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Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do study history are doomed to watch other people repeat it.


This story is a sequel to My Neighbor

In 1945, First Sergeant John Arrow liberated Dachau. Seventy-five years later, he sits down with Rarity and remembers the Holocaust.

Content advisory: contains explicit reference to genocide, but shies away from graphic descriptions of the precise atrocities.

This story is dedicated to those who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust, to those who survived and those who did not. In Memoriam.

It is also dedicated to those who have fought to prevent such evils from ever happening again. For any veterans or others living with that trauma, I've placed a link for the veteran helpline, a link for the suicide hotline, and link for international crisis lines. There is no shame in needing to talk to someone. No one should have to bear this alone.

Other stories in this canon:
My Neighbor
Their Neighbors

Public domain picture by Dorsm365 from Wikimedia Commons

Original characters are my own creation. My Little Pony and its contents are the property of Hasbro, Inc. and its affiliates. Please support the official release.

Chapters (3)
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Comments ( 21 )

I was not expecting this story, but it needed to be written. Thank you for doing so.

I just...
I don't think I could put to words how good this is.
Not without a long rambling diatribe about myself and my experiences with WW2 history that nobody wants to read, anyway.
Excellent job, as always. I'm... gonna go reflect for a bit, I think.

I've really grown to like and admire Mr Arrow, especially the impact he has on our 8 friends.

I really like Mr. Arrow, so you can guess how delighted I was to read another story about him again. And this one doesn't disappoint. Pleasant with emotion, great characterization of Rarity and an honest, traditional charm that makes me adore this story.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Let us learn.

Me getting ready to read this when I realize I've never made the time to read the other two, and so now I get to read three really good and moving stories in one night instead of just one.

So, thanks! Cus I know it'll be good

You are a man who speaks truth, a rarity these days.
Even though the truth is brutal and ugly, it is a truth that needs to be said. Because if we forget the truth, the atrocities will continue to happen.
Thank you for writing this. The effort you put into this isn't for nothing.
We mustn't ignore the wolves, nor should we forget the sheepdogs. You reminded us of both.

Well, that's one heck of a start.

Very interesting history tidbits. I knew that there was a Polish soldier who actually volunteered to enter Auschwitz to gather information – nerves of titanium, that man – but I didn't know about Eisenhower.

So long as men exist, evil will never be extinguished.

And yet, as Charlie Chaplin said, so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Hope springs eternal, after all, in spite of the cruelties of this world.

My great grandpa was among the first Americans to see one of these camps. Part of the spearhead, if I remember my terminology correctly.

He didn't open up about it until years later, when people started to publicly deny that the Holocaust had happened, but what he'd seen had torn him up inside until he died of Alzheimer's in the early 2000s.

I suspect many Americans have similar stories tucked into their family trees, which makes the notion of denying the Holocaust that much more bizarre to me.

I've heard of each of the genocides mentioned here, but never known what to do with that knowledge.

As long as there are people, some people will treat others as things; as means to an end rather than as sovereign beings in their own rights. But there will also be good people who see that happening and decide to do something about it. They won't always win, but I don't believe they ever lose permanently.

Thanks for writing this, and the rest of the stories with Mr. Arrow. You're helping us remember history by tying it to people and stories.

One of my best friend's grandfathers was a tanker who was part of the force that liberated Dachau. He also never spoke about it other than to say he'd done it. I think most soldiers who saw those camps have stories like him or your grandfather.

As to why Holocaust deniers exist... history, regrettably, is often revisionist, determined by what's in vogue and who's in power in academia. Think, for example, about what you learned about the Spanish in schools - probably very little of it was positive (at least if you had schooling like most American students get), but why is this? It has nothing to do with whether Spanish history was good or bad - it has to do with the Spanish Armada's failed attempt to invade England, English nationalism and the subsequent spin that was put on the story, and the enduring legacy of that revisionist spin that continues to haunt the teaching of Spanish history in most of the English-speaking world. This applies to both exaggerations of Spanish failings, neglect to mention Spanish successes, and the outright fabrication of myths, all of which are common "knowledge" in American schools.

For example: did you ever hear mention Queen Isabella banned the enslavement of Native Americans unless they were hostile or cannibalistic? That Native Americans were to be considered subjects of the Crown and thus entitled to legal protections? That Columbus was preempted from selling Indian captives in Seville, and those already sold were tracked, purchased from their buyers and released? Or about the subsequent efforts of multiple Spanish monarchs to either curtail or outlaw the trade? Probably not. Neither did I until I stumbled across it by accident. Imperfect and ultimately unsuccessful as these efforts were, they still deserve to be talked about, but they seldom are.

Ample documentation may exist to disprove common myths, but unless such documentation is presented boldly enough by enough influential people, it stays relegated to a select few. As a more topical example, Pope Pius XII (mentioned in passing in the story) actively tried to have Hitler assassinated and was responsible for seeing to it that thousands upon thousands of Jews were saved through secret networks run by Catholic religious (many of whom died doing it). Priests and nuns acted as spies, stole Nazi plans to send to the Allies, and fed the Nazis false reports while hiding Jews in convents and churches (sometimes disguised as nuns or monks), all at the pope's order. Prominent rabbis after the war routinely praised his efforts in saving their people, and Hitler himself considered the pope one of his greatest enemies.

But after Pius XII's death, the KGB wrote hit pieces about him (because the Catholic Church has long been a staunch opponent of Communism), accusing him of being in the Nazis' pocket. Ample documentation existed even at the time to disprove the hit pieces (and even more has been discovered subsequently), but the cry was taken up by Western academics. Soon the man who saved thousands of Jews was labelled "Hitler's Pope," a reputation he's never been able to outrun.

I could go on for pages about villains who are misremembered as heroes and heroes who are misremembered as villains and complex people who are pigeonholed as being one particular thing when the reality is more complex. Sadly, such bastardization is commonplace in the study of history, and many myths (like the general disdain for the Spanish in much of the English-speaking world) go back literal centuries, and thus are difficult to untangle even with evidence because the roots of the hostility run so deep.

Consider, now, how many powerful people hate Jews for one reason or another - hatred which has lasted for well over a millennia in some cases. Under those circumstances, revisionist history should not surprise us. Appall us? Yes. Motivate us to do better? Definitely. But we'll always be fighting revisionist myths - they are among the most subtle of wolves.

Honestly, one of the best things to do with the knowledge is to remember the stories and share them. Hitler once pointed out that no one remembered the Armenian Genocide (which had happened during WWI and is still not acknowledged by most countries, including the US). He noted that, if no one remembered a genocide only a couple decades old, they'd be able to get away with the Holocaust. Horrifyingly, he was almost right.

When we remember the stories and ensure that others do too, we strip away the power of men like Hitler to get away 'clean.' We might not be able to stop the genocides if our governments won't intervene, but we can keep the people alive in memory and speak truth to power. If people are raised with the knowledge of such profound evil, and of the good that can be done in the face of it, then we're more likely to see people stand up and do something about it when the time comes.

That was quite educational. I knew a little about Spain's opinions on slavery (thanks to a video series on the Haitian Revolution), but hadn't considered the glaring gaps in my knowledge on Spain in general.

A most striking account of the dangers of revisionist history.

They say history is written by the victors, and yet this shows that history is much more nuanced than one would think.

It's frustrating enough to hear of villains whose evil has been forgotten or denied, but it's more frustrating and sad to hear of heroes who've been misremembered. They all deserve their credit, good or bad, and yet the subject known as history isn't perfect and never will be.

They also say the past is set in stone, but even stone is eroded over time, and even when it isn't, the lens of bias does more than enough damage.

Ah, yes. The past itself may be set in stone. But people's memory of it? That's another matter.

First part took my breath away.:fluttershyouch:

Well, that is the reaction I was going for... so... good?

You have a way of putting the reader there.

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