Other Let's talk about torture.

Maybe ask for a very small dose to take at home to see how ou react?
Unfortunately Ativan is the worst one. The last time I took Ativan, I wound up handcuffed to a stretcher after trying to beat the shit out of my mom. Yah, really. I am just fortunate I was too f*cked up to actually land a blow, but it's what permanently put me off of benzos. I don't ever want to put myself in a position where I could harm a member of my family outside of my conscious decision to do so.

And I absolutely wasn't in control. I also forgot a huge chunk of that entire time, so I couldn't even begin to explain why I behaved like that and have no excuse for doing so. (What I remember is that I was angry that I didn't have money to go buy more drugs - real winner stuff, y'know?) Every f*ckin' benzo addict I knew was also the same - a violent shithead. There's just something about it that turns off the logical analysis part of our brains.

The only exception to this seems to be zopiclone, which is a z-drug, not a benzodiazepine exactly. But, I have had some "close calls" with losing control of my temper on it, so I would be afraid to expose myself to a real PTSD trigger while on it, and potentially losing control of myself due to being in a compromised state.

Another option is ketamine?

Ketamine is definitely a great option, I wasn't aware that dentists offered that! I'll make sure to bring that up. The half-life of nitrous oxide is very brief, so I can understand why it simply might not be effective enough, for long enough, to be a worthwhile endeavor. I think it lasts like less than 20 mins.
When you’re taking nitrous during a dental procedure it’s on a breather(?)—not sure what it’s called but it’s basically constantly streaming into your nose and they can turn up or down the flow. At the end when they take it off the effect goes away pretty quickly, like within a few minutes.
It does not matter whether the torturers are Nazis or prison personnel

(from @Freida 's articles)

One thing that always interested me about my studies into WWII history were the descriptions of individuals known as kapo. Basically, "collaborator" (from the German "lagercapo" or "camp captain") - these were Jewish prisoners, usually criminals, who were selected to perpetrate abuse and control the other individuals in their particular block, most often through use of violence and coercion. They were promised better accommodations, work exemptions, and that their families would live.

Even today, kapos are reviled by the Jewish community (just look at "King Chaim," the man who "gave up" his a portion of his community, the man who created the speech "Give Me Your Children" to be deported, to avoid every single person getting slaughtered instead). Knowing what I know about myself, it is difficult to look at these two instances (both Chaim Rumkowsky and the kapo) as being purely evil or without any sense of soul.

It is coming more to light that the kapo of the concentration camps had far less choice in their penchant for violence than many are lead to believe (even though it is absolutely taboo even today to mention this and this is an opinion I keep very firmly to myself when speaking with other Jews) - and that the public perception of these guards is greatly enhanced by their victims, who believed (because of the actions that were taken against them by the kapo absolutely undoubtedly) that these were pure and total collaborators who would do whatever the Nazis told them because they were of weak spirit.

When in reality, they knew that they had no choice - if they didn't comply, they and their loved ones would be killed, and they also knew that the Nazis would do much worse to the prisoners than they would personally to do them. (So, in an account where a man beat a prisoner with a metal pipe, it was known that the Nazi guard would be much more likely to have his dog rip the prisoner to shreds and kill him outright.)

And that's difficult to conclude when faced with this:

Chaim Rumkowsky's speech said:
A grievous blow has struck the ghetto. They [the Germans] are asking us to give up the best we possess – the children and the elderly. I was unworthy of having a child of my own, so I gave the best years of my life to children. I've lived and breathed with children. I never imagined I would be forced to deliver this sacrifice to the altar with my own hands. In my old age, I must stretch out my hands and beg: Brothers and sisters! Hand them over to me! Fathers and mothers: Give me your children!
My own family have a history from Łódź (great-great grandfather), so it's of particular significance to me. Arnold Mostowicz, a survivor, claims that Rumkowski's speech spared a significant portion of the ghetto (Litzmannstadt) from deportation for two years longer than Warsaw, but as Dobroszycki puts it succinctly, this was never truly Rumkowski's decision to make.

I suppose anyone familiar with the particulars of my history might understand why these two things stick out to me. It's a kind of Devil's Trolley Problem, you know? Do you beat one up for the good of the many? Do you go purely by the numbers and give up 20,000 children, to save 164,000 more? As a child, my answer would have been yes. And it was yes. I'm someone who deeply, deeply, comprehends the motivation behind "collaboration," especially when so many are at stake. I myself was a collaborator. I was an instrument of my perpetrators. I followed orders. I did as I was told. I harmed who I was told to harm.

Would I have given up 20,000, if it meant saving 100,000? As a child, absolutely. It was a numbers game. It was always a numbers game - do I beat someone up, or do they die? Do I rape and torture them, or do they die? Do I maim them permanently, or do they die? If I had to kill one to save two, I would have. But now I have the presence of mind to comprehend what is truly at stake, and what I truly have the right to decide for another person. If that means 164,000 should die, that is not my responsibility. It would be my responsibility to the 20,000 children I personally condemned to death.

So I understand why Rumkowski was wrong, and I do not agree with his actions. But I can absolutely say, with certainty, that at age 12? I would not have comprehended what he did wrong. 20,000 is less than 164,000.

Had he survived his own tragedy...no tribunal would have absolved him, nor, certainly, can we absolve him on the moral plane. But there are extenuating circumstances: an infernal order such as National Socialism exercises a frightful power of corruption against which it is difficult to guard oneself. To resist it requires a truly solid moral armature, and the one available to Chaim Rumkowski...was fragile.
And as someone who can solemnly say "f*ck the Grey Zone," (aka stop trauma dumping to the general population and calling it science, motherf*cker!) it is laughably understandable to me that Primo Levi is the only guy going, "there are extenuating circumstances," because, like, duh. You can't be that guy and also universally shit on Rumkowski without understanding the greater forces at work, nor the greater "animalistic instinct" (according to my forensic psychologist - who describes much of my actions during my captivity as "animalistic evolutionary responses") that overtakes us when we are presented with a superior force.

I certainly couldn't be that guy and I wasn't a sonderkommando. But I remember the first time I ever learned that word - a word that referred to this group of people who were forced by threat of death, by threat of death to their family, to participate in the extermination of their own kind, that were viewed as no better than Nazis - that the people around them didn't understand that they had no choice... the people who I tortured, who I raped, who I abused, who I trained, certainly never realized that I didn't have a choice, because I acted with what appeared to be complete autonomy.

Obviously, Rumkowski was a piece of shit who sexually abused people and deported his political rivals, so it's certainly not as grey as Levi would have you believe -

But at the same time, like I said, parts of me really understand what was going through the dude's mind. Regardless of his shitty, Trump-like nature and regardless of the fact that a lot of kapos were actually the exact same (since many of them were promoted from the ranks of criminals, many of whom were also sexual abusers, and we can thank Mossad, literally Mossad, for removing almost every single reference to Screaming Silence on the internet today because until 2006 this part of the Holocaust was literally classified information? There is testimony in original Polish which I've read, that only became available after 2006, so. Go ham, Mossad.)

I suppose Gideon Greif was correct in his assessment that a lot of people are afraid to broach the topic for fear of "hurting the dignity of the survivors," but at the same time, because of my own experiences, I find it completely incomprehensible that this isn't a more widely understood aspect of the Holocaust. I mean, whenever you get groups of crazy, sadistic, methed-out people in power, there is always going to also be gratuitous amounts of disgusting sexual abuse and sexual torture.

And that's for good reason, since it was actually completely unavailable to the general public until very recently and that was on purpose. And I think a lot of that, probably, contributes to the "silence" of the matter. We Wept Without Tears was a book that had a transformative effect on me, because before I'd read it, I'd honestly never encountered anything remotely resembling my circumstances before.

(Unlike Levi's book, Gideon Greif approached the subject with an extreme degree of respect and personal dignity to those whose testimonies he took - demonstrating an understanding of causality that I had not previously been exposed to before - and it is understandable that Levi's book lacks this, because he is still working out what it means for himself given his own role in the matter - that they were forced, and had no choice, and just because someone takes an action doesn't necessarily mean that action is their responsibility or that it originates with them.)

And like Yehuda Bauer says, had Lodz been liberated in 1944 (as was planned by the Russian offensive), it would have had a majority of its inhabitants still alive and been the only ghetto with that distinction - and history might remember Chaim Rumkowski very differently.
As a child, a
As a CHILD you were forced to make these decisions....
do I beat someone up, or do they die? Do I rape and torture them, or do they die? Do I maim them permanently, or do they die? If I had to kill one to save two, I would have. B
As. A. Child

That's the one huge difference between you and the kapos. Yes, they may have been doing the wrong thing for the right reason but even so they were adults. They understood why they were making those choices - as horrible as they were

You were (say it with me!) A. Child
Forced to understand the only way to save them was to harm them.
That is the most heartbreaking thing in your story -- that as a child you had to face these horrific adult decisions.
Not what you did
Why you were doing it.
I find it completely incomprehensible that this isn't a more widely understood aspect of the Holocaust. I mean, whenever you get groups of crazy, sadistic, methed-out people in power, there is always going to also be gratuitous amounts of disgusting sexual abuse and sexual torture.
Because people can't wrap their minds around it. Most people simply don't have the imagination to create the pictures to go with the words when it comes to this type of vileness. They want to be home, safe and sound, and pretend that monsters disguised as humans don't exist. So thats what they do. It's what I find sickening about all those true crime stories out there -- they are sanitized theater of someone else's pain, allowing the butt on couch voyeur a chance to see "bad" without being personally affected by it.

Think about just this thread, out in the wild for the normies to read. It would undo them - because then they have accept that BAD things can happen to real people, just like them. That kids like you get locked into a life of terror, or adults like me open a door and end up in a never ending nightmare.
Most people don't want to know that's even a possibility because it's to random and it's too awful. So-they pretend.

I've been to Dachau 3 times and every.single.time it affected me in the same way. Not because of the far away horror of "other peoples events" but because it reminds me of my own drama. There is one hallway in one particular building that I can't go down. Took me a long time to realize why it was a trigger - but when I tried to enter the door it sent me into a panic attack - every single time. 8 years of therapy later and I understand the connection - but.... 🥹

For the rest of the tourists though? Just a blip on the horror screen of life, something they can say "how did that happen" about and move on with their lives - never understanding the choices those people had to make, or the sadists they were dealing with.
It's what I find sickening about all those true crime stories out there -- they are sanitized theater of someone else's pain, allowing the butt on couch voyeur a chance to see "bad" without being personally affected by it.

It's one of the reasons I really dislike most movies about the Holocaust. Spielberg tried, but fell prey to that Hollywood "sensationalism" that is almost mocking. There's a certain sense that it's essentially "emotional torture porn," using people's real, lived experiences in order to induce a cheap gag-response that dissipates only seconds after it arises. You don't have to think about it ever again, you can turn the movie off and go back to living your life - no one asks you to do the work of being a victim, and you are in essence a voyeur into someone's most private, personal aspects.

There is a true crime documentary out there about a person who I knew from my "captivity." It only briefly mentions her association with the group of people who indoctrinated me. There are also various news articles and public proceedings about my abusers and about other children who committed crimes or were victimized, and some of them even make fun of us (one called us "knuckle-dragging morons," etc).

It was basically unbearable to watch (especially as this individual is deceased, and cannot offer any commentary/response on her "role" in this dramatized, sensationalized affair - which is different than true crime documentaries of living people, who at least have a say in how they are perceived). There's a couple of true crime documentaries I have watched and found extremely meaningful. I Just Killed My Dad was one that stuck with me for a long time. Anthony Templet's story deeply resonated with me, and it was like watching a mirror image of myself from the very first moment he opened his mouth. I almost jumped up like, "that's it! That's the thing!"

There is only one movie that I would ever "recommend" to anyone who is truly interested in grasping the nuances of history as it happened - it's called Son of Saul. It was produced in Hungarian, but there are versions that have English subtitles. It's almost not even important, if you understand the context. The lead guy (Saul, a sonderkommando at Auschwitz) is played by Geza Rohrig, who handles the tenor of the role with exceptional dignity - he's a convert to Judaism and one whose family was impacted significantly by WWII.

The son is dead already. The "replacement kid" dies. He dies at the end. There's no crowning moment of heartwarming. You never "hope he gets out." You know from the first scene that he is doomed. He isn't special, he doesn't escape. There is just the bitter slog, and ash, and silence. The sound engineering in that movie is some of the most powerful I've ever encountered. There's no great orchestra, or swell of "meaningful music." There's almost no sound at all, except for the physical actions of people walking and shouting. There's a scene where a bunch of drunk Nazis stumble in and make him "dance" with them, and he does so in this staccato, dissociated shuffle.

It's worth noting that during the premiere of this movie, there were people in this day and age who actually gathered to throw rotten vegetables and fruit at him and call him a collaborator, asking him "why he would participate in such a thing." It reminds me deeply of the people who called me an irredeemable monster, pedophile, serial killer, psychopath, etc. These were people who were also victimized by the war in various ways, who had trauma, and who visualized him as a perpetrator - a collaborator, for simply playing a role in a movie. (I mentioned Gideon Greif earlier as well - and he was one of the primary experts consulted by Laszlo Nemes, the director.)

His other movie is in English, and is similarly very well-done, called "To Dust," where he consults a biologist (Matthew Broderick) to learn about how a human body decomposes after his wife dies. It's presented as a dark comedy/buddy movie (Hasidic Jew + secular American) but I found it very poignant. I definitely think there is a place for art in the "grand theater" of trauma, but like you say, so much of it is sanitized and stripped that the true comprehension of what it means to have undergone these experiences is lost.

A lot of the media that I personally like seems essentially divorced from my own experiences, because it's not obvious "on the surface" what it is people are talking about.
It's one of the reasons I really dislike most movies about the Holocaust. Spielberg tried, but fell prey to that Hollywood "sensationalism" that is almost mocking. There's a certain sense that it's essentially "emotional torture porn," using people's real, lived experiences in order to induce a cheap gag-response that dissipates only seconds after it arises.
Watch ‘The Great Escape’.

The original. 1960s Steve McQueen.

The incrediably meek/mild/sweet/subservient/seeeeeeriously steel strong (nowhere near bootlicking, but very ‘bruised’ if that makes sense? He near always played his own personality in his films, from this one to Escape From Witch Mountain, whether he was playing the good guy or a deranged psychopath) bald actor (Donald Pleasance)? Was actually HELD as a POW… & the director took all of his “That didn’t happen that way” to complete heart. Because they were shortening the years long event into the space of a few weeks, shown over a couple hours, he wanted the most authenticity as possible crammed in.

It’s not the halocaust. And unlike other POW camps held by the army & govt? Pilots were held by other pilots / the luftwaffe.

There’s just a stillness/peace around Donald Pleasance. A rightness. In that context. And a very visceral relief from typical Hollywood nonsense. Even in the midst of motorcycle fence jumping, compound characters, and years of effort by hundreds shortened into a few weeks by a handful.
Was actually HELD as a POW… & the director took all of his “That didn’t happen that way” to complete heart.

This is definitely the stuff that "gets" me, for sure.

And I know Spielberg really did have a very deep, personal, emotional attachment to the Holocaust that wasn't just to get cheap laughs or make a mockery of people's experiences - he did in fact put a lot of himself and a lot of effort into Schindler's List - and there are a few very poignant scenes. Namely the last one, where the real Schindlerjuden came and laid stones on his grave, but Martin Scorcese actually exemplifies the "Hollywood-esque" follies that it succumbed to by saying of it, "it would not have been the hit that it became," (were it his movie instead). Focusing on it being a "hit" instead of on what it should have been: a memorial, a tribute, a lesson.

But there are moments, where even this movie goes beyond the sensational.

"I was hit in the face with my personal life. My upbringing. My Jewishness. The stories my grandparents told me about the Shoah. And Jewish life came pouring back into my heart. I cried all the time." — Spielberg on his emotional state during the shoot

[...] instead, he found himself filled with outrage. He was one of many crew members who could not force themselves to watch during the shooting of the scene where aging Jews are forced to run naked while being selected by Nazi doctors to go to Auschwitz.[42] Spielberg commented that he felt more like a reporter than a film maker – he would set up scenes and then watch events unfold, almost as though he were witnessing them rather than creating a movie.

[...] In the scene where the ghetto is being liquidated by the Nazis, the folk song Oyfn Pripetshik (Yiddish: אויפֿן פּריפּעטשיק, 'On the Cooking Stove') is sung by a children's choir. The song was often sung by Spielberg's grandmother, Becky, to her grandchildren

It's the moments like this that allow me to forgive Spielberg for the way the movie turned out, because these are the moments that aren't really shown - the moments where truth, and history, and feeling, and trauma (because he is of course Jewish) that could not be avoided, and that somehow I felt were stripped out in some cases, in pursuit of that "hit" of a movie. Does that make much sense? I feel the movie might've made a bigger impact, a bigger real impact, if those such things had been included from the get-go. But at the end of the day, Claude Lanzmann summarizes my own criticism to this movie thusly:

Claude Lanzmann, the director of the nine-hour Holocaust documentary Shoah (1985), called Schindler's List a "kitschy melodrama" and a "deformation" of historical truth. "Fiction is a transgression, I am deeply convinced that there is a ban on depiction [of the Holocaust]", he said. Lanzmann also criticized Spielberg for viewing the Holocaust through the eyes of a German, saying "it is the world in reverse". He said: "I sincerely thought that there was a time before Shoah, and a time after Shoah, and that after Shoah certain things could no longer be done. Spielberg did them anyway."
Shoah is an incredible movie. It’s like 9 hours long. Just people from all sides talking about their experiences cut with long scenes of the places. No music. I was watching it when my brother and his wife were visiting from Austria. She’s native Austrian and I remember she was washing dishes in the kitchen. I had to read the subtitles but she couldn’t block out what she was hearing and she began crying and had to leave the house for a while.
Shoah is an incredible movie. It’s like 9 hours long.

I have my issues with Shoah, the same as I have my issues with Primo Levi's Grey Zone - the way that they handled some of the survivor's testimonies (particularly Dario Gabbai) lacked compassion and understanding, IMHO. It was the product of the times, and I talk about this a lot in my diary - how psychosocial outcomes of people like me changed over 20 years as our understanding of the law and causality and responsibility changed.

But in the 1980s, there wasn't a whole lot of education on the concept that someone could be forced to hurt other people, or that they could be forced to act as proxies who did so autonomously. In these days people like Gabbai were usually sent to kibbutzim away from "ordinary society" because they were literally spit on in the street.

And even as recently as Shoah, these survivors were handled with a lot of suspicion and derision and I find that extremely challenging to watch even though the other aspects of the movie are obviously invaluable to society and history as a whole.
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I think speilberg did a good job with what he had to work with. If he had gotten any more "real" people wouldn't have watched it. Instead, they watched it and it started a lot of conversations about the whole holocaust. It's even been used in high school history classes to teach about what happens when one group turns on another and the depths people will go to when they get sucked into a fight about who is right and who is wrong.

It also brought out the issue of the holocaust deniers - which is a sad thing to even have to think exists.

But I always have to remember, normal people have a much lower tolerance for what is "real" than we islanders do. Thats why they like the drama shows - they are clean and well-dumbed down. So he had to walk a very fine line between showing a horrific reality and just entertaining people.

I ran into that all the time at 911. People ask about calls - but they don't really want to know about "calls." They want a version that is a little scary and a little entertaining. They don't want to know what it's like to hear a 10 year old beg for the police to save her from a school shooter and screaming that all her friends are dead.

For a long time that difference was really, really hard for me because we were talking about my day to day life, and then they would blame me if I made them feel bad listening to what that really meant! Now imagine me telling them about all the other crap in my life. If Joe Blow Citizen can't handle a random 911 call how will they ever handle a talk about torture?

I think that might be a big part of the secrecy of torture. No one wants to acknowledge it could happen, especially to someone they know. Because if it could happen to me it could happen to them. So instead we have to keep it to ourselves, which, I'm finally learning, leads to all kinds of new and entertaining problems.
@Freida whew boy I shouldn't have read that article (I'm not reading the second right now) but also glad I did. Urgh, that's uncomfortable. So true, I can see a version of myself in that. I say a version of because it's the part that's still dissociated off somewhere in my psyche, the dark side that only gets let out occasionally, on here or in T, or in the middle of the night. Not the functioning, every day, sanitised, can blend into society part.

Too tired and don't have enough knowledge or depth of understanding to really comment on the holocaust stuff, apologies. I can vouch for the Spielberg movies being used in history class though! And agree that although far from perfect, I think he did a good job of opening the conversation, keeping the history alive and in the public consciousness and also not literally scaring people away from engaging with it.

People ask about calls - but they don't really want to know about "calls."

No one wants to acknowledge it could happen, especially to someone they know.
To be honest @Frieda I could've just quoted your whole post and gone "EXACTLY". But these in particular I want to go "yep!" People ask me what my job is like, what seeing and collecting and dealing with dead bodies is like on the daily. But they don't actually want to know, they can't actually handle a description of picking up the remains of someone who's jumped in front of a train. They can't actually handle the reality of a month's old decomposed body. Much less the idea that a nice estate in the suburban England [insert wherever else] can contain house(s) of horror where torture goes on. That it could be your neighbour even...

And that is so isolating.