Mankind a Cruel Animal

June 28, 2023, Israel


Arrivals at Auschwitz, arrivals in Hell. For Hell is a man-made concept. We must be wary of human beings. If left unsupervised they are capable of great cruelty. Be prepared to fight back. 

A class begins, in South Africa, in Mexico, in Puerto Rico, I look around the room. There is a good atmosphere, everyone has been enjoying their pre seminar coffee. All is well. But I look again, deeper, and I wonder, what deep traumas are present in this room right now? What ghosts are among us? What skeletons are among us now? Is there a woman who was brutally raped, is there a man who was held up at gun point in front of his family and forced to surrender all his belongings including his dignity and self-respect, is there someone who was stabbed in the street and left bleeding? Has someone suffered a home invasion and watched his wife and daughters raped?

You see, it is a beautiful day, but man is a cruel animal.

That is not my line, I take no credit. I am a student of the Holocaust, obsessed you might say with the horror that afflicts us, I grew up with it all around me. I cannot escape it; I don't want to escape it. I was watching a testimonial by a Hungarian Jewish woman who survived, who witnesses, the Holocaust,  and she was asked for her conclusions. "Man is a cruel animal", says Irene Fogel Weiss, there are some that I like, I don't hate everyone, but man is a very cruel animal, the cruelest of all animals, and he is capable of extreme brutality

It is a beautiful day.

I watch a report about Neo-Nazis in Russia and Ukraine, there are tens of thousands of them, they spread their message over the internet, there is no control. They infiltrate schools, some work as teachers. They sell T shirts that read I love 1933 (The year the Nazis came to power). They have weekend camps where they dress up in paramilitary outfits and they train. They do not train in self-defense, they train to stab and kill, they train to shoot and kill. Daily there are incidents. Their targets are all minorities, foreigners are not welcome. This is ironic considering that every country I visit I find Russians and Ukrainians working; in Germany, in Austria, all over Europe and America as well as Israel. But these Neo Nazis have their targets; foreigners, minorities, homosexuals and of course Jews. They have a term, ZOG, Zionist Occupied Government since they believe that the Jews secretly control all governments and oppress the people. They hate Turks and Blacks and attack them on the subways.

Louis Armstrong sang of a "Wonderful World", and indeed it can be a wonderful world. The problem is it is inhabited by a cruel creature known as mankind who, under some circumstances can become cruel beyond description. Violence is one thing, cruelty is another. Irene Fogel described not just violence but the cruel pleasure the Nazis and their helpers took in tormenting and torturing their victims. 

Our rabbis speak of God's message to Abraham, look at the sky, can you count the stars? Your seed will be as numerous as the stars. Look at your feet, can you count the grains of sand, your seed will be as numerous as the sand of the land. And the rabbis ask, why was the message repeated? To teach us that man, if raised properly, if educated properly, can rise up to the sky, to be close to God, but, if he is not raised properly he will be lower than the lowest animals, he will be like the sand of the ground. It is our choice in life to become the best we can be.

Irene looked at the world, not with bitterness, but with an understanding that man is not a very good creature. He is capable of more violence, more cruelty than anything else on this planet. This is the reality of life.

But when you grow up in a nice suburban household and neighborhood. When you have a privileged upbringing, you may not know this. Your parents are protecting you from this cruelty. They mean well but they are failing you. Their task is to prepare you for life, as it truly is. You might make a wrong turn and end up in a gang infested neighborhood. Anything can happen. I have heard it all over the years. I have heard of people seeing their loved ones shot dead in front of their eyes, in their homes, in their cars, on the street. I have heard of terrible rapes, gang rape. I have seen the scars of stabbings. We are not ready. 

The haters are training. They are hard at work. But what about us? We are enjoying the good life. May God have mercy upon us for our lack of preparation. May luck favor you so that you never face these situations. May you never enter into the Darkness, for man is a very cruel animal, the cruelest of all of God's creations. 


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

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