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Is There Such A Thing as Holocaust Humor?

The Holocaust is a grim and sacred event in history. It is not the subject of humor. But I once heard a story tangentially related to the Holocaust that I found amusing.

A few years ago, the Metropolitan Opera in New York presented the modern opera "Moses and Aron," by Arnold Schoenberg, the great and innovative composer of the twentieth century. The music is atonal and its lack of traditional melody and harmony taxes a listener's patience.

During the performance, an old Jewish woman stood up and exclaimed, "I survived Auschwitz. I don't have to sit through this." She then walked out.

It's a true story.

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Tags: holocaust, humor, opera, schoenberg

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Comment by Sarge! on July 22, 2009 at 9:34pm
As with all traumatic tragedies any humor is best left to those who lived through and survived it. For me the saddness of the wholesale murder of innocents by an arrogant group of hooligans is humorless and tempered by the fact that it could happen again. Sorry for me, I see no humor at either end of this event.
Comment by Bernarda Sixty-Eight on July 13, 2009 at 7:29pm
The biggest joke regarding the Holocaust are the people who claimed it never happened. If it wasn't for the overall tragedy of WWII, Nazi leadership would be good for a few chuckles.
Comment by ZenDog on July 13, 2009 at 5:21pm
Excremental Catastrophe is a term from the death camps. I'm not positive but I think it was coined by Elie Wiesel. Rampant diarrehea in the camps became the environmental condition, eliciting on at least one occasion this example of sarcasm, of sarcastic humor, thus elevating the victim above the circumstance to a position of victory.

Such victories may indeed be tenuous, they may be ephemeral, but they are never feeble.

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