Ant-Def. League Leads Charge to Whitewash History
By: Warner Todd Huston
It was a great joke in the old U.S.S.R. that every few years Stalin would “correct” the history books that discussed the early Soviet nation. As decades passed, he would have photos featuring himself and various other Communist leaders that he worked with to create the early Soviet Republic “corrected”, removing those other leaders until, in the end, the photos showed only himself. One by one, the other historical figures would disappear from view as Stalin “corrected” history to inform his people of the “real” version of how the Communist country was birthed.
We Americans look at that in horror. We see Stalin’s “corrected history” as pure lies, untruths, not real. But, now we are involved in something similar to what Stalin did to aggrandize himself and make a lie of history and the Anti-Defamation League is apparently leading the charge.
The regional director of New Mexico’s Anti-Defamation League, Susan Seligman, has forced the weak-kneed administration of the New Mexico International Space Museum to erase from history a man who contributed to early Space exploration and invention.
The Museum erased from their historical presentations a man named Hubertus Strughold, a German who came to the US after WWII and became a leading scientist in inventing the Space suit along with other important contributions. Like many other German scientists he was brought here by the U.S. government after WWII to advance our own scientific efforts and put our country in the lead in such fields.
It is true that Hubertus Strughold was a Nazi, though. It is also true that he was a “Doctor” who perpetrated horrific experiments on concentration camp victims during that war. We should absolutely not celebrate him for these outrages nor forget that he was involved. Nor should we excuse him his evil actions, nor imagine that his later successes and contributions somehow made up for his past.
History is not a clean thing but we should not excise people whom we don’t like from it merely because we disagree with their actions. Taken to the illogical ends such a whitewash of history will wash away all our history once we get done satisfying all the people who want this person or that removed from our historical consciousness. Eventually, we won’t even have the evils of the Nazis remembered in our consciousness leaving the possibility that it could happen all over again with no warnings from the past to guide us.
The Founders of our country were able to create the best, most free nation on earth and many of them said they did it by letting “history guide us”. They reviewed history to see what failed in the past so that we could try to avoid those mistakes in the present. But, if we continue to eliminate history bit by bit we won’t have history to guide us and will be left adrift without a touchstone to the past.
Certainly we can forget Hubertus Strughold without too much pain if we “correct” enough of history as Stalin did. But taken far enough we may even end up forgetting what the Nazis did to the Jews in WWII as well. Somehow, I would imagine this sort of “correction” would be one the Anti-Defamation League wouldn’t much like? And neither would I, for that matter.
Let us not be like Stalin. Let us remember history, warts and all, so that we can learn from it.
(See story on New Mexico Space Museum by Clicking here)