repeat it.

    So where do we start to stop these horrors from reoccurring, for mine it must be that the best way to win a war is to avoid it in the first place. The peacemakers are the real warriors of our time and sadly they are never given centre stage, quite the opposite as they are often vilified or slandered as appeasers.

    If you look at all the reasons for WWII then you would conclude that it was locked in the moment that the impossible terms of the Treaty of Versailles were inked. This treaty was produced due to the circumstances surrounding the end of WWI. WWI was implemented to pit empire against empire and for nothing more than to disrupt the current world order and establish new economic and political control structures and similar materialist objectives of the supreme elite that would ultimately benefit from this evil. WWI was the first of the great evil wars, fine good men running at other fine good men, being shot, being gassed, being replaced, peaceful civilians and their property destroyed, all in the name of a grander scheme concocted by the worlds most powerful cigar smoking men, over cognac in the ostentatious surrounds of the games room of their mansion.

    Ultimately this is where the evil starts and should be stopped.

  42. “Most of those who supported the ideas of the Soviets were much more comfortable with the mass murder”

    Even today, now that we know so much more on what happened this view still holds true and is prevalent at least in my lowly social and business circles. I get the frowns of disapproval when I talk about the many good things that happened in Germany in the thirties, which moves to yawns of boredom when I try to explain how fucking totally wrong and evil every single aspect of the whole Soviet thing was.

    Love him or hate him Malcolm Muggeridge should be commended (other than posthumously by the Ukrainians) on his bravery and his total ideological back-flip and conscious stepping on the third rail in outing the whole fucking evil scheme to the few that would listen to him when all the trendy pc liberal writers chose to support the latter.

    So here we are, nearly one hundred years since he called out the NYT and yet not only are they still there doing their thing, they are winning and we are losing.

  43. The Nazis said, “let’s kill 100% of seven million” and the Bolsheviks said, “let’s do something that will almost surely kill 10% of 70 million, give or take a couple percent.”

    Indeed, and I’m not saying the Bolsheviks were any less murderous than the Nazis, but the approach is different, is it not? The Bolsheviks wanted merely to kill millions and did so both deliberately and through callous neglect; the Nazis wanted to kill *everybody* and did so with meticulous care. What the Bolsheviks did is probably nothing new, although the scale might have been: Indians and Irish are convinced the British Empire deliberately or through neglect allowed millions of them to starve to death, and probably every empire or major power that’s ever existed stands accused of doing something that will kill 10% of several million. I don’t know what the attrition rate of the Atlantic slave crossings was but I could well imagine it was around 10%. The difference is those that survived were allowed to continue living, whereas the Nazi policy was literally that of 100% extermination.

    I’m not trying to downplay one side or the other, merely to explain a possible reason – one of several – why the Nazi bogeyman inspires far more horror than the Bolshevik bogeyman, even in Russia.

  44. Ultimately this is where the evil starts and should be stopped.

    At government level. I’m with you.

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