It is acceptable for the Polish government to house its current criminals in Auschwitz-Birkenau
Debate Rounds (4)
This debate must strictly adhere to the following hypothetical situation to ensure clairity and good quality.
Poland has been having a current wave of violent crime. All of its jails are full and it has no money to make more institutions for criminals and every viable building to keep them has been used. Despite that there are still 1000 violent criminals that have no place to be put; Poland can get no internal or external help on the matter and is on the verge of having to release these convicted violent criminals back into society.
Should Poland use its existing ex-Extermanation/Concentration camps to house these violent criminals? The only other viable option is for the prisoners to be sent to a island controled by Poland on the Baltic Sea, but they would have to walk and the journey would be extremely hazourdous, and most likely fatal to many of them, but that's not guaranteed
So there are three options in this debate:
1. Reopen ex-Nazi Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and other former concentration camps as places of confinement and prisons
2. Releast 1000 violent criminals into society
3. Force the prisoners on a potentially fatal walk to an Island Jail
Pro is in the support of the first option
I am hoping this doesn't become a legistical/practical debate, and focuses on the moral issues
I look forward to hearing from my opponent on what I hope will be an extrodinarily unique debate if nothing else
First round is acceptance and clarification only.
Anyway, I accept but would like to make the following clarification:
As far as I can see the only island that belongs to Poland in the Baltic Sea is (appropriately named for the purposes of this debate) Hel (1), but this is connected to the mainland by a causeway (thus negating the need for convicts to walk on water to reach it. Could we use Hel as the location of the offshore penal colony?
I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. In response to your clairification, I do not want to use Hel as the island. The point of the island is to give an ambigous option to the problem, and with the unknown risk of danger I believe if the Island is not clairified it will add to the philisophical meat of this debate.
Ill post my one contentions and keep this round short, though reminding my opponent I am withholding certain materiel, because I have absolutely no idea where this debate will go.
I hope this debate will be approached like the notion of using Auschwitz-Birkenau was just announced in the Polish Government, because I will be arguing that any option is better, it is not a viable option and should not even be seriously considered
Auschwitz-Birkenau is a monstrously innapropriate place to house prisoners because of practical and moral issues.
Subpoint A) The History of the place demands its sanctity is not disturbed
I think we all know the history, so keeping prisoners in what is now a state museum for the largest hate crime in history would be like housing criminals in Dome of the Rock Mosque. This place should be seen by not just Poland but the global community as absolutely untouchable-the only appropriate use is commemorating the victims that died there. The gravity of the situation-having 1000 prisoners and no idea what to do with them, in no way outweighs the absolute sanctity of this place of remembrance. This place should be as respected by all humans as a church is to all Christians-it is an international symbol or remembrance and tolerance, despite its evil use in WWII, thats what it has evolved to be. To defile it by filling it with prisoners would be unacceptable to every human being on the planet-no matter what the alternatives are.
Subpoint B) Using it as a prison is the worlds penultimate hate crime
Re-opening Auschwitz-Birkenau as a prison is re-opening the wounds of the Holocaust. It is extremely intolerant to use this place as a jail once again no matter what the reason is. It does not matter that these men are guilty while the original inhabitants were innocent because it has become of symbol of persevering over hatred and intolerance-so to have people once again locked inside and residing on its bunks would undo all that and be a slap in the face to humanity in general. Mainly, the international Jewish Community will be in an uproar and I bet Poland could bet to be on the recieving end of a few of Isreals 200 nuclear weapons-while Poland has none to defend itself with.
Subpoint C) This is a breach of the actual prisoners rights
Pro is likely to talk a lot about the rights of the prisoners. But remember Auschwitz-Birkenau was designed to be as cruel as possible to its inmates, and to be able to cram as many people as possible into small places. Polish people respect this place almost as much as Jewish people, and I am sure many of them will violentely oppose to being put in there. It is degrading and disgracing to jam people like cattle into bunks that were meant for horses.
Subpoint D) It could be said that Auschwitz-Birkenau is in fact the "ideal" prison-it is not.
This was meant to house large amounts of harmless civilians, a violent criminal could find it quite easy to break out of the place, it relies heavily on flimsy electric fences that rubber handled clippers could destroy. In fact since most of its technology was made before 1940, it is seriously outdated, at the expense of the prisoners health and the prisons security.
So although the other two options are indeed quite unnaceptable as well, there are not as quite unnaceptable-they do not break so many human rights and indeed are better options than re-opening Auschwitz-Birkenau as a prison.
Unfortunately, though, my wife and I were both totally underwhelmed by the exhibition at Auschwitz-Birkenau - all there was to see was a sterile collection of austere-looking buildings, the reconstructed crematorium and a dusty old museum full of faded documents and black and white photographs. (1) We ambled about for an hour or so, trying to justify the long journey we had made to get there, before leaving feeling quite disappointed.
And if we found Auschwitz-Birkenau uninspiring, even with my wife's family connection to the place, imagine how bored and frustrated even younger visitors must be. This matters because it is especially important for children and young adults to learn the lessons of history and the exhibition at Auschwitz-Birkenau could and should represent a solemn reminder to future generations of what can happen if people allow their nationalist sentiments and racial prejudices to be exploited by extreme Right-wing politicians.
So, because it is currently so difficult for visitors to Auschwitz-Birkenau to picture in their minds the misery and suffering that the prisoners endured there, it is clear that something must be done to make the site more dynamic and appealing. As far as I can see, there are two alternative solutions to this challenge:
1 – Imprison Polish convicts in Auschwitz-Birkenau, which my opponent is against but which I am in favour of, and thus make the prisoners exhibits in a living museum, and so ensure the suffering of the inmates of Auschwitz-Birkenau during the Second World War is properly appreciated (more on this later), or:
2 – Licence the Auschwitz-Birkenau facility to a multi-national leisure corporation so they can open a theme park on the site, which they might name The Holocaust Hotel & Resort, and which would probably feature amusements such as:
The Heil Hitler Helter Skelter
Goebbels' Ghost Train
Aryan Racing Cars
The Fascist Ferris Wheel
Goering's Gas Chamber of Horrors
The War Crimes Waltzer
And mingling among the crowds there would no doubt be hosts dressed in outsized costumes of cartoon characters such as:
Of course, all these attractions would probably make the guests hungry, which is why the gas chambers would perhaps be converted into a pizza restaurant - and the crematory ovens fired up once again to bake the pizzas in – and this could be what the menu would look like:
Death March Margherita
Storm Trooper Supreme
Choice of Deutschland �ber ales including Birkenau-Brau and Konzentrations Lager
Selection of Waffen-SS SSodas
Freshly-squeezed orange Jews (not made from concentration campers)
I believe that if the Polish government chose this second option and allowed a private company to exploit the suffering of those interned in Auschwitz-Birkenau for profit, this would represent a grevious insult to the memories of those who died there, and they would, quite rightly, face intense criticism from the international community.
However, if they chose the first option and enhanced the poiniency of Auschwitz-Birkenau by housing prisoners within the memorial site to help visitors better visualise life in Auschwitz-Birkenau under the Nazis then the rest of the world would applaud the Poles for their efforts to bring the atrocities committed there to a wider audience.
To illustrate this I will address my opponent's sub-points in turn as follows:
A) The History of the place demands its sanctity is not disturbed.
On many of the famous historical battlefields of Europe and North America the conflicts of the past are re-created by battle re-enactment societies. This is done for their own enjoyment but also for the benefit of the public who are able to better understand the history of the event because it is brought to life for them. These mock battles usually take place on the very ground where thousands of people died but nobody objects and "demands that the sanctity of the place is not disturbed" – that's because they know that the re-enactment is educational.
B) Using it as a prison is the worlds penultimate hate crime.
My opponent wrote: "Re-opening Auschwitz-Birkenau as a prison is re-opening the wounds of the Holocaust." The wounds of the Holocaust have never healed: it remains deeply embedded in the psyches of Jews, Gypsies, Russians and other groups that suffered at the hands of the Nazis, even generations later. Furthermore, it is vital that the Holocaust should remain in the conciousness of humanity and never be forgotton lest the mistakes of the past are made again. Revitalising Auschwitz-Birkenau by installing real prisoners there once again will help keep the memories of the past alive.
I believe Jewish people in general, and the Israeli government in particluar, would recognise the righteousness of enhancing Auschwitz-Birkenau in this way but, even if they didn't, I don't believe the Israeli government: beligerent, belicose and aggressive though it often is; would launch an attack on a NATO member with all the dire concequences for them that would ensue from such a course of action. Iran, maybe, Poland, no.
(C) This is a breach of the actual prisoners rights.
A lot is spoken of prisoners' human rights, but not so much of the rights of their victims. Perhaps fod rations could be increased in relation to those of the Nazi times, and fewer inmates would be incarcerated in each building but, beyoind that, I don't think we need concern ourselves unduly with providing convicts with luxurious accomodation.
(D) It could be said that Auschwitz-Birkenau is in fact the "ideal" prison-it is not.
It's not an ideal prison at the moment but the security measures could easily be beefed up: and imagine, if the watch-towers were once again manned by armed guards, how that would make the whole visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau all the more evocative of the Nazi era and, by extention, therefore, more educational.
To conclude, the two alternative options my opponent suggested to solve the Polish prison crisis are unworkable and dangerous to both prisoners and public alike, whereas re-opening Auschwitz-Birkenau as a functioning prison within the context of a living museum not only solves the prison crisis but would also help keep the horrors of the past alive. That way, hopefully, a genocide along the lines of the Holocaust will never happen again.
I must admit I am a bit sad that after you described an Auschwitz theme park in such detail you did not use it as an argument or alternative. I would have liked to debate that with you, but you chose to scrap it.
"I believe that if the Polish government chose this second option and allowed a private company to exploit the suffering of those interned in Auschwitz-Birkenau for profit, this would represent a grievous insult to the memories of those who died there, and they would, quite rightly, face intense criticism from the international community."
Perhaps another time then. Oh well, to start I guess I'll tell you why my opponents entire argument is based on a lie
His entire argument relies on that fact that Auschwitz-Birkenau is not effective at educating its visitors-especially children, in the horrors that happened there.
Forgive me my dear Sir, you are obviously quite educated, even brilliant and are a phenomenal debater, but anyone who visits Auschwitz-Birkenau as it is today and is not moved and spellbound is either a blockhead or just insensitive. All of the horrors of the place still exist today, when tour groups walk by the still bloodstained wall where prisoners who were discovered to be pregnant were executed, it is common for many of them to burst into tears. Even a child could understand the significance when he walks under the Iron letters "Arbeit Macht Frei", I felt a chill run cold down my spine when I walked under those.
Auschwitz is not a "sterile collection of austere-looking buildings, the reconstructed crematorium and a dusty old museum full of faded documents and black and white photographs." The place is already a theme park-it is a sadists dream vacation and captures the attention of all who come, it needs no more visual examples or prisoner reeancatment to get the point across. The place has thousands of miles of razor wire, the "austere" buildings gaze down on every person with malice, each one with many horrifying tales to tell what went on in there. It is filled with gruesome exhibit after gruesome exhibit, you can see the electric fence where prisoners preferred to commit suicide, because it had higher voltage than the others, or the appelplatz where prisoners were hung for stealing a slice of bread, or even the gallow where Kommandant Rudolph Hess was hung-one of the first people to be tried for crimes against humanity!
Point is Auschwitz is much more effective as a ghostly remnant than a living museum, where would you rather go, an old abandoned Western Ghost town in the southern US, that oozes history, or an old Ghost town that looks ridiculous and modern because of renovations, and annoying tour guides dressed up in ugly costumes and that have bad accents?
This leads to my second point: Using Auschwitz-Birkenau as a living museum will decrease its integrity and effectiveness
No one wants to go to a place that has 1000 violent criminals shoved in it. They'd be dangerous and probably throw bodily fluids at the tourists. Also, it is an innacurrate re-enactment because the majority of people that were housed there were innocent-that is why its so notorious, so putting violent criminals in Auschwitz-Birkenau is like putting an actors in an opera. it would confuse people what the place was used for.
So basically what I've said is that A-B is much more effective as a lifeless ghost town, and live prisoners will detract from the message and ruin its integrity. The only difference between A-B and any other prison is that innocent people were kept there so again putting prisoners there is like putting actors in an opera. They have no historical relevance being there, but A-B is already effective as it is.
With reference to my opponent's most recent arguments, it is true that housing convicts in Auschwitz-Birkenau would be not entirely authentic, especially because the inmates during the Second World War were innocent of any crime. I suppose that the Polish government could round-up all the Jews, Gypsies, ethnic Russians and political dissidents in Poland and imprison them without trial in Auschwitz-Birkenau and use their vacated homes to keep convicts under house arrest, but I believe this would be immoral and, although I haven't checked, I am pretty sure it would be illegal under international law as well.
With regard to the current exhibition at Auschwitz-Birkenau, it is also true that more enlightened, cultured and sophisticated people (such as my opponent and our fellow members off Debate.org) would not require any artificial stimuli to help them appreciate the magnitude of what happened there under the Nazis but, sadly perhaps, most young people today are desensitised to violence, suffering and death.
That's because they are exposed to highly realistic simulated violence on video games whereby players are invited to kill their enemies on a wholesale basis, with these massacres being depicted in advanced computer-generated animations which show all the blood and gore in graphic detail.
Similarly, films featuring extreme violence are routinely piped into teenagers' bedrooms and viewed on HD, 3-D plasma TVs to enhance the seeming reality.
This instant gratification of wanton violence requires no need for the use of the imagination, no need to wade through dull black and white television documentaries, no need to research academic books or websites: all the drama and action any teenager could ever want is right there on demand via their computers, games consoles, TVs and even their mobile (cell-) phones.
How many young people are going to sacrifice sun, sea and sex to go on holiday (vacation) to Auschwitz-Birkenau just to look at displays of old suitcases, piles of human hair and some blood stains: the attraction must be made more appealing to them.
Now, imagine the haunting cries of a new inmate who has been cornered in the showers by a group of homosexual nonces drifting across the courtyards: the visitors would know they weren't the tormented screams of prisoners being tortured by the Nazis, but the sound would be the same – and they would know that, unlike on video games and films, someone was suffering right there and then, live, not an act or a sound-effect - and that would add the extra dimension to the Auschwitz-Birkenau exhibition that would broaden its appeal enough to attract more younger visitors.
My dear, my very dear opponent, I thank you for this stimulating debate, but there's just one small issue...
Perhaps Auschwitz-Birkenau isn't a place for children,
My opponents whole argument relies on Auschwitz being ineffective at teaching our current generation about the holocaust. But Auschwitz is not meant for being a tool to teach children about the Holocaust, it is much to nuanced for that. Children should and must start at books, and the other many mediums of Holocaust education. Only when someone already has a true grasp of what went on in the Forgotten nights of Hitler's Europe should they visit the museum known as Auschwitz in Poland. Auschwitz is the epitome of realization about the holocaust, children under 16 are discouraged from attending, we simply cannot dumb it down to try and appeal to a wider audience, not just for moral issues but for the impossibility of doing anything but muddling and sensationalizing someone's image of the holocaust. Any attempts to re-create what happened would only muddle and distort Auschwitz's real message. The complexity of hundreds of years of racism, and the ignorance and apathy from the world leading up to the events would be lost by making this place a glorified theme park. Auschwitz has simply so much more to offer than the shallow display of cruelty my opponent proposes. The road to understanding Auschwitz is a gradual one-with a gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts, and above all, certainly not prisoner re-enactment.
Point is, Auschwitz-Birkenau is not meant to be the source to generate interest in the Holocaust. It is completely true that it is the most famous and most macabre, but filling it with prisoners will detract from its ultimate message. Would undermine what it says about tolerance and social awareness and advocacy. We must teach that the crimes of the past are unacceptable, and must never be repeated, but what my opponent is proposing is just that-repeating the sins of our past. Whether or not it is in the attempt of education, the reality would be once again cries are ringing out in the night just as they did during the war, once again human suffering is thriving in that patch of forlorn dirt, and that ladies and gentlemen, is simply unacceptable.
But let us say, let us say that Auschwitz is opened once again as a prison, and has a measure of effect, despite the amount of educated, elderly people that would cease to come in disgust. Let us assume the impossible idea that despite Jewish people being too scared or ashamed to visit, that the young managed to get past oohing and awing at this glorified zoo and entertainment t theatre, and managed to learn something. Let us assume that we tried to modernize something that has no place in modern society, and it worked to a degree, that hundreds of years of hate could be compressed and expressed by a couple of cruel acts, that they weren't so distracting because of their nature, that youth could learn something besides the fact that cruelty happened there. I ask you, how long until that became ineffective? How long until the next generation was so desensitized to what they saw, that they needed more visual aids to become in touch with Auschwitz-Birkenau? How long until the gas chamber had to be re-opened? How long before innocent Jewish children had to be thrown to the flames to teach youth about the holocaust? How long before we lost everything we tried to save?
I have said in this short speech that Auschwitz is not meant as a resource to help youth connect to the holocaust, it is the end of the line of holocaust education, if children need that sort of stimuli they can watch Shindlers List.
Prisoner re-enactment gives a false, shallow image of the real messages of Auschwitz and so much is lost in the process
We cannot try to accommodate Auschwitz to the needs of the portion of our youth that is addicted to media-violence, it is not possible, it will be silly, fake, shallow and distracting to what really needs to be learnt
The slippery slope of dumbing down Auschwitz not only loses its message, but will lead it to being used as a nefarious place once again
Perhaps the ghostly silence of the dusty walks in Auschwitz-Birkenau is louder than the shriek of any man.
It is, perhaps, true that housing convicted prisonersi in Auschwitz may attract some critism but let us remind ourselves of the only two possible alternatives my opponent set: to relaese the prisoners: and thus allow them to run amock accross Continental Europe committing crime with impunity; or to make them swim to an offshore island.with all the loss of lives that will certainly entail.
Of the three options, I believe I have shown that the Auschwitz option is the least worst.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Funny as usual Pro managed to turn this debate into something unintended for which he gets credit for escaping an otherwise loaded debate. His last Round also reminded me of what the other two alternatives were and he showed that the proposed first resolution was the best.
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