I have eyes like you...I have lungs like you...I have a heart like you...I feel pain and fear like you...
..but I cant talk like you.
- Charles W. Patterson is an American author, historian, and animal rights advocate, perhaps best known for his books, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond, Animal Rights, The Civil Rights Movement, and Marian Anderson.
He is an active member of the Authors Guild, PEN, and The National Writers Union.
He follows a vegetarian
lifestyle, and believes that vegetarianism can reduce violence in
humans. In a protest against Columbia University's animal cruelty,
Patterson returned his doctorate to the president of the University. He
believed that innocent lives had greater importance than a piece of
Patterson is active in the Vegetarian Community, and was a guest speaker at the 2015 Veggie Pride Parade in New York City.
His greatest fantasy is for all slaughterhouses to end their killing.
He currently lives in the Upper West side of New York, New York.
Early life and careerCharles Patterson grew up in New Britain, Connecticut,. He was born in New Britain General hospital. Patterson did not know his father due to his early passing in war. His father fought against the Nazis in Europe, which led Patterson to his interest in the topics of World War 2 and The Holocaust. He has been a teacher at colleges, elementary schools, and for adult education classes. Patterson is proficient in teaching various subject such as English, social studies, and history. He was a professor at Adelphi University, New School University, Hunter College, and the Metropolitan College. He was a reviewer for The International Society of Yad Vashem's Publication Martyrdom and Resistance. He worked for the publication for 17 years to help preserve the stories of Holocaust Survivors and their families. He was featured in the book Who Stole My Religion? By Richard Shwartz. The story correlated nature with Judaism faith. He was invited to write The Oxfords 50th Anniversary Book of The United Nations.
EducationHe studied at the Kent School, Kent, Connecticut. Patterson was educated at Amherst College from where he graduated in 1958, and Columbia University, from where he received an MA in English Literature and a PhD in Religion. He later studied at the Yad Vashem Institute for Holocaust Education in Jerusalem.
AchievementsThe National County For The Social Studies awarded him The Carter G Woodson Book award in 1989. He received the secondary level award for his children's story, Marian Anderson. Patterson's Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust was featured in the publication The Animal’s Agenda in 2002. The article was the cover story of the March/April issue and was titled The Holocaust and Animal Exploitation. He was honored with an Animal Rights Writing award in 1995 for his story Animal Rights. The award was presented to him by the International Society for Animal Rights. ' Patterson's Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust is featured at the United States Holocaust memorial museum. He was featured in People for The Ethical Treatment of Animal's campaign titled Holocaust on Your Plate. PETA quoted Patterson's comparison of animal slaughterhouses to gas chambers of the Holocaust.
Part IIn part one of Eternal Treblinka, Patterson opens chapter one by quoting Sigmund Freud. “In the course of his development towards culture man acquired a dominating position over his fellow-creatures in the animal kingdom.” This quote sets the stage for the first chapter which expresses the relationship between humans and animals. Patterson describes how the domination of man over animals is a recent phenomenon. “Mans emergence as the dominant species is a very recent development.” He brings in Carl Sagan's idea of the Cosmic Calendar to show just how little time humans have actually spent on this earth to begin to portray this idea. He then illustrates the different arguments on what caused the technological advances of the human species beyond that of animals, by presenting the ideas of those ranging from Jared Diamond to Barbara Ehrenreich. Once the proper technological advances of humans were acquired, then came the domestication of animals. Patterson quotes “The transition to herding and farming happened gradually. Those who hunted wild sheep and goats attached themselves to a particular herd, which then became “their” herd to follow and exploit.” Patterson notes that in order to domesticate animals for human purposes such as meat and labor, herders learned how to control the animals whole lives through the use of “castration, hobbling, branding, ear cropping, and such devices as leather aprons, whips, prods, and eventually chains and collars…” He describes the brutal processes such as castration, and the early weaning of calves from their mothers. He then goes on to divulge the relationship between the exploitation of animals and victims of the Holocaust. “Once animal exploitation was industrialized and accepted as part of the natural order of things, it opened the door to similar ways of treating other human beings, thus paving the way for such atrocities as human slavery and the Holocaust.” Patterson also brings up the topic of how the domestication of animals has led to the domination and sexual subjection of women. He quotes Elizabeth Fisher, “The domestication of women followed the initiation of animal keeping.” she writes “and it was then that men began to control women’s reproductive capacity, enforcing chastity and sexual repression.” Fisher wrote this in her book Woman's Creation: Sexual Evolution and the Shaping of Society "Feminist philosopher Elizabeth Fisher (1979) was one of the first authors to discuss the link between domination of women and the domestication of animals." Patterson believes that the keeping of animals set a model for the domination over women and the enslavement of humans in general. Slaves, especially were treated just as animals are now. Patterson writes that slaves were even branded and castrated just as animals still are to this day. “Branding was used as a way to mark and identify slaves throughout the Americas until the late 1700s.” Patterson then moves on to the idea of The Great Chain of Being. It was created by Plato, which “Formalized the belief of the Greeks that they ranked higher than non-Greeks, women, slaves, and, of course, animals.” Because of this early hierarchical arrangement, Patterson thinks that this is part of the reason that men look upon themselves as better and more superior than animals. It created a hierarchical of social classes and determined their place in society. According to the humanocentric view, animals were made for man, thus creating the human/animal divide. Patterson insists that Descarte and his followers had a large influence in this when they maintained that animals did not feel pain and claimed that their cries, howls, and writhings were only external reflexes, unconnected to inner sensation. Patterson quotes that “Widening the gulf between man and animals to such an extent provided by far the best rationalization yet for the human exploitation of animals.” In chapter two he uncovers how humans began vilifying others as animals. Since Europeans began describing Native Americans and Africans as animals, it justified slavery to them. Since animals were already looked down upon them as less superior, when they associated them Africans with animals it made it easier for them to treat them this horribly. Patterson writes “Calling people animals is always an ominous sign because it sets them up for humiliation, exploitation, and murder.” When the Europeans traveled to Africa in the sixteenth century some described the people there as rude and beastlie; they even referred their language to that of apes because they did not understand. Native Americans were vilified as well, in a similar way as a prelude to their destruction. “Stannard writes that in California, as elsewhere, whites described indians “as ugly, filthy, and inhuman ‘beasts,’ ‘swine,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘wolves,’ ‘snakes,’ ‘pigs,’ ‘baboons,’ ‘gorillas,’ and ‘oran-gutans,’ to cite only a few of the press's more commonly published characterizations.” Even Japanese were vilified as animals during World War II. They were seen as animals, reptiles, and insects. Patterson quotes John Dowers words from his book War Without Mercy. "Japanese were perceived as animals, reptiles, or insects (monkeys, baboons, gorillas, dogs, mice and rats, vipers and rattlesnakes, cockroaches, vermin..” After Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans were literally treated like animals. They were rounded up and forced to live in animal facilities. Lastly, Patterson brings up the topic of the vilification of Jews. “In Germany this kind of vilification began long before the Nazis came to power. At first, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther (1483-1546) praised Jews for rejecting the corrupt teachings of the papal “antichrist.” But when it soon became clear the Jews weren’t all that eager to convert to his brand of Christianity, he denounced them as “pigs” and “mad dogs.”" Patterson then begins to discuss the topic of the Holocaust and how Jews were viewed during this time. He quotes one of the leading members of the Nazi party on his views of Jews. this time. He quotes one of the leading members of the Nazi party on his views of Jews. “Heinrich Himmler, who regarded the Jew as “spiritually and mentally much lower than any animal,” saw the war as a racial struggle to the death against the horde of “Asiatic animals” under the control of Jewish Bolshevism.”” Jews were viewed as animals by members of the Nazi party. Viewing Jews as animals made it easier for Nazis to do their job. It made them feel like connected to them emotionally and physically. “The use of animal terms to vilify and dehumanize the victims, combined with the abominably degraded conditions in the camps, made it easier for the SS to do their job, since treating prisoners like animals made them begin to look and smell like animals.” Since civilization was built on the murder and exploitation of animals, it was easier to kill the lower and more degraded human victims. Patterson ends part one by relating the concentration camps such as Auschwitz to factories and slaughterhouses where they keep and slaughter animals.
Part IIIn part two of Eternal Treblinka Patterson draws direct connections to the industrialization of animal slaughter and the holocaust Early on he mentions a German Jewish philosopher, Theodor Adorno, who said “Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.” Patterson then delves into the foundations of the industrialized factory farms that began with Western expansion. Patterson says “the European settlers brought with them to the Americas their practices of exploiting animals for labor, food, clothing, and transportation.” He says the slaughter of animals in North America arrived with the English. To describe this phenomenon he discusses the famine facing the Jamestown settlers in the winter of 1607-8 where they slaughtered and ate all the animals they brought from England. After the livestock supply was replenished they butchered the surplus at the start of each winter, and soon the settlers of Jamestown were continuing the slaughter and meat preservation process in bulk. The industrialization of slaughter continued with the colony of New Amsterdam, which became New York in 1664; by 1665 the number of butchered animals a year was almost 10,000 and the colony required slaughter permits. As the amount of slaughter increased, the slaughterhouses kept moving “in deference to the public, wanting to be spared the sights, sounds, and smells of slaughter” Patterson notes that the first step toward the division of labor that would transform the American meat industry was evident in Cincinnati by the mid 1800s when larger plants combined their slaughter and meatpacking operations. According to Patterson, by the 1850s the construction of Union Stock Yards turned meatpacking into a major industry and Chicago became the slaughter capital of America The Meatpacking industry also introduced the conveyor belt, increasing the efficiency and speed of the nation's first mass-production industry with the assembly line process In 1905, after the meat industry lobby blocked a bill in Congress that would’ve implemented meat inspection standards, the paper The Appeal To Reason enlisted Upton Sinclair to investigate the Chicago meatpacking industry. Sinclair published fictional novel The Jungle based on what he saw while investigating, which exposed the horrors of the meatpacking industry to the public. Patterson says that the biggest difference between the slaughter of animals today and in the early 1900s is that slaughterhouses have become faster and increased in volume of production, “[a slaughterhouse] today... kills more animals in a single day than all the slaughterhouses in Sinclair's day killed in a year.” Patterson then discusses political artist, Sue Coe's, book Dead Meat about her six years visiting slaughterhouses around the country In her book Coe says that the Holocaust kept coming to mind as she visited the slaughterhouses, “she says she wonders if [the Holocaust] is ‘the comforting measuring rod by which all horrors are evaluated?’” Patterson continues his argument of relating the industrialization of the meat industry to the Holocaust by discussing Henry Ford, “whose impact on the twentieth century began, metaphorically speaking, at an American slaughterhouse and ended at Auschwitz.” In his autobiography, Ford said that his inspiration for assembly-line production came from visiting a Chicago slaughterhouse. Patterson says that not only did Ford help the Holocaust happen by developing the assembly-line method that the Germans used for killing, but he also launched an anti-Semitic campaign. Hitler praised Ford; he even said “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration." According to Patterson, Ford was not the only American influence on the Holocaust, the eugenics movement and Mendel's theory of heredity had an impact, as well. In addition to eugenics, sterilization in America influenced the German atrocities. Patterson claims that “Nazi Germany looked to the United States for racial leadership” because Hitler was impressed by America's laws on sterilization, racial segregation and immigration restrictions. Patterson continues by describing how the Nazi's compared mentally challenged people to animals in order to justify and practice research on sterilization and eugenics on them. Patterson then discusses Heinrich Himmler, attributing Himmler's work operating on a chicken farm to begin his interest in breeding and killing humans; “Himmler didn’t consider his victims human, so he was not at all concerned about their suffering or their fate." By 1942, Himmler's work led to a running Auschwitz for the mass extermination of all “sub-humans." Patterson's argument that animal slaughter has a direct relation to the holocaust culminates in his last chapter. He states, “the study of human history reveals the pattern: first humans exploit and slaughter animals; then, they treat other people like animals and do the same to them." It was not only in the murdering that the Nazi's dehumanized their victims, but in their treatment before it as well; they were naked and crowded together in herds. Just like animals in a slaughterhouse, those who arrived to concentration camps sick and would be inefficient and slow down the process were shot. Patterson says that “children were shown no mercy at death camps either,” much like the baby animals he claims cry just like human babies and are mercilessly slaughtered. The Nazi's created a hierarchy in which “sub-humans,” such as Jews, were ranked below animals and thusly treated that way. Patterson mentions a little girl in a warsaw ghetto that said, “I would like to be a dog because the Germans like dogs, and I would not have to be afraid they would kills me."
2. “Human Megalomania”: Freudian Term used to describe the self-declared ownership humans gave themselves over other occupants of the world, such as animals. This idea is the basis for chapter one, and breaks down human supremacy over other inhabitants on earth. Synonym: "Human Arrogance".
3. "Amar-kud": A word the Sumerian's used to describe slave boys whom were castrated, is the same term that they used to describe donkeys, oxen, and horses that were castrated. The term was used to portray the way this ancient Mesopotamian city-states treated their slaves and livestock in the same manner.
4. Emasculation: The act of weakening,or depriving a man of his identity as a male. It was used in the book to describe how American colonists treated black slave men, for example, by castrating them. They castrated male slaves the same way they castrated bulls. This exemplifies how white men exerted their self-declared power over black men.
5. Homo Ferus:"A wild man who was four-footed, mute and hairy”. The term was created by Carolus Linnaeus to describe people who weren’t white as being half human and half animal. Homo Ferus:"A wild man who was four-footed, mute and hairy”. The term was created by Carolus Linnaeus to describe people who weren’t white as being half human and half animal.
6."Great Chain of Being": A Greek belief that they were at the top of the chain, ranking higher than non-Greeks, females, slaves, and animals. This term was created by Plato, and put slaves at the bottom of the chain equal to animals.
7. Subhuman: Being lesser than human. This is referred to often to describe how being in the Holocaust were being treated.
8. Craniometry: The term used to describe the scientific measurement of brain sizes. This was used as a way to rank humans based on brain size, in order to portray specific foreign people as lesser.
9. Extermination: The killing of an entire group. This term is most commonly used to describe the killing of an entire group of animals or insects, but in this essay it, describes the measure certain humans felt must be done onto other humans.
10. Foramen Magnum: The Hole located in the base of one's skull, where the spinal cord passes through. Research on the location of the foramen magnum, done by a French pathologist determined black people's skulls resembled monkeys, in order to place them as lesser than white people.
CriticismPatterson's positions have been criticized by groups, namely Jewish anti-defamation and Holocaust memorial organizations. Some claim that Patterson's comparisons between the animal-industrial complex and the Holocaust trivialize the experience of Holocaust victims and survivors. Holocaust psychologist Nathan Durst condemns comparisons to the Holocaust in stating that, “When one calls everything Auschwitz, you deny the Holocaust. As everything becomes terrible, there is no absolute evil anymore. This is a great relief for the heirs of guilt.” Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld writes on Holocaust comparisons such as Patterson's that, “Many of those who [make these comparisons] do not particularly care about either Germans or Jews. They are looking for the strongest possible metaphors to illustrate the evil character of those they condemn."
Other opposition to Patterson's claims argue that the Holocaust and factory-farming are predicated upon different historical and sociological frameworks. Jewish animal rights activist Roberta Kalechofsky writes that although there are aesthetic similarities between the treatment of factory-farmed animals and Jews in the Holocaust, “The agony of animals arises from different causes from those of the Holocaust. Human beings do not hate animals. They do not eat them because they hate them… Human beings have no ideological or theological conflict with animals.” The Anti-Defamation League contests the validity of some of Patterson's historical claims, writing that, “his treatment of some of [Eternal Treblinka]’s themes moves from the offensive and ridiculous to the absurd. Apparently compelled to demonstrate that Hitler could not have been a vegetarian (nor have liked them), Patterson writes: "Hitler discovered that when he reduced his meat intake, he did not sweat as much, and there were fewer stains in his underwear. He also became convinced that eating vegetables improved the odors of his flatulence, a condition that distressed him terribly and caused him much embarrassment….Nonetheless, Hitler never gave up his favorite meat dishes, especially Bavarian sausages, liver dumplings, and stuffed and roasted game….” "Whatever his dietary preferences, Hitler showed little sympathy for the vegetarian cause in Germany. When he came to power in 1933, he banned all the vegetarian societies in Germany….Nazi persecution forced German vegetarians, a tiny minority in a nation of carnivores, either to flee the country or go underground."
Other criticisms arise from Patterson's interpretation of Abrahamic tradition as catalyzing animal abuses. Jewish Animal Rights author Richard H. Schwartz writes, “Patterson states that some historians and environmentalists blame the Genesis verse, in which God grants people dominion over the earth, for western civilization's destruction and despoliation of the environment. By failing to mention traditional Jewish interpretations of this verse that define dominion as responsible stewardship rather than as domination, he may leave the mistaken impression that the exploitation of animals and the environment is religiously sanctioned.”
Related readingsCharles Patterson's "Eternal Treblinka" discusses the similarities between society's treatment of animals and the Holocaust. Here are some other readings that do the same.
- "Speciesism as a Precondition to Justice" by Michael Barilan- Barilan discusses how the use of certain members of a community for the benefit of others is justified by moral sociability, and not moral considerability. The idea explored here is that speciesism occurs due to differences in sociability within a group, and not due to consideration of individual rights among species. This idea is compared to Nazi racism because this institution gave praise to the strong and condemned the weak, humans and animals alike.
- "Can the Treatment of Animals Be Compared to the Holocaust?" by David Sztybel- Sztybel gives a very detailed comparison of animal treatment and the Holocaust, through the use of a thirty-nine-point comparison. He counters the protest that these comparisons should not be made by questioning whether or not animal liberationists have the right to express their thoughts and beliefs. The four points considered are whether or not a comparison between animal treatment and the Holocaust is offensive, whether this comparison trivializes the happenings of the Holocaust, if significant differences are overlooked through comparison, and the possibility that there is an affinity between animal liberationists and Nazis. Sztybel argues that arguments against him are insufficient in proving those four points, and this actually further supports claims of poor animal treatment happening presently.
- "Human Rights and Animal Rights: Differences Matter" by Tine Stein- This critique of the book "Zoopolis" questions in what ways animals and humans differ, and if these differences have a moral significance. Stein also discusses how human discrimination is different than the continual mistreatment of animals in society. This critique finally argues that animals in certain living spaces should not be divided into categories based on their proximity and association with humans.
- "Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust" by Boria Sax- This reading explores the role emotion plays in the divide between humans and animals, and how the place of certain species in nature relates to the rise of socialism in society. Sax explains how his concern for animal treatment and emotion is not a way of trivializing what happened to humans during the holocaust. Additionally, he looks into certain species’ roles in human culture, the psychology of animals, biologically based ideologies, and methods of animal protection that were once implemented by the Nazis. Finally, Sax discusses the Nazi and overall German views of animal slaughter and death, and the role this may have played in the Holocaust.
- Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond, Walker & Co, first edition, 1982. ISBN 978-0-80276-470-6
- The Civil Rights Movement (Social Reform Movements), Facts on File, 1995. ISBN 978-0-81602-968-6
- The Oxford 50th Anniversary Book of the United Nations, Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-0-19508-280-7
- Animal Rights, Backinprint.com, 2000. ISBN 978-0-59509-494-3
- Hafiz Al-Asad of Syria, iUniverse, 2000. ISBN 978-0-59500-412-6
- Marian Anderson, iUniverse, 2000. ISBN 978-0-59509-493-6
- Thomas Jefferson, iUniverse, 2000. ISBN 978-0-59509-589-6
- Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of the Animals and the Holocaust, Lantern Books, first edition, 2002. ISBN 978-1-930-05199-7
- From Buchenwald to Carnegie Hall (co-author with Marian Filar), University Press of Mississippi, first edition, 2002. ISBN 978-1-57806-419-9
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- "Speakers,Entertainers". Veggie Pride Parade. Veggie Pride Parade. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- Basu, Biman. "Interview With Charles Patterson". Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Book Reviews. Volume 2 Number 1. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- "Charles Patterson's Biography". Scholastic Teachers. Scholastic Inc. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- Patterson, Charles (1995). The Oxford 50th Anniversary Book of the United Nations. Oxford University Press. pp. Back Cover.
- Patterson, Charles (January 2002). "Henry Ford and His Stance on The Holocaust". Martyrdom & Resistance. International Society For Yad Vashem inc.
- Levine, Susan. "Richard Schwartz Interviewed by Charles Patterson about his book, "Who Stole My Religion?"". Jewcology. Jewcology. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
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- Smith, Wesley. "The Most Tasteless Pr Campaign Ever". Weekly Standard. The Weekly Standard LLC. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
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- Schwartz, Richard H. "Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust". JVNA. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- Patterson, Charles (2002). Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. New York: Lantern Books.
- Patterson, Charles (2002). Eternal Treblinka: Our treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. New York: Lantern Books.
- Charles, Patterson (2002). Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. New York: Lantern Books.
- Fisher, Elizabeth (1979). Woman's Creation: Sexual Evolution and the Shaping of Society. Garden City, New York: Anchor Press.
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- Patterson, Charles (2002). Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. New York: Lantern Books.
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- Plato. Timaeus. pp. 1–40.
- Kressel, Neil (1983). Mass Hate: The Global Rise of Genocide and Terror. New York: Panthenon Books. p. 42.
- Patterson, Charles (2002). Eternal Treblinka. New York: Lantern Books. p. 30.
- Gossett, Thomas (1997). Race: The History of an Idea in America (2 ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 229–30.
- Gould, Stephen (1981). The Mismeasure of Man. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 133.
- Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Europe: From Guilt Feelings to Repackaging Anti-Semitism,” an interview with Nathan Durst, in Europe’s Crumbling Myths (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2003), 135
- Gerstenfeld, Manfred. The Abuse of Holocaust Memory: Distortions and Responses. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, 2009. Print.
- Kalechofsky, Roberta. Animal Suffering and the Holocaust: The Problem with Comparisons, Micah Publications, 2003
- "Holocaust Imagery and Animal Rights." Holocaust Imagery and Animal Rights. Anti-Defamation League, 2 Aug. 2005. <http://archive.adl.org/anti_semitism/holocaust_imagery_ar.html>.
- Schwartz, Richard. "Judaism and Vegetarianism: Book Review, "Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust"" Judaism and Vegetarianism: Book Review, "Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust" Jewish Vegetarians of North America,<https://www.jewishveg.org/schwartz/revTreblinka.html>.
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