(ARA) - While the history of the Holocaust, Nazi brutality and World War II are taught in classrooms around the world, some people might feel the lessons lack relevancy. Yet the speed of modern communications technology and the continuing rise of tyrants make it more important than ever for people to know how to recognize the kind of lethal propaganda employed in those dark, distant days, says Lou Bolchazy.
President of Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, a producer of books on history and ancient literature, as a child Bolchazy survived the Nazi occupation of his native Slovakia.
"With modern communications technology, especially the Internet, it's easier than ever to disseminate propaganda," Bolchazy says. "Today's young people will play a bigger part in the global community than their parents ever could have dreamed. It's vitally important that they know how to recognize potentially harmful propaganda when they see it."
Bolchazy has taken his message to classrooms, speaking with young people about his experiences in occupied Slovakia. Although his family was not Jewish, they suffered under Nazi rule, with his father incarcerated for two years in a Nazi slave labor camp. The family lost their home, belongings and livelihood during World War II, as Nazis, Russians and native partisans battled for control of the country.
His experiences compelled him to tackle something many others may have shied away from - bringing the definitive historical text on Hitler into modern times. "Hitler was like a virus that was responsible for 70 million deaths," he says. "I wanted to put this virus under a microscope to see what made him tick, so that I could recognize the likes of him in our midst today."
Bolchazy's publishing company, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, commissioned the English translation of historian Max Domarus' four-volume German edition of "Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen 1932 - 1945 Kommentiert von einem deutschen Zeitgenossen." The work was translated into English, "Hitler's Speeches and Proclamations 1932-1945: The Chronicle of a Dictatorship," and then made available in a digital version. "The Essential Hitler" is the abridged English translation of Domarus' work, while "The Complete Hitler" includes both the English translation and original German version in a single, digital, searchable e-book. "The Complete Hitler" is available through Amazon.com or www.bolchazy.com. Barnes & Noble and Borders both carry "The Essential Hitler." A premiere digital edition, available only at MyiLibrary, NetLibrary, and Questia, allows users to cut and paste information and add their own notes.
"One of Hitler's greatest weapons was his ability to use propaganda to sway masses of otherwise reasonable people to his way of thinking," Bolchazy points out. "We see the same power in some of our modern villains - from Osama bin Laden to Ceausescu. The difference between then and now is that now evil messages can literally travel around the world in a matter of minutes, if not seconds."
Bolchazy encourages students to learn all they can about how propaganda works - and kills. "They should read everything they can on this topic, listen to the living histories of Holocaust survivors, visit the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. and commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day," he says.
"German statesman Konrad Adenauer once said 'History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided,' " Bolchazy says. "The point of any lesson on the Holocaust or the Nazis should be to teach young people the skills needed to avoid repeating the great horrors and errors of history."
Courtesy of ARAcontent