"If your game deals with serious subject matter...you owe it to your game to lean into it, doing your damndest to treat it honestly, completely as possible. Warts and all."
That is part of a tweet Neil Druckman (whose takes on things I usually disagree with) put out in respnse to the developers of the upcoming game 6 Days in Fallujah not wanting to make a political statement with the game. After reading this, I began thinking about World War 2 in video games and "Triple A" companies all too often censoring parts that would be "offensive" or just flat out ignoring other parts of it.
"Doing your damndest to treat it honestly, completely. That is the part that got me thinking about how any time a new World War 2 game comes out, you usually hear about how developers wouldn't be including swastikas in the game, or will be removing it because of public backlash. Yes, it is the universal symbol of an evil ideology that has been used by different groups to show their "supremacy", but IT IS A PART OF HISTORY. If you remove one symbol that would be "offensive" in the eyes of some people, you have to remove all of them. That means removing the "Hammer and Sickle" of the Soviet Union, you know, the country whose leader during that time was responsible for suppressing religious freedoms of it's citizens and sending 50 million of them to their deaths inforced labor camps. Or the "Italian Fascist" flag used during the reign of Benito Moussolini during the war from 1939-43. While we're at it, why is the "Rising Sun" flag of the Japanese Empire represented in games? Japanese soldiers were responsible for brutal repressions and countless deaths of citizens of countries they occupied during that time, not to mention torturing and killings of POWs in their camps. Point is, if you remove something that some people consider offensive, you have to take into considerations of people that would find other symbols offensive that you may not and remove them, too.
Now, the "Warts and all" part, the part that is usually ignored. Let me start off by saying that I am not Jewish. When most people think of the Holocaust, they think the Jews of Europe were people that just were resigned to their fate and didn't do anything to change their situation or fight back. This is not the case, for example the Warsaw Uprising and the Sonnderkommando Uprising of 1944 at Auschwitz. These were two situations where Jews had decided that if they were going to die, they were going to die fighting, no matter how much the odds were stacked against them. I'm not saying video game developers should trivialize these by making ridiculous, over the top levels that would lessen the significance of these events, but they were important and deserve recognition. And I think it would pay homage to the people who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to survive and make people think of the Jews at the time as something other than just victims.