Nazi Labor Camp Becomes Jewish Cemetery

Haaretz has an article out today about a Nazi labor camp that is being turned into a Jewish cemetery. Here is a brief excerpt:

Former Nazi labor camp consecrated as Jewish cemetery:

A Nazi labor camp near Berlin where SS guards massacred more than one thousand inmates over 60 years ago was consecrated Tuesday as a Jewish cemetery.
The Lieberose camp, a satellite of the larger Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin, was open from 1943 to February 1945. During that time SS officers shot and killed 1,300 sick and invalid Jewish inmates.

This strikes me as an interesting move, but not a new technique when an oppressed group is working its way out of the oppression. That technique is to take what was used derogatorily previously and to claim it as their own. This can be seen among the American black community, having been called Negroes or niggers before as a derogatory term, many now refer to themselves and fellow black Americans by these names. I hope the analogy communicates and the point is not lost on the example. In this case, German Jews are taking what was already a cemetery and claiming it as their own, turning the table around, so to speak.

Are there other examples that you can think of of formerly oppressed groups using this technique to rise out of oppression and take ownership of what was once meant for harm against them?

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One thought on “Nazi Labor Camp Becomes Jewish Cemetery

  1. Thank you for the article.

    Although this is not an example of an oppressed group translating an oppressive device into re-interpreted symbol it is an example of that form of “baptizing” (pun intended).

    The baptismal font at the Belmont Abbey Basilica is a transformed slave block which reads: “Upon this rock, men once were sold into slavery. Now upon this rock, through the waters of baptism, men become free children of God.” Here are the linked pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/KrigsoH2WTgrrRL6hwhSaA and http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/lAU6hXXZ-NUiemveRMSJQg

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