Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

During September, at least 14,876 people read the Spectacle (since the incoming domains include aol.com and compuserve.com, the actual number of readers is somewhere north of there). Each month, many of you write me at jw@bway.net with your reactions, your encouragement, sometimes your flames. Here is this month's mail.

The Election

Copyright Leon Walls 1996

Dear Jonathan:

I enjoy reading The Ethical Spectacle, but I found your article "I Can't Endorse Anyone But Will Vote Anyway" to be much less based in research and thoughtful reflection than everything else of yours that I read in The Ethical Spectacle. I agree that Clinton, Dole, and Perot are all on the side of the capitalists. Have you considered Ralph Nader? He has been on the side of the the victims of capitalism for decades, and is a qualified presidential candidate.

I'm looking forward to your further analyses.

Sincerely, Philip Labee plabee@cadence.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

An interesting site for you to visit would be: http://www.amfire.com/afinews.

You make some very interesting points in your columns that you write. In fact, I make a motion that we pass more gun laws. The other 24,000 don't seem to be doing what they were intended to do. Then I think we should stop the production of firearms in this country. That has stopped nuts from all over the world from getting firearms like in Iran, England, and Japan. You may be surprised at the statistics from England and Japan if they reported all that happens in their countries, but alas, can't be seen in an unpopular light. It is funny that Japan is leading the World governing body, commonly known as the UN, to ban all private ownership of firearms for the peasants or masses worldwide. It is reassuring for me to know that an Empire, not a democracy is pushing for these measures. What do you think is behind other countries pushing for us to do things? Do ya think they are just looking out for our better interests? Why do we pass laws that are aimed at common folks, but do not pertain to folks like Diane Feinstein, and Teddy the woman killer Kennedy. Do we elevate them to the status of all knowing and wise, therefore not holding them to the same standards as we, or I should say me. I am one of the lowly masses, not an attorney or anything so glamorous. In the end, one day, and I personnaly belive soon, we will have the opportunity to pitch our best sales lines to the only thing I put my faith and heart into. Only God knows the answers to all the questions, and the truths about each of us. Polish up the speechs, and I hope to see ya on the road to glory. By the way, there is no cold day in HELL. Ya might pass that on!! Best day to you.


Dear Mr. Wallace:

you guys slam republicans alot with absolutely no evidence, it's all fear this, be afraid of that..etc I ws looking at the Sarah Brady gunpart, which is how I found your site I searched her name.

I saw the part about how guns will somehow (unexplained) get us into the situation of WW2 Poland..How come you don't have Sarah Brady's quote talking about getting rid of guns because that's the only way you can push a Socialist agenda?

I think you guys need more facts, less fear, and maybe if you weren't funded by the DNC, you might be better off.

scott ????@%%%%.com

Dear Mr. Wallace;

Nice site... just added it to the database for http://www.gunsgunsguns.com/gunhoo/ (the pages will be regenerated later this weekend.)

I appreciate seeing such intelligent and thoughtful commentary. (much better then the rants you sometimes see elsewhere.)

C E Isdale ce@isdale.com

An Auschwitz Alphabet

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I'm Polish and a son of nr. 20033 from Aushwitz. My late father survived it. He lived mostly in block 16. He worked in Bau Comando (Unit of Builders). I'm in contact with Holocaust Children group in Cracow - they are all Jewish.

My massage is: I have a lot in common with Jews! I am a member of Polish-Israeli Friendship Society and I meet Jewish people very often. As you see I also try to help to the A.Museum.

I think you made a really good job writing "Auschwitz Alfabet".

I am enclosing an Auschwitz Bulletin on behalf of the Auschwitz Museum and the Computer Center of the Technological University of Cracow (TUP). At the moment The A. Museum does not have access to e-mail and is using my address (for the Bulletin only!) and it has already started drawing up a list of possible e-mail recipients of the Bulletin. Therefore I would be grateful for the addresses of any institutions or persons you know which are likely to be interested in receiving it. It would also be appreciated if you could pass this Bulletin to anybody who may be interested.

Yours truly

Stefan Swiszczowski swiszcz@usk.pk.edu.pl


AUGUST 1, 1996

The history of the Auschwitz concentration camp and the role played by this place as a symbol of the martyrdom of Jews, Poles, Roma people and other nationalities has long stirred widespread public interest, and not only in the countries from which the victims came. The grounds of the State Museum and Reflection Centre, the location of the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, is the largest and best-preserved Nazi concentration camp site. The camp, including the ruins of the crematoria and the gas chambers, has tremendous significance for understanding the mechanisms of genocide. This best-known concentration and death camp in occupied Europe also has a clear moral dimension. It is a place for reflection, contemplation and prayer, and for honoring the memory of the victims whose ashes are scattered across the fields of Brzezinka -- Birkenau -- the largest cemetery in the world.

Most of these ashes are the ashes of Jews. There are also, however, Poles, Roma people (the "Gypsies"), Soviet prisoners of war -- adherents of various religions that differ, among other things, in the forms used to remember their dead. This imposes on everyone an obligation of good will and understanding the beliefs of others. Such good will and understanding have been at times lacking in the resolution of misunderstandings that have arisen against this background. All of those to whom the memory of the victims of Auschwitz is dear agree on the need to maintain the dignity of this place far from the "bustle of the world," so that visitors can reflect upon the fate of the people who suffered and died here. This in turn requires appropriate spatial and legal solutions which can be difficult to reconcile with the interests of the city of Oswiecim and its inhabitants.

The mass media in Poland and abroad have devoted considerable attention to these problems, and to others associated with the broadly-conceived issue of Auschwitz, such as the now-historical controversies over the Carmelite convent or the number of victims at the camp. Information on the history of the Auschwitz concentration camp and the current problems of the Museum has not always been accurate or sufficiently comprehensive, nor have journalists always turned to the most competent authorities. There have been instances of conscious distortion or even downright mendacity. Apart from these, the Museum has also frequently failed to supply current information.

In order to avoid such difficulties, the International Council of the Museum has proposed the publication of a special bulletin for the Polish and international media, and for official and scholarly institutions. The Bulletin will appear at least quarterly, or more often as dictated by important events in or around the Museum. Published in Polish and English, it will be distributed simultaneously to interested persons and institutions by electronic mail and will be available on the Internet.


There were more than 217,000 visitors to the Museum in the first half of 1996, including 120,000 from Poland and 97,000 from abroad. Most of the visitors were young people: 124,000, of whom approximately 95,000 came from Poland and 30,000 from abroad. 142 guides conducted tours. Public figures who visited the Museum included:

- Hillary Clinton, First Lady of the United States
- Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, President of the Republic of Italy
- Franz Vranitzky, Chancellor of Austria
- Soo Sung Lee, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea
- General Ismoil Karadayi, Chief of the Turkish General Staff.

The Museum also hosted and provided information and technical assistance to 29 film and television crews from Poland, Germany, Israel, the United States, Sweden and Italy.


A ceremony organized by the General Board of the Society for the Preservation of Oswiecim marked the fifty-first anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27. Diplomas and medals were presented to several dozen residents of Auschwitz and surrounding localities in recognition of their aid to camp prisoners during the war.

This year's "March of the Living" took place on April 16. Approximately 5,000 Jewish young people from all over the world walked in silence from Auschwitz to Birkenau, where kaddish, the prayer for the dead, was said at the Monument to Camp Victims. For the first time, students from the Hebrew-language class at the Wyspianski Eighth Secondary School in Cracow and from the Cracow Dominican Chaplaincy took part. Participants in the March were shown around the camp grounds by Museum guides from April 13-18.

A plaque commemorating Polish scouts imprisoned at the Auschwitz camp was unveiled on the wall of block 15 on June 14, the fifty-sixth anniversary of the transport to the concentration camp of the first group of Polish prisoners. The ceremony, organized by the Society for the Preservation of Oswiecim, began with the celebration of mass next to the "Death Block." Wreaths and flowers were also laid.


Teresa Swiebocka and Teresa Zbrzeska have completed a new design for the permanent exhibition at the Sauna building on the grounds of the former Birkenau camp as part of the overall project for creating new permanent exhibitions and descriptive material.

The exhibition is intended to illustrate the special role of the Sauna, the functions of particular rooms, and the equipment that has been preserved. This will be achieved, among other means, through the use of photographs taken by SS officers while the camp was in operation.

The second important goal of the exhibition is to show who was deported to the camp, where they came from, and what they looked like. Visitors will learn through specific images that the camp's victims were people like everyone, like us. The authors of the exhibition will achieve this by displaying photographs, found after liberation, that had been brought to the camp by prisoners transported here. This part of the exhibition will aim more at an emotional effect than at the conveying of information as in a typical historical presentation.

Several traveling exhibitions have been presented abroad and on the grounds of the Oswiecim State Museum as part of the program of temporary exhibitions that has been underway for years. They include:

- "Representations of Auschwitz -- Fifty Years in Photographs, Painting and Graphics" (Oldenburg, February 2 1995 - February 18, 1996), an exhibition prepared as part of the Tempus program

- "Heaven and Hell" (Buchenwald, April 11 - May 31 1996), an exhibition of works by J. Szajna.

Temporary Exhibitions presented at the Oswiecim Museum:

- "Auschwitz" (January - April 15 1996), an exhibition of artistic photography by Waldemar Jama

- "Cultural and Educational Activity by Polish Prisoners of War in German Captivity from 1939-1945" (April 25 - June 14 1996), an exhibition prepared by the Central Museum of Prisoners of War in ambinowice-Opole according to a scenario by Stanislawa Borzemska

- Paintings and drawings from the "Auschwitz Alphabet" cycles and fragments of "Waltzes" by Pawel Warchol (June 29 - August 15 1996).


The long-awaited study Auschwitz 1940-1945. Wezlowe zagadnienia z dziejow obozu (Auschwitz 1940-1945: Crucial Issues from the History of the Camp) has been published. The editors are Waclaw Dlugoborski and Franciszek Piper and contributors include Danuta Czech, Tadeusz Iwaszko, Stanislaw Klodzinski, Helena Kubica, Aleksander Lasik, Franciszek Piper, Irena Strzelecka, Andrzej Strzelecki and Henryk Swiebocki. The work, totaling 1,250 pages, comprises five volumes: I - The Genesis and Organization of the Camp; II - Prisoners, their Life and Work; III - Annihilation; IV - The Resistance Movement; V - Epilogue.

On its own or in cooperation with other publishers, the Museum has brought out more than a dozen other titles in the first half of 1996. They include:

- Zeszyty Oswiecimskie (Auschwitz Publications), no. 21

- Hefte von Auschwitz nr 19

- Auschwitz - Voices from the Abyss (an album in English and Italian versions)

- Karski. Opowiesc o emisariuszu (Karski: Tale of an Emissary) by E. Thomas Wood and Stanislaw Jankowski.

The following memoirs by Auschwitz survivors were also published:

- Kazimierz Albin, List gonczy (Wanted List)

- Krystyna Zywulska, Przezylam Oswiecim (I Survived Auschwitz)

- Primo Levi, Czy to jest czlowiek? (Is This Man?)

- Halina Birenbaum, Nadzieja umiera ostatnia (Hope Dies Last)

- Miriam Akavia, Jesien mlodosci (The Autumn of Youth).

Museum guidebooks and video cassettes with the films Auschwitz and Auschwitz: History, the Present and the Future have been published in several languages. Two issues of the Pro Memoria information bulletin have appeared in Polish (no. 5) and English (no. 3-4).

Because of financial constraints, the Museum has been unable to cover the costs of so many publications. The Foundation in Memory of the Victims of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp has been extremely generous and has sponsored the printing of a large part of this year's titles.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I have just returned from a tour to Eastern Europe. I am still in disbelief as to what I saw. I am anxious to begin reading what you have written. I have been reading about the Holocaust for many years. I have been to Auscshwitz and was very moved by Ponar in Lithuania and the Ninth Fort in Lithuania. I think this is wonderful what you have done. I will let you know what I think as I read it.

Barbara Davis davib@nslsilus.org

Dear Mr. Wallace:

May God cause you to prosper in all you do.

Eric Chevlen, MD chevlen@worldnet.att.net

Dear Jonathan,

I happened on your web page in the search for something else, and found myself staying there. You mention in your introduction that you are concerned about having a third way of navigating through your pages, that being a sequential/chronological path, where the viewer is given the choices the prisoners were given.

You mentioned that you felt this could pose a problem, and you didn't want to make it a game, -- I find that it would be anything but. I realize this is one opinion among many, but I for one would - how do I say this - I was about to write "I would love to see the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC" - but "love" isn't a word that can be used in that sense.

I grew up in Germany. I'm 34 years old. My Opa was a soldier, as was my uncle, and I heard from both of them, how much they hated doing it. Opa was 54 when he was drafted, my uncle was 16. My Oma was reported for saying "Guten Morgen" (good morning) and refusing instead to say Heil Hitler.

People wonder nowadays how that could have happened, how people could have let it happen. I know it's just a matter degrees, people giving in a little here, a little there, not realizing that the big picture is changing drastically for the worse...

Forgive my wanderings here, Jonathan... I work here at Microsoft Corp and I'm also a photographer. I had the wonderful pleasure of photographing a Bat Mitzvah party this weekend, and the joy of the song and dance that I experienced there contrast so sharply with what I happened upon in your web page, which makes the impact even greater. As for my grandparents, and my mother, they also wondered how that could have happened, but there was a strong sense of secrecy during the war, and they didn't find out about the actual camps until afterwards. They were as horrified then as I am now that their people could have done such a thing, and I find myself ashamed that one people - one person, really, could instigate this mentality onto an entire nation.

I feel it is critical for you to make the links you've thought about - in the chronological sense, and not worry that some people may consider them an excuse for a game. Unfortunately, there will always be those people with us. But the gift, no, the history that could be brought into this, so that many more people could get some inkling of the experiences suffered so long ago would allow people to remember. No it would allow them not to forget (I think there's a difference there) what your people went through, and if they don't pay attention, the same could happen again.

Thank you for your work on this. Although it is horrific, it is most appreciated.


Thomas M. Roush a-tomr@microsoft.com

Freedom of Speech

Hi. I am a 16 year old high school student doing a paper for my AP History class. The paper is on flag burning and the constitutional basis for and against it. It is a "role-playing" assignment, in which I have to write as the defense, prosecution, and make a ruling a judge. While doing a search for info, I came across your site.

My question involves the use of your essay entitled "The Free Speech Rule-Book." I am using the essay as a source of ideas (paragraph on humility, toelerance, and optimism) and wanted to make sure that I correctly cite the author.

Thank you. I really enjoyed what you had to say in the essay.

-- Marc Nerenberg Knome@sprynet.com


Dear Mr. Wallace:

My formative years were during the 30's and 40's. Because of this, I learned a definition of the word LIBERAL that is different from the one taught today.

The way I learned it is best illustrated by an old Chinese saying:

"Never give a hungry man a meal, give him a fishing pole and teach him to fish for his dinner."

I consider that to be a liberal, kind and caring thing to do. But, I would change it just a bit:

"Never give a hungry man a meal, LOAN him a fishing pole and teach him how to fish for his dinner and how to MAKE fishing poles. When he can do both, ask for your pole back so that you can loan it out again, IF YOU WISH TO. And SUGGEST to him that he do the same, IF HE WISHES TO."

I consider that to be true compassion. I do not think that I have to explain to you, in detail, why I think that way.

The new definition of liberal is:


So, based on the definition that was learned in my youth, I am glad to say that I am a liberal person. I and my family have demonstrated it, to our satisfaction, in ways that are of no concern to you.

Through the years I have found that most of the people, that I have known, are liberal in the same way. This may be the reason that many folks who consider themselves to be of that 'old fashion' belief become upset at being miss identified with the 'new' definition.

This is the reason for my heading: Rush Limbaugh is a Liberal (Of The Old School!) And So Are You ---Probably

Bill Carter gabby@snowline.net

Good afternoon,

I just encountered your publication today through labyrinthine web surfing. I have but one reaction:

Thank God for you, sir. Thank God for you.

Keep up the good work -- and good words.

Doug Tricarico trike@ix.netcom.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Please add "darkcartel.com/public/default.htm" to your links as "The People's Republic of the Dark Cartel BBS." This is the home page of a telnettable (and soon dynamic HTML) BBS whose ultimate goal is complete freedom of expression and user privacy and independence from policy control for the purpose of free-forum debate. There are over 10,000 text files available, and a myriad user services. Free of charge.

Of course, I will add your page to our links.

Chris Kozlowski chris.kozlowski@citicorp.com