“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana)
If there is one thing that stands out in todays Eastern Europe is the way that World War II is perceived and treated, while the rest of the world did not do a very good job at learning the difficult lessons of WW2 it seems that the eastern countries of Europe have forgotten all about its bloody past, its victims, its slavery to a totalitarian philosophy that crashed them and murdered their people, and all that remains of that war is the Nazis and the Jews.
A couple of weeks ago we learned of a tasteless advertisement that came from Estonia’s gas company, trying to advertise its services of gas and heating it choose as a preferred location the concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland. The humor here (in case you missed it) is that gas was used to murder hundreds of thousands of people in that Nazi death facility.
This might seems like a wild guess, but it looks like Estonia would not joke about the mass deportation of its own people by the soviets in the 40s’ and 50s’, however since WW2 is categorically marked as a Nazi-Jewish affair its a subject that is much easier to make mockery of.
The lessons have not been learned. Segregation and racism still rule most societies, and the understanding that it was babies and children, pregnant women and old people who were brutally murdered daily in the Nazi death camps does not sink in, they were of many nationalities and many religious and ethnic groups, spoke many different languages and worshiped different gods – they were not, by far, all Jewish, but they were all human beings.
Yesterday another piece of news came from Estonia, again use of a concentration camp for advertisements (they say), only this time the “ad” is actually a wild parody who is aiming its arrows at the Etonian gas company. It seems that at least a part of the Estonian people finds it repulsive to use places of bloody massacres as a tool to enhance sales and promote services.
The sad thing is that this satirical ad was taken as a serious one, mainly because its easier to believe that Estonians simply joke about World War II then to appreciate inter social Estonian criticism.