Nicolas Tenzer Profile picture
Apr 30 13 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Today, as every year on April 30, I commemorate the liberation of the #Ravensbrück concentration camp—78 yrs ago.
On that day, my mother, who was there, was "celebrating" her 25th birthday.
I pay tribute to her today.
On that day, Hitler killed himself in his bunker.
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Mom was a member of the #Resistance in Belgium. She was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 after her network was denounced. She went from prison to prison as a Nacht und Nebel political prisoner.
Her false papers concealed her Jewish origins.
Her last stop was #Ravensbruck.
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When she was released, she was suffering from typhus and tuberculosis and weighed 30 kilos.
She was taken in by the Swedish Red Cross and gradually recovered in #Sweden.
Forever my gratitude to the wonderful persons who took care of her.
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She was one of the first women to take the Belgian diplomatic examination in 1946, closed to women before WWII.
She continued her career in France, the UK & NYC before becoming an intl civil servant in 1968. She retired in 1985 & crossed the barrier of life on Aug. 31, 2001.
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At that time, women in the diplomatic career could not marry. So Dad & Mom weren't (my father was married).
I was conceived in NYC when my mother was posted. It was complicated: think of the prejudice in the 1960s against single mothers and of the pressure she received..
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Mom's colleagues either quit, stayed single, had affairs (but having a child was a choice Mom was the only one to make), or were Lesbian (a tribute to two of them who welcomed me to the US as a teen—I think Mom wanted me to find out that this was something "normal"...
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..., which should be clear today, but was uncommon in the 1970s).
The feminist struggle back then was those first.
What my mother experienced in #Ravensbruck because of her fight for freedom also imposed freedom in life.
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But I would especially like to come back to what she said to me about the #Resistance, which I sometimes quoted in my essays.
For her and her companions, she affirmed, there was a certainty: they were fighting against absolute #evil.
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It was a battle between good and evil, life and death, the future or final destruction. There was no middle way, no holding back.
My mother used to tell me that she had seen this again in the face of mass crimes in #Srebrenica or #Rwanda.
She knew history can repeat itself.
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As a Jew (but who insisted on saying that she had been arrested as a Resistance fighter), she perceived the absolute uniqueness of the #Holocaust, but at the same time she saw the permanence of #genocide and its recurrence in history.
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In the ethnic cleansing in #Bosnia in particular, she told me she saw the same mechanisms at work.
Each historical moment is certainly specific, but the mechanics of mass crime are repeated. Holocaust denial also comes together.
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Of course, I can't make her talk about the Russian war of extermination against Ukraine—after Syria.
But I know what her principles were.
I know what she thought about our strategic collapse before WWII.
I know she would have been uncompromising after the supreme crime.
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And when #Ukraine is liberated and #Russia is finally down, I will celebrate in thought with her.
Over centuries and beyond death, a common and perpetual struggle.
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More from @NTenzer

Feb 26
Some reminders in the form of a short #thread.
1 Democratic leaders should avoid talking about "peace talks" or "peace agreements" even in the distant future, at least as long as Putin's regime, or the equivalent, is in place.
2 Let's stop lending any interest to supposed #mediation attempts. We do not need a mediator. We need to ensure #Ukraine's victory. That's all there is to it.
Western governments should stop with this desire to be deceived all the time.
3 Let's stop fussing about #securityguarantees for Ukraine. It needs a NATO+. It deserves it and @NATO would benefit from it too. All its territories must be liberated.
I do not suggest buying the sometimes-heard thesis of a guarantee on a part of the territories.
Read 6 tweets
Feb 11
Itw superbement menée par @ilasserre avec @ZelenskyyUa
"Le monde ne parlera plus de la même manière à la Russie. Les Occidentaux vont devoir revoir leur politique 🇷🇺, même si un autre dirigeant arrive au pouvoir à Moscou. Vous devez changer de vision."
"L'escalade, ce sont les Russes qui en sont responsables. Ils ont torturé, assassiné, enterré des gens vivants. Je savais par les livres que ce genre de meurtres & atrocités de masse existait. Je ne pouvais pas imaginer que cela puisse se reproduire dans le monde d'aujourd'hui"
"Concernant les partenaires qui m'ont prévenu, qu'ont-ils fait pour l'éviter ? Que nous ont-ils donné depuis 2014? Qu'ont-ils fait pour éviter une attaque? Pourquoi l'Otan ne s'est-elle pas engagée si elle savait une invasion probable ? Ts les efforts diplomatiques ont échoué."
Read 7 tweets
Jan 26
10 principles for these weeks (recap).
1 In the medium to long term, the main cost would be the non-defeat of #Russia.
It would be terrible for #Ukraine, #Syria, #Georgia, #Belarus, #Moldova, #Africa..., but also for Europe and the world.
It should dictate our strategic goal.
2 In the short term, the worst cost is measured in terms of Ukrainian lives (civilians, military, people in the occupied territories, incl. Crimean Tatars).
This is what must matter to us first.
We must defeat #Russia as quickly as possible with all possible conventional weapons.
3 Western leaders must banish certain words, including:
- escalation risks;
- red lines;
- peace talks;
- negotiations;
- compromise;
- balance;
- architecture of stability...
Words matter.
Narrative matter.
Read 10 tweets
Jan 24
If this US decision to send M1 #Abrams tanks to #Ukraine (despite some technicalities) were confirmed, it would be remarkable.
It certainly depends on the number.
With 200 or 300 #Leopard2, a real game-changer.
But time is of the essence.
#Thread 🧵
First, we, democratic countries, must be clear about our goal: to give Kyiv the means to reclaim ALL the territories invaded since 2014 (including #Crimea).
We need to move from "Defend #Ukraine" to "Make #Ukraine win" and "Defeat Russia".
Let's be straightforward.
2/6 Image
We must throw all our available forces into the battle: heavy tanks, long-range missiles, fighter planes — the only way to end the war as soon as possible.
The combination of these forces (+ military intelligence) will bring victory.
The longer we delay, the higher the cost.
3/6 ImageImage
Read 6 tweets
Nov 26, 2022
Je vais tenter de répondre en plusieurs temps.
Mon propos n'est jamais que la prolongation de mes avertissements depuis plus de quinze ans sur le régime russe.
A mon sens, retomber aujourd'hui dans le "camp de la paix" serait risquer le même type de bévue que celui qui
nous a conduit au désastre mortel.
Certes, dans chaque camp, il existe des nuances, principalement en termes de réponse opérationnelle à la guerre russe contre l'Ukraine. Mais de toutes les discussions que j'ai eues au cours des derniers mois, je conclus qu'ils existent bel
et bien dans la plupart des cercles dirigeants occidentaux.
Ceux qui souhaitent la paix (certes, nous la souhaitons tous et il est bien commode de se dire en sa faveur) ne précisent somme toute jamais à quel prix. Sur quoi négocier ? Avec qui ? Que seraient les conséquences
Read 16 tweets
Oct 23, 2022
To be fair, @EmmanuelMacron doesn't legitimize Putin's war of extermination. Elsewhere, he says no peace should include recognition of a status quo imposed by force.
But in saying this—"Russian power has been nourished by the resentment & humiliation born of the breakup...
of the Soviet empire"—, he not only commits a major communication blunder (for that is what will be remembered), but once more misunderstands the nature of the Russian regime.
1 He still does not grasp that...
the discourse of humiliation is just a ruse of Putin's power that aims at sharing a belief (what I had called in a paper the perception of a perception), exactly in the same way that its use by Hitler (the humiliation by the Treaty of Versailles, the "stab in the back")...
Read 9 tweets

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