All the women were taking their clothes off.
That aspect of the scene got my attention. Another odd feature was that the movie was in black and white. Some guys were playing the VHS tape in the living room of our high school dorm.
All the naked women were told to enter a huge room which was then locked. The unclothed women started to scream.
The whole scene was confusing.
Then water started to flow from the shower heads above them. There was relief and laughter.
Did they fear that the water would be too cold? That was my bewildered thought. The scene was from this movie. The scene was set in Auschwitz.
My confusion was alleviated later when I read of the Holocaust and what happened to the millions of Jews and other undesirables whom the Nazis murdered with industrial-scale efficiency.
How could I have been so ignorant? The answer is simple. The first ten years of my education (I use the term loosely) were in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. I didn't learn anything about the World Wars from my curriculum during that time. Before coming to the US for my last two years of high school, the sum total of my World War II knowledge was:
- The German dictator, Adolf Hitler, started conquering countries in Europe. Poland was one of those countries.
- The anti-Hitler countries were called the Allies. The US and Britain were a part of this Alliance.
- The Hitler supporters - Italy and Japan - were called the Axis.
- The Axis lost the war.
That's it. I got that cursory information from watching foreign TV shows in Saudi Arabia.
Why don't the Saudis and Pakistanis teach their students about the Holocaust? I'll offer a good guess. When the purpose of their history is to show that the non-Muslims, especially the Christians and Jews (in modern terms: the US and Israel), are always trying to cheat, convert and butcher the Muslims, then the Holocaust undermines the whole narrative. Muslims are always to be the only victims and sufferers in the world.
Also, for a Muslim, an awkward question arises from learning about the Holocaust. How could six million Jews be annihilated when, as we all know, they rule the world? The facts about World War II, or rather the truth in general, would shatter the woe-is-me worldview of many a Muslim.
Westerners learn from, and teach about, the Holocaust. Deplorably, for hundreds of millions of Muslims the Holocaust simply doesn't exist.
Also, read about a visit to Dachau.
Update 01:11 AM ET, OCT. 27
This post is included in the Carnival of the Vanities #162.
Update 10:40 AM ET, OCT. 29
Open post at the RWN.