Readers Write: (March 21): Nazi re-enactment, Sunday liquor sales, veterans, Senate building, Nicollet Mall, corporate 'bullies'

  • Updated: March 20, 2014 - 5:55 PM

Collective memory of Holocaust is blurring, more than being trivialized.


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Hard facts can sharpen the collective memory

I’m teaching a course on the Holocaust at Augsburg this semester, and I’ve been following Star Tribune articles about the Nazi-themed party at a local restaurant.

A March 20 commentary (“Mpls. group ‘plays’ Nazi: Sorry, no trifle”) by several University of Minnesota scholars observes that “Nazism and the Holocaust have entered a stage of extreme trivialization.” I think that a larger problem is the simple passage of time — the natural blurring of shared memory as generation follows generation. Which is why I insist that my Auggies learn sharp, hard facts. Ever heard of Belzec? My kids have.

According to a news story, the owner of the restaurant is originally from Kozienice, “a town that saw a brutal purge of its Jewish residents during World War II.” To judge by his picture, the owner would have been a baby then, if he was even alive.

“A brutal purge” is a blurred description. According to, the town had 4,208 Jewish residents in January 1940. Four thousand more Jews were forced to leave homes in that region and resettle in Kozienice. They did hard labor until they were sent — all 8,000 — to the killing center at Treblinka on Sept. 2, 1942. That year, 713,555 people were murdered at Treblinka.

Thanks for a “teachable moment.”

John W. Van Cleve, Minneapolis



Same excuses, nothing changes, ban remains

Once again we hear the same old refrain — the votes just aren’t there — regarding changing state law to allow Sunday liquor sales. Decade after decade it’s been the same. Politicians continue to protect special interests, and they consistently demonstrate the attitude that they know better what is good for us.

If the law is not changed, I suggest that more Minnesotans strike out and explore the many beautiful towns just across our borders, in all directions. There are dozens of quaint small towns, for example, along the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. Enjoy the scenery and give those local businesses a shot in the arm. Minnesota legislators just don’t care!

Mike Hohmann, Minneapolis



It’s time to update a constitutional benefit

Looking for a bipartisan way to spend part of Minnesota’s $1.23 billion budget surplus? Article XIII, Section 8 of Minnesota’s Constitution provides that “[t]he state may pay an adjusted compensation to persons who served in the armed forces of the United States during the period of the Vietnam conflict or the Persian Gulf War.” It’s time for us to amend this language to include veterans who served in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11. Feel the same? Contact your legislators and ask them to put thiws constitutional amendment on the ballot in November and to set aside the amount necessary to fund the bonus. If contacting them on Twitter, please use the hashtag #MNvetbonus.

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