The Witch-Hunts - 400 years
(I know it’s a tad long, but I’ve put in bold things that I think are particularly important to know. When I read this I was blown away. The last paragraph of this had never occurred to me. Submissive for survival.)
“My perspective may have been unique and probably reflects my experiences as a small child raised amid an immigrant community of adult survivors of concentration camps, extermination camps, labor camps, displaced persons camps and European prison camps. I was always aware of how crucial and vital it is to have people who will protect you, defend you, hide you, take risks for you and not deny you.
Thus, unlike to many scholars and witches alike, the Burning Times are not an abstraction to me. They are very real. It is not coincidence to me that the extermination of witches occurred in the same areas of Europe that would but a few hundred years later exterminate Jews and Gypsies, my family among them. It is not a coincidence to me that the genocide associated with World War II began in the same areas of Europe where killing witches was most virulent.
According to records, there were towns in Germany left without women, just as years later there would be towns left without Jews.
Except for studies specifically devoted to them, history books rarely discuss the witch-hunts except as a footnote or as an aberration, as an example of how superstitious and ignorant people used to be. It’s treated as an embarrassment to be rushed over (and of course, honest discussion of witches, and witchcraft, as we’ve seen, introduces all sorts of sensitive issues..); focus tends to be limited to the nature of the perpetrators (why were they so crazy about killing witches?) and of the victims: were they or were they not really witches? More sympathetic studies tend to emphasize that they were not, as if this somehow makes the killing more tragic.
Then the witch-hunts just go away. We mourn the many dead.
There is little if any focus on the impact that this era, an era that lasted for centuries in some areas, not mere years or decades, had on the survivors, including those who narrowly escaped the clutches of the witch-hunters, those whose families were tragically affected, the many who profited from the witch-hunts as well as those who watched on the sidelines.
Yet I can personally guarantee you, that that impact must have been tremendous, having spent my life with similar survivors.
After the witch-craze was over, presumably the survivors, bystanders, and perpetrators all went back to a normal life together, side-by-side. And the impact?
Women of the Victorian age and beyond, basically until the 1960’s (coinciding coincidentally with the resurgence of public witchcraft), are frequently criticized for their passive, submissive, obedient natures. I suspect that this passivity is a survival skill, learned in the wake of the witch hunts. Even today the word “witch” used as a pejorative holds an implicit threat: behave yourself or else…” —The element encyclopedia of Witchcraft by Judika Illes.
Three people I wanted to be when I was a kid.
Kiki from kiki’s delivery service
A charmed one.Charmed