Or at least the only one worth remembering (hence there is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th but no Genocides Remembrance Day). There is an impression implicitly spread by thousands of books and millions of papers, articles, blog posts, etc. on the Holocaust.
True, the Holocaust was a monstrous crime against humanity. In some aspects, probably the worst crime of its kind in the XX century (maybe even in the whole human history).
However, it was not the only such crime in the previous century (which could be rightfully labeled “the genocide age”). In fact, the XX century witnessed not one, but seventeen genocides and democides (mass murders of individuals belonging to a certain demographic group):
- Armenian genocide in Turkey (1915-16). In 1915, the Ottoman Empire was at war with Russia that also had a sizable Armenian population. All-Muslim Turkish government considered the Armenian citizens of Turkey the Russian ‘fifth column’ and a major security threat. Whether there was such a threat, is debatable but even if it was, the decision of the Turkish government to exterminate allof its 2 million Armenians was way out of proportion. The ‘Young Turks’ ended up killing 1.5 million – or three out of four Armenians. 25 years later, the Nazis used the same faulty reasoning (actually, much more faulty) to arrive at the similar ‘final solution’ of the ‘Jewish question’
- Red Terror during the Civil War in Russia (1918 – 1922). The Bolsheviks conducted the brutal policy of democide, exterminating the whole social groups (businessmen, intellectuals, wealthy peasants, etc.). However, they also committed acts of genocide, murdering about 500,000 Cossacks (not surprisingly, in WWII the latter overwhelmingly supported Hitler). An estimated 1.5 million Russians perished in the Red Terror. To be honest, the opponents of Bolsheviks conducted their own ‘White Terror’, killing about 100,000 Jews and tens of thousands Russians.
- Forced Collectivization in the Soviet Union (1929 – 1935) which included deportation of the whole social group of wealthy farmers (the ‘kulaks’) to the inhospitable areas of Siberia, Kazakhstan, etc. About 700,000 died as the result.
- Holodomor in Ukraine (1933) – the artificial famine that Stalin and his cronies used to eliminate the (mostly imaginary) Ukrainian resistance movement. Resistance to Stalin’s dictatorship, that is. The death toll was around 3 million (more than that of Operation Reinhard)
- Great Terror in the Soviet Union (1936 – 1938). It was essentially a Great Purge of the Communist Party, Soviet government, Red Army and security services (NKVD and GUGB) from actual, potential and perceived opponents of Joseph Stalin who used it to obtain the absolute power and to become essentially the ‘Red Emperor’. About 1 million citizens of the Soviet Union lost their lives.
- Gulag system of forced labor camps in the Soviet Union (1930 – 1953). Estimated death toll – 1 million. Slave labor was the key tool of the ‘industrialization’ of the Soviet Union in 1929 – 1939 and in rebuilding of the Soviet economy after the World War II.
- ‘Asian Holocaust’ (1937 – 1945). During the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, the Japanese military committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity which were often way worse than those of the Nazis. It is estimated that the Japanese have murdered around 6 million of Chinese, Taiwanese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos and Indochinese, and others, including Western prisoners of war. Making it exactly the ‘Asian Holocaust’ – in terms of the death toll (only the methods were much more brutal)
- Deportation of whole nations in the Soviet Union (1941 – 1949 mostly; although ethnic cleansing under the Bolshevik regime began in 1929). Around 3.3 million were deported to Siberia and other inhospitable regions and about 1.4 million died.
- Mass murder of Soviet POWs by Germans (1941 – 1942). Death toll – 3.5 million. Holocaust was not the only mass murder committed by the Nazis; the tragic death of about 60% of Soviet POWs definitely qualifies as one. Regardless of whether it was the result of a criminal neglect or a deliberate extermination policy or (more likely) a bit of both, the Nazis are still responsible for this horrible crimes against humanity.
- Mass murder of civilians in anti-guerilla warfare on German-occupied territories of the Soviet Union and other nations (1939 – 1944). Estimated death toll – 4 million. This is still another crime against humanity perpetrated by the Nazis.
- Allied firebombing of Germany (1943 – 1945). Both USAF and RAF deliberately targeted civilians – in blatant and brutal violation of the Hague convention on the laws of warfare, killing (mostly by burning alive) an estimated 600,000 No one was ever prosecuted for these crimes.
- U.S. firebombing of Japan (March – August 1945), including nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Estimated death toll – 800,000 (equal to the number of victims in the Treblinka concentration camp). It took the USAF half as much time as the Nazis to claim the same number of victims. Again, no one was ever prosecuted for these crimes.
- Expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe (1945 – 1950). 12 million deported to Germany and up to 2.5 million brutally killed (exceeding the death toll of Operation Reinhard). These horrible crimes against humanity were being committed right parallel to the infamous Nuremberg farce, where Nazis were being tried for essentially the same crimes that the Allies and their puppets were committing.
- Democide in Communist North Korea (1948 – 1987). Death toll: over 1.6 million. Other estimates run as high as 3.5 million. Persecutions and murder of ‘enemies of the people’ continue to this day.
- ‘Cultural Revolution’ in China (1966 – 1976). Death toll – 3 million (more than perished in Operation Reinhard). 36 million more were persecuted (beaten, imprisoned, sent to forced labor camps, exiled to rural areas, etc.). Large-scale human rights abuses are still a part of a supposedly modern China.
- Khmer Rouge democide in Cambodia (1975 – 1979). Death toll – 2 million (about 25% of the total population). Pol Pot and his cronies would have killed a lot more, but, fortunately, the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1979 and quickly put an end to the Khmer Rouge bloody dictatorship and its crimes.
- Tutsi genocide in Rwanda (1994). In just three months (April – July) about 1 million Tutsis (the same number of Jews have been killed in Auschwitz in three years) have been killed in unspeakably brutal ways. This massacre could have easily been prevented but neither the UN, nor any major power (Britain, France, the USA, etc.) cared a damn. It seems that nothing has changed in half a century.
Consequently, selecting just one of these genocides and democides for the International Remembrance Day is a loud and clear insult of the victims of these other mass murders. Because it implicitly declares that Jewish lives are more valuable and important than lives of individuals of other nations and nationalities.
Which is Nazism – plain and simple.