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Cartas al director

03.04.2020

Swiss citizens in Hitler’s death camps

I was born during WWII and in my early years remember a Genevois uncle returning from a concentration camp. I never knew why he’d been sent there but they were living in France at the time. It was never discussed. I agree with the shameful lack of information about the Nazis in school education where one was indeed stuffed with history of Swiss battles and European wars which had Swiss mercenaries... I agree it is essential to discuss all this now given the rise of the far- right all over Europe and beyond. Thank you for this article, and I do hope that after President Sommaruga’s actions to recognise the effect of the Holocaust on Swiss citizens, the government does agree to support the building of a monument to reflect the damage and ensuing shame this dark episode of our history represents.

Joelle Mann, Oxford, Great Britain

This is a tremendous piece of journalism. It certainly should have been written much earlier, but simply telling these stories is important, given that xenophobia and anti-Semitism is rife in so many countries. The idea of creating a digital form of remembrance is something that the Swiss government could help to implement and fund. Perhaps it would then be easier to apologise for what happened.

Martin Schlatter-Roggenkamp, NETHERLANDS

Thank you very much for writing this piece. We should never stop having critical discussions about the past.

Swen Ruhnke, Hamburg, Germany

Great work! I didn’t know this, as I am an 80s child. Let’s not blame but learn from the past. May the story of this dark time be remembered and told in future and its victims and heroes never be forgotten.

Sofie Rytz, Scotland

Might I suggest it is about time we turned the page. No one is denying the crimes against humanity that took place in Germany between 1933 and 1945. Seventy-five years have passed since the end of the Second World War. We should stop playing the Nazi card once and for all. It does nothing to further our understanding and just perpetuates an inferiority complex among yet another generation of children.

Peter Fässler, Vientiane, Laos

There is a very common trope today, that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s a ridiculous idea, assuming that if everyone just learns about past atrocities, they will somehow turn to a state of peaceful bliss and affection for all human beings. Bunk! Black and white children in America go to grade school together, knowing nothing of history – they become friends and play together and pay no attention to colour – are not even aware of it. Then they’re taught about slavery and the mistreatment of their great grandfathers, and they learn to be resentful and indignant.

Christopher Egli, Devon, USA

Thank you for creating this great effort! We may not learn from our past mistakes, but we must always be reminded of them! Creating a Digital Memorial would be a powerful and beautiful idea!

Crystina Wyler, Virginia, USA

Editorial note:

Max Spring

The “Gezeichnet 2019” exhibition that ran from December to February at the Museum of Communication in Berne provided a walk- through review of the best cartoons published in the Swiss press in 2019. Among the outstanding works by Switzerland’s 50 leading cartoonists was Max Spring’s illustration that appeared on the cover of last year’s “Swiss Review” election edition (6/2019). It was remarkable how many times Spring’s tongue-in-cheek drawing to mark the election success of the green parties was used by Swiss media outlets reporting on the exhibition. (MUL)

The art of translation

Most of the original content for “Swiss Review” is written in German or French. However, the magazine is published in four different languages. Without the meticulous work of SwissGlobal, our translations partner, “Swiss Review” would not be the magazine that it is. SwissGlobal recently provided its take on the idiosyncrasies of two languages: Swiss German and English. We highly recommend both these informative, thought-provoking blog posts.

Swiss German: ogy.de/helvetismen

English: ogy.de/the-uk-us-divide

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