I don’t ascribe to the Mandela Effect as a way of explaining why a memory may not match up with a current reality. We all have brain farts; those moments when, through distraction or something else, the brain doesn’t process information correctly. To me, the reason so many people probably believed Mandela died in jail was simply because, while he was in jail, they heard a rumor to that effect. Maybe, they even saw something about it on the news. Their brain responded by filing Nelson Mandela under ‘deceased’, and they didn’t bother thinking of it anymore. Later on, the rumors were proven false, but their brain still kept the folder labelled ‘Mandela – Deceased’ somewhere in its depths, and failed to update it. It happens all the time. Your brain remembers that you put your keys on the table, but forgets to update that information when you pick them up and put them in your pocket.
Even though the Mandela Effect affected thousands of people, it is explicable as a simple trick of the mind. A rumor imprinting itself in your brain as an actual fact. It happens all the time. I once worked with a young woman who, when she changed departments, changed her name, too. This was done in order to avoid confusion when taking customer calls, as there was already someone in that department with the same name. Well, to make it brief, my brain split her into two people, and it was not until the day that I actually had to think of her as single person, with a specific face and name, that I realized I’d done it.
All that said, I suddenly feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and come out in a weird version of Wonderland.
You see, when I was growing up, the idea of Nazi concentration camps was widely met with skepticism. Jewish organizations were lobbying governments and international organizations in the hopes of getting someone, somewhere, to recognize the fact that these places had actually existed. Practically the whole world responded with a ‘Pffft! Bullshit!’. As far as I knew, my mother and father were the only people who actually acknowledged that there had been such places, and that was because my grandfather had actually seen one while serving on the eastern front.
No, my grandfather had not seen mile-high smokestacks belching out greasy, black smoke. What he encountered was a man in an inmate’s uniform tending the flowers around the camp. My grandfather loved flowers, so he approached the man and asked him about the ones he was taking care of. The man, without displaying any overt signs that might betray the fact that my grandfather had actually spoken to him, said very quietly, ‘Don’t talk to me. If you do, you’ll end up in here, too.’
So we knew that labor camps had existed, and that they were not places filled with happy people. That simply could not be denied, and we, a German ex-pat family, were going against the social grain in acknowledging the fact.
Then something happened. I think it was the UN recognizing the reality of labor camps in Nazi Germany that did it. Suddenly, it was all about ‘death camps’, and six million Jewish people being slaughtered. Overnight, history was rewritten. I mean that both literally and figuratively. The facts in history books were changed, so that this was now the central focus of WWII history. Books that said otherwise, books that had been written before this change, started to become hard to find. William Shirer, one of the last western reporters to remain inside the Third Reich, and to report the news from within the country, had his reputation attacked and his famous book ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’ dissed and disparaged. New ‘historians’ began to crop up who used a thousand pages trying to find solid evidence that Hitler was Antisemitic, and ending up only being able to present what the author believed Hitler must have been secretly thinking to himself as he performed various actions.
An important digression: In the three decades immediately following the war, it was widely held by historians that Hitler was not Antisemitic. The evidence supports this. When someone pointed out that his favorite cook was Jewish, he simply declared that, as of that moment, the cook was no longer Jewish. Problem solved. There were also other Jewish people on his personal staff, and half-Jews served high up in the military and SS. Historians believed that Hitler’s Antisemitism was a political tool. Too many people have conveniently forgotten that in Europe between the two world wars, Antisemitism had become quite a fashionable ideological stance. Hitler had to tap into that in order to gain and keep support. End of digression.
The point is, instead of acknowledging labor camps, an entirely new narrative was formed in/around the mid 1970s. The old understanding was simply wiped out, as if it had never been. We now had to deal with the number of six million Jews dead, as if it were an indisputable fact.
My parents now went from ‘labor camps really DID exist’, to ‘there weren’t even that many Jews in Europe when the war broke out!’
This cannot be a simple case of the Mandela Effect, where a number of people, even a very large number of people, are remembering things incorrectly. There is still too much evidence proving the change in the narrative, and too many people still alive who remember how history has been literally changed. Even if I find myself doubting my own memories at times, I find other people who remember how it was, and who are equally concerned about how the original narrative is being written over by a new one. If the new one were the correct one, an updating would be in order. But to wipe out the original narrative and make it look as if it never existed? This is something to be concerned about. In fact, we should have raised the alarm bell a long time ago.
Yes, as Winston Churchill said, ‘History is written by the victors’. But when history is being rewritten yet again, decades after the fact, and countries imprison people who dare to point it out, there is something very, very wrong. A new cult is emerging, some people say. The cult of the Holocaust. And, guess what? I hate cults. I really do. Poking around into them and going ‘tsk, tsk’ is one of my stranger hobbies. So, ladies and gentlemen, I think I have an investigation here, and it will probably end badly for me, as things have a habit of doing.
Image: pixabay.com // public domain
This was originally published on my other blog at steemit