PETER AVRAM ZUCKERMAN

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Peter Avram Zuckerman

Activist for Human Progress and Survival

"The longest of journeys begins with a single URL."
"Humans are too dangerous as enemies!"

Warning! This home page is for the serious websurfer. It contains material that may disturb the unprepared. However, if you are interested in human survival -- of yourself, your family, your country and your fellow humans -- then you are invited to explore the information provided, and ACT UPON IT!


My story...

As I am looking at personal home pages, sometimes I become a bit envious. Many Americans -- especially if they can afford to be on the Internet -- are fortunate in having reasonable comfortable backgrounds, good education and many interests. Although I also reached a condition of good professional and economic status, my past does not allow me to enjoy my blessings.

At the age of sixteen ...

This is the first photograph I have of me. You may wonder what happened to my earlier pictures. Even in my poverty-stricken childhood in Hungary we could afford pictures of my elementary school classes and other family photos. But everything (including photos of my mother) was destroyed upon my arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau, as part of the dehumanization process of the Holocaust by the Germans.

The picture shows me six months after my liberation. My hair has grown back, and I regained most of my weight. I am wearing a blue jacket of the Canadian air force, part of the donated clothing available to displaced persons, as we were called. The red triangle on the jacket indicates my concentration camp imprisonment. My somber appearance reflects the slow emotional recovery from the horrors that I experienced.

My past ...

I was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1929. I grew up in poverty, but because of a good public school system I obtained a high level of literacy. I was exposed to aspects of American culture through the many Hollywood movies shown in the theaters. In those days the good guys ultimately triumphed over wickedness -- at least on the screen. Most of all I was impressed by the apparent wealth and power of America. My mother died in 1941. Since she was estranged from my stepfather, she sent me to her sisters living in a small town in the country side when she became terminally ill. My good literacy enabled me to become a printer's apprentice. I was essentially an indentured servant, receiving room and board in exchange for working six days a week for my master. But I was learning a skilled trade, and continued my education informally through reading. Although World War II was raging through Europe and Asia, little of it was noted in the small town of Nyirbator. I worked at this stationery and printing shop for almost three years.

All this suddenly changed in the spring of 1944. Germany occupied Hungary, and installed a fascist government. The "final solution" of the alleged Jewish problem became implemented in Hungary, just as it was conducted in the parts of Europe within the reach of the Nazi armies. The Jewish-Slavic Holocaust eventually claimed 17 million victims, including six million Jews. In 1944 most of the Jewish community of Hungary was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the ultimate death factory of Nazi Germany. I was most fortunate in being able to survive this catastrophe.

The Holocaust

Anyone interested in this manifestation of human cruelty and evil can find a great deal of information on the Internet. Some of the major links are:

Survival by Luck and Pluck

By a combination of endurance and luck I was able to survive the Holocaust. (For a summary of my experiences see my brief biographical entry, Auschwitz Hailfingen, Vaihingen: Hell on Earth.) Altogether I spent almost a year in various German concentration and labor camps, as the advance of the Soviet armies forced the evacuation of Poland by the Germans.

Becoming a ward of the United Nations I spent many months in various DP (displaced persons) camps. It was unthinkable that I return to my native Hungary. As an orphan I was given some choices of starting a new existence. I chose the United States.

Coming to America

After receiving my immigration papers I boarded the Marine Marlin, one of the 900 passengers that had a chance to start a new life in America.

Like millions of other immigrants to America, I experienced the elation of seeing the Statue of Liberty looming up at the entrance of New York Harbor. After the stormy crossing of the Atlantic the skies cleared as if by magic. The ship floated over the smooth surface of a suddenly tranquil sea. It seemed as if the elements themselves became subdued by the torch lifted high, promising freedom to the oppressed masses of humanity.

For me and my fellow survivors the words of Emma Lazarus -- carved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty -- were especially appropriate. Our ship indeed carried the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free." I experienced the exultation and emotions of joy as we disembarked in Ellis Island, the gateway for millions of immigrants to America. My sufferings came to an end. The promise of the New World, at one time unattainably distant, now became a reality. I even received a brief recognition, as the New York Herald Tribune reported our arrival (January 25, 1947).








My present ...


Currently my wife and I reside in a suburban community near Washington, D.C. My spouse has retired from work, but I still continue to function as a self-employed consultant. I call myself a (Medicare) card-carrying high-tech senior citizen. While many people in my condition are looking forward to retirement and travel, I intend to continue to work and strive for the future.

My education includes a Master's degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). My major was in management and accounting. I became briefly a Certified Public Accountant, but then I moved into information processing and computers. Like Benjamin Franklin I was a printer's apprentice at the age of twelve. I continued my interest in publishing information throughout my career, which advanced from manual assembling of "hot" type to electronic publishing on the Web. Along the way I was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving in the 2nd Armored Division in occupied West Germany (Bad Kreuznach).


After serving two years of active duty, and three years in the Ready Reserve, I received an Honorable Discharge.


After college my work experience included local government, the aerospace industry and the non-profit sector. Presently I function as a consultant, helping to organize and promote educational conferences and workshops in information technology topics, including the Internet. For more detail see Technical/Educational Background.

Quest for Understanding

Although gradually I resumed a normal existence, I remained obsessed with my experiences during the Holocaust. I started to conduct research into the origins and causes of the Holocaust. Gradually I discovered the conditions and events that resulted in the genocide. My Personal History provides a more detailed explanation of my personal and intellectual development.

After many years I was able to summarize the results of my research in the form of a book titled Beyond the Holocaust: Survival or Extinction? Thanks to the Internet, I am able to publish my book without a publisher. (Readers of my home page are invited to become co-authors, by providing ideas and suggestions for improvements.) Chapter 1, The Causes of the Holocaust can give the reader the needed insight.

Motivation

As a survivor of the Holocaust I developed a strong motivation and sense of obligation to prevent similar future disasters. The ultimate cause of the Holocaust and the other genocides of the 20th century were caused by political mismanagement by a virtual political class, supported by excessive military institutions. My experiences made me especially concerned about the negative trends of the 20th century that could have resulted in even greater catastrophes, and are still causing major disasters in such places as Bosnia and Rwanda. Chapter 2, What Could Occur provides a brief analysis of these trends.

I am motivated to undertake my current activities for several reasons:

As a human being: part of the single species of Homo sapiens sapiens, recognizing the tremendous similarities that unite us, and the trivial differences that divide us ...

As an American: citizen of a nation that proved and continues to demonstrate that men and women of many different racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds can live together in harmony and create a superpower -- economic, military and even moral ...

My Two Oaths further demand and justify the activities I am undertaking.

As a survivor: of the Jewish-Slavic Holocaust that killed 17 million men, women and children. Trying to understand that catastrophe led to my realization of the need for action to prevent human extinction.

As a survivor I am very much concerned about the survival of future generations, and even the survival of the human species. In this I am attempting to follow the examples of My Three Heroes.

My ancestry also makes me concerned about the on-going violence in the Middle East betwen the Arab countries and Israel. This special concern is expressed in the summation of my Ancestral Motivation and the Confederation of Abraham proposal (see below).

The Implications

My quest for understanding discovered the potentially fatal human characteristics that explain not only the Holocaust but also the other tragedies that occurred and are taking place even now. Chapter 3, The Fatal Human Flaws summarizes the findings of many scientists and scholars.

The convergence of many negative world trends, reinforced by political mismanagement and its supporter, the excessive war institution, could endanger the survival of our civilization, and even the human species. Chapter 4, The Future Danger, discusses these trends.

The Answer

The benefit of an analytical approach to problems is that the analysis also can direct to remedies. Complex problems require complex solutions. The understanding of the reasons behind our predicament also points out the means of overcoming the danger to human survival. Chapter 5, What Should Be Done? provides a detailed set of actions to be taken.

Some of the ideas explored:

New social inventions, to replace the flawed governing institutions. The Global Ideas Bank is a repository of new ideas and innovations to improve faulty or malfunctioning social institutions. New, better functioning governing institutions can emerge through the methods of social inventions.

Many social and political conflicts among groups are caused by one side attempting to win at the expense of the opposing side -- a win-lose situation. The concept of super-optimum solutions is to discover ways where both sides come out ahead of their best expectations -- a win-win situation. Dr. Stuart Nagel's Super-Optimum Solutions (SOS) Institute developed and advocated this approach to resolving conflicts. An example of applying this concept to the current conflict in the Middle East is the Confederation of Abraham: A Super-Optimum (Win-Win) Solution for Peace in the Middle East proposal, which would transform the fragmented Arab World into an advanced and peaceful Arab Nation.

The Common Good Covenant is a compilation of 65 major national and world problems, with preliminary suggestions for resolving them. The use of public policy analysis, new social inventions and super-optimum solutions could be combined to resolving problems and situations that threaten human survival.

In the past major national problems were resolved through social movements. The abolition of slavery and women's suffrage are some of the examples of successful social movements. Chapter 5, What Should Be Done? discusses the proposed social movement: Government for the People.


Actions to Be Taken

The Internet as the Global Link for Human Survival

While the problems facing our society and the human species remain formidable, we also have considerable resources to overcome them. The emergence of the Internet is especially promising. For the first time in human history there is a means of reaching and contacting much of the world's population. Even the powerholders of authoritarian countries find it necessary to participate, so that their society does not fall further behind the rest of the world. Developing and disseminating the right message through the Internet makes it feasible to develop the global mindset that we need to reverse human devolution.

Participating in the Social Movement Government for the People

The continuing interest in alternatives to the existing Republican and Democratic parties indicates that much of the public is ready to reform our politics. The availability of affordable mass communications technologies provides the means to reach the millions of concerned citizens ready to participate in a social movement.

Beyond the Holocaust: Extinction or Survival? concludes with the Epilogue, which summarizes some of America's previous Great Awakenings. The abolition of the institutions of hereditary monarchy and slavery, and the success of the women's suffrage movement prove that major changes can be achieved in our society. Both the Constitution and the history of the United States demand that concerned citizens should be ready, able and willing to participate in abolishing the worldwide condition of political mismanagement.

Local Grass Roots Organizing

The concerns of many of our citizens can be mobilized through the methods and techniques developed by activists interested in needed reforms. The widespread availability of telephone connections, personal computers, fax machines, computer bulletin boards and the Internet provide the means. The many concerned organizations for peace and justice, the environment and other social issues would provide a further means of energizing the public on the local level.

The coordinating organization: Human Progress Network

I am the president of the Human Progress Network (HPN), a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization. As indicated by its name, the purpose of HPN is to facilitate the networking and cooperation of the many organizations interested in improving the human condition in the United States and the world. Located near Washington, D.C., the organization has good access to the non-profit community and the political establishment that needs to be reformed.

What You Can Do

The vast scope of the effort that has to be undertaken for the social movement Government for the People requires the assistance of many concerned citizens. Here are some possibilities for you: