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holdermans; hitler

Oct 29, 1994 05:48 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Arthur Patterson,

     I was stunned to read your post of 10/27.  We live in
Turlock, a major center for the Holdermans, who broke away from
the Mennonites because they considered them to liberal.  I have
two friends from this group who experienced much the same
shunning as you did.  They were not given the benefit of an
explanation--they were just told to set themselves right with
God.  No doubt you are in touch with how deeply hurt they were to
be suddenly pushed away from the very community of people they
grew up in.  One is married to a theosophist who belongs to our
group.  The other is still going through the pain of separation.
I plan to give them copies of your post the next time of see
     It seems that you have already done quite a bit of exploring
outside of your tradition.  With Theosophy, you have discovered
the historical beginning of the promulgation of many of those
ideas you have already discovered in other philosophies, so I'm
sure that you will find a lot that is already familiar.  I feel
that the most central book--that reaches to the heart of what the
theosophical movement is about, is ~The Voice of the Silence~ by
H.P. Blavatsky.  I would be very interested in your response to
the work.
     On the other hand, theosophy means a lot of things to a lot
of people, and there are many "Theosophical Societies" in this
world, each with very different traditions.  The only link they
all have in common is Blavatsky.  In this country there are four
main organizations, plus a lot of independent students who are
associated with none of them.
     Good luck on your search.  Needless to say, I already feel a
connection to your experiences, because of those of my two
friends here.  If you need any information or resources, I'm more
than glad to help.  I have a background of over 30 years in
theosophy, and a special interest in the core teachings of
theosophy and in theosophical history.


     You are quite right of course, that the Saddam Hussians and
the Chinese could care less about Wiesenthal.  However, I was
thinking about the message he has for the Americans and Europeans
who were more karmically involved with Hitler's political
theatre.  As for Hussain, Bush likened him to Hitler.  Good ol'
George might have been a bit dramatic, and his politics to
obvious for my comfort--yet I think he was essentially right.
Like Hitler, Hussain showed his colors when he did his genocidal
blood bath but with the Kurds. It looks like we have another
psychopathic leader to deal with.  I wish I had an answer.
     But more to your point, concerning Wiesenthal reopening the
trauma, I agree this is a problem--yet it is a trauma because we
have not yet come to terms with it.  Certainly many Jews who
experienced living in those death camps never came to terms with
that experience, and perhaps never will in this life time.  I
grew up in Los Angeles in a Jewish community, and though not
myself a Jew, my environment put me very much in touch with what
they have to deal with.  I also think the Zionist training that
some of the children I know went through was very cruel, and was
spawned by the unbalanced thinking that came as a natural result
of the cruelty experienced by their parents.  My feeling is that
the work that Wiesenthal is doing is a type of healing for him,
and also for many Jews.
     As for forgetting--or how much to forget--I agree that we
need to heal, but I don't think that the healing process involves
forgetting.  It sounds too close to repressing to me.  Instead,
we need to come to terms with our own experiences concerning the
past.  Repressed ghosts never go away.  We have to make friends
with our ghosts (or thought forms)--get to know them--eventually
they become a better part of us.  I don't mean to come off glib
about this.  I've had a lot to deal with on this matter myself,
and I'm still trying to work with a lot of ghosts in my own past.
     On the bright side, most of the people living in this world
are too young to remember John Kennedy, let alone Hitler.  Hitler
and Kennedy are just facts in a history book for them.  They are
already removed from those eras.  When Wiesenthal speaks, these
children hear something quite different than what we hear, who
were born before, during or shortly after the war.  I think that
one of the wisest sayings I've heard comes from the philosopher
George Santana, who said that those who forget history are
condemned to repeat it.  I feel that Wiesenthal is providing a
service to those two young to remember, to help them not to
forget and repeat the mistakes of their forbearers.  Spielberg
also when he made ~Schiendler's List.~  I felt no need whatsoever
to see that movie, and wouldn't have seen it, except for the
insistence of my wife.  When I did see the movie, I saw nothing
that I hadn't already seen in the old movietone newsreels or
heard about from those who were there.  But take a group of 15-20
year olds to see that movie, and as likely as not, it has to be
explained to them, lest they mistake it for fiction.
     To give another example about generations forgetting: I
teach writing to freshman students at the University here.  The
students have to read four or five short pieces per week and
write expository essays concerning them.  One of the pieces
assigned to them is a story about a young black girl in the
sixties who leaves her upper middle class home to live in the
ghetto in an attempt to find her identity.  She adopts an African
name, and decorates her apartment with African art, and regrets
that her skin is not darker than it is.  Now remember, I'm
teaching very racially mixed classes, and always have at least
two black students, whom I hope would enlighten the other
students about the civil rights movements in the sixties.  But
even my twenty year old black students don't have a clue!  I have
to explain "Brown vs the Board of Education", "N.A.A.C.P.",
"S.N.C.C.", "Black Muslims", "Black pride"--at least Martin
Luther King rings a bell for most of the students, but only
because there is a holiday named after him.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

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