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Software Politics

Auschwitz Museum Releases Software To Rewrite Holocaust Nomenclature (thestack.com) 228

An anonymous reader writes: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum has released software for Windows and Mac which is intended to catch and rewrite terms such as 'Polish death camps' and other phrases which associate the Polish people with the atrocities of the holocaust, rather than the occupying German forces which created and ran the death camps. The software comes in the form of Microsoft Word Add-Ins on Windows and a revision to the system-wide dictionary in OSX, making the facility available to Mac programs including Safari, Keynote and Outlook. A spokesperson for the ad agency that developed the programs said, "We decided to make use of the primary tool used by text writers and create an easy to install add-on that finds the mistake made and suggests a correct phrase."
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Auschwitz Museum Releases Software To Rewrite Holocaust Nomenclature

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  • by vivaoporto ( 1064484 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @01:44PM (#51528493)
    Probably related to the recent measures proposed by the Polish government to criminalize the use of the phrase âoePolish death campsâ [theguardian.com].
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      Spot the irony here? The Polish government are using the law to supress/enforce what they want the people to think... which is a move directly from the Nazis own playbook.

      I find it VERY concerning when software tools and even laws are made with the intention of preventing certain language from ever being written. Its clearly a win for "political correctthink" rather than actually free speech.

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        So you are an idiot, do you really think your opinion matters?

        • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

          Whatever I am or not, at least I'm not a childish dick like you.

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            I do so love a post that effectively contradicts itself merely by the fact it was made in the first place. Very meta. Bravo.

            As for the argument at hand, more irony... some politico says "I wish people would stop calling them 'Polish Death Camps' when the Polish people had nothing to do with creating them or running them; there ought to be a law!"

            To which your response is that "He shouldn't be allowed to have that opinion, you know, to protect freedom of speech."

            Your head a splode!
            https://www.youtube.com/wa [youtube.com]

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@worl d 3 . net> on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @05:31PM (#51530371) Homepage

        Okay, it pays to RTFA before getting upset about it. Turns out the proposal to criminalise use of this phrase is just something some guy in the government said he wants, not an actual policy and certainly not likely to become law. So forget that, it's just a click bait story built on a foundation of bullshit.

        The software is a tool to help people. Like a spell checker, people like tools that improve their writing. It's optional, no one is being forced to use it. Similar tools have existed for years, like grammar checkers that suggest avoiding gendered pronouns in technical writing and on forms etc. It's not attempting to censor or silence anyone, or force anyone to do anything.

        It's an interesting tool but basically a non-story.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KiloByte ( 825081 )

      They forgot the little detail that most death camps were reopened shortly after the war, operated for years by the Polish government (Soviet puppets but still).

      This excludes Auschwitz which was left as a widely-touted museum to show the world how bad the Nazis were, while the other camps were not spoken of, sometimes with all their traces actively purged [wikipedia.org].

      And yeah, I'm a Polack.

    • by nbauman ( 624611 )

      Probably related to the recent measures proposed by the Polish government to criminalize the use of the phrase "Polish death camps".

      Finally somebody has the explanation.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm of German decent - great grand parents came over in late 19th century - and my family had nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, my family that styed behind were accused of being German "Trolls" according to the Nazis (couldn't say anything against them or the SA was on your ass), put my ancestors back in the "homeland" into concentration camps. Yeah, they helped Jews, Catholics, etc... and disagreed with the Nazis.

  • just apologize (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @01:54PM (#51528569) Journal
    It's a little disingenuous to blame Germany for it, because Polish mobs were killing the survivors from Auschwitz [wikipedia.org]. The Jews didn't leave Poland because of the concentration camps, they left because Poland was trying to kill them.

    Poland should just apologize and move on. We all have done terrible things in the histories of our countries. No point trying to hide it.
    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      You have to factor in the fact that centuries of calculated ethnic cleansing had left large swaths of Poland as ethnically German, especially in the north, and it was these people who were the lion's share of Nazi sympathizers in the country. The Poles purged the Germans after WWII (itself a controversial act, but I digress); how much should they still have to answer for acts committed by former Poles of German descent, who were then exiled back to Germany?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 )
        In the US, we had concentration camps for Japanese, and they weren't nearly as bad as the death camps in Poland.

        I feel really bad about the concentration camps for the Japanese, even though I had nothing to do with them other than living in the same country 50 years later. If a Japanese person asks me, I will happily apologize. The concentration camps were a lousy thing to do, we shouldn't have done them.

        Same with the drop of the nuclear weapons. Even if you think it was better than the alternative, yo
        • Re:just apologize (Score:4, Informative)

          by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @03:07PM (#51529323) Journal

          Sometimes you just need to accept that things sucked back then and move on (ie, don't do it again).

          Unfortunately, it does not appear that Poland learned its lesson, as we see by the rise of the authoritarian far-Right in Poland PiS party and the Nazi-like National Rebirth of Poland (Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski) Party. It is no accident that the criminalization of the phrase "Polish death camps" has come at this time. It's because there is a concerted effort in Poland to erase these camps from history.

          https://www.thejournal.ie/pola... [thejournal.ie]

          • Yeah. If I had grown up in Israel, right now I would be saying something like, "Yeap, grandpa made the right decision leaving Poland."
        • Not to defend a hateful racist policy, but the concentration camps the US built for people of Japanese descent were probably a lot better than the camps the name was coined for (in the Spanish-American and Boer wars), and far better than the German concentration camps, which in turn were far better to be in than the actual death camps, where the prisoners were actively massacred rather than being worked and starved.

          When I think of bad things the US did in that period, I tend to get more riled up about th

          • When I think of bad things the US did in that period, I tend to get more riled up about the treatment of the Native Americans,

            That's kind of a different period, right?

            • No, it isn't a different period, and I was shocked to find that out. I had no idea we were being that inhumane to the Native Americans that late. (Not that the current treatment of them can be justified on any moral grounds, but it's improved a lot over the times of kidnapping Native American children, separating them from their own culture by beating them if they showed any sign of recalling it, and training them to be second-class citizens, which was done in the WWII period.)

    • by nbauman ( 624611 )

      My reading of the history http://www.abebooks.com/Notes-... [abebooks.com] of the time is that it's difficult to separate categories of people like "Jews," "Poles," "Germans," or even "Nazis" as all good or all bad.

      It seems that like most nationalities at the time, a minority of Poles helped the Jews, a minority of Poles killed the Jews, and the majority in the middle went where they were led. A lot of them formed alliances of convenience, with the Soviets or Polish nationalists, and a lot of them collaborated with the Na

      • I used to try to figure out which nations were good and which were bad. Now I realize that it's a complicated mixture, and I think that's a more satisfying answer.

        Well said.. Each person makes their own choices, some good and some bad.
        That's why it's best to just apologize and not do it again in the future.

        • by nbauman ( 624611 )

          Just one more thing. Science magazine had a special issue on human conflict.
          http://www.sciencemag.org/site... [sciencemag.org]

          tldr: they reviewed everything science had to say about human conflict -- anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology, etc. They came to 2 conclusions:

          1. Throughout all of human evolution, groups of people have had conflicts with other groups, and even extermination.

          2. Throughout all of human evolution, humans have followed conflict with reconciliation. Their prime example was South Africa.

    • It's a little disingenuous to blame Germany for it, because Polish mobs were killing the survivors from Auschwitz.

      I agree, to some extent. I think your wording highlights a fundamental problem in this kind of debate: people talk about "The Germans", "The Poles" or, indeed, "The Jews", as if they were a uniform mass, all equally responsible for whatever we want to blame them for. The reality is always much more complex than that - responsibility is always personal, individual, and I don't think anybody seriously questions the fact that most Germans were not in favour of the systematic mass extinction campaigns carried o

      • However, when a German kills a Jew because the German Government conscripts the German and orders him to kill Jews, the idea of individual responsibility gets pretty strained.

  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @02:00PM (#51528629)
    Why is sed and other software that can do substitutions inadequate here?
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @02:02PM (#51528649)

    Today the government mandated that the Orwellian Plugin be a required built-in feature for all word processors, editing tools and key entry for public safety purposes.

    The Orwellian plugins are widely used to auto-correct incorrect thinking and terminology legally defined as hate speech and promotes a safer and more welcoming and open society.

    In other news chocolate rations are up...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We are at war with Bullshitia.

      We've always been at war with Bullshitia.

      We'll always be at war with Bullshitia.

    • Got any evidence that any government is seriously consider mandating this?

      As far as I can tell, it's available on a voluntary basis, for an individual to use as a reminder. I don't intend to use it, because I can refer to Nazi death camps in Poland myself. It reminds me of grammar checkers. I am better at grammar than the checkers, but they sometimes point out places where I can improve my writing, so I sometimes pay attention to them. Whether or not I pay attention, each grammatical construct I use

  • Like a SJW Clippy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Like a SJW Clippy. "I see you're trying to write about historical events. Would you like help contributing to the shame pornography that is post-war German culture?"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please install our memory hole on your computer so we can make it look like Europe had a long history of totally loving the Jews and making them feel welcome, until mean ole Hitler came along and was the first (and only) anti-Semite in European history.

    Europeans are fucking disgusting in their intellectual dishonesty.

  • Software as Art (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doconnor ( 134648 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @02:17PM (#51528799) Homepage

    I wouldn't view this as software with a functional purpose, but rather as a political and social commentary in the form of software, rather then a speech or a painting. It doesn't help you achieve a task, but it does make you think about the issues involved.

    It's a very interesting idea.

    • by paai ( 162289 )

      Everybody who is in the slightest interested in WWII and the holocaust will know that the Polish were virulent antisemites. Perhaps even worse than the predominantly european-oriented germans. I cannot imagine that this initiative will make history forget this.

      Paai

      • by Anonymous Coward

        As compared to who, exactly? Name one country at the time and before that wasn't "virulently antisemetic" (and generally racist/nasty to people who weren't of their predominant culture/religion). If you're going to claim they were worse, especially pre-Nazi-occupation, then you'll have to do better than pretend that just a cursory Google search will prove that.

  • From the summary, this sounds like a tool that corrects or adds additional clarity to an otherwise ambiguous phrase. The word "rewrite" almost always has a negative connotation associated with the intent of obfuscating fact. Not sure why the submitter chose to use such a loaded term. I suppose it's possible it was copied from TFA but who reads that?
    • by Sowelu ( 713889 )

      Reading other comments above (and checking their Wikipedia links), I was surprised to see that this really is dangerous revisionism. There were some very bad and very Poland-specific things going on after the war.

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @02:38PM (#51528979)

    intended to catch and rewrite terms such as 'Polish death camps' and other phrases which associate the Polish people with the atrocities of the holocaust, rather than the occupying German forces which created and ran the death camps

    The trouble is: the Polish people were actually associated with the atrocities of the Holocaust. Antisemitism and oppression were common in Poland both before and after WWII. The main reason Poles didn't cooperate more with the Nazis was that the Nazis viewed them as racially inferior as well. So, whatever you call the death camps, Poland's own despicable history must not be forgotten.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      No, one shouldn't try to hide history (though all countries try to spin it positive). But the Poles didn't make or run the extermination camps so correcting that isn't a problem.

    • by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @03:07PM (#51529327) Journal
      It's still like saying that if the Japanese had occupied the Mariana Islands in WW2 and set up death camps, which the US then immediately burned down upon reconquering the islands, they could be legitimatedly referred to as 'American Death Camps.'
      • they could be legitimatedly referred to as 'American Death Camps.'

        The term "Polish death camps" is ambiguous; it could refer to the political entity or the geographic region. But since Poland didn't exist as a political entity at the time, it obviously has to refer to the geographic region. It's shorthand for "Polish death camps of the Nazi Regime" or "Nazi death camps in Poland". This is as much a tribute to the millions of Polish victims as it is a reminder to reflect on the relationship between Polish

        • Ok, so if the Nazis had set up death camps in conquered France, you could legitimately refer to them as 'French Death Camps?'

          They were Nazi Death Camps. Where they were was irrelevant. Much like Guantanamo Bay is an American Naval Base, despite being in Cuba.

          • Ok, so if the Nazis had set up death camps in conquered France, you could legitimately refer to them as 'French Death Camps?'

            Yes, you could do so. Of course, it always depends on context. "French death camps" might refer to Nazi Germany's "death camps" in France, or it might refer to "death camps" established by the French government in their colonies. The fact that the phrase is legitimate doesn't mean it's always used correctly.

            Where they were was irrelevant.

            Where they were was quite relevant. The Pol

  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <epopcitsonga>> on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @03:01PM (#51529267) Journal

    Poland had more holocaust victims [wikipedia.org] than any other country with around 2 million [wikipedia.org] of the victims being ethnic Poles. Poland is also number one [wikipedia.org] in Righteous Among the Nations (awarded by Israel for saving Jews during the Holocaust). Basically, Poland was damn proud to be a Democratic state where you could practice whatever religion you wanted which attracted the largest Jewish population of Europe and earned the ire of Germany. A couple right-wing nutters no more represents Poland than Cliven Bundy represents Americans. /., you're better than to present the Polish as a people who cooperated with Germany during the Holocaust -- a view the victims don't share either.

  • wut (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @03:44PM (#51529619)

    I've noticed there has been a constant increase of people and media reminding people that the Holocaust happened in the past few years.
    It's parallel to the growing war crimes and crimes against Humanity that Israel has been pulling off in that region, in addition to the racism against black people who even had to stage protests. As if, what is pretty much ancient history now, excuses the shit they are pulling in the present.
    Of course, the justification for deporting blacks rather than giving them asylum is truly worthy of a Nazi victim that has learned well from its ancient oppressor:
    "Keeping the Jewish nation pure, because Jews are special and it's called 'Patriotism', not 'Nazism' ", when they are pulling the same shit Nazis did.

    You'd think Gypsies, Slavs and Homosexuals never existed during the Holocauster. Jews get more priority in being mentioned.

    And yet, the whole world hates Jews yet again despite all this social-engineering and despite WW2, as evidenced by the world just about having enough of Israeli bullshit and recognizing Palestine. I do wonder why.

    • There's more mention of the Holocaust now as the remaining survivors pass away. The people who were actually in the concentration camps will soon be no more, and the events that they suffered must be remembered.

      I suppose that your reference to blacks being deported refers to the economic migrants who cross the Israeli-Egyptian border. They are provided housing, health care, food - but they are not wanted in this country. They bring no skills, have no affinity for the culture, and as a group are simply tr

  • by mbeckman ( 645148 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @06:51PM (#51531017)
    Well, will it?
  • I'm the grandson of Polish jews that came to Argentina. Everybody knows, I've heard that from my family a dozen times, that the Poles were mostly antisemitic, they happily joined the nazis and they even happily stole the property of the escaping jews. I've heard that some people coming here at the time burned their Polish papers because of that. And now this museum is focused in some chauvinist correction than in remembering the real horrors of the time.

    • I'm the grandson of Polish jews that came to Argentina. Everybody knows, I've heard that from my family a dozen times, that the Poles were mostly antisemitic, they happily joined the nazis and they even happily stole the property of the escaping jews. I've heard that some people coming here at the time burned their Polish papers because of that.

      As with all such generalizations about a group of people, it's complicated [wikipedia.org]. For many centuries, Poland was the home to the largest Jewish community in Europe because of their policy toward religious tolerance. That changed with the partitions of Poland, where imperial powers (e.g., Russia) started targeting Jews.

      And if you read that article (which is very long), you'll see what was going on in the first half of the 20th century was complicated too. Poland was still home to the largest Jewish community

  • Considering the state of education in the world, how there are millions of people that don't believe the attempted extermination of the Jewish people happened, it wouldn't surprise me that people would try to hold the Polish people responsible, for the death and destruction at the hands of the Nazi party. During the end of the war in 1945, General Dwight D. Eisenhower forced the German people to clean up and bury those in the death camps, and had the worlds journalist document all the death inside those cam
  • I'd really like to see the Armenian version of that software. In France, it's a criminal offense to deny the Armenian genocide, while in Turkey it's a criminal offense to say there was an Armenian genocide. Isn't it nice?

    • The problem with the Armenian genocide is that most modern accounts of it ascribe blame to Turkey, which didn't exist at the time of the genocide - Turkey as we know it fought a war of independence against the former Ottoman Empire, which ruled what we today call Turkey up until its defeat at the end of WW1, upon which it was partitioned and occupied by the Allies.

      The war of independence ended the sultanate which had ruled the Ottoman Empire and the partitioned states for hundreds of years - it was replaced

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