Caste is the culprit

I've often enjoyed staying at Excelsior Hotel, a stunning 1898 'Belle Epoque' landmark on the French Riviera. Now I abhor it. Reading about Simone Veil, fighter for the rights of women, children, prisoners and immigrants, I discovered this luxury hotel was Nazi Headquarters in Nice, off the beautiful Mediterranean coast. From here, thousands of Jews like her lost their dignity being packed off to concentration camps. Torture surrounded Simone Veil's life, yet she overcame it and was voted France's most popular woman in 2010.

Historically, Christians have condemned Jews. They believed Judas the Jew fatally betrayed Jesus Christ. Hateful stereotyping of Jews started from the Middle Ages. Christians were forbidden by the Church to lend money and charge interest, so Jews fulfilled this occupation. Every borrower who returns money does so very grudgingly. No wonder Jews were typecast as greedy and devilish. Nazi propaganda in 1920-1945 said Germans are superior Aryans, so anti-Christianity Jews should be exterminated. Many Jews in Europe like Simone Veil's father were secular to avoid racial animosity. But Catholics who continued to detest Jews cooperated in delivering people like Simone Veil's family to Nazi hands.

Manmade religious dogmas are dangerous; they install social class, hate, superiority and inferiority complexes. In Christian vs Jew, did the Jews kill Jesus? Were Christians more spiritual being disallowed from money lending? These micro-sounds in the air ingrained in people's collective minds can suddenly erupt. Twelve centuries old dogma was excavated in the 20th century for Hitler's 'Final Solution' strategy to wipe out Jews forever. In her autobiography, Simone Veil says she covers her Auschwitz death camp tattooed number 78651: "In 1950 or 1951, at a reception in an embassy, a high-level French official pointing to my forearm and number, asked with a smile if it was my cloakroom number. After that, I privileged long sleeves." Was he ignorant, insensitive or insulting?

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