Irish Memorials to Concentration Camps

Niall996

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I'm just back from a recent trip to South Africa. It was interesting to meet Afrikaners who had grandparents who were in the British Boer War concentration camps. The memory is still very vivid in the conciousness of the people as a whole.


Some of the statistics are indeed horrendous. Particualrly from Kircheners scorched policy onwards era. There are several conflicting accounts in terms of numbers murdered. Somewhere between 10% and 25% of the total Boer civilian population deliberately targetted and killed). At least 28,000 killed in the camps themselves, 22,000 of whom were children killed through forced starvation and inevitable disease. As one group (mainly children) died, the next were brought in to experience the exact same fate over and over again. A truly horrific act of barbarism. The intent was never hidden, remove the means for families to survive by burning the ground and killing/taking all livestock, move families into camps to die to force a surrender. Over 25,000 blacks were also murdered in the camps.

What is surprising is the amount of Boer War related memorials that continue to exist in Ireland.

Anglo-Boer Wars war memorial sites in Ireland

The question is, can we be comfortable celebrating and commenmorating what were essentially murder factories and a military campaign based on the open strategy of targetting and killing civilians. I'm not comfortable with in in the exact same way I don't think anyone would be comfortable with memorials to SS Holocaust Camp officers in the middle of O'Connell St.

Obviously a lot of people are quite unaware of the memorials themselves or the events of the Anglo Boer war. If their status was more publicised and exposed I wonder what the reaction would be.

Do I support tearing them al down. Maybe not entirely. Some are exquisite peices of art that could simply be repurposed and rededicated to something noble and worthy. Some should be removed. In the case of Fusiliers Arch in St Stephen's Green, this one has to go imo. Or at the very least sanded/grinded down and repurposed. I don't mind the names of the soliders being repositioned to some other location but the idea of a monument to the killings of 22,000 innocent children in the heart of our city is surely unacceptable.

https://comeheretome.com/2015/04/29/the-controversial-fusiliers-arch/

On the mountain side the battle raged, there was no stop or stay;
Mackin captured Private Burke and Ensign Michael Shea,
Fitzgerald got Fitzpatrick, Brannigan found O’Rourke;
Finnigan took a man named Fay and a couple of lads from Cork.
Sudden they heard McManus shout ‘Hands up or I’ll run you through’
He thought he had a Yorkshire ‘Tyke’ – twas Corporal Donoghue
McGarry took O’Leary, O’Brien got McNamee
That’s how the English fought the Dutch at the Battle of Dundee!


Just to note, this ins't a thread on the whole history of South Africa, the rights or wrongs of the Anglo Boer war, the history of Apartheid, Jacob Zuma or Britains Imperialist past. It's very specific to the Anglo Boer War and our nations ongoing commemoration of it.
 


owedtojoy

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I'm just back from a recent trip to South Africa. It was interesting to meet Afrikaners who had grandparents who were in the British Boer War concentration camps. The memory is still very vivid in the conciousness of the people as a whole.


Some of the statistics are indeed horrendous. Particualrly from Kircheners scorched policy onwards era. There are several conflicting accounts in terms of numbers murdered. Somewhere between 10% and 25% of the total Boer civilian population deliberately targetted and killed). At least 28,000 killed in the camps themselves, 22,000 of whom were children killed through forced starvation and inevitable disease. As one group (mainly children) died, the next were brought in to experience the exact same fate over and over again. A truly horrific act of barbarism. The intent was never hidden, remove the means for families to survive by burning the ground and killing/taking all livestock, move families into camps to die to force a surrender. Over 25,000 blacks were also murdered in the camps.

What is surprising is the amount of Boer War related memorials that continue to exist in Ireland.

Anglo-Boer Wars war memorial sites in Ireland

The question is, can we be comfortable celebrating and commenmorating what were essentially murder factories and a military campaign based on the open strategy of targetting and killing civilians. I'm not comfortable with in in the exact same way I don't think anyone would be comfortable with memorials to SS Holocaust Camp officers in the middle of O'Connell St.

Obviously a lot of people are quite unaware of the memorials themselves or the events of the Anglo Boer war. If their status was more publicised and exposed I wonder what the reaction would be.

Do I support tearing them al down. Maybe not entirely. Some are exquisite peices of art that could simply be repurposed and rededicated to something noble and worthy. Some should be removed. In the case of Fusiliers Arch in St Stephen's Green, this one has to go imo. Or at the very least sanded/grinded down and repurposed. I don't mind the names of the soliders being repositioned to some other location but the idea of a monument to the killings of 22,000 innocent children in the heart of our city is surely unacceptable.

Just to note, this ins't a thread on the whole history of South Africa, the rights or wrongs of the Anglo Boer war, the history of Apartheid, Jacob Zuma or Britains Imperialist past. It's very specific to the Anglo Boer War and our nations ongoing commemoration of it.
I had a work colleague in Galway who told me his grandfather served in the British Army in that war.

In that war, he had occasion to shoot man dead. A Boer, I presume.

The old man solemnly knelt every night and said a prayer for the man he killed. This man carried the Boer War with him all his life.

(Just an observation. Killing does not come easy - the old guerrilla Will Munny says in Unforgiven : "It's a terrible thing to kill a man. You take away everything he has, and everything he was going to be". The experience of war, of killing and the fear of being killed, is a dreadful one, and most of us grapple with it unsuccessfully. Only a few take to war naturally.)
 

owedtojoy

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Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
47,567
I'm just back from a recent trip to South Africa. It was interesting to meet Afrikaners who had grandparents who were in the British Boer War concentration camps. The memory is still very vivid in the conciousness of the people as a whole.


Some of the statistics are indeed horrendous. Particualrly from Kircheners scorched policy onwards era. There are several conflicting accounts in terms of numbers murdered. Somewhere between 10% and 25% of the total Boer civilian population deliberately targetted and killed). At least 28,000 killed in the camps themselves, 22,000 of whom were children killed through forced starvation and inevitable disease. As one group (mainly children) died, the next were brought in to experience the exact same fate over and over again. A truly horrific act of barbarism. The intent was never hidden, remove the means for families to survive by burning the ground and killing/taking all livestock, move families into camps to die to force a surrender. Over 25,000 blacks were also murdered in the camps.

What is surprising is the amount of Boer War related memorials that continue to exist in Ireland.

Anglo-Boer Wars war memorial sites in Ireland

The question is, can we be comfortable celebrating and commenmorating what were essentially murder factories and a military campaign based on the open strategy of targetting and killing civilians. I'm not comfortable with in in the exact same way I don't think anyone would be comfortable with memorials to SS Holocaust Camp officers in the middle of O'Connell St.

Obviously a lot of people are quite unaware of the memorials themselves or the events of the Anglo Boer war. If their status was more publicised and exposed I wonder what the reaction would be.

Do I support tearing them al down. Maybe not entirely. Some are exquisite peices of art that could simply be repurposed and rededicated to something noble and worthy. Some should be removed. In the case of Fusiliers Arch in St Stephen's Green, this one has to go imo. Or at the very least sanded/grinded down and repurposed. I don't mind the names of the soliders being repositioned to some other location but the idea of a monument to the killings of 22,000 innocent children in the heart of our city is surely unacceptable.

https://comeheretome.com/2015/04/29/the-controversial-fusiliers-arch/

On the mountain side the battle raged, there was no stop or stay;
Mackin captured Private Burke and Ensign Michael Shea,
Fitzgerald got Fitzpatrick, Brannigan found O’Rourke;
Finnigan took a man named Fay and a couple of lads from Cork.
Sudden they heard McManus shout ‘Hands up or I’ll run you through’
He thought he had a Yorkshire ‘Tyke’ – twas Corporal Donoghue
McGarry took O’Leary, O’Brien got McNamee
That’s how the English fought the Dutch at the Battle of Dundee!


Just to note, this ins't a thread on the whole history of South Africa, the rights or wrongs of the Anglo Boer war, the history of Apartheid, Jacob Zuma or Britains Imperialist past. It's very specific to the Anglo Boer War and our nations ongoing commemoration of it.
An important distinction should be made between Concentration Camps and Death Camps.

The Nazis created Death Camps, with the intention of killing those who came within their perimeter - Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek, Chelmo and Auschwitz-Birkenau were Death Camps, all of them in modern Poland.

Dachau, Belsen, Ohrdruf and many other camps were Concentration Camps proper, like the British camps, and the original ones set up by the Spanish in Cuba, had exceedingly high death rates, so much so that many were almost death camps too.
 

Niall996

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I had a work colleague in Galway who told me his grandfather served in the British Army in that war.

In that war, he had occasion to shoot man dead. A Boer, I presume.

The old man solemnly knelt every night and said a prayer for the man he killed. This man carried the Boer War with him all his life.

(Just an observation. Killing does not come easy - the old guerrilla Will Munny says in Unforgiven : "It's a terrible thing to kill a man. You take away everything he has, and everything he was going to be". The experience of war, of killing and the fear of being killed, is a dreadful one, and most of us grapple with it unsuccessfully. Only a few take to war naturally.)
And I'm not out to have a go at the soldiers. The systems, the institutions, the leaders, the forces at work etc put them there. But what happened there was mass scale murder. And completely at odds not just with modern thinking but thinking at the time. It strikes me as unconcienable to have memorials to such an atrocity.
 

Niall996

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An important distinction should be made between Concentration Camps and Death Camps.

The Nazis created Death Camps, with the intention of killing those who came within their perimeter - Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek, Chelmo and Auschwitz-Birkenau were Death Camps, all of them in modern Poland.

Dachau, Belsen, Ohrdruf and many other camps were Concentration Camps proper, like the British camps, and the original ones set up by the Spanish in Cuba, had exceedingly high death rates, so much so that many were almost death camps too.
When the work or the conditions are knowingly going to kill the worker/inmate (or in the Boer case, the child) the distinction is only in terms of the time delay between arrival and death I would suggest. Similarly, the life expectancy in the cotton fields was so short, they were effectively concentration/death camps. They just inflicted productivity between arrival and death.
 

Lúidín

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Niall996: It's very specific to the Anglo Boer War and our nations ongoing commemoration of it.
Link? Or are you talking of some other nation?
 

runwiththewind

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An important distinction should be made between Concentration Camps and Death Camps.

The Nazis created Death Camps, with the intention of killing those who came within their perimeter - Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek, Chelmo and Auschwitz-Birkenau were Death Camps, all of them in modern Poland.

Dachau, Belsen, Ohrdruf and many other camps were Concentration Camps proper, like the British camps, and the original ones set up by the Spanish in Cuba, had exceedingly high death rates, so much so that many were almost death camps too.
What distinction would you make if you were in one?

If you had a preference, would you chose a death or concentration camp?
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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When the work or the conditions are knowingly going to kill the worker/inmate (or in the Boer case, the child) the distinction is only in terms of the time delay between arrival and death I would suggest. Similarly, the life expectancy in the cotton fields was so short, they were effectively concentration/death camps. They just inflicted productivity between arrival and death.
I think your on shaky ground here. What was the mortality rate in these camps?
 
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owedtojoy

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And I'm not out to have a go at the soldiers. The systems, the institutions, the leaders, the forces at work etc put them there. But what happened there was mass scale murder. And completely at odds not just with modern thinking but thinking at the time. It strikes me as unconcienable to have memorials to such an atrocity.
Have you ever notived that all "war memorials" are relatively modern.

The English struck a medal to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada, but no statues or memorials were erected. There were no commemorations or parades. Erection of memorials on a vast scale had to await the arise of Nationalism.

I often wonder if it was not a sort of bargain - the "Nation" promises the soldier "Fight for us, and die if necessary, and we will promise you an everlasting memorial, the only immortality we can guarantee." As the old woman says in Yeats' play Cathleen ni Houlihan "They shall be remembered forever, They shall be alive forever, They shall be speaking forever, The people shall hear them forever."
 

owedtojoy

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What distinction would you make if you were in one?

If you had a preference, would you chose a death or concentration camp?
Concentration camp death rates were lower than in death camps.

If you were sent to Treblinka or Birkenau, your chance of getting out alive were virtually 0. It was straight from the train into the gas chamber for the vast bulk of the arriving prisoners.

If you were sent to Belsen, and you survived the typhoid, the other diseases, the beatings, the starvation diet, the punishing work, you might have a 1 in 2 or 3 chance. Unless you were a Soviet prisoner-of-war, in which you were probably starved or worked to death, if you made it to a camp at all.

A depressing topic I am not doing to discuss. Start a thread if you like, or read Nikolaus Wachsmann's KL.
 

owedtojoy

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When the work or the conditions are knowingly going to kill the worker/inmate (or in the Boer case, the child) the distinction is only in terms of the time delay between arrival and death I would suggest. Similarly, the life expectancy in the cotton fields was so short, they were effectively concentration/death camps. They just inflicted productivity between arrival and death.
You do not seem to know much about those South African camps.

They were not "work camps" for criminals. Like the Americans in Vietnam, the camps had a military purpose as part of a counter-insurgency operation As Mao said that guerrilla swims in a the sea of the population, the intent was to drain the sea and force the guerrillas into the open. Food was confiscated. The South Africa veldt was interspersed with blockhouses to allow the British patrol the area and catch Boer kommandos.

The camps were poorly managed and typhoid broke out. Medical services were not adequate. The boredom and pointlessness of life probably attacked the health of the women and children, too. Highest estimate of the deaths is 28,000, nearly 25% of those incarcerated.
 

Civic_critic2

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Oh wed to west brit joy is finding it difficult to delicately tiptoe around this topic. But we'll throw in a distinction without a difference anyway, just for some support like...
 

Civic_critic2

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"The boredom and pointlessness of life probably attacked the health of the women and children, too."

Unbelievable.
 

between the bridges

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Have you ever notived that all "war memorials" are relatively modern.

The English struck a medal to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada, but no statues or memorials were erected. There were no commemorations or parades. Erection of memorials on a vast scale had to await the arise of Nationalism.

I often wonder if it was not a sort of bargain - the "Nation" promises the soldier "Fight for us, and die if necessary, and we will promise you an everlasting memorial, the only immortality we can guarantee." As the old woman says in Yeats' play Cathleen ni Houlihan "They shall be remembered forever, They shall be alive forever, They shall be speaking forever, The people shall hear them forever."
Pffft...

Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.
 

parentheses

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I think there's a memorial somewhere in south Africa to the Irishmen who fought alongside the Boers
 

publicrealm

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Have you ever notived that all "war memorials" are relatively modern.

The English struck a medal to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada, but no statues or memorials were erected. There were no commemorations or parades. Erection of memorials on a vast scale had to await the arise of Nationalism.

I often wonder if it was not a sort of bargain - the "Nation" promises the soldier "Fight for us, and die if necessary, and we will promise you an everlasting memorial, the only immortality we can guarantee." As the old woman says in Yeats' play Cathleen ni Houlihan "They shall be remembered forever, They shall be alive forever, They shall be speaking forever, The people shall hear them forever."

The Romans had war memorials well over 2000 years ago. Some Roman triumphal arches from c.300/400 AD are still standing.

Edit: snap!
 

stray creditor

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I think there's a memorial somewhere in south Africa to the Irishmen who fought alongside the Boers
The Irishmen that fought with the Boers each received a medal from Kreuger, purple ribbon with a gold medal, I saw one in 1973, an elderly neighbour had an uncle that fought with the Boers. I was young at the time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_commandos
 
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