ReflectionsPosted by P.A. Draigh Sat, February 10, 2018 13:33:59
Empathy in Holocaust terms.
Words are so often misused and the art of the Historian, who is considered expert when, in the delivery of the science of History, presents his words empathetically and is sympathetic to the relationship of delivery. Empathy is one such word which when delivered with truth, honesty and with its integrity intact will deliver posthumously for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, a remembrance they deserve. That said, the historian is at times dispassionate and also somewhat aloof from the turmoil that has to be presented. A student of their chosen field which they have sought to be recognised historically, and one which is related to an observance of the very parameters and the essential constructs to be searched and researched, is a sort after disciple. The vital ingredient of that scholarly effort is for me the blending of the period of my concern, through which but a tiny fragment of a time, in which the most immense crime ever staged and committed against any within Humanity has been titled The Holocaust. This is both a murderous theme and shocking.
The term, The Holocaust has in itself an immense and emotional propensity to shock and make anxious those whose steely determination remains proportionate to the demands fencing in the promoting of the bare facts. The honest truth and knowledge that is to be gained from the broadest spectrum of testimony and evidential awareness, is sacrosanct. The duration of this tragedy, where murder was commonplace, where destruction was a daily occurrence and the Jews of Europe were treated terminally, is now eternal in our recollection. The chronological order terrorising Jews, and others, ranged the entire period of Hitler's rise to power and his demise, barely 13 years. We therefore place on record all evidences which ensure the integrity of that very testimony as it verifies and confirms the account explored. Almost complete analysis of the period has delivered an essential archive of intimate accounts which all feature in accusing the most horrendous criminals of the most appalling crimes ever committed against innocent People for being Jewish. An old saying that measures the capacity to disenfranchise people in the legislative procedure, and that would:
'drive a Horse and Carriage'
through its effort to act judicially, do so as it fails its People. In Poland, such is the sheer lack of empathy toward its own Murdered Jewish Community that the government of Poland is representing its own feelings too ably and has enacted this:
"..Whoever publicly and untruthfully assigns responsibility or co-responsibility to ..Polish nation or ..Polish state for Nazi crimes committed by ..Third German Reich or for other crimes constituting crimes against peace ..crimes against humanity ..or war crimes ..or in some other way markedly diminishes ..responsibility of ..true perpetrators of these crimes is subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to 3 years."
Firstly! The Holocaust Murder of 6,000,000 Jewish People is a wholly constructed Hitlerite rage and plan. However, whoever participated, perpetrated or otherwise assisted Hitler's efforts, are also guilty in the most heinous series of crimes ever imaginable in All of History. That Hitler's intention for The Final Solution to the Jewish Question cannot disavow anyone of their moral responsibility to object to such tenets as are criminally reprehensible, is accountable to Human civilisation. Those coerced to act unlawfully are fully complicit in the crimes they undertake. In Poland that is equally true. Where once the refrain of Judaism was an acculturated, learned and essential Literature of words and tales, and all through the Century’s, the echoes once absorbing the Hassidim was poetic with religious propensity, while lyrical and well versed in its content. This has all but disappeared. The essence of Jewish learning was practically eliminated as Hitler’s legions drove a disgruntled discourse through all the civilising influences of both Judaism and Western culture.
Where once the Poem and the Poet were equally matched, the subsiding influence of poetry has not been awakened to any large degree by 6,000,000 Jewish losses. Though invariably, there are those whose proponent parts are both featured lyrically and empathetically and equally versed and directed toward all that has been lost to us, we are still absent of so much. Both in the Literal and Literary sense, the World has come to recognise much of what is now missing. From the lines and stanzas of words that have a now distant and hollow echo from lives taken, lives discarded and oh too many of them destroyed as we look to the detail and scraps of evidence of a past that lay destroyed. Yet in our midst the discord is largely unrecorded. Perhaps the poem which shaped my interest, which brought down borders in Jewish Literary matters, as they clearly relate to The Holocaust, is Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s phenomenal work on Babi Yar.
No monument stands over Babi-Yar. It seems to me that I am Anna Frank,
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone. Transparent, as the thinnest branch in April,
I am afraid. And I'm in love, and have no need of phrases,
Today, I am as old But only that we gaze into each other's eyes.
As the entire Jewish race itself. How little one can see, or even sense!
Leaves are forbidden, so is sky,
I see myself an ancient Israelite. But much is still allowed -very gently
I wander o'er the roads of ancient Egypt In darkened rooms each other to embrace.
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails. They come!
No, fear not those are sounds
It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself. Of spring itself.
The Philistines betrayed me - and now judge. She's coming soon.
I'm in a cage. Surrounded and trapped, Quickly, your lips!
I'm persecuted, spat on, slandered, and They break the door!
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills No, river ice is breaking.
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.
Wild grasses rustle over Babi-Yar,
I see myself a boy in Belostok The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors, Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded I feel my hair changing shade to gray.
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.
And I myself, like one long soundless scream
I'm thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left, Above the thousands of thousands interred,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom, I'm every old man executed here,
To jeers of "Kill the Jews, and save our Russia! As I am every child murdered here.
My mother's being beaten by a clerk.
No fiber of my body will forget this.
O, Russia of my heart, I know that you May Internationale thunder and ring
Are international, by inner nature. When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth The last of antisemites on this earth.
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.
There is no Jewish blood that's blood of mine,
I know the kindness of my native land. But, hated with a passion that's corrosive
How vile, that without the slightest quiver Am I by antisemites like a Jew.
The antisemites have proclaimed themselves And that is why I call myself a Russian!
The Union of the Russian People!" Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
(Yevgeny Yevtushenk, if we are to Remember him best is a Russian who witnessed the iniquity in the failed acknowledgement that Babi-Yar was, then we recognise with him THE most single and barbarous atrocity for the Jewish People within their Holocaust. This will be reflected and it should be with his words that: "..Poetry is like a bird ..it ignores all frontiers." Yevgeny Yevtushenko.)
I also included this entire Poem in my Book Babi Yar - A Jewish Catastrophe in an effort to share with the reader the distance we have travelled from Yevgeny’s acknowledgement of the catastrophe. When we first sought to ignore, when we thought to forget or when there was an emerging attempt to dismiss the Jewish presence in The Holocaust, few chose to adjust the overall imbalance. As to where acknowledgement is grudgingly given, and still to this day that is so, we look for many ways to heighten the concern we all must have for what 6,000,000 should not have been forced to endure. That said, there are enough people in this world who would not credit the Jews with anything, let alone a life worthy of living. For Jews, filled with fear, sheltering from the threat of abuse or assigned a fate they will not choose, we must come to the fore to resist the tide of an historical hatred that has been rendered illegitimate. Any categorical excuse to rail against the individual must be seen for its inadequacy, and on out part, an intolerable indictment of our past indifference.
Shipment to Maidanek. (Majdanek)
Arrived from scattered cities, several lands,
intact from sea land, mountain land, and plain,
Item: six surgeons, slightly mangled hands,
Item: three poets, hopelessly insane,
Item: a Russian mother and her child,
the former with five gold teeth and usable shoes,
the latter with seven dresses, peasant-styled.
Item: another hundred thousand Jews.
Item: a crippled Czech with a handmade crutch.
Item: a Spaniard with a subversive laugh;
seventeen dozen Danes, nine gross of Dutch.
Total: precisely a million and a half.
They are sorted and marked – the method is up to you.
The books must be balanced, the disposition stated.
Take care that all accounts are neat and true.
Make sure that they are thoroughly cremated." Ephraim Fogel.
(Ephraim Fogel Escaped from Russia in the 1920’s and has been assigned a literary attribute shared here. He served in US Army from 1942 - 1946)
For me though, and I tire endlessly at the concept of a Jew judging incorrectly a fellow Jew who had but x2 choices in the midst of Hitler’s Holocaust, to die or to live long enough to die later. I will not denigrate the memory of anyone who saved a single Jew, let alone anyone who saved Jews residing in their darkest hours and so saving 100’s or even 1,000’s. I do not understand, when there are already so many non-Jews wishing to curse the memory of 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, why should any Jew allow for some personal enmity to gift further the rancid nature of antisemitic hatred. The purveyor’s of such a hatred do not need any assistance from anyone else, least of all from any Jews who do not see the Universe that was saved, and in its entirety. And as it was saved from certain annihilation, we must explore the reaches of those lost to us who have but a simple message added to our cause Always to Remember, Never to Forget.
in the garden
and fear walked
in the cool
of the day." Itamar Yaoz-Kest.
(Itmar Yaoz-Kest is a Hungarian Survivor and his amble through Belsen is a reminder that so much Smoke consumed so much Jewish Humanity, that we are ill advised to forget.)
It is essential we recognise that while Ephraim Fogel was one such Poet who managed to offer us an insight into one of Hitler’s x6 Death Camps, established by Hitler in German occupied Poland, many other’s are exploring the reaches just outside the Destructive process. Then when we think of the range of emotion which might encompass shame, guilt and grief, and I have before me more than 500,000 pages filled with words which exemplify all of these monuments to inhumanity, I search for other’s who will qualify their meaning. I have no idea what it must be to be a Jew, but I can imagine it takes an extraordinary Human Being to see much in Humanity that still exists after what we allowed to happen to 6,000,000 of their People. Now I might just have you consider why I feel guilt at all about something which happened decades before I was born. But Humanity does not allow for us to ignore what was done to a People simply because we were not born, or we were actually alive though remote from the perpetration. Perhaps even, we remained absent and outside of the very detail of the atrocity seeking to look in to expand our knowledge of such hatred. We each have Parents, Grandparents and some lucky enough to have Great Grandparents, and their past actions have so shaped and influenced how we adjust and perceive our own life, continually attached to the rest of all Humanity. For many German’s, they have but an inkling of what their own lineage achieved in adopting Hitler’s principle to Mass Murder the Jews, and any other’s he might have taken a dislike to.
It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Nearer. Farther off.
It happened, but not to you.
You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others.
On the right. The left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.
You were in luck -- there was a forest.
You were in luck -- there were no trees.
You were in luck -- a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
A jamb, a turn, a quarter-inch, an instant . . .
So you're here? Still dizzy from
another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn't be more shocked or
how your heart pounds inside me." Wislawa Szymborska.
(Wislawa Szymborska was born in Poland in 1923 and is a Nobel Prize winner for her Literature.)
Hitler was not an empathetic person, had no sympathy for Humanity and raged against common decency on every level. That said, the Jew knows what happened to 6,000,000 of their People. The Jew knows what we allowed to happen to 6,000,000 of their People. The collective guilt of a so called ‘christian’ founded resentment, a deep seated hatred and an eventual willingness to Slaughter these 6,000,000 Jews, throws up far too many questions than those answers which are both necessary to comprehension and acknowledgement. The human World threw its allegiance behind a series of hatred’s that have permeated the Historical arena for more than 2,000 years and has allowed states to disrupt, disregard and destroy the Jewish People at no seeming cost to their own moral nor ethical countenance. Here, and while we deal in huge numbers, statistics can never be a correct format for what is a very Human loss of People, and is a loss too to the rest of Humanity. Nor can such mathematical statements or formulae become the arbiter of a human atrocity so enormous, we have difficulty imagining its terrifying ordeal.
No one kneads us again from earth and loam,
no one evokes our dust.
Praised be you, no one.
Because of you we wish
were we, are we, will
we be, blossoming:
the nothing's-, the no ones rose.
its pistil soul bright,
its stamen heaven crazed,
its crown red
from the purple word that we sang
over, o over
its thorn. Paul Celan.
(Paul Celan was born in Czernowitz, Bukovina in 1920. In 1942 Paul saw his parents deported to Auschwitz. He survived The Holocaust confined to many camps but Paul never truly recovered from the losses. He committed suicide in 1970.)
Significantly, The Holocaust term has been borne on the mantle of Historical account to not only contain this emphasis for loss but to curtail a devastation which would damn all too much of human civilisation. 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe are such an atrocity, which must audibly resonate with accusation and a measure of empathetic sympathy for a beleaguered and brutally destroyed community, that we should all we hear its call from the distance and pain so many People were forced to endure. The atrocity itself cannot be judged with such terms as would allow for the human enormity of the annihilation of a People. Moreover, and simply because they were Jewish People, we cannot allow for this to become deflecting from the fullest human dimension of loss. Indeed, how can any mathematical dissertation convey the terror and horror fully experienced by 6,000,000 Murdered Human Beings. How then can we redefine our own humanity on the basis of this severing of any cultural, ethical or moral probity which had supposedly established our former civilisation. Had we too been given no manner of choice would we too have been guillotined from existence. Perhaps, just perhaps, as non-Jews we would have been more favourably treated and then eternally rewarded in more favourable terms as to how we are to be remembered.
"..Had I died when I had no choice it would not have allowed others freely to cease my existence. No one has ..right to select inappropriate timing for me to leave my life behind. Perhaps this is childish foolishness but now I will not be allowed to progress beyond ..not yet Adult fool I might have planned to be." Anonymous.
(Anonymous and from the depths of The Holocaust).
Remembering that with such a measured and constructed intolerance, 6,000,000 Jews were allowed to be Slaughtered with little protest from the World standing along the ridges of total indifference. I look constantly for what might inspire those others of us to begin their own recollection and connection with these, the Jews who are The Holocaust. We gaze either willingly or not on a past we have yet to comprehend fully. From that period there was a poetry which has become an undernourished medium as it presents itself to us today. But in the midst of an approaching doom, and as the terms of The Holocaust escalated, adding words to those messages we were to inherit, this has motivated so many conflicted and endangered Jews to add in prose, the lessons we have yet to fully contend with. We have been given all too many graven images and these attack our conscience and conscious reckoning. With words which once flourished, mighty tomes have been consigned to the same abandoned ash which was a formerly a representative body of 6,000,000 Jewish People. But we have many examples of the style and emphasis placed in words to come from beyond their grave to consult our impression of the deepest rift ever to refute humanity itself.
"..We have to be tolerant. I don't care if you're Catholic ..Muslim or something else ..as long as you're a decent human being. That's really what it is." Alexander Kimel.
(Alexander Kimel was born in Podhaje, Galicia and lived in Ghetto of Rohatyn, where some 9,900 of the 10,000 Ghetto Jews were Murdered. Alexander escaped May 1943 and is a Survivor.)
In essence, the usage of words to promote tolerance has been largely conducted through Books, forgotten statements and simple pamphlets wishing to inform us. With poems that are so well measured and offering such a depth perception, we have largely failed to study them. They have become the lexicon of abbreviated cries, shrieks of despair all detailing the abandonment of a People on the cusp of a faltering society unwilling to protect them. Meanwhile, it is essential to identify the ownership of a work quoted so we know who delivers them to us. It is also important for me to recognise that in the depths of The Holocaust, identity was meant to be shredded alongside those Jews to be physically destroyed. Usually, and in the midst of societies all too willing to look the other way, words were constructed in defiance to such an intolerable indifference. Here, in this use of words to describe the atrocity, and I am not an advocate of Poetry as such, but merely as their usage of the words used to convey the factual truth we have sought, we come to recognise an epoch altering atrocity. The carefully scaled words, while they balance our appreciation of the lengths to which so many went to, to deliver us the example we clearly have not awoken to, we grasp an urgency which was limiting in the context of time that was being denied to all these Jewish People.
There is a Last, Solitary Coach.
There is a last, solitary coach about to leave.
Let us get in and go.
For it won't wait.
I have seen young girls going softly
With sad faces
That looked ashamed and sorry
Like purple sunsets.
And chubby, pink children
Who went simply
Because they were called.
And I've seen men
Who stepped proud and straight through the world's streets,
Whose large eyes went ranging
Far and wide,
They too got in calmly
And we are the last.
Day is declining.
The last, solitary coach is about to leave.
Let us too get in quietly
For it won't wait. David Vogel.
(David Vogel was a Russian Jew taken in 1944 and Murdered somewhere?)
One of my all time favourite songs, and music is both a simple pleasure and a much needed resort in the midst of the turmoil, has to be Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones. But, it is with the words which engaged me so many years before I lasted onto The Holocaust, that I learned from sympathy that empathy escalates us toward awakenings as better beings of human stature. I learned candidly from lyrics that we can make bold statements and when we state the things that matter, we can articulate all manner of concerns. At the time of my awakening to the loss of 6,000,000 People, and as I so often digested words to find their meaning, I did not realise I would find World War II and The Holocaust as a refrain that entered my head with this song. But, and my resolution to affix some form of literary concern to such an enormous Tragedy, Catastrophe and Atrocity did emerge. Those initial struggles with words allowed for an empathy that was guided toward an annihilated Jewish People. I found a solid grounding and from which I have layered this platform of mine with the words that would devour so meanings, 6,000,000 reasons await some form of resonance with the horrible details still to emerge.
"..I rode a tank
Held a General's rank
When ..Blitzkrieg raged
And ..bodies stank." The Rolling Stones.
However, there is a truth to be had in that all Roads do lead in the one direction and nominally, this is to the place we wish to be. Again, and while this might sound like an opportunity to direct myself toward those words which have become meaningful to me, and they are and they do, they just might inspire the definitive direction for others. This route, which I have traversed now for more than x20 years does not letup as I seek future comprehension from an immeasurable conflict with an immensely detailed narrative view. Pleased to meet you (was said), (with a) Hope that you guess my name. But what's puzzling you, is the nature of my game and that particular game has more than 1,500,000 Jewish Children’s souls amongst these 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe, who are literally far too anonymous to History. In these first few words are the lyrics to a song I have devoured time and time again and long before I knew much of The Holocaust term, let alone the very detail aspects of its atrocity, Music so consoled my soul and filled my heart with measures of meaning. I have had my senses so warmed, they remain my release from the troublesome detail of atrocity which spared not one single Jews, but consumed 6,000,000 of them anyway.
When I returned to my home town
believing that no one would care
who I was and what I thought
it was as if the people caught
an echo of me everywhere
they knew my story by my face
and I who am always alone
became a symbol of my race
Like every living Jew I have
in imagination seen
the gas-chamber the mass-grave
the unknown body which was mine
and found in every German face
behind the mask the mark of Cain
I will not make their thoughts my own
by hating people for their race. Karen Gershon.
(Karen Gershon escaped The Holocaust on the Kindertransport while her Parents, deported to Riga did not.)
The strains of riffs and themes of music so touched my heart like so much poetry and as poetry still resonates with literary minded people, its eloquence has so ensnared me. For their effort, I can use words lyrically to share my concerns and with a passion for their usage. Here, poetry is far too often all we have left of so many, wholly consumed within the atrocity. Now that I seek their words to define, and it is their absence from us which needs defining, I reconnect somehow with their past. In words which might not seem like they factually accumulate the despairing horror that is every day encountered, a poet can so often give their finer words to share a scene which could all too easily pass us by. What words may choose to devastate us must be sought out of the carnage of hate we now wish to confront. But we escape the language of confrontation and know their indelible process has been weighed down with such an immense horror, how are we to describe what we consider must have been truly terrifying. Life does not offer us too many glimpses into a past so riven with despair, that the sheer atrocity would seek to consume us too if we did not have historical distance to qualify us for our present day travails.
"..driving of women ..children into ..marshes did not have ..expected success ..marshes ..not so deep ..one could sink. After ..meter ..solid ground. ..Ukrainian clergy ..very co-operative and ..available for every Aktion. ..population ..on good terms with ..Jewish sector of ..population. Nevertheless ..helped energetically in rounding up ..Jews. ..locally recruited guards ..Polish police ..former Polish soldiers ..made a good impression. ..total number ..shot by ..Mounted Units ..6,526." SS Sturmbannfuhrer Franz Magill.
(Franz Magill led a troop of the Dirlewanger brigade)
We cannot look upon accounts of such atrocity without the feeling of shame which must have been so missing from those whose empathy was kept secreted deeper inside them than should be humanly possible. But here, we merely dip our toe into the swelter of words whose poisoning influence must become adapted to ensure the positive lessons which tolerance must give. This is the essence in which empathy strikes at the core of all belief systems and clearly manifests itself in the detail which has grown to shock, frighten and scare humanity. But clearly the world is not shocked enough as there are many who will now defend the indifferent attitude of their nations during the most horrendous period in all history. The Holocaust Slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews of Europe has no humanitarian borders but exists within the psyche of who we are and who we wish to be. Worryingly too, especially in a country like Poland, where 3,000,000 of its own Citizens were butchered because they were Jews, some seek to shift responsibility and apportion blame onto some others. Though notably guilty of many crimes, these others, be they Estonian, French, Latvian, Lithuanian or Ukrainian, all are equally as guilty as any Pole who divested themselves of any moral probity in their conduct toward their fellows, who just happened to have been Jews.
"..Reminiscences make a sad ..depressing literature." Januscz Korczak.
(Januscz Korczak was born in Warsaw. Renowned the World over for his refusal to abandon His 200 charges, the Children from the orphanage to Treblinka. On August 6th. 1942 Korczak, with Stefania Wilczynska, Broniatowska and Sternfeld leading x4 Columns of Children left their sanctuary at 16 Sienna Street, their fate sealed.)
This sought out effort to ensure the light of reminiscence by some is cast aside in order to ensure the deeds of some former nationals do not shine brightly upon the truth of the many forms of collaboration, does not abrogate any responsibility. This process of shifting blame is seemingly their sought after deflection in order to negate the obvious collusion and collaboration by some of their own nations with these deeds of Hitler and his cronies. It is possible, with recalling here what Januscz Korczak reflects upon, and in fully reminiscing their loss, we have too detailed an atrocity to make it at all palatable to accept when far too many had a responsibility for the constituting effects of the overall atrocity. This means also that any form of denial by any who might have constituted a guilt for the atrocity’s perpetration, must be questionable. Those aligned with the gravest intolerance’s toward their Jewish Neighbours, or were merely effortless in the seeming indifference they had shown to the destruction of the Jews, cannot be tolerable. All of these effects, which was so obviously being undertaken, belongs to those nations and their nationals who assisted, aided, abetted or helped in destroying a fully fledged humanity designed in Jewish attire.
Their shouts do not greet us.
We stare at long lost moments
Shuffle forth to meet despair.
There the angry crowd awaits
A doom ridden line of hope.
Their shouts do not greet us
No welcome echoes forth.
I see many amongst us
From vast times gone by.
Adhering to shrieking demands
We settle to a controlled sway.
Edging further from all we knew
Children so much closer to an unknown e.." Anonymous.
(Anonymous and unfinished from the depths of The Holocaust)
Here, as the political emphasis after this, a Second World War sought to assuage so much guilt and secrete all too much of the atrocity, the 'general's of rank', the politicians of measure and the people of consequence all emerged unscathed from what they knew of the more than 1,250,000 shot Jewish bodies, which must have stank as they sank into shallow holes and hideaways. This does not even meet the criteria to be attached to those who continued daily life outside the gates of Auschwitz, Belzec, Birkenau, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. For me, as I stood in each of these Death Camps, fully established by Hitler in German occupied Poland, I too wonder, who could not know, who could not hear, who could not see and who could not have smelled the atrocity of so much burning flesh. In these x6 Death Camps alone, there were in excess of 4,000,000 Jews Murdered, interred, disinterred and cremated. The approved essential to disinter and then cremate what remained of such an atrocity must have appeared before countless German general's who had been witnesses to the imaginable destruction they endorsed with their culpable silence. This truth does not belong to the integrity of a song either, but to the failings of History to stand squarely in favour of a justice for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews.
"..My mother survives in hiding and ..4 months before liberation she is turned over to ..Germans by a local Polish farmer. She is tied to a wagon and brought into town to ..German Gestapo ..and is shot in ..town cemetery." Aaron E.
So as not to be lost in translation I copied both versions of Pavel's Butterfly. The synthesis of the work is hardly disturbed and it is little consolation knowing the outcome of what awaited Pavel, whose Butterfly might easily have translated equally plausibly within Birkenau. What continually confronts us today is not just in the search of so missing a sympathy for what approached, what emerged and what destroyed 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, but the enormous shortage of empathy left reeling in its terrifying wake. Not that all concerned have failed to acknowledge The Holocaust is all a part of all human responsibility. But the distancing from its occurrence has a gained momentum and a blame culture which seeks to somehow exorcise certain national guilt’s. We are aware that for so long Germans placed their own guilt and its onus, on those fringe elements of German society, Gestapo and all too many rogue SS units.
He was the last. Truly the last.
Such yellowness was bitter and blinding
Like the sun’s tear shattered on stone.
That was his true colour.
And how easily he climbed, and how high,
Certainly, climbing, he wanted
To kiss the last of my world.
I have been here seven weeks,
Who loved me have found me,
Daisies call to me,
And the branches also of the white chestnut in the yard.
But I haven’t seen a butterfly here.
That last one was the last one.
There are no butterflies, here, in the ghetto. Pavel Friedmann.
(Pavel Friedman was a 19 year old taken from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz on September 29th. 1944 and Murdered there.)
From here there is a process forward to where we attempt to link the atrocity to those who perpetrated the deed, but also to those whose presence, observance and knowledge permeate the perimeter of this destructive process. Those like the Dirlewanger or Kaminski brigade are what criminal elements can become for the excuse of nations to hide behind. Hitler of course, so intractable and convinced all criminals would deliver him his end result, the Destruction of all Jewry. We also have come to realise that the crimes of the supposed ‘elite’ Waffen SS and even Wehrmacht troops were more deeply embedded in the atrocity than has been fairly acknowledged. Now we hear more from all too many nationals who insist it was other nations who committed the crimes and not their. Be they Polish, Latvian or Ukrainians denials, each contributed a share to the overall guilt. Truth is! While some nations were more heavily involved and colluded or were collaborative, all collusion is collaboratively wrong. Any level of cooperation given to Hitler defames the name of any societal norms which include morality and ethics. With all things considered, there has been such an inconsistent sympathy for 6,000,000 Jewish losses, and as such, their memorials appear insincere.
The Action in the Ghetto of Rohatyn. (March 1942)
Do I want to remember?
The peaceful ghetto, before the raid:
Children shaking like leaves in the wind.
Mothers searching for a piece of bread.
Shadows, on swollen legs, moving with fear.
No, I don't want to remember, but how can I forget?
Do I want to remember, the creation of hell?
The shouts of the Raiders, enjoying the hunt.
Cries of the wounded, begging for life.
Faces of mothers carved with pain.
Hiding Children, dripping with fear.
No, I don't want to remember, but how can I forget?
Do I want to remember, my fearful return?
Families vanished in the midst of the day.
The mass grave steaming with vapor of blood.
Mothers searching for children in vain.
The pain of the ghetto, cuts like a knife.
No, I don't want to remember, but how can I forget?
Do I want to remember, the wailing of the night?
The doors kicked ajar, ripped feathers floating the air.
The night scented with snow-melting blood.
While the compassionate moon, is showing the way.
For the faceless shadows, searching for kin.
No, I don't want to remember, but I cannot forget.
Do I want to remember this world upside down?
Where the departed are blessed with an instant death.
While the living condemned to a short wretched life,
And a long tortuous journey into unnamed place,
Converting Living Souls, into ashes and gas.
No. I Have to Remember and Never Let You Forget. Alexander Kimel.
(Alexander Kimel was born in Podhaje, Galicia, lived in Ghetto of Rohatyn, where some 9,900 of the 10,000 Ghetto Jews were Murdered. Escaped May 1943 and is a Survivor.)
The moral dimensions of empathy on the whole too has been inadequate in replacing the negative effects of indifference permeating the very atrocity. Far too many today now seek to dilute, dispute and downright refute the terms of reference which seek to enclose the Jews in The Holocaust. The psychological emphasis, to design a string of quotients so as to assess whether one is empathetic or not forces an emotional trait into the hands of a science which cannot fully establish the fundamental and discerning voice of Human concern. We can iterate concern. We can suggest concern but it cannot be given a number and become acceptable to the Human condition. We each display a level of sympathy, or empathy, given our own understanding of what that entails. We may well propose to engage in a remembrance of the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of The Holocaust, seeking a sympathy to empathise with their loss.
No blade of grass
No blade of grass
That tastes so sweet.
No patch of earth more bare.
To stave off pain to our hunger
No blade of grass so filling
In the cool cold air.
As we eat our fill
The dead fill our naked space
We live if we dare. Anonymous.
(Anonymous and from the depths of The Holocaust)
In the hands of Science, a cognitive tool will discern whether we have the correct methodology required to move away from what is our own reality. The memory for The Holocaust will immerse us in a place where we attempt to connect with those who stroll a different path. There are far too many confined to shedding responsibility and attempting to disown their guilt, there is a danger of unleashing a revisionist view of all History that cannot sustain any truthful narrative. As any christian who might call this the walking in the footsteps of the fisherman, and while utilising the lessons to be learned to benefit those other than oneself, humanity flourishes. Others would simply call this religious emphasis a moral grounding, an ethical understanding and even a charitable approach! For me though, empathy comes with having a sympathetic soul and allowing that sympathy to connect with those whose feelings have been touched by trauma. Also, and for those who are disconnected from Society or just need a calming influence, we have to reach out a hand!
First They Came For The Jews
"..First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me." Martin Niemoeller.
(Martin Niemoller was a German theological Minister and originally supported Hitler’s views, especially against the Jews. He served time in Both Dachau and Sachsenhausen and Dachau Concentration Camps.)
One can empathise out of concern and afford moral support for someone's wounded feelings without even knowing the impact those feelings can have upon oneself. Emotional support rendered to those at the Death of a Parent is a way toward empathising! We can certainly sympathise with those losses and then empathise for what we too will know what that loss means to fellow Human Beings. We struck a systematic chord when I knew about such losses, and it was empathetic in as much as I could imagine the loss, feel the grief and was aware of the depth of the despair. All of that was fully visited upon me, so empathy came in advance of that knowledge and I am able to reflect the horror for you is the disgust I feel for those who could do this to so many People, and simply because they were Jews. I have therefore empathised before hand, due to that appreciation of what your loss certainly is and I recognise clearly the Jewish essence of it, and as loss comes to us all, it wasn't long before my sympathy for your losses became an empathetic relevance!
How Can I see You, Love.
How can I see you, love,
Amid storms of grief
Without feeling my heart shake?
A deep night
Blacker than the blackness of your eyes,
Has fallen silently
On the world.
And is touching your curls.
My hand will clasp your dreaming
And I shall lead you between the nights.
Through the pales mists of childhood,
As my father once guided me
To the house of prayer. David Vogel.
(David Vogel was a Russian Jew taken in 1944 and Murdered somewhere?)
That is why I stressed placing an emotional arm around the Survivor and the Jewish People as a whole! It was done as an understanding of what your communal need might be and as empathy is a sense of that feeling, it is in that chosen want to appreciate your overall sorrow. With 6,000,000 losses to mourn, my usage of non statistical terms, which is an understanding of the feelings you are faced with, can never replace the Human loss you face! We have a clearly defined empathy reached at as the understanding of an other's situation, placing oneself in their 'shoes'. While support is indeed a shoulder to cry on, that assist to shoulder a burden is as empathetic as it is genuine. One might not understand how a person feels but with any attempt to reach an understanding or imagine how sad or distraught a person might be is all part of an empathetic process.
"..Reformers come to a bad end. Only after their death do people see that they were right and erect monuments in their memory." Janusz Korczak.
(Januscz Korczak was born in Warsaw. Renowned the World over for his refusal to abandon His 200 charges, the Children from the orphanage to Treblinka. On August 6th. 1942 Korczak, with Stefania Wilczynska, Broniatowska and Sternfeld leading x4 Columns of Children left their sanctuary at 16 Sienna Street, their fate sealed.)
Somewhat prophetically, Janusz a reformer could not as yet foresee his role in distinguishing himself before Humanity and while it is too simplistic also to measure the effort in terms of the size of the task, 6,000,000 times over, Janusz Korczak has a measure beyond that. We might seek to follow in the steps of a giant amongst mankind, recognising that Janusz Korczak attains such an accolade. Some might consider Martin Luther King a giant amongst humanity and any attempt to appreciate what he sought to achieve or what he meant to people would stretch the emphasis of our empathetic understanding to find a relevance to The Holocaust. But great people do great things and to empathise with their failings makes the effort an ever more grandiose appreciation of the frailty we each secure in this life. Make no bones about it! We come this way but once. We touch Humanity in the blink of an eye and leave a footprint which shows us empathetic, sympathetic or one of life's drifters through the banality of existence. What you each must choose to understand becomes the effort to reach an empathy with a fellow human being!
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there's no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.
I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone's there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I'll give you strength,
I'll give you hope. Just stay a little while.
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there's no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace.." Anonymous.
(Anonymous and from the depths of The Holocaust. Possibly a French Jew? taken from a place of hiding in Cologne.)
We don't need cliches or terms derived from science to appreciate that the delivery of some form of sympathy ensures an empathy towards another’s struggle, and this is a given! We sympathise and express a desire to simply understand, and hence we empathise! In the grand scheme of things we are negligible unless we reach an understanding of who we are, what we are and why we are who we have become! If we take the time to understand ourselves, we can dictate that understanding so that it resonates with those around us! We have such a short time to fashion anything other than a postscript to life. I am at a cross roads in my study of The Holocaust as to whether the World just did not care enough about the Jewish People, or did not care at all that 6,000,000 of them were being ritually Slaughtered. Now I am tired of those platitudes of concern, the vagaries of which even seek to diminish the term of The Holocaust. For me, and even from those who see in some religious connotation a missing protocol for Annihilation which Hitler fully presented to the World, we should hold firmly to the term which has hosted such a deep loss, its narrative is 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, Men, Women and Their Children who are The Holocaust.
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing
against a white stone...
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I'm sure because it wished
to kiss the world goodbye.
For seven weeks I've lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto
But I have found my people here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut candles in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don't live in here,
In the ghetto. Pavel Friedmann.
(Pavel Friedman was a 19 year old taken from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz on September 29th. 1944 and Murdered there.)
6,000,000 Murdered Jews have lived under the genocidal term given to them for much of what remained of Jewish Survival, and their Survival from The Holocaust regards us and that it is incumbent upon us all to retain that principle guidance in order, Always to Remember, Never to Forget. The fundamental fact of all life is surely, We arrived, We laid siege to what life offered us, We stayed a while and then We departed. We might have understood that underlying principle far better if we showed an empathy for some of those 6,000,000 Murdered Jews whose journey proved more troubled than our own! Clearly! As we are obliged to pay our own respects to those we have Loved and Lost, the Worlds Humanity must look past all pretexts to share a concern for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews. Where these Jews, who are The Holocaust, are interred, matters so often in terms of all personal and any intimate connection. Otherwise, Poland as the largest grave site for Holocaust remembrance is not merely a pilgrimage, it is a privilege to make certain the World is awake to why We must visit. Forget the territory and ignore the demeaning images of collaboration that have been presented to us. The essential in this is the memory for 6,000,000 Jews who are much lost to all who survey the carnage struck by such an intolerable hatred.
You who live secure
In your warm houses,
Who return at evening to find
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider whether this is a man,
Who labors in the mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a crust of bread
Who dies at a yes or a no.
Consider whether this is a woman,
Without hair or name
With no more strength to remember
Eyes empty and womb cold
As a frog in winter.
Consider that this has been:
I commend these words to you.
Engrave them on your hearts
When you are in your house, when you walk on your way,
When you go to bed, when you rise.
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house crumble,
Disease render you powerless,
Your offspring avert their faces from you." Primo Levi
(Primo Levi’s Shema is one of the finest poems to emerge from The Holocaust and from one of The Holocaust’s finest Writer’s. Born in Turin in 1919 he worked as an industrial Chemist prior to WWII and was detained and transported to Auschwitz. Having Survived this experience and being tormented by Survivoral guilt, he died in 1987. I do not see in what happened to him a suicide.)
Leaving aside all personal enmity, our journey from France through Poland to Russia and from Norway through Poland to Greece, 6,000,000 Murdered Jews do not expect other than our confirmation that we have made the effort to visit and Remember them. Jewish tradition holds with a simple stone as a marker that informs all others that we have been, we have acknowledged and we know the debt we owe 6,000,000 lost lives. There is ample room for 6,000,000 such stones, the achievement of which ensures, Reverence is not dealt with in any remote way. It demands effort and personal attachment, regardless of personal wishes or intentions. I visited x6 of these mass Graveyards, at Auschwitz and Birkenau, 1,100,000 or so markers required; Belzec, with 884,700 markers required; Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka and there is not enough to leave a marker sufficient in grief for 6,000,000 expectant souls. It is simple marker of respect to the memory of those who still passed this way, tortured, brutalised and murdered but in need of our Remembrance in order that they are nor Forgotten.
The Creed of a Holocaust Survivor
I do believe, with all my heart,
In the natural Goodness of Man. Despite the blood and destruction,
Brought by one man, trying to be God,
In the Goodness of Man, I do believe.
I do believe, with all my heart,
That God gave man the blessing and the curse.
Man can select the curse of envy, hatred and prejudices,
Or the blessing of love, harmony and beauty.
Despite the painful curses of the past,
In the blessing of the Creator, I do believe.
I do believe, with all my heart,
That God created a beautiful world,
The sun and the trees, the flowers and the bees.
And the best way to serve God, is
To enjoy the fruits of His labour of love.
Despite the painful memories from the past, In the joyful celebration of life,
I do believe. I do believe with all my heart,
That God has created man in image of His own.
And killing of man, is like killing of God.
Despite the massacres in Rwanda, the cleansing in Bosnia,
The folly of Muslim fanatics, and the cruelty of Pol Pot.
In the love and compassion of the Creator, I do believe.
I believe with all my heart,
That the Messiah and the Kingdom of Heaven will come;
When man will conquer his destructive urge,
And learn how to live in harmony with nature and himself.
When all the preachers of hate will be silenced,
And man will become his brother's keeper.
When man will stop killing man, in the name of God,
And nation will not lift weapons against nation.
When it will be, I do not know, but
Despite all the signs to the contrary.
In the dawn of a Better World, I do believe. Alexander Kimel.
(Born in Podhaje, Galicia, lived in Ghetto of Rohatyn, where some 9,900 of the 10,000 Ghetto Jews were Murdered. Escaped May 1943 and is a Survivor.)
Their wait calls upon us to visit, restore a balance, make amends in some minute way and make an apology that rings out in Never Forgetting what we allowed for them to endure. The travelogue reads 6,000,000 times over, Remember me here as I wait for your coming. Remember. These Are Not Polish spaces as they belong to a displaced Humanity. They retain the last vestiges and integrity of a numbered People, their number being 6,000,000 and this is so vast we have Forgotten all of their Names. The shame too is that we can allow the World to Forget if we do not honour those spaces and allow for the hate filled continuance of:
"..they're only Jews who still do not matter,"
to assign 6,000,000 murdered Jews to their past alone. For me, I know there are 6,000,000 People who do matter, and because they are Jews, we Remember them. And here all empathy turns toward a sympathy for a lost People, ritually devoured by a maddening hatred that is forever irrelevant. We can too easily accept that any form of hatred feasts off of our own humanity and devours it unless we counter its necrotizing influence. We no longer share the space once occupied by these Jewish People, so we honour their memory with a stone, left over to carry the weight of accusation forever forward.
Black milk of morning we drink you at dusktime
we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at night
we drink and drink
we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie
There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes
who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
he writes it and walks from the house and the stars all start flashing he whistles his
dogs to draw near
whistles his Jews to appear starts us scooping a grave out of sand
he commands us to play for the dance
Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at dawntime and noontime we drink you at dusktime
we drink and drink
There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes
who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie
He calls jab it deep in the soil you lot there you other men sing and play
he tugs at the sword in his belt he swings it his eyes are blue
jab your spades deeper you men you other men you others play up again for the dance
Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at dusktime
we drink and drink
there’s a man in this house your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite he cultivates snakes
He calls play that death thing more sweetly Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland
he calls scrape that fiddle more darkly then hover like smoke in the air
then scoop out a grave in the clouds where it’s roomy to lie
Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at noontime Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland
we drink you at dusktime and dawntime we drink and drink
Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland his eye is blue
he shoots you with leaden bullets his aim is true
there’s a man in this house your golden hair Margareta
he sets his dogs on our trail he gives us a grave in the sky
he cultivates snakes and he dreams Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland
your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite." Paul Celan.
(Paul Celan (Paul Antschel) was born in Czernovitz, Romania and was in Forced Labour for 18 months before escaping to Bucharest and eventual Survival.)
Essentially, and more especially for Jews everywhere, these are your People and you have much more reason than I to recognise what the World owes them. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but in the case of 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, why do we not do everything to Remember them, even when it means standing at their last resting place. Their Remembrance counters all and everything we might bring to the fore amidst personal considerations. Our wishes must remain secondary to what is left of what was demanded of 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, and that has been their complete obliteration. Until you stand upon a place on Earth designating that this is their final resting place, who will know your concern and who will know you have been to Remember them. How else do we propose to Remember them in these coming days?
The Little Smuggler.
Over the wall, through holes, and past the guard,
Through the wires, ruins, and fences,
Plucky, hungry, and determined
I sneak through, dart like a cat.
At noon, at night, at dawn,
In snowstorm, cold or heat,
A hundred times I risk my life
And put my head on the line.
Under my arm a gunny sack,
Tatters on my back,
On nimble young feet,
With endless fear in my heart.
But one must endure it all,
One must bear it all,
So that tomorrow morning
The fine folk can eat their fill.
Over the wall, through holes and bricks,
At night, at dawn, at noon,
Plucky, hungry, artful,
I move silently like a shadow.
And only one request
Will stiffen on my lips:
Who, mother mine, who
Will bring your bread tomorrow? Henryka Lazawert.
(Henryka Lazawert was taken from Warsaw to Treblinka during July 1942 and Murdered there, her memory is preserved and though:
"..I move silently like a shadow."
her destruction has not ensured her passage through our time is a forgotten detail. Not just merely in the words expressed, but her person is recalled.)
Treblinka had sought to accomplish a Hitlerian detail for more than 800,000 Jews or could it be more than 1,000,000 but obliteration comes to those forgotten and History records her name, her passing and her being. There in the gene sequence of the Survivor is the essential need for Justice which all but eliminates the terms of anger we would be raging with. All so many of these Human Beings, whose lives have been inundated with terror, horror and the grief of far too much loss, have a differing view to all of us where vengeance is replaced by what 6,000,000 Murdered Jews never received, Justice. The call to this day, for any form of Justice which meets the criterion which should be applied to the systematic nature of the Slaughter of 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe, would make the most placid of us rage with anger, our blood boiling over for revenge.
But, and apart from the fact that the Survivor considers luck to have been on their side, it is no coincidence that Justice has swerved their infinite need. It is in knowing the lengths to which we all must go to deliver to each and everyone a small portion of who we aim to be. In the depths of a despair that is The Holocaust, I have found these the Children to be the hardest to deal with. All Children condemned to a life unworthy of life, because they were Jews and so cruelly taken from them. Humanity has taught me much, but if we do not see in the individual a semblance of us, we are doomed to negate all that we should stand for. I have no belief system. I have only a compassion that I deliver on behalf of 6,000,000 Murdered Jews who were denied everything. For us all, we should seek to demand every piece of the life, and that opportunity to live it in peace with each other.
In words recorded for 6,000,000 Jews who can no longer utter sentences of meaning for us, we recall their having been here, in angry terms! However, the seeming way the Survivor purges their own anger, while there could be a lust for vengeance is a remarkable feat of their human capacity to raise themselves up above the rage. The telling of tales from within a Killing Site, the escape from under the pressure of an entire Humanity weighing heavily upon them, calculates our own ability to seek an empathy with such losses as comprehension will not tally. So as I read on, journey forth and deliver even more words of Remembrance, ours is the gift of listening to what the Survivor must be suffering in informing us, and that is empathetic enough to deliver for posterity, The Holocaust History that emerged in our time.
In the Steps of the CondemnedPosted by P.A. Draigh Sat, January 27, 2018 11:22:49
The Auschwitz Album.
Lili Jacob was an 18 year old young Woman ripped from her home in Bilke, near Beregszasz, in the region of Transcarpathia. The Beregszasz District had been formerly Czechoslovakian in 1919 immediately after World War I had finished and then it was reclaimed as part of Hungary in 1939. Then almost immediately after Hitler Invaded Russian, in Operation Barbarossa, June 22nd. 1941, many of these same Jews from the Carpathian region were rounded up and taken to Kamanets-Podolski for execution. Eventually, and in late April 1944, the foreboding came closer to Bilke and the home of Lili and her Family. Lili was forcibly taken, with her entire Family to the town's synagogue, detained in the courtyard and then soon after, they were transferred to the Beregszasz Ghetto.
"..Everyone thought Hitler was some kind of maniac." Lili Jacob.
Here, in an area comprising of the Kont and Valy brick factory’s and the barns and outbuildings of the Weisz Farmland, the Jewish Population here in the Ghetto swelled to an astonishing level of some 10,000. All of these Jews, and from many outlying Districts, local Towns, Villages and Shtetl’s, were all crowded and compacted together, uncertain of their fate. Lili’s life up to that point had been somewhat idyllic, and no one should have denied her, her right to continue with the life she had been given. For Lili, if this is not to say she was relatively comfortable, it is also to admit that she had never been so ritually abused. The right to pursue ones life in peace and unhindered was to acquaint Lili with the many trials and privations, but luck which still managed to save her presented itself to her.
"..Something just pulled me toward it right away." Lili Jacob.
Lili’s unease with the World raging across the border was summed up as she listened to radio broadcasts of what Hitler was charging and what the World was seemingly then stepping forth to contain. As rumours always abounded that Hitler had in his feted mind an assault upon all Jewish integrity, this was fairly and constantly seen as merely an attempt to force them to work for the Reich. Between May 16th and May 29th. 1944, in 4 transports, the Jews of the Beregszasz Ghetto were cleared in many ways brutal and methodical, and toward Auschwitz. Lili was eventually deported with her family to Auschwitz on May 24th. 1944 and they arrived on May 26th. 1944.
"..I never look at it alone ..Never." Lili Jacob.
The German guards appear tense after the previous days attempt by 40 to 50 Hungarian Jews to make their escape from an arriving transport. So here we have Lili, finally arrived at the gates of a Hell she would not comprehend but what we know, in photo graphical and evidential terms, of the process and progress of an arriving transport here at Auschwitz toward destruction. In fact, this evidence is the only visible testimony for any of the x6 Death Camps established by Hitler in occupied Poland. What History now gains is Lili Jacob’s gift to us all, a reminder of a terrible place littered with terrifying details and posterity is obligated with its specific charge. The Downfall of the Jews from Hungary, Um Siedlung der Juden aus Ungarn, and this detail is 'The Auschwitz Album' and we cannot simply skim through its pages without acknowledging the terrible shame it accuses Humanity of.
"..These are two of my brothers. ..Zrilu is 8 1/2 and Selig is 10." Lili Jacob.
The Album itself was probably created by former Kommandant of Auschwitz, SS Sturmbannfuhrer Richard Baer for what he considered would be his memorial to a deed he willingly undertook. Baer probably left the Album at the Dora Concentration Camp, which he too had commanded, for safe keeping or for fear of been caught with it on his person. After her enforced evacuation, a forced march toward a forced labour detail in the midst of the Winter of December 1944 and toward Dora, where she was liberated by the Americans, Lili herself stumbled upon the Album here. Lili was not more than 600 kilometres from the place that ‘The Album’ itself depicted, she was severely debilitated, extremeyl sickly and starved of her health and weighing less than 36 kilos.
"..my mother marched away ..and my father ..and my 5 brothers. I never saw them again." Lili Jacob.
Here however, while becoming recuperated to what she was still unaware would be her total loss, what Lili not only found in reference to the destruction she had managed to escape was something quite emotionally draining but somehow spiritually enriching. These photographs of her Family, Neighbours, Friends, Religious leaders would become a memento to all that had transpired, all that had been taken from her and all that she had lost. Lili also found herself in an image looking back at her and presenting her with a view from the Hell that she has managed to Survive. She found her Paternal Grandparents too, Abraham and Sheindele no doubt weary and worn as they too were staring back at her. Then there was the vision of her Aunt with her x4 Children, Lili’s Cousin’s.
"..Every day I would go to ..train to see if somebody came back from my family. ..Nobody came back." Lili Jacob.
Lili was also confronted too with the image of x2 of her Younger Brothers, Zrilu (Israel) and Selig (Zebig), though there were x5 in total, but here were both Zrilu and Selig alone. Also presented to her was the image of her Cousin Mendel. Neither these Paternal Grandparents, Aunt, her x4 Children, x2 Brothers, that are pictured here, nor her Cousin Survived, along with all other Family Members. Lili is alone in her Survival of those days, not wanting to look on separately from them but compelled to do so, so that we now will know what she has lost. That we have such a document is also a chilling reminder of what life looked like for the Jewish People right up to their destruction in the Gas Chambers.
"..I was wide awake when they tatooed it. I want to be wide awake to see that it's out." Lili Jacob.
These are photographs of a living and vibrant community of Jews, some scared, some uncertain but all told, together as a community and kept alive in an instant in time. We can look at the Children as they consider what was next in their latest adventure. I am certain too that the realists amongst the crowds knew specifically what awaited them. What not to do was apparent. No room for panic and so keep peace with themselves and not allow for the terror to rise above and beyond what the Germans were inflicting upon them. When Lili finally emerged from her recovery and her status as a refugee, she returned to Bilke to discover for herself what remnants of a Family still remained. She could not then transition back to a space in Bilke that was empty for her.
"..Without that Album ..you wouldn't have a visual sense of ..selection process ..of ..separation of families ..of ..way to ..gas chambers." Serge Klarsfeld.
Her wait for someone to return was constantly met with emptiness and a growing awareness, that she alone of her Family had Survived to be without those she had dearly loved all their lives. These images, which it must be stressed, are the only known photographs of the progressing transports toward the procession of annihilation. Heading toward a certain destruction has not been seen of any transport into Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor nor Treblinka so these images are beyond unique. They have become a symbol of what had been saved when so much life was lost. For Lili, who spent about 6 months in Auschwitz and had a number etched onto her skin, A10862 which was her tattoo’s number, never etched itself into her want to life. The number never quite defined her, as she found other tribulations would confront her memory’s of the past in her future.
"..You must understand ..miracle. ..One day a man took his photographs and he photographed ..woman who would one day find ..Album. It is very extraordinary. She understands that she had to give it to YadVashem. It's too important for a private person." Serge Klarsfeld.
She eventually met and married and brought the Album with her to America where she gave photo's to those who could lay claim to the evidence of their Family in them. Needless to say. There were none too many Survivors who had Survived to recognise their Family members. For that matter, there were none too many Survivors who could recognise anyone amidst these images. In 1958 Lili finally had the Tattoo surgically removed. As these photographs were also introduced into evidence, as Lili testified at the Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt, between December 1963 and August 1965, newer emphasis as to the very Catastrophe could be delivered to the World by Lili. This trial, which was the second Auschwitz trial, as the first Auschwitz Trial had been conducted in 1947, in Cracow, Poland, never gave Justice to any Surviving Jew let alone 6,000,000 Murdered Jews.
"..I have lived with this for so many years. It's been weighing so heavily on my heart. Now I want Album to be shown to ..world. I don't want it hidden anymore." Lili Jacob.
Serge Klarsfeld believes the photographs to be the work of Ernest Hoffmann, a teacher and deputy to the chief of the camp's identification service and the spread of his effort was possibly over the transports of May 25th. and 26th. 1944. In 1980, convinced by Serge Klarsfeld, who had visited her in her home in Miami, Lili was convinced of the true worth of such a document to us all. So as to ensure for posterity its unique and visual tribute to an annihilated Hungarian Jewry, Lili eventually delivered ‘The Album’ to YadVashem in 1983. Lili Jacob donated the album of photographs of her transport's arrival in Auschwitz and we can now look at the massive loss of life, as Hungarian Jews are marking their final steps toward eternity.
"..Here is ..train ..watchtower ..and ..smoke ..constant. ..Right away we started inhaling it from ..crematoriums. Everybody got nauseous." Lili Jacob.
On December 17th 1999 Lilly Jacob Zelmanovic Meier passed away and if Lili didn't quite appreciate the Albums future Historical evidence, she certainly knew on a personal and social level, its immense worth to her, Hungarian and World Jewry. Her 2 daughters share conflicting views of ‘The Album’ which for me, as I look at the degrading of Humanity by those who stole the lives of these Jews we now encounter here, is a measure of such depravity, we cannot even imagine nor comprehend. These photographs, every time we view them it is in knowing that these images are of an innocent People struggling with what was brought upon them by sheer hatred. The world can call this what it wants but I would look to those in the images, and as they progress past Lili, and for me they will remain for us Always to Remember, Never to Forget them as they were, Human Beings standing before the inhuman detail of such despicably inhuman and indefensible crimes.
The atrocity will linger far into our future and constantly looking back at the loss to the whole of Humanity, Civilisation, Culture and to 6,000,000 individual People Murdered on the basis of their Jewish antecedence. I look at Lili at times as she was, stood there silent and alone, in the midst of so many other Jews and I feel her concerned and traumatised demeanour. Lili faced an ordeal, she was yet to grasp, that no one should have been presented with. Lili’s entire composure must have wondered where else her Family might be as she stood shorn before the world. I have no certainty in any of this, and this is purely conjecture, but a Sonderkommando might well have informed Lili of just what Auschwitz meant.
How then could the human consciousness accept that such atrocity was immediately ahead of her, and within earshot as the sight of billowing smoke wafted a confirming smell of what had been uncertain up until that point. Then when I look at Lili in her later life, a Wife, Mother, Mentor, I can fully sense the enormous victory, though at an immensely horrendous cost to 6,000,000 others of her People, that Lili was now enabled to Remember. I recognise too that Hitler nor hatred was the victor here with Lili and her Survival is the true victory of Hitler, naztism, bigotry and hatred. Lili Jacob marks the steps we take toward toleration and acceptance of all and she is the very reason to Remember The Holocaust. This Holocaust Memorial Day is Lili’s, as much as it belongs to the 6,000,000 other Jews like her, but who did not Survive. Our Memory should not Rest while Lili’s now should. Lili has saved more than a World Entire, she has saved the images of a Universe inflamed toward eternity. Respect Lili Jacob.
In the Steps of the CondemnedPosted by P.A. Draigh Sun, December 24, 2017 02:52:04
I am 91 years old ..a faded old beauty ..born in Jaworzno ..Poland. I came from a family of 8. My father and Mother Ichak and Rosalia Mehlman. Kind law abiding people along with my three sisters Eva 29 ..Regina 28 ..Salusia 12 years old ..my nephew Willy 6 ..my niece Frieda 6 months old ..that I never saw. ..In 1942 was slaving ..starving ..infested with lice ..eaten by bedbugs in a Concentration Camp in Czehoslovakia ..for 3 years until ..blessed day when we 350 very lucky young innocent girls ..were liberated by ..raggedy tired but victorious Red Army. ..God bless all liberators of this time in history." Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Dearest Natalie, there can be no excuse nor reasoning for what you, nor all your Jewish Neighbours in Jewish Jaworzno now mourn. The Jewish People of Europe, who were forced to suffer and endure because of the apparent hatred led by one man are all part of the memory you hold preciously. For your pain, the world stood by and now must endure a posterity filled with the guilt of the many. But firstly, I wish to provide some basic facts about this Town called Jaworzno which afforded you your early comfort only for it to be so brutally taken from you. The Town lies in a Silesian Province of Southern Poland. It is some 22 kilometres Southeast of Katowice and about 301 kilometres Southwest of the Polish Capital, Warsaw. It has been in existence as a cross roads to the East since the 13th Century and has prospered since it opened its first Coal Mine in 1767. By 1795 Austria had gained sovereignty of the region after annexing it from Poland. By the end of the 18th. Century there were close on 100 Jews residing within Jaworzno's Township and this steadily increased to close on 1,000 Jews. All the while mining was still to prove the stable and productive enterprise throughout the 19th. and early 20th. Century. By the turn of the 20th. Century, by which time the Town had become a City, Jewish persistence was growing. Patrick.
"..Natalie Mehlman Scharf Survivor of Concentration Camp Gabersdorf part of Camp Gross Rosen now part of Poland. To ..deniers I tell you deny as much as you want. ..only thing that will ever set you free from ..hatred that you have for my Jewish People is not ..shameless lies that you spread about us. This the Truth! For Truth Shall Make You Free." Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Dearest Natalie, the Jews were steadily being absorbed into the community and by the outbreak of the First World War, of the 13,000 residents of Jaworzno there were more than 1,300 Jewish Citizens and 12 of their members were on the City Council. Tragedy however was about to bite and by the time Hitler Invaded Poland September 1st. 1939, there were more than 1,800 Jews who lived in the City and could then be targeted for such unprecedented suffering, the unparalleled hatred against them, purged their number. Here, with the German occupation history saw the Ghettoisation of local Jews and so many other Jews from the surrounding areas. These Jews came from Chorzkow, Katowice and Siemianowice and were eventually moved into the Jaworzno Ghetto. Hitler's carefully phrased Jewish isolation and their segregation’s came into focus, and in the latter part of 1940 the Jews were met with restrictions. Focus upon the Jews, and with their ability to interact with their local neighbours curtailed, the move toward annihilation commenced. This brutality began with sporadic assaults and the confiscation’s of all manner of goods and Jewish property's were pilfered. As well as all of these assaults, the Murders of the burgeoning growth of these contained Jews became far too regular an occurrence. Patrick.
"..Monday August 28th. 2017 07:00am. Dear Patrick ..In june 1942 my whole family was still alive. In march 1943 most of them were gassed and burned in Auschwitz a town a walking distance from Jaworzno near Krakow were I was born." Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Dearest Natalie, and it does me no service to have to point out that on the night of July 12th. 1942 more than 2,092 of Jaworzno’s Jews were rounded up and transported towards the Auschwitz and Birkenau complex and their Destruction there. Fewer than 12 of these Jews from this transport were admitted to the Auschwitz Camp, the remainder were Murdered in the Birkenau factory of death. Here too the fate of the last Jews of Jaworzno is intertwined with what remained of the Jews of Silesia, as these were amongst the last Ghetto's still to be liquidated, those Ghetto’s in Bedzin and Sosnowitz. Tragically, far too few Jews from Jaworzno or the surroundings areas had Survived the early onslaught against their personal integrity. If these Jews were not Murdered by der Einsatzgruppe, who operated their aktionen in the vicinity of the City, transports to Ghetto's awaited the Jews of Jaworzno and they were removed further afield and the end result was never going to alter their fate as death and destruction was never far from them. Patrick.
"..I was grabbed by ..SS April 17th. 1942. And never saw my dear kinfolk again ..and now ..deniers ..marching Nazis with arms and permits and trump defending them ..they had permits there were nice people amongst he said. Americans not just ..media ..fair Americans ..good folks in our land speak up." Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Dearest Natalie, the following year after much of Jaworzno had been devastated by this Hitlerite ritual, and now along with the Bedzin (Bendin) Transport of August 1st. 1943, this transport contained the last x2 remaining Jewish Family's of Jaworzno. These Jaworzno Family’s were amongst 2,000 Jews drawn from the Bedzin Ghetto itself, from Gleitwitz and Kattowice and the surrounding regions. All are transported toward Auschwitz and the Birkenau Death Camp, where certain death for all too many of them could not be prevented. Of these x5 transports of 2,000 Jews each, that is in excess of 10,000 Jews, there were 1, 689 Jewish People who were not immediately directed toward Birkenau and were saved from being gassed. Whereas the remaining 8,400 of these Jews, including the last Jewish Families of Jaworzno, the Jews from Bedzin, Gleiwitz and Kattowice as well as the remnants of Silesian Jewry, here they were all to be extinguished at Hitler's bestial behest. Other's who also suffered, now seek to offer to posterity a small piece of the History that is now missing from those who were the Jews of Jaworzno. Patrick.
"..I will tell you how Hitler exterminated our entire family. ..March 1940 ..they arrested Mendele and took him to Berlin. ..2 years in jail ..released ..sent ..to Fiaski near Lublin and after 6 months to Majdanek and from then on there was no sign from him." Aron Krakauer.
Dearest Natalie, I have no need to point out to you what you already know, but Hitler had clearly identified with the raw materials to be gained in pursuance of his twin aims, the War and The Final Solution. He saw in its promise a sustained war effort that would allow him his final resolve of that very Jewish Question which was to proceed at all costs, and would annihilate all too many of your People, 6,000,000 of them. Unhindered and unhampered by any other concerns, the youth of Germany was squandered in obligatory defence of a failed ideology, and make no mistake, they were in awe of the idea of supremacy over other’s and the feted idiocy that was Hitler. Hitler of course had established many layers of perversion to gain his ultimate aim, the Destruction of the Jews of Europe. Here at Auschwitz and more especially Birkenau, and even amongst its many sub-Camp, the destruction of your People was managed and achieved. One of these sub-Camps as you know was here at Jaworzno and Hitler could clearly exploit the already brutalised and starving Jewish labour force, but could also achieve a further financial gain on top of that. Patrick.
"..I have suffered a lot. I ..don't know how I survived." Aron Krakauer.
Dearest Natalie, as there are those who do not know how they Survived Jaworzno, which was so near to the Jewish embattled population which arrived at the very doorsteps to their own destruction in the Gas Chambers at Auschwitz/Birkenau, I guess you must often wonder how You Survived. Well be thankful that you did so that in your presence you can relay what it is we are in need of knowing. Life of course became an even more temporary reprieve for those Jews Hitler could exploit further, but ultimately all Jews would be assigned the same fate, annihilation. Here though, on June 15th. 1943 the labour camp at Jaworzno was doing just that fixed aim of Hitler and his Reich where the Camp was opened to exploit the Coal reserves in the area. Production of this Coal, which stoked the very furnaces of the destructive processes at Auschwitz/Birkenau, has no consolation for anyone who now reads of this. In the person of Aron Krakauer, a former resident of Jaworzno and Survivor of Auschwitz, who informs us of the very fate of his own Parents, Wolf and Lieba, and his siblings Mendele and Mentze who did not Survive, the similarity’s to your own story must seem an acute and deeply cutting reminder. Patrick.
"..Our Dear Mother Lieba was sent ..July 1942 to Auschwitz ..our Dear Father Wolf ..August 1943 to Auschwitz and Dear Mentze also ..same at ..end of 1943. ..In January 1945 she was still there ..when ..Russians came closer they evacuated ..camp deep into Germany and on ..way ..shot ..90% of ..survivors." Aron Krakauer.
Dearest Natalie, while I don't EVER claim to know all the answers, which is why I have no wish to create the impression I am any authority on The Holocaust, I have learned so much that is wrong with Humanity, and this has been learned in 20 years of studying The Holocaust. How can it be for a People, knowing that so many were saved, and yet, they were not allowed to Survive the approaching liberation they felt was their only escape. For me then, I merely put words to an acknowledgement that those, like Yitzhak Arad, Professor Bauer, Yisrael Gutman and Lucy Dawidowicz, all of these who are clearly the enlightenment I have sought and the resolve of the questions I have yet to ask. There have always been 6,000,000 reasons why this odyssey of mine has been important for me and questions keep pouring out from within, and from those willing to ask of me, What do I know? But I cannot know what it is those I mention here must know and with certainty that with their own surety and with a front row seat to all the inexplicable horrors I flick through on a daily basis, I beseech their authorship and plough through their words to offer me my own wordings. It is with You, and their understanding of what I seek to comprehend, which is set in a Memorial to 6,000,000 of their fellow Human Beings, all Murdered because they too were Jews that I place my trust in what research must look like and the evidence it thus far provides. Patrick.
"..My family was gassed and burned in Auschwitz Poland. My dear late husband Bernard Benny Scharf ..only survivor of his family and I met in 1946 Fell in love and came to our blessed land in 1947. We have 2 children ..Jeffrey I. Scharf M.D. Andrea R. Scharf Gal ..3 Grandsons." Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Dearest Natalie, I had struggled with my 4th. Book on The Holocaust of the Jews of Europe as I have endeavoured to ask various questions all the way through the writing process. Many of these questions still cannot be asked as I survey the vista that opened up for you as you Survived. Certainly for those, like Yourself, who have guided my awareness of the terrible dilemma of retelling, I cannot deliver words that would amply compensate you for your loss, let alone for those whose 6,000,000 fellow Jews represents an entire Human Community. However, while communicating with Elie Wiesel I was struck by his determined approach and his suggestion that I should seek to not deliver a version of The Holocaust that was anything but an historical account. This has left me struggling to proceed with what would have been my 4th. Book, containing an attempt at a literary endeavour. This sought too to revisit Babi Yar, the most devastating single event within this destruction of the Jewish People, so as to deliver a narrative full of the sense of pain and abject despair for those Jews forced to endure and die in horrendous circumstances. There are many like me who also seek to acknowledge that the guilt of so many in what transpired, that they too must feel as I do, the lesson's to be learned cannot be gained without Justice attributed to your suffering, and that is before we can approach the entire atrocity of the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, who alone are The Holocaust. Patrick.
"..persistent commemoration of 6,000,000 Polish victims of genocide ..a figure which includes ..3,000,000 Polish Jews ..testifies to ..ease of appropriating ..Jewish dead as one's own." Iwona Irwin-Zarecka.
Dearest Natalie, this cause of mine is seemingly supposed to retrieve the Murdered Jews from the absence of any concern or compassion for their obvious status as the Chosen People to be totally annihilated. Iwona is correct in her evaluation that in seeking to merit Polish losses there is an attempt to abrogate the Jewish loss. That said, how could anyone let alone I ever come close, ever, to understanding the magnitude of feeling each word wrenched from the deep seated experience of the Jews who suffered, endured and then Survived, how can we ever begin to appreciate the lessons they willingly deliver for us all. I can merely borrow the words of the Survivor and attempt to ensure that I do share my concern with a form of care for them they will recognise. I will lend back to all of those who wish to experience what History has yet to learn from. My journey to the x6 Death Camps Hitler had established in German Occupied Poland will not end my search. Until my understanding of the complexities of The Holocaust is fully understood it continues. If it allows me to comprehend why one man can so direct his hatred onto so many other's and how his results are now to be measured in the Destruction of 6,000,000 Jewish People, then I will know a little more of what yo know. Patrick.
"..figure of 6,000,000. ..grants ..dead Jew ..status of a Pole ..in a post-mortem acceptance of ..Jews' membership in ..Polish family. ..this renders a reading of ..past which makes that past unrecognisable." Iwona Irwin-Zarecka.
Dearest Natalie, this status for the Polish Jew was not an entitlement to anything other than death under the vagaries of all of Hitler's directives to ensure their brutal destruction. This however, should not be applied to the position of the Pole, and though Poles were also murdered, but is seconded to an erstwhile position which would allow for them to Survive at the cost to ALL Polish Jews. We cannot simply reconstruct the past by inferring differing scenarios to suit the claims of falsified details we have no wish to recognise. For that reason also, I stand for the integrity of the past which must steel the present to ensure the future is both honest and true. I am left bereft too of any understanding as to how this World stood so idly by without acknowledging the knowledge of it all. Lamely, and while ensuring that they kept that knowledge in house and away from a World that would damn them for doing so, 6,000,000 Jews were progressed along the conveyor belt toward a mechanised and industrial level of destruction! Patrick.
"..Jew not only appears to be mourned on a par with others ..which he was not ..he also appears to have always belonged ..which he did not." Iwona Irwin-Zarecka.
Dearest Natalie, for me therefore, if the Slaughter of The Jews of Europe is to be the defining expression which is, The Holocaust, then we need to guard against all efforts to impose other’s into the position totally reserved for these Jewish People. Take BabiYar for instance, which pronounces that expression more fully in its isolation of that very terror to be visited upon Kiev's Jews. Over a x2 day period, between September 29th. and September 30th. 1941, and the evidence all points to the acknowledged brutality aimed at 33,771 Jews, it does not state any other’s were included? Once we begin to accept that the totality of The Holocaust was always intended to be the total destruction of all Jews, how can we ever mark such memory with distortion of that fact. Of course, beyond that time period we know as these x2 days, other’s became victims of Hitler’s outrage. These other’s though, they exist in terms that state World War Two’s analysis, but we know these 50 to 70 million were not part of a coordinated effort to ritually slaughter them all. Patrick.
"..destruction of ..Jewish Community ..when reclaimed as ..loss of Polish lives ..acquires a sense of trauma which it did not have." Iwona Irwin-Zarecka.
Dearest Natalie, also, and surely those like you Natalie, the 'Survivor' is not only the Jew who emerged from within the ravine at Babi Yar, but is the Jew who emerged from within Hitler's immediate grasp also? I know full well that many nationals from many states were under the Hitler cosh, but it was for the Jews that Hitler reserved the most serious blow! With that level of unequivocal certainty, I cannot begin to know, nor would I propose to know the despair of any Jew who faced this terrible, on going ordeal and 'genocide'. But for me there is this tangible link with which my humanity stretches to meet the overall trauma and I know of and share that desperation and feeling of abandon through my far reaching study. My research has not gilded any soft comparison’s of atrocity which was levelled at the Jewish People and a human empathy which feels shame for those who stood so idly by is part and parcel of my deliberate effort to Remember what was done and why it was allowed to be achieved. I carefully calculate from all of this, that any Jew who came out of the Death and Concentration Camps, who emerged from the Ghetto or who crawled away from the Killing Sites that were BabiYar, Rumbuli, Tuchinka or Ponary, that Survivor Jew is the bearer of an extraordinary insight into an intolerable evil and we must surely learn from them. These Survivor’s too are also the accuser’s of our indifference to their plight. Patrick.
"..sharing in suffering ..together with assigning all ..blame to ..Nazi's ..helps eliminate questions about ..Poles' action and inaction towards ..Jews." Iwona Irwin-Zarecka.
Dearest Natalie, what is intelligent in having such knowledge, when the lives of 6,000,000 Jews have been wilfully destroyed, and at the behest of a simple tyrant. Can it be that such intelligence is greater than the sum total of abandoned lives, because simply, these were Jewish lives. The obvious answer is written in the vaults of government buildings throughout the World which carefully restrained its objections and criticism’s of Hitler’s regime and the unfolding catastrophe for the Jewish People. For me, this is an ever spiralling curve of learning, and I have yet to catch the tail end of what is known, by those who knew, know and were made aware of what The Holocaust is! So if we then accept, for argument sake, that Hitler's intention was indeed to destroy all of World Jewry, and as The Wannsee Conference clearly insists, then from inception of Hitler’s very own Final Solution to an almost complete accomplishment of that fundamental demand, some 6,000,000 Jews paid too heavy a price with their lives. Patrick.
"..lives of ..Poles went on like before. ..They ate ..worked ..loved ..had children ..cows were grazing in ..fields ..Polish children ..My former friends were playing evenings in ..snow ..while we Jews at 4:00 pm had to be in our homes ..waiting in dread for ..morning." Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Dearest Natalie, we must also accept within that remit to Destroy 11,293,300 Jews of Europe, and with that to be resolved, and while Hitler gained such impetus from a World's indifference to the Jewish plight, then we too are historically blighted with an acquiescence in the gravest crime ever to be inflicted upon the Jewish People! What we thus gain from the perspective of Hitler's hold on power, as when the function was initially perceived that the Jews could indeed be destroyed, and all the way until 1945 when that intention was applied, Jewish choice was removed from the Jewish People. What choice there was, to die with some form of dignity or search through the searing pain and anguish watching the bludgeoning horror to be inflicted upon those they loved, is not a choice to be made. In everything I have sought to achieve therefore, and it is hoped I have not drained The Holocaust of its substance as Wiesel might contend, but I hope I have delivered my own eulogy that is substantial enough to administer toward 6,000,000 losses. Patrick.
"..In ..beginning there was silence ..no words. ..word itself is a breaking out. ..reacquired consciousness of having been diminished." Elie Wiesel.
Dearest Natalie, a question which has struck me ever since I first constructed My own conscious words for Remembering the Jews of The Holocaust has always seemed to enquire as to what or how the Jews will read my words, and will they be considered differently? The contention is certain, and that no one should doubt my effort is a concern, I choose my words with reverence for a memory that is largely lost, as not all Survivor's are able to recall all 6,000,000 of their fellow Murdered Jews. My own sense of the tragedy allows for use of those contorted words and articulations brought to the fore and alongside a Jewish tradition I have sought to import words which are then exported to add a measure of shamed condolence for what Humanity must now acknowledge. Despite Elie Wiesel's surety that, even though the narrative of fiction can shatter the silence and deliver information, there is little by way of the integrity of such horror that evidential knowledge must require. But for others, who are so enabled to add a choice, which for any Jew within reach of Hitler’s murderous grasp, did not exist. So as we look to Sophie’s Choice are we the:
"..jaded reader surfeited with our Century's perturbable feast of atrocities will be spared here a detailed chronicle of ..killings ..gassings ..beatings ..tortures ..criminal medical experiments ..deprivations ..entries into ..historical account." William C. Styron.
and whereas, there is this seeming choice over one Child or the Other, the Jews at the doors of the gas chambers had no such choice. The same inexorable lack of choice persists through The Holocaust. Did the Jews attack a guard and hope that if they survived would they still leave their Child, their Spouse, their Family or other’s to the vagaries of a more vengeful retaliation. Or does the Parent, Son, Daughter, Relative or Friend console their charge knowing that their last moments are to be filled with a fraction of hope, a certain element of joy and even a brief happiness from a loving knowledge shared amongst themselves. So while I offer no apology for the often times graphic depiction’s to be given so much space, my words truly are a consequence of a very aware and acute accusation of those acts which deliver up the very graphic detail set to confront us. Those who watched and those who saw amidst the cacophony of grief to be heard, must not lack the integrity sought to deliver us their own testimony to such events! Patrick.
"..you were saved not ..to live ..you must give testimony ..be courageous when ..mind deceives you be courageous in ..final account only this is important." Zbigniew Herbert.
Dearest Natalie, herein lies the antithesis of everything the Holocaust should mean for me and for everyone. The blending of brutal narrative with emotional reconstructs of those words omitted from 6,000,000 mouths, must give testimony above and beyond what recollection truly recalls. Yet, there are those far more capable than I to render my efforts speechless, wordless and without the fuller perspective to be gained from those knowledgeable enough to truly know. For me, without more than a little emphasis placed upon the true tragedy, the wholesale Slaughter of 6,000,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children, my effort would appear perfunctory. My own comprehension alone, of the very detailed facts I seek to describe, would clearly present and prevent my ability to write with the capability of transforming those words into a meaningful text that has the efficacy of what confronted the Jews of Europe fully installed within them. Patrick.
"..I want to tell ..story ..of .little girl ..crying deep ..inside me who is still afraid. ..you ..Grandmother ..I'll have to write about you. I'll have to let you die ..again. ..forgive me." Roma Ligocka.
Dearest Natalie, for those listening to what was heard and of those who ignored the evidence of such experience which stands as the accusation of time, I ask for forgiveness for bearing down on you all with words piercing in atrocity and vehement in horror. Such horror as does shine its atrocious light in so many works of words by Survivor's, whose own accusation is replete with that knowledge gained from personal experience, and while my words are seconded to theirs, I have every wish that they are both complimentary and reverential. Their own experience therefore is a knowledge I choose to use the words from so as to admonish further those who did so little to prevent such atrocity being played out in and amongst far too many Jewish Community's in far too many Nations and States. Here, I remember what Nelly Sachs recounts:
"..My mother held me by my hand. Then someone raised ..knife of parting ..So that it should not strike me ..My mother loosed her hand from mine. ..she lightly touched my thighs once more ..her hand ..bleeding ..As I was led to death I still felt in ..last moment ..unsheathing of ..great knife of parting." Nelly Sachs.
Dearest Natalie, for those Jews within Hitler's reach, who looked to us, as 'christians' or even as Catholics, they saw such a fall from grace for what should have been deemed a civilised humanity, whatever faith was had, fell short of what it was intended to convey. The Holocaust is a catastrophe that is unequalled in all of history, and we learn to accept that in order to pay attention to what transpired that might be repeated. Not just that, our failure to stand against this pernicious evil, which runs concurrent as it does alongside this greatest genocide ever inflicted upon a single People, is as criminal an act as it is morally reprehensible. So for the Jewish People who would emerge from within the dragnet of Hitler's clear goal to destroy them all, these all must be included amongst the list of Survivor's, and of an intention to murder them which did not mean only those Jews restrained in the Ghetto’s, contained within the Camp system or those Jews lined up alongside the pits and ravines of extinction. Patrick.
"..While I am writing I become ever more infused with ..greatness of ..idea for which I am ready to devote my whole life. ..work is complicated ..demanding extraordinary efforts of ..mind. ..physical exhaustion is nothing against ..intellectual pleasure it provides. You forget all ..troubles ..of life ..rise to ..heights of sublime ideas." Simon Dubnow.
Dearest Natalie, that was stated by a man clearly identifying with the legacy of such destruction, he rose to the challenge to document the magnitude of the atrocity. The late arrival to the search clearly remains outside that term which held the Jews within The Holocaust's reach. Though we remain as outsiders, such invested ideas so caked in horror, all adding to the sheer volume of the atrocity which so overwhelms and exhausts in measures unequal to the human soul, must always relay its terrible message. Like I have said, I cannot know what The Jew of The Holocaust knows, but I can know of their experiences from a moral perspective. For me, I am certain that any Christian and moral duty should have sought to deliver all Jews away from harm. We, who remain the accused by dint of our wish to understand, have set about accepting that responsibility so that our future generations do not have to? I think it is argued in Yehuda Bauer’s worthy book, Jews for Sale, that The Final Solution to a Jewish Question was Hitler's responsibility alone, and it should be given over to him in all manner of exercises in which we seek the truth. Patrick.
"..Were I not a Jew ..I would not be an artist at all. ..I know quite well what this small people can accomplish. ..When it wished ..it brought forth Christ and Christianity. When it wanted ..it produced Marx and Socialism. Can it be ..that it would not show ..world ..art." Marc Chagall.
Dearest Natalie, Marc Chagall can reminisce here about what the World has been given by your small race of People. But I constantly digress to a period where such is your loss, and our great impoverishment, that 6,000,000 Murdered 'small people' has masked the developer, hidden the science, thrown away the researcher, not known those that could cure and failed to recognise in the individuality so liberally destroyed, that the saving grace of all humanity was also destroyed. Tragically, the outcome for the Jews of Europe must become the responsibility of all those who seek to ensure that we clearly acknowledge the wrong done to these Jewish People. In doing so, we must not alter the interpretation this places on the part which the World played in allowing this all to happen. Whether the World now seeks to attribute the destruction of 6,000,000 Jews to some unintended functioning is immaterial to the fact that the World lost 6,000,000 Jews to a terrible accounting. At Deaths door the fate of the Jewish Community should not have been aligned to its national identity. These Jewish People should have been allowed to amble on through History as a member of the Human Race, with all those guarantees to life as their fundamental right. Patrick.
"..historical consciousness was ..basis of ..Jewish national idea ..with ..loss of ..physical characteristics of nationhood ..we are held together ..by ..community of historical fate." Simon Dubnow.
Dearest Natalie, there are those who might suggest antisemitism had a hand in this final accounting and costing in Jewish lives? Well we should at least render antisemitism a deliberate fabrication and lest we completely forget, God sent His only Son to die for us. So God is culpable in the Crucifixion, not the Jewish People and as such, the Jewish People cannot be blamed for what a relied upon Christian God demanded. But who ever has a God who remains to be believed, as the Smoke rose over Birkenau, as the pyres raged in all other Death Camps, in the Killing Sites and those places constantly being eradicated of its Jewish People, fear walked amongst all Jews and filled them all with trepidation. Think then how any Man can conjure with a title for a Book that has Jews for Sale as its header, and reason that humanity can be too easily sold. With such an idea firmly fixed we might then approach a small detail of what Professor Bauer wishes to share with me, with You, with this World and with History and it is an understanding of why we must never forget! Patrick.
"..Smoke rose. ..God watched and fear walked in ..cool of ..day." Itamar Yaov-Kest.
Dearest Natalie, quite often I find myself repeating a sentiment or choosing from the words of those who walked in fear. I have held dear for quite sometime, and it is difficult not to allow this to become overly sanitised, when in fact it is a sentimental reflection upon what is lost that so touches my inner being. I have no problem with allowing sentiment to enter this arena of words, for how else is one meant to approach the ravages of a People without an urgent surety written in emotional feeling. It is for that reason that I restate, The Holocaust has NEVER just been a part of History for me, and has ALWAYS been an affront to my person, as a Human Being. I have been entrusted with certain memories, gained from this research, which I pass along in Remembrance of those Jews lost to us but recalled. From Jewish Community's completely extinguished, and in order that we never forget them, names have been extracted from oblivion! I wonder too should the recorded accounting become limited to those languages only allowed to the Jews. Should we temper our approach, or by reversing the illegal obligation to speak outside the national discourse, limit the recollections to those languages not tarnished by such intolerance’s as we see in detailing Polish experiences. Patrick.
"..Speaking Polish was prohibited. ..One day my mathematics teacher caught me in ..very act of ..crime ..during his class. ..What he said ..in ..final analysis one could forgive Poles ..speaking Polish ..but not a Jew." Bronislaw Grosser.
Dearest Natalie, it has always been my understanding that a Teacher teaches and does not deny the ability to learn to anyone. So while I have been given an opportunity, which seeks to take back from those who refuse to teach what it is essential for all to learn, and that is an obligation to teach the meaning of toleration for all. Within this search for toleration I managed also to promise to a Survivor, and before I introduced myself to you Natalie, that I would at least visit all x6 Death Camps which Hitler had established in German occupied Poland. I completed the last leg of that journey recently and as the time approached and Chelmno and Treblinka come fully into view, I knew I had much more to share and achieve. Then, depending upon the acceptable assessment to be fully made, on my journey to Chelmno and Treblinka, in Auschwitz and in Birkenau, at Majdanek, in Sobibor and within Belzec I knew I would be in the presence of 1,000,000's of Jewish souls plucked from existence. It is these who inspire my need to further expose the World to intolerable indifference’s which have become annihilatory. Patrick.
"..How can I see you ..standing alone ..amid storms of grief ..without feeling my heart shake." David Vogel.
Dearest Natalie, Clearly, the grasp on life for 6,000,000 Jews was an eradication ensured by the rhetorical hatred of one man whose vented rage contorted to a final resolve which was eventually accomplished by many who aspired toward similar held hatreds as Hitler associated himself with. I have also, and always, clearly stated that I am not a complete authority on The Holocaust of The Jews of Europe. Surely Natalie such distinction belongs to the many fine Writers who experienced what it is I seek to know. It is an experience you too have endured on behalf of somehow saving humanity from further disgrace! In that, I have never equated anything that I have personally experienced with anything I have adapted from The Holocaust. Any such detail that so tormented a People, which so brutalised all too many of them and then radically dealt in the Destruction of 6,000,000 of them for being Jews, how could I possibly know a fraction of what that was like. However, from any sense of perspective I can gain, then that is where my work begins and my words end. Patrick.
"..suffering and ..testimonies when told by Holocaust Survivor's ..are a song ..a hymn of praise ..a testimony to ..eternity of ..Jewish People and ..greatness of their spirit." Israel Spira.
Dearest Natalie, by April 1943, more than 340,000 Jews, along with 20,000 Poles, Gypsies and Czechs are murdered at the Chelmno Death Camp with Gas vans used for their destruction. Some estimates, as low as 152,000 Jews, suggest was all that were Murdered there. But estimates though, as high as 360,000 Jews having been murdered here have also been made. Estimates however, cannot form the basis of any relevant account that will afford an finite response. The Humanity of that Jewish presence that has destroyed here at Chelmno, that was so abruptly brought to an end elsewhere in The Death Camp System or at The Killing Sites, cannot ever be allowed to give way to what cannot and must not be forgotten. There is this bond between us and those 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, which must remain convinced of the growing lessons that are to be learned positively from the example that this vengeful atrocity has set. Patrick.
"..I learned about friendship in Auschwitz. When I was cold ..strangers shielded me with their bodies from ..blowing winds ..they had nothing else to offer but themselves." Arnost Lustig.
Dearest Natalie, that has always been the premise of my study, research and writing for as long as the image of Tokele has been set before me. Actually, that is wrong! I studied WWII History and came across a picture of coffins designating the Slaughter of the Jews of Europe, so my empathy for these Jewish People, who are The Holocaust, has been simmering since that time. At some stage in the future I will refine the words of kinship and add to the meaning I wish to engage in with Remembrance for those, like You Natalie, whose suffering was perpetuated by the completely inadequate response to that very suffering we cannot ever comprehend. For now Natalie, please allow me to extend the hand of friendship to the words which inspire me to recall, Always to Remember, Never to Forget and the last words for the time being Natalie are to be your words! Patrick.
"..taking of my brother and my brother in-law ..March 42 ..left my Mother ..Father my 4 Sisters and my self completely broken ..minimal rations constant wailing ..fear ..who will be next of us to be taken. ..Taken where. ..To be beaten ..cut ..raped ..we were like dirt in ..street to be swept away." Natalie Mehlman Scharf.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Wed, November 22, 2017 21:25:21
In over 20 years of writing on The Holocaust it is impossible to remain dispassionate as I continually survey the landscape of atrocity, brutality and betrayal. Here, this post is meant to give a concern to the Jews who faced a treachery they could not see coming, even though they had faced the extremes of antisemitic hatred for over x2 millennia. But for me, as I read and reread books and works of importance in the narrative seeking to comprehend, how on this Earth will I ever understand why people turned on their Jewish Neighbours, simply because they were Jews. I first met that betrayal at the commencement of this journey with the image of Tokele, 4 years old and Murdered too amongst her closest relatives, because she was a Jew. The torrent of revulsion sweeps over me and I am constantly shocked that this is the model of atrocity presented by an ostensibly ‘christian’ fraternity, one which I gladly renounce.
But I know I have been here before, writing of an experience so hugely tragic, and in whatever dimension we wish to draw upon, and that there is always a repeat urgency when we see how neo-nazism seeks to claim a foothold across Europe once again. For Poland, I cannot begin to imagine why it should allow for some of its citizens to seek an alliance with a Hitler regime that totally decimated Poland and its People. I am not even talking here about their 3,000,000 Jews of The Holocaust either. Here in time is a differing space, a certain Polish place but with separating names and antisemitism runs rife amongst them. For me, the first sight of Malkinia had informed me that Treblinka was at hand and the torture of humanity still hung in the air. I felt the strong hand of fate drawing me forward and it gains further confusion when the reality is, nazism remains focused on denying the Jews of Treblinka, Poland and elsewhere in Europe a resting place that should give them peace! Malkinia’s staging post was almost like it had been ordained for my visit. The steps up to that point, that had guided me to where Polish rail officials had no idea of such a place as Treblinka, and I spelled it TREBLINKA, it awaited me!
There were images and impressions drawing me forward and in a strange sense, I felt an almost spiritual upheaval that appeared inexplicable to me. It was almost the call of some Biblical cataclysm that had been waiting to dump me in a place as close to another Hell as all x5 other Death Camps had impressed upon me. If ever a picture could add to what Dante envisioned, and if our Children could become frightened by names such as these, Auschwitz/Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and then Treblinka, no rehearsal could ever prepare me for what I encountered. Again those words,
‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’,
which were clearly not intended for me, swept over me. For those Jews detained in Chelmno and Treblinka, and all the Death Camps I had visited, they were contained beneath a soil turned over, looted, excavated and cremated there are remnants which remain still to record the most mechanised destruction of a People ever.
Hitler though, who knew the lessons to be gained from history and he used them in reference to Jenghis Khan, The Armenian Tragedy and other’s, to mark his path of such degeneracy, history has afforded a name, The Holocaust to single out his hatred for an innocent Jewish People. Also, and as Napoleon's experience in Russia suggested, Winter would destroy any of Hitler's clear Lebensraum intentions and his connivance with other’s who collaborated his wishes would show him up for the contempt he showed for People as well as History. Those lessons in history then finally convinced Hitler, with the first set back during the Winter offensive in Russia of 1941, that stepping up the resolve to fully accomplish his Final Solution required an escalating term. This was found with The Wannsee Conference, which Hitler established to ensure the entire administration of Reich would be collaborative and complicit in The Holocaust.
Here, the early 1942 Winter still raging in Russia, saw all arms of the Reich now employed away from total War and in the mass Murder of the Jews of Europe. Here also, we must be very explicit and while we cannot be allowed an opinion in such a History, we strive toward any relevant comprehension with the factual truth of what happened to 6,000,000 Jews. What is based on this factual depiction of events involving so many Human Beings is an open wound in the psyche of all Humanity. Of course, what we do not do, we do not interpret what has been laid before History and the legacy of that period to lend to the posterity from which we must learn, cannot be abridged by any dilution of the truth. As SA thugs marched, and as they sang of their hatred, and as they were cajoled by Hitler, who imposed further upon the Jewish People in Germany, they wreaked Hitler's hatred and their own.
"..When Jewish blood splatters from ..knife."
Here, a direct threat which was felt immediately and was escalating toward terms Hitler encompassed in die Endlosung der Judenfrage. The Final Solution of the Jewish Question then, once Hitler sought and then achieved power was to be translated into a direct and frontal assault upon all Jewish presence and existence. It is not then such an enormous leap in any sense, let alone a rhetorical one, when German Jewry felt under imminent threat to seek out emigration. In fact, before Hitler acted out his physical threat, the imminent threat had been postured to a more than suggested death sentence. But who would take in Jews as refugees. So if we have now made the leap for some German Jews to get abroad, it is certain for German Jews left behind there is a physical abuse to deal with even prior to their physical destruction. Evian had already alerted Hitler that the World considered the Jewish Question of little consideration and the Jewish People were then expendable.
Dachau approached and Jewish incarceration signalled Hitler's resolve to confront the issue of his own hatred for the Jews. Once Kristallnacht was augmented with violence, Jewish lives were put under SA and SS knives. Here, some people acted in violation of all the precepts of human decency against an already beleaguered Jewish People! If these were Germans, we see them as collaborative in Hitler’s wishes for the destruction of Jewish business, Synagogue’s and even Jewish life. So when Hitler invaded Poland and Poles acted without regard for their Jewish neighbours, then Poland must accept the judgement in History that some Poles collaborated with Hitler's efforts. If we are to accept that this was not against Poland, then certainly in condemning the Jews they sought out for Destruction, they acted against the Peoples of that state.
There can be no denial of the evidence of the testimonies given. I am not here to add to the study of Polish collaborating efforts but with estimates of as many as 1,000's who collaborated, rising to more than 1,000,000 collaborators, Poland needs to address the frenetic move to either chasten the past or infer an alternative truth for our future. It is troublesome in this that the Polish government of the time chose to abandon its own People to the wiles of an assailant who would abuse and Destroy 6 million of its own People. We can recognise clearly that Hitler’s intention saw to it that 3,000,000 of them were systematically Murdered and because they were Jewish. Did that Polish government collaborate with Hitler's demands by giving its people over to German chagrin? The Polish government had abandoned the state and were short on the ground to afford any leadership. These mandated leaders of Polish society, as they resided well away from what was to befall the entire Polish countryside, Jews within that Country and many non-Jews besides were left to the merciless German occupation.
Firstly, to secure power and then to convert it into the most radical annihilatory expressed hatred to encroach upon humanity, it became endemic in German politics of the time and was readily adopted in many sovereign states, and here, within Poland I wish to see how widespread it became. Anti Jewish feeling settled into a rhetoric of exclusion at first and then, fully exemplified as it spread widely into aktionen in Killing Sites and the Death Camps, it was evident for all other's to see, hear and know, that mass Murder had been fully intended and then orchestrated. Of course, it was evident for all to know but not to become acknowledged by those who refused to see, hear or relate. There is no comparison to be made either with those who chose this Hitlerian example and trampled all moral values into a Murderous exercise, what ever Country we witnessed it expressed.
Here in Poland, there were 3,000,000 expressions which single out the Country for a more pernicious involvement in what would be exercised against their own Jewish population. Unparalleled and Unprecedented are words which utter the intolerable consequences which have a resonance to this day. As this same hatred continually draws upon such a devastating example, the World moves first to disguise the truth in order to cover the traces of indifference so evident all through the period. Until the entire World wakes up to the relevant lesson of genocide’s gravest wrong, The Holocaust will remain the bench mark for the continuing cycle of all future atrocity. Elsewhere we encounter this expression of hatred appearing, and in 1938, the Italian government passed a law banning Jews from teaching in public schools. A few months later, Italian leader Benito Mussolini formed an axis with Adolf Hitler and we wonder which came first the assault upon the integrity of the Jews or the kindred spirit which sees these two readers duplicating their effort against the Jews. Discrimination continued against 1,000’s of Italian Jews, and in 1943 many were deported to German camps. Fortunately, 80% of Jews in Italy were spared during the war, having been interned in small camps in Italy or rescued by righteous non-Jews, unlike the example we are to encounter once Poland is overrun.
It is true to say that when prejudice is voiced by leader's of Men, people suffer no matter their race, creed or other persuasion. This is the insipid nature of intolerance. It invokes in the masses a belief that others are lesser beings or inferior in some way. This was a mantra which emanated from Hitler as the Jewish People became the target of intolerable abuse. When an entire nation can then act in one accord with this Hitler branding of an ancient originated and newly interpreted hatred, it can be exported and 6,000,000 Jews are then set to be Annihilated. When such immoral norms are clearly advocated by authoritative political or even religious figures, intolerance becomes an institution of that state. The rule of governance is in promoting all moral probity and tolerance. But once the guiding principle of correctness has been distorted, direction becomes deviant and atrocity engulfs those no longer protected by moral certainty and this is more so within a violated state like Poland with 3,000,000 Jews to be targeted.
For now, I have finished my journey back toward those x6 Death Camps which Hitler had established in German Occupied Poland. However, I arrived back home with more questions than answers and all relating to both my continuing effort to achieve comprehension and in confronting a barrier which seemingly persists in Jewish Polish relations. I have finally stood before Chelmno and Treblinka and walked through Warsaw Streets and those same Streets which had seen the vibrancy of so much that was Jewish life was not only devoid of a Jewish presence, but it was also omitting any sense that once, Jewish People had once lived here. Here, in the Jewish Capitol of the European Continent, more than 8% of all Murdered Jews of The Holocaust had been driven toward extinction from their former homes here.
For me there is a finite and certain Polish complicity with Hitler’s efforts in Poland, and against the Jews in particular. What was nothing short of duplicitous for those Poles who obligingly and willingly collaborated is engraved into History and cannot alter the path of truth and integrity. Of course this does not accuse all, or even most of the Polish people, but it most certainly damns and recognises those few Poles who did collude in all manner of ways. For those Poles who would identify a Jew when a German couldn't, this was collaboration. If the fleeing government of Poland had issued instructions for the safety and security of all its citizens, history cannot now know how many of their 3,000,000 Jews had been awarded such a sanctuary by governance which would surely have saved many more Polish Jews from Hitler's intentions.
Of course we know all too well the actions of the Balt’s against their own Jews, and elsewhere where hatred or monetary gain gifted Hitler with further victims, collaborator’s stood to ensure a more rapid approach to the final solution was more speedy. So is history to now have any sense of outrage that Polish collaboration could be bleached from history’s pages or even denied? Collaboration indeed is an ugly word. But when it is used in conjunction with efforts against the good of any People, it is reprehensible, immoral and wrong. The Jews of Poland were collaborated against, individually and in wanton acts of betrayal of entire Jewish Community’s and by neighbours who sought to financially gain from and against their Jewish community. When we then visit the Jewish Survivor, with their attempt to return to their former lives, what they met with was a serious effort to continue with what Hitler had commenced. All over Poland, and elsewhere in Europe, Jews were either badly treated, brutalised or Murdered upon their return. In many Towns and Villages the Jewish Survivor was tortured not only by memories of loss and betrayal but there was a betrayal still which greeted them with renewed vigour.
Jews were randomly Murdered and within Poland, as a crescendo of violence descended upon these returning Survivor Jews, more than 100,000 of these bewildered, abandoned and frightened Jewish People finally sought refuge away from their former Polish homes. And this is where Poland has largely gained from a Jewish absence and Murderous rampage which had already cost 3,000,000 Polish Jewish lives. For various reasons, the spoils of that collaboration is held to this day as a theft of confiscated goods, lands, properties, valuables and moneys. I recognised as I stood in Treblinka, at the stone representing Sokoly, I stood at the point of what is an accusation of all of Poland. This nation owes much to those Jews, not just lost to us all but surely given away, wholesale and as a sordid gain was made which has stained the Polish past with the expropriation gained. From the extirpation of the vanquished Polish Jewish identity those Poles who were involved in the murders must be considered collaborative in the destruction of the Jews of Europe, Hitler’s supreme demand.
"..making it a crime to imply any Polish culpability for Nazi crimes denies ..historical record ..and sets a dangerous precedent for denying ..full scope of The Holocaust." Dr. Yvette Alt Miller.
As we search though the relevant documentation to unearth Polish collaboration, and it was a well advanced phenomena, we find Jozef Cukier. This individual was one of the leaders of the ‘Goralenvolk’, an early separatist movement located in the Podhale Highland region of southern Poland, along the Slovakian border. Here, during the Nazi occupation, Cukier attempted to set up a regional assembly with fellow activist Waclaw Krzeptowski. The establishment of an independent state, in collaboration with the occupying Germans did not gain any widespread support. However, the measure of support afforded the German’s, who accepted the region as part of an ethnic alliance, did secure an amelioration of treatment for the regions people. That said, the level of hostility towards the German occupation did not allow for any fully fledged separatist or collaborationist movement to gain its hold.
The fact of Jedwabne is well known to History and cannot be distorted by any Polish attempt to subdue the terms of collaboration to random assaults. Here, and for this assessment of Collaboration we will look to Jedwabne specifically. It had a population of some 3,000 people with more than 2,000 of these their Jewish neighbours. The Polin Museum itself clearly acknowledges the collaboration here, and elsewhere the collaboration by certain Poles remains a significant corruption of the moral integrity of Poland during the period of The Holocaust. Here, on July 10th. 1941 Marian Karolak, the local Mayor, fully collaborated his efforts with the murderous German occupation to have some 340 the town’s Jews herded into a local barn and they were to be Murdered there, burned to death. The detail of this shocking event is well documented and does not require my continued accusation.
However, this was a Polish town which had turned on its Jewish Community and must be considered for its collaborative and Murderous action. Now while not all Poles were participants in the atrocity, those many not involved are still complicit, due to their failure to assist their own Jewish neighbours out of harms way. The responsibility for History is clear and it must ensure the integrity of this Murderous rampage, which is clearly verified, and does not get washed away with any attempt to dilute the fullest terms of the atrocity. Where doubt lingers, the truth must be restored. Those with a responsibility to contribute knowledge to what we must learn have a more prescient demand placed upon them to ensure what is known is not lost to interpretation. I reckon there are those who are sickened by what The Holocaust presents to us but we must be mindful of what The Holocaust is to the Jewish People and more so the Survivor. The Survivor of this ostensibly 'christian' led atrocity against all the Jews of Europe, and I recognise fully that Jews were not the only victims of Hitler and any collaborative effort, but Jews were the only victims of The Holocaust.
Why then should it amaze anyone that there is a commercial side to Writing? Even while I choose to write in Remembrance of 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust, that is also true? No Publisher is going to give free rein to any Writer to write what will not sell and no one who does not appreciate what I state and why I state it will not wish to read from the pages of those Books, now placed before the mantle of The Holocaust Remembrance, that we are here to share. Also, and I have never suggested other than that requirement is to read what one chooses to read. In essence I have the bones of 30 other Books already conceived of and they await each agreement based upon the achievement of the last effort. That means I am not searching here, or any other media platform, to gather for any of the Books I have already sketched an impression of.
"..This was a particularly cruel crime. It was justified by nothing. ..victims were helpless and defenceless. For this crime ..we should beg ..souls of ..dead and their families for forgiveness. This is why today ..as a citizen and as president of ..Republic of Poland ..I apologise." President Aleksander Kwasniewski.
Agreed! I clearly attribute certain concerns to what I state here, such as collaboration, but this will not qualify as a Book unless it is proven substantial to do so. Part of what collaboration in The Holocaust encompasses is a clearer accusation that many states are unwilling to admit to. A work on Jedwabne clearly forms such an accusation which has been painstakingly worked on and this single atrocity against the some 340 Jews Burned to Death leads more accusingly toward the 1,600 Jews of Jedwabne, and those from the nearby communities of Radzilova and Vizna, Men, Women and Their Children who have vanished from History. Those being memorialised though, which has credit beyond what I could here add to speaks of such grave losses we could never contemplate. For me, there is a simple resolve to such positions as to what collaboration represents. I will explore Jedwabne but within a narrative that clearly identifies with Kielce and Sokoly. All of which provides a legacy to add collaboration to any attempt by Hitler to ensure the destruction of as many Jews as he could. The newly established Memorial Monument at Jedwabne states:
"..In memory of the Jews of Jedwabne and surrounding areas, men, women, and children, fellow-dwellers of this land, murdered and burned alive at this site on 10 July 1941."
But this clearly does not go far enough in admonishing those who wronged their neighbours, Murdered them because they were Jews and even today, watch as the resistance to admission is being ameliorated toward denial. States should not then ever be ambiguous in any detail of their History, despite the terrible detail it has inflicted upon History. For the Jews from these individual atrocities, no nation will stand the test of scrutiny who wishes to distance itself from what was inflicted upon the Polish Jewish People by their own Polish neighbours. Any distortion of the truth will only lead to a corruption of the veracity of all of History. This need to conceal any element and particle of the truth cannot but doubt the honesty of any nation. Any Country whose moral founding has been ethically constituted, must uphold with integrity what it wishes to deliver forth.
As for the collaborating efforts so often mentioned, imagine the added horror for the Jewish People in knowing the fact of a neighbour turning upon their neighbour because they are Jews. The enactment itself is of unbridled hatred and the amassed Murder to be witnessed against those Jews, while it is expressly, bears no relation to what their religious, moral or ethical teachings commanded of them and that they 'love thy neighbour as thy self.' This negation of the obligation to a duty each human being holds with the other must be confronted brought into question. It must be constituted in the way it was intended and honoured by all of humanity engaged in a living space shared equally by all peoples everywhere. And remember too that I didn't state that original text about loving your neighbour, a Christian god did.
"..Jesus said unto him ..Thou shalt love ..Lord thy God with all thy heart ..and with all thy soul ..and with all thy mind. This is ..first and great commandment. And ..second is like unto it ..Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all ..law and ..prophets."
It is evident that The Holocaust is riven with so many atrocities we have been obliged to lend it this single term and any such accusation which Jedwabne, Kielce and Sokoly delivers, provides us with a hideous example of this vile, vicious and murderous display. Here, collaboration becomes the ugliest of words set against the back drop of the most virulent hatred ever devised by humankind. So what is presented at Sokoly, Kielce and Jedwabne is either the ignorance of human Morality and the failing obligation to obey gods Commandments or it is the complete abrogation of what their God’s law must hold for them. The subject then of collaboration is an emotive one but must not be confined to seeking ways of extracting the truth and enabling those who collaborated to simply divest themselves of their cruel, wicked and murderous affray against those they knew where their own People. In terms which must make us shudder, we recognise not only Jedwabne, Kielce and Sokoly but we must look to those individual assaults upon the Jews of Europe by those privileged enough to have escaped the wrath of Hitler’s resolve for ALL Jews.
"..Normally I can talk about ..Holocaust ..no problem. When you are talking to boys and girls at schools you want to hide your emotions. But sometimes ..suddenly ..when I am speaking ..whole thing becomes very real. Memories come back. And when I go to Jedwabne ..it doesn’t matter that it was Jews or any other people. To think what these people did to their neighbours. They were their neighbours from ..1600s. Their burial places indicate that they lived there from that time. It was not enough that they killed them. They slaughtered them. They cut them to pieces." Tomi Reichental.
I cannot begin to imagine what a Jew, let alone a Survivor considers as they survey the wreckage of humanity wrought by human beings against their fellow Man, Woman and Their Children because they were Jews. The 10's of 1,000's of those Jews who have had the fortune to Survived, and those Jews forced to escape further still the hatred from neighbours, they know especially harshly what words uttered here cannot deliver. Collaboration however, is written clearly in the destruction of these Polish Jews and those other Jews who found a contemptible people, wherever they were, disabling all moral probity to deliver further toward Hitler’s Final Solution. Honestly, I have no axe to grind against the Polish People, or any other national grouping, but I object to what amounts to the denial of the Truth by anyone who would seek to shelter from the integrity History demands, the ability of so many to collaborate with Hitler’s efforts or against their own communities, for whatever reason. 6,000,000 Jews of The Holocaust deserve the truth, and when they have been denied all too much in their stricken lives, that is expressly demanded.
"..In their minds ..murderers and accomplices of Germany ..and Poland ..and Hungary ..and so many ..many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was ..right thing to do ..thing they had to do." James Comey.
When we look to individuals like Ludwik Kalkstein who was an agent for the Gestapo, he worked tirelessly to undo the Jewish effort to remain alive. With Waclaw Krzeptowski, one of the leaders of the Goralenvolk, collaboration can be assessed. Krzeptowski sought a breakaway region, the Podhale to remove them from Poland and closer ties with Hitler and Germany. Throughout Poland, almost immediately upon the defeat of the Germans, unrest in Poland centred around the Jewish Survivors, those seeking to return to some form of normality. Pogroms were constituted in several Cities and Towns, two of which, Sokoly decided the path I have taken for the past 20 years and Kielce, which defined the course of any future Jewish presence within Poland. Pogroms against returning Jews were not restricted to Poland alone, but I wish to draw to the attention of those Polish officials who would seek to draw a line in the sand. Tragically for the Jews of Poland, this line had been severely crossed, and so ignobly amongst the various Polish communities who led these anti-Jewish Pogroms, and some of these were the Jews who had returned to:
Biala-Podlaska, and x2 Jews were Murdered upon their return. In Bialystok and Bielawa there was no welcome for the Survivor Jews. In Boleslawiec x8 returning Jews were Murdered and in Bytom and Cracow , the same sickening story of hatred awaited the Jews. In Czestochowa, Kielce and Legnica, and as if the Jews had no suffered enough, their return was met with scorn, fury and nonacceptance. In Lublin x2 returning Jews were Murdered whereas in Mordy x7 Jewish Survivors were Murdered. The story repeats itself in Otwock and the emergence of the Jews from the Camps, the Killing Sites, the Death Camps was greeted with amazement that these Jews managed to Survive at all. In Parczew x4 returning Jews were Murdered and that same fate was met in Piaski when x6 Surviving Jewish residents assumed to Return Home. In Polaniec x5 returning Jews were not allowed to Survive and this sorry tale was met by Jews returning home to Rzeszow.
In Skarzysko-Kamienna x5 Jews too assumed they could return Home and regale their neighbours of their terrible ordeal. Truth is, their neighbours had known what had awaited the Jews. The telegraph system of informant and travelling whispers acquainted all of what had been the planned annihilation of the Jews of Poland. In Sokoly x9 Surviving Jews had staged a Home welcome for themselves and were Murdered for doing so. In Sosnowiec, Szczecin and Tarnow the Jews of these Towns who had known such levels of hatred no human being should experience suffered the gravest evil, Murder at the hands of their former neighbours. In Turek and I saw the signs for this Town on my way toward Lodz, x1 Survivor was confronted by the same element of hatred exercised by the now former German occupiers and was Murdered. For the larger of these Pogroms, we will look to their composition and with the Kielce Pogrom, a swing shift in Polish Jewish relations was reached.
The Jewish Community gathered in the Jewish Community Centre's to organise a welcome for those Survivor’s who had been lucky enough to Survive. On July 4th. 1946 an armed gang of thugs, Polish Soldiers, Polish Police and Kielce’s Polish community killed 42 of those Jews who were gathered and more than a further 50 Jews were beaten and wounded. Though Justice here was as unequivocal as could be, and as the Polish Courts indicted and convicted many of the perpetrator’s, and even 9 of the culprits were executed, this signalled the final straw for more than 100,000 Surviving Jews of Poland who felt they had been betrayed by Poland and gradually left the Country. World opinion was not incensed enough though to look inward at how it had previously treated the Jews of Europe, 6,000,000 of who were laid to waste, and mostly in Poland.
We arrive now at Sokoly, a Town to the East of Bialystok where my search for some form of understanding or comprehension of the very tenets of The Holocaust became my choice Always to Remember, Never to Forget. Here on 17th. February 1945, x9 Surviving Jews of the Town were sought out and Murdered. Amongst them:
1) Tokele, my little 4 year old Jewish Girl who has fixed the trajectory of my life for more than 20 years now. These Jewish Survivors I have sought always to remember are Tovah ‘Tokele’ Olshak;
2) Shaina Olshak,
3) David Zholti,
4) Shaikele Litwak,
5) Chaim Litwak,
6) Shammai Litwak,
7) Batya Weinstein, and
8) David Kostshevski though he died from his wounds in Hospital, he is a part of the tragedy for Survivor Jews who could not be allowed to return and stay. Also,
9) Yankele Litwak was shot by a Polish soldier while in Bialystok and was the 15 year old Brother of Shaikele, Shammai and Shainie Litwak. In Death none are exempt and so these x9 Jews whose lives were taken from them for being Jews should not be parted here as Jews of Sokoly.
"..We dipped our pen into the valley of tears
To record an immortalization for the holy martyrs of Sokoly
Every page of the book is a scroll of fear
About our dear ones, who were cut off with a sharp sword.
We lived in the community, we spent time together
We drank gladness and poison from the same cup
The dynasty of his grandfather – the grandson the blacksmith
A continuation of the generations of the Nation of Israel.
We sat on the same bench of learning
In the same ‘cheder’ we expounded Torah
We had the same study hall, rules and procedures
The same cemetery and the same graves.
We walked the same roads and streets
Young girls and youths, grandfathers and grandmothers
Under the wedding canopies we heard, with rhythm,
Notes of a Jewish melody of joy and sadness.
We were transported to those Treblinkas in multitudes
We were squeezed into cattle cars like sheep
Our destination was massacre, we turned into dust
The story of our people is written here in the book.
Where are you, Sokoly, you were our cradle
You were eroded like dust and broken like clay
Where are your Jews, infants and fathers
Old people, grooms and beautiful brides?
Where are the pulpits of gemara, and around them the sounds of commentary
Of the yeshiva students explaining portions of the Midrash
Prayers and hopes lifted up to God on high
Were choked off, were silenced with the smoke of destruction." Reuven Lev.
I never appreciated that anyone would approach the sense of personal grief I felt with other than an acknowledgement of a fellow sufferer’s sympathy and human empathetic concern. I saw my Dad Dead and knew an immense loss. I knew my Sister's had died and had no time to adjust to this before the life of a Child was urged to move on. I was not well prepared for the image of Tokele, so young, so vibrant and taken from this World because of a hatred that Jews like her had Survived and realised a personal attachment which caught me unawares? People have asked me why I have become so attached to Tokele and I can only use the missing grief over the loss of my own x2 very Young Sister’s to give that grief to one I felt now able to grieve over!
"..10 days after ..war started ..German soldiers burst into our town ..Sokoly ..and immediately began a mad rampage. Guided by young Poles ..they passed through ..homes of ..Jews and abducted ..leaders of ..community." Michael Maik.
It is unimaginable to the unaccustomed mind the full sense of horror that I have surveyed and I have felt its potency in all that I have researched and studied. On the very explicit detail of The Holocaust, there has been no parallel in all of History to draw upon and the very unprecedented nature of the assault upon the Jewish People has gouged a path through our times which is an accusation against all of humanity. So I have written about the horror explicitly and sought to articulate the terror with a sense of shame that humanity could have sunk to such depths of human depravity. I have remonstrated verbally with a World which stood by and allowed all of this to happen with a shudder of indifference to a very pronounced intolerance. But, it with my use of words that I have been compelled to recognise that 6,000,000 other People could be so ruthlessly condemned and murdered and simply because they were Jews. Are we not all Jews amongst those who believe in Jewish ways and a Jewish God while we have adapted the godliness to act ungodly like?
"..Germans rounded up 1,000's of Jews from Warsaw and its surroundings and sent them in boxcars to Treblinka ..a place where ..Germans had built a giant slaughterhouse for killing Jews by ..strangulation with gas. Exact details as to how they killed ..Jews were not yet known ..but it was known that every day dozens of boxcars loaded with Jews arrived at Treblinka. ..shoved onto special platforms ..supposedly taken to a bathhouse ..ordered to undress ..given a piece of soap ..a towel. ..doors were opened to an empty room into which ..victims were driven. ..room was filled with people and so crowded that there was no more space ..doors were locked ..and in a few minutes they suffocated. ..new transports of Jews were sent to this death camp ..and ..immediately ..turned into dust. ..Jews from Poland ..Lithuania ..Ukraine ..White Russia ..France ..Belgium ..Holland and other European countries also arrived in full trains at Treblinka ..where they were murdered." Michael Maik.
For me, I had never heard of Sokoly, but I was now confronted with a measure of evil which rampaged through a home were Survivor's of the worst calamity to strike at humanity's core were resting and recovering from their ordeal. Where previously some 2,500 Jews had once lived, apparently in peaceful coexistence, the Jews had enjoined their neighbours in a communal effort to secure a better future for both? However, and at a given moment Polish robbers entered a House where these Survivor's were and in the a frenzy of atrocity hear what the words of Michael Maik, who describes what I read, more than 20 years ago and has gripped me ever since:
"..Tova (Tokele) (Tulka) Olshak ..4 year-old orphan ..was a cheerful and sweet little girl. She clung lovingly to any person who took her into his arms to spoil her and play with her. She filled every Jewish heart with pleasure and everyone took comfort in her. ..beautiful little girl ..innocent of any sin ..an actual little angel ..lay dead with open eyes. Her eyes expressed deep protest against ..bestial murderers." Michael Maik.
So the horror of an image can capture fully the tenets of The Holocaust, but the very detail of the Slaughter has just got so much worse for me. In betrayal's darkest moments I have discovered that a 4 year old Child can be such a threat to humanity that she can be ruthlessly Murdered because she is a Jew. For these Jews of Sokoly, having Survived all that the Catastrophe brought to them, these Jews of Sokoly emerged from places like Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka to be Murdered in the own Home and within their own community. For the all too few Jews who had managed to Survive, they must have wondered how come their luck had managed to bring them home. But their luck soon changed as soon as they had reached the apparent safety of their former homes. For me, this defines not only the most heinous of crimes but also the Collaboration of certain Poles in Hitler's efforts to Murder as many Jews as possible. And so I leave the final words of Sokoly’s damning evidence to one who knew:
"..Bialystok ..a gathering point for all ..Jews of ..surrounding area ..including ..Jews from Sokoly who had previously been expelled. From Bialystok ..groups of Jews were sent to Treblinka ..to ..gas chambers." Michael Maik.
The Schutzmannschaft Battalion 107 was composed of as many as 450 local Poles and worked extensively in the Volhynia region. They were under the German command and formed a guard duty to ensure the free running of the Railways. They were not a commissioned police force as such, unlike Schutzmannschaft Battalion 202 which was an auxiliary and collaborating Polish police force established in Cracow. More than 300 were forcibly signed up to deliver for the occupying forces varying degrees of cooperation. However, the level of voluntary collaboration was small, and eventually more than half the group abandoned its position to join free Polish forces. Jan Emil Skiwski was a Polish writer, journalist, literary critic, an outspoken extremist supporter of the far right, and an advocate of National Democracy. That he was a collaborator with Hitler’s world view is clearly expressed in his publishing of newspapers supporting Nazi and Polish cohesion, even when his own Country was occupied by an aggressor nation.
Eugeniusz Swierczewski too was a Polish journalist, a drama critic and a Gestapo agent. Karol Juliusz Sym, who was widely known as Igo Sym, was a Polish actor who collaborated with Hitler’s plans for Poland and against what Poland had once been, a sovereign state. Clearly, we cannot enter the realm of Polish collaboration without mention of The Blue Police, made up of Polish police officers. We are aware that these Polish Granatowa policja, more correctly interpreted as 'Navy Blue Police' were a 20,000 strong force of Poles. They were either conscripted and volunteered almost immediately upon German entry into Poland on September 1st. 1939. Not only responsible for the enforcement of German demands, with regard Jews and Poles alike, they policed the Ghetto areas and ensured Jewish compliance to German demands.
Their mark has left an indelible stain on Polish nationhood, but it is largely denied in the most onerous ways and can never be assessed or accepted in any meaningful way due to these constraints. That such moral certainty was abandoned by some Poles, and it has to be stressed that most Polish people did not enter into any cohesive action with any Germans, but as Hitler's rhetoric of hatred blossomed, some Poles succumbed to a motive of reprehensible proportions. What underscores those political efforts to this day, for those still seeking to deny that any form of Polish collaboration ever existed, will allow for the fomentation of denial to give future rise to the same or similar hatreds. Under such an atmosphere of self interest and personal promotion, victimisation against Polish Jewry clearly flourished. While no one can insist Hitler created antisemitism, we can be certain that he made it his own weapon of choice and delivered it to the Poles who took up the gauntlet to act with impunity at times against their own Jewish Citizens.
When all is said and done, Poland's 'blue police' not only assisted the Nazi effort to consume 3,000,000 Jews but wilfully participated and perpetrated Crimes against Humanity. Their presence against the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a clear collaboration against the Jewish People and Poland's sovereignty. These Blue Police units, formed on October 30th. 1939, with the German’s allocating the worst type of policing to these eager recruits, so as to ensure the more deadly deeds had a Polish footprint all through! The strength of this organisation was present within Poland until August 27th. 1944 when it was appropriately decommissioned. It is essential to realise that Hitler knew the lessons to be gained from history and he used them widely.
Whether in mentioning Jenghis Khan, The Armenian Tragedy or the knowledge he surely gained of Napoleon's experience in Russia has suggested, Hitler was well briefed on History. However, what is missing is Hitler’s ability to understand History fully and his arrogance in not appreciating that Winter would destroy any of Hitler's clear Lebensraum intentions, is well documented. What had been clearly in operation since his arrival in power, this then convinced Hitler, with the first set back during the Russian Winter offensive of 1941, that the stepping up of his resolve to fully accomplish his Final Solution was in need of a more focused approach. This newer emphasis required a more fuller and escalating response, even when we have become aware that since Kristallnacht, Jewish life was an expendable commodity in Hitler’s pocket.
Here too, when The Wannsee Conference was established to ensure that the entire Reich would be fully complicit in every detail of The Holocaust. The escalating terms must be considered alongside what BabiYar presents, what Both the SD killing experts would relay and what Hitler then expected from his legions. Few here presented any arguments against what could be accomplished, and the duplicity of Germany and the Germans was complete. It is to be seen that as this Conference convened, the relevant experience gained by the mass Murderer’s of the time, SS Obersturmbannfhrer Dr. Rudolf Lange, der Einsatzkommando 2 Commander and SS Brigadefuhrer Dr. Georg Karl Eberhard Schongarth, the Commander of the Security Police & Security Service in the Generalgouvernment, pushed the emphasis of the atrocity away from Shootings and toward the emerging Death Camps. Now, all arms of the Reich was aware, implicitly engaged and fully employed in the mass Murder of the Jews of Europe.
The Warsaw Ghetto
Here, between April 19th. and May 16th. 1943, and by now not only had the majority of the Jews who had once been held in the Warsaw Ghetto been annihilated, the remaining 50,000 Jews were awaiting the same fate. Held to ransom, the remnant of Jewry here could do no more than pay the extortionate price expected for weapons. This criminal act, which would only hasten the Jewish demise stands before a history which now balks at calling this deliberate and calculated extortion what it was Collaboration. Here, as the approach of the final days of Hitler’s 1,000 year reich was looming, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto seized their moment and struck back at Hitler’s intention to destroy every single one of them. But here again, amidst the crumbling ramparts of Poland’s Capitol City the Jews once more stood alone!
I have no wish here though to single out only Warsaw as alone in those Ghetto’s taking back control from Hitler’s oppression and annihilation. But, as we must be explicit and specific, and while we can still be allowed an opinion in such a History, we strive toward relevance with the factual truth of what faced the remnants of the largest Jewish Ghetto in all of Europe, Jewish Warsaw. Not only do I wish to point out what happened here, but as I see here a similar collaboration which 6,000,000 Jews faced, the facts of this truth accuses. Here too, the Warsaw Ghetto sets forth the worst excesses of abuse, hatred and most definitely collaboration against these Jews, and the ultimate destruction of the Jews of all of Poland had been well orchestrated and mirrored here in the ruins of Warsaw.
But, was there some collaborative effort in ensuring that the 'transports' from Warsaw, which were taken to the gates of Treblinka, and as with all the Death Camps, managed with Polish escorts, it is certain what these Polish attendants had delivered their Jewish transportees toward. So taken in isolation though, and as we are introduced to the Jewish Resistance during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising these Jews fought an extraordinarily gallant Fight. It might have proved futile to do so but is it not credible now to allow them their immense, singularly isolated and Herculean effort. It would appear that while some are resorting to the revised annotation that certain in History would deliver for them and escalate an interference from outside bodies which did not assist. The example here, with the urgent need for Guns played a major part in the overall failure of the Jewish Combatants to assail further the German assault.
Though the end was an inevitable end for Jewish lives here, the Jewish capacity to defend itself against the weight of Hitler’s proposed elite, Criminals and mercenary killers severely increased the cost to the overwhelming military superiority the Jewish Fighter’s had to engage, due to a tenacity borne from a certainty they were alone and on a collision course with annihilation. Let us deal with the extortion for a moment. For instance, a gun to the Jewish Resisters could cost US $1,000 - US $2,500, and when the going rate at the time for say a revolver was US $20.00 to US $25.00. Here, for the Jews fighting Hitler’s Nazi’s was the margin for exploitation that was clearly and substantially enhanced! This was a clear exploitation and it was mixed with a collaborative effort that saw Hitler's clearer intention to deny any final life to these isolated Warsaw Jews brought closer. Did not the failure of the Polish resistance to assist their Jewish counterparts not merely pander to Hitler’s wishes but fully render to Hitler an extended ability to enure that the Jews could not defend themselves against such a resolve??
"..Assassinations were carried out ..of ..Gestapo collaborators seeking to save their own lives at ..expense of ..Jews." Abraham Geppner.
So the truth emerges that Polish collaboration, which existed in its most pernicious forms is based on this factual depiction of events involving so many desolate Jews. These Jewish Human Beings were abandoned by such a device as we see that their fellow humans being collaborative? This surely is an open wound in the psyche of all Humanity. Of course, what we do not do, we do not interpret what has been laid before the posterity from which we must learn. What is pertinent here though, is the sheer lack of cooperation from those outside the Ghetto's who either chose to ignore the Jewish plight or sought to profit from the Jewish situation. It is essential to understand and appreciate that for some Poles who ventured into the midst of this largely Jewish conflict, but within Polish Warsaw and only saw along with the Nazi protagonists, only a common enemy.
Of course some Poles died alongside their Jewish counterparts doing what they were obliged to commit to against the same Nazi aggressor, but the overall indifference shown by an apathetic or unconcerned Polish people abandoned the remaining Warsaw Jews to the murderous efforts of Jurgen Stroop. For me the question begs the unquestioning answer! Weren't the Polish Jews fighting to rid Poland of the exact same German aggressor enemy? Was not the Jewish Fight a Polish fight? Why then should a Jew have to pay for a weapon used to fight a common enemy? The Jews proved expendable even in the fight to rid The Warsaw Ghetto and Poland of Hitler's Murderer's!
As I summarise my own perspective as to what collaboration against the Jews in Poland represents what for me is so startling, nothing, absolutely Nothing prepares you for this realising betrayal of their fellow Country Men, Women and Their Children and all because they were Jews. Seeing the images as I have compiled them to survey the devastated landscape of a Polish territory, it is certainly true that it was largely abandoned by Poland! When nothing will prove more horrifying than what greets you as you stand before open fields here at Chelmno and Treblinka I get the sense that what was a missed opportunity to assist in Warsaw dissolved a mutual collaboration with these Jews of Warsaw and their Polish neighbours was a confrontation with a common enemy, Hitler’s invading forces. That same feeling of shock and shame confronted me as I stood in Auschwitz and Birkenau, Belzec, Majdanek and Sobibor.
Nothing has prepared me sufficiently for what is just as terrible, vile and monstrous in terms of a human failure to alleviate, assist or aid the Jewish fight in Poland against Poland’s enemy. However, the knowledge that more than 3,000,000 Jewish People, and possibly as many as 5,484,700 Jewish People were laid to waste in just these x6 places of ignominy, all adds a clearer more alarming perspective to what should have been expected from a knowledgeable non-Jewish Poland. Human Beings did this to Men, Women and Babies, Infants and Children and simply because they were JEWS while Poles in the main stood aside. Anger rages more deeply as I stood amidst rows of stones and boulders in Treblinka, and these standing memorials to lost Jewish Communities confront your senses knowing all too well what could have been achieved. If only Poland had acted as one with their own People, their own People, those suffering as Jews, but Polish all the same.
But then again, there are those who Survived the clear intention by Hitler to Murder them only for Poles to finish the task for him. I cannot begin to know the horror I stand in the shadows of but I can acknowledge their terror was far reaching. For some of these Jews, who even managed to crawl away from such spaces, Ghetto’s, Killing Sites and Death Camps how can I pretend not to be remotely horrified enough and angered more sufficiently when I hear that there was this lack of aid delivered to their own. The awareness or knowledge from those who resided next door to the encampments of destruction is a deceit which cannot camouflage the truth to be denied. For me there is a flood of emotions at all the Death Camps but it is here at Treblinka, where a Stone confronts me which floors me. Emblazoned across its surface I read SOKOLY.
This Town, where my poor little Tokele was so savagely Murdered, just 4 years old and butchered in a senseless hatred that no human being should possess. I felt frail and lost. I was merely humbled before stones which can devour ones mind of thoughts, well thoughts other than disgust. Here, my Camera lens becomes the tool of accusation and sharply brings to focus the most heinous crimes perpetuated by mankind. All too many of these crimes remain Unpunished. There are far too many Unconcerned enough to admit the exact detail of their collaborations, their intolerance’s or the indifference’s shown to fellow Human Beings. However, the weight of knowledge is burdensome enough without having History so exposed to duplicity and complicity in The Holocaust that some can deny all of its effects. So I will end here with an accusation as I encounter the very images I have posted to say I have been, I have marked my presence and I still choose to Remember that in
Belzec from 500,000 Jews to what amounts to 884,700 Jews were Murdered. In Birkenau, Auschwitz II from 1,100,000 Jews to a theoretically possible Slaughter of 2,500,000 Jews having been Murdered. At Chelmno where between 152,000 Jews toward 400,000 Jews having been Murdered there. For Majdanek we must assess that from 120,000 Jews to 200,000 Jews were Murdered there and at Sobibor some 225,000 Jews to 300,000 Jews were Murdered in this place of annihilation. The same is also true for Treblinka where as many as 700,000 Jews to 1,200,000 Jews were Murdered. This all gives rise to an overall assessment, unbridled in atrocity, unparalleled in brutality, unprecedented in all of History and unwarranted in all of humanity.
The staggering figures that we are talking about here within The Death Camp system would amount to some 2,797,000 Murdered Jews or some 5,484,700 Murdered Jews, depending upon all the gauged documentation and evidence, having been Murdered in The Death Camps alone! Remember too that while we seemingly acquiesce toward the lower estimates, we must fully consider the overall capacity that is The Death Camps. Plus be mindful also that while I make assessments based upon what Hitler’s legions fully accomplished, 33,771 Murdered Jews of Kiev in x2 days for instance, this would have ensured der Einsatzgruppe could have shot to death The Holocaust total of 6,000,000 Murdered Jews in about 355 days. We are reminded also of Hoess's own assessment, and this would suggest the entirety of those Murdered Jews of The Holocaust, these 6,000,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children would have been Destroyed in the space of 600 days at Auschwitz and Birkenau alone.
"..highest number of gassings in one day was 10,000. ..most that could be carried out in a day with ..available facilities." SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Rudolf Hoess.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Fri, October 06, 2017 21:04:50
It is Friday September 29th. 2017 and this part of my journey has come to an end. I have experienced some deeply moving experiences. I saw wholesale grief from many who so obviously had returned to pay their respects to the memory of those Jews now lost. The Jews of The Holocaust are always Remembered and in the placing of a stone, which I did, individually, and also for those who required one and for the many I know would appreciate it, I placed many stones. The symbolism shows the Jewish People today that the Jews of yesterday are never to be forgotten. I depart Warsaw from Chopin Airport so unless we measure the distance of the Concourse, I will have walked little today but travelled about 8 miles to get here.
The onward journey will make a total for today, of about 1,514 miles or so and to be honest, I doubt I could have been here another day and sought out any other place to visit, I am so weary. I stood in Centralna though, and there was a Train which would have taken me to Sokoly. I would have arrived at the same time I was supposed to be landing back on home soil? There is always that pull, there is always an unfinished recognition, and unsolved quest and an unrestrained commitment which persists in enabling me to take another step. A part of me though is quite relieved I have concluded this part of my journey, and I head back from the 'wasteland', a term I borrow from Karina Gora whose insight into taking Memory forward is refreshingly thoughtful and relevant.
I am only sorry I never saw her interpretative work while I was there, so as to appreciate it in close proximity to the Community of Tomazow-Mazowiecki's own Catastrophe. I am thankful the interest in keeping memory alive is pertinent to others who share a mutual human concern. I have travelled, all told more than 3,500 miles, 4,200 kilometres in new money over these past x5 days with 1,500 miles of that just to get to Warsaw. Warsaw has greatly disappointed though as there seems to be some errant or collective amnesia in Poland when it comes to asking about the Death Camps. And when it comes to those searching for answers and looking to the past for them, why do officials in Poland not at least know the names, Belzec or even Treblinka?
I have come a long way to visit places in Poland that the Poles do not know the names of? Is it Me? Did I look like I really did not wish to visit such places? Or could the answer be, there is a wish by far too many to forget their past History? Despite the fact that this detail in History was imposed upon them by Hitler, I would not expect the Polish people Not to know places which gorged on 4,000,000 Jewish People from all over Europe! Also, in each of these x6 Death Camps established by Hitler in German Occupied Poland, the remnants of Polish dead and Murdered is also to be found alongside their Jewish neighbours.
The Holocaust for me should be clear and unequivocal and certainly unique in terms of those 6,000,000 Jews of Europe who were intentionally Murdered by Adolf Hitler. In the most systematic, brutal, unprecedented, mechanised, industrialised and unparalleled Slaughter of Human Beings in ALL of History, requires that uniquely Jewish term History has recognised is, The Holocaust. That is The Holocaust Slaughter of 6,000,000 Human Beings for being Jewish. If ever my aim has been Always to Remember, Never to Forget then I will continue to inform, write and learn. How could I not? I know for certain the attempt by all to many to either minimise the impact the Jewish presence holds for us all, and I would suggest this accounts for an additional antisemitic response to an antisemitic act.
World War II saw 50/70 Million Dead, but not as Hitler's intention for the Jewish People has been exposed as so systematically sought. When some of those who offer up their recognition for The Holocaust, they are being disingenuous if they forget the very fact of the Jewish presence, or even choose to ignore that The Holocaust is 6,000,000 Murdered Jews. trump, now trudeaux have proved either stupid or ignorant of that fact, and a politician cannot have our mandate to be stupid. A politician here, who will remain gormless, when I questioned him about The Holocaust replied to me that he knew about the Holocaust because he had been to Auschwitz. This terse reply displayed an irrelevance I would not consider in any way empathetic.
My visit to Warsaw has suggested itself to me that there is a seeming and underlying attempt to either blur the line which connects 6,000,000 Jews to this Catastrophe, or dismiss it altogether. Either that or there is a simple attempt to deny these Jews of Europe their presence in THE most orchestrated and Murderous hatred meted out in supposed enlightened and civilised times. I am a bit low! My soul weakened by what I witnessed, and a little by what I have encountered. It does not fix itself when I witnessed a Lady crying as she observes the outside display at the Polin Museum. What could I say to her but Sorry! Here too, the dilution of the terms of reference which fixes the Jewish People within The Holocaust, is oh so a major cause for concern.
I appreciate that some Jews find it questionable for the religious overtones of The Holocaust term being used to Remember such an awful atrocity, and yet. Surely, The Holocaust term is the standard bearer of a truth which is Always to Remember, Never to Forget but it also vilifies those who watched as The Holocaust unfolded and is a blatant accusation of all of those who either profited from The Holocaust Jewish ordeal or participated in the very detail of the overall atrocity which is The Holocaust. For those who perpetrated these crimes in The Holocaust, either on behalf of Hitler or for their own sick and twisted idea, The Holocaust is our accusation.
How could it ever be otherwise, that Murdering Jewish People because they were Jews could be ever considered acceptable. How could such terms as The Holocaust presents become the accepted practice amongst all too few of these who have actually been tried for their Crimes. As I say! I am weary of the experience, but I will not forsake my commitment. Tokele stands alongside me. The Stone of Sokoly weighs heavily and 6,000,000 Jewish souls call out for a voice that wishes nothing other than to Remember them all. As I see it, the dead of War are a blight on Humanity whereas The Holocaust blights Humankind.
I know I have been here before, in terms of writing of an experience so hugely tragic and in whatever dimension we wish to draw upon. Here though was a differing space, a certain place but with separating names. The first sight of Malkinia had informed me Treblinka was at hand. I felt drawn forward. It was like it had been ordained and the steps that had guided me to where Polish rail officials had no idea of such a place as Treblinka, spelled TREBLINKA, I reached another awful space in the Destruction of the Jewish People! There were images and impressions drawing me forward and in a strange sense, I felt an almost spiritual upheaval. Again I have no wish to draw any religious connotations in this. I do not want to bring anyone's god into an equation which deals with such a massive loss. It had been remarked however that the god of Israel would sanctify and preserve the Jewish People, his Chosen People. Well for me, such was the absence of any god that the Jews fully felt a wrath and for what. To prove the presence of some god who cares more about the freedom to commit atrocity than to prevent it? As far as I am aware! The Jews obeyed their god's laws as they delivered to the World a monotheist way to believe adopted by a diverse multi-faith group of people. So where was god?
Even if the call came from some Biblical cataclysm which had been waiting to dump me in a place as close to another Hell as x5 other Death Camps had impressed upon me, I have yet to find the traces of any god. Instead, if ever a picture could add to what Dante envisioned, then our Children could become frightened by names such as these, Auschwitz/Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor or even there at Treblinka. Again those words, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here," was clearly not intended for me. For those Jews detained in Chelmno and Treblinka, contained beneath a soil turned over, finally excavated and the remnants cremated, much remains still of the most mechanised destruction of a People ever.
I remember as I set foot on Malkinia Station that I was retracing the steps that as many as 1,200,000 Jews heading toward that place Treblinka had made. I take no satisfaction knowing a few hours after arriving at Malkinia that a train from Bialystok would arrive and it would take me back to Warsaw. That is exactly what happened and I felt a deepening sadness knowing that those Jews deposited at Treblinka were given no choice whatsoever. Thoughts flicker and I am concerned that while I leave behind 6,000,000 lives worthy of Remembering, I do not feel they are in good hands. I feel the negative connotations of fixing words before the deeds of wronged and Murdered Jewish People, has not lent itself to the reverence 6,000,000 Murdered Jews require.
If a nation has become so fixed on requiring reparations from Germany for what was done by the Hitlerite hordes on Polish soil, they must regard the debt that is owed to 3,000,000 of their own Jews who did not return, who did not renew their ownership of all they once owned and who have been left without any legacy owned by their descendants. All of which is being denied to their relatives and heirs on the basis of a non returning ownership that had been totally obliterated! I have many thoughts going through me at this time and I find with an historical assessment, it is entirely conceivable that as Hitler surveyed the Polish terrain, from a military perspective, he saw in the Vistula, Bug and the Ner Rivers a way to further distribute his final resolve for the Jewish People.
The Vistula River is 1047 kilometres long and The Bug River is 772 kilometres long while The Ner River flows for 134 kilometres. The practice run with T4 brought together the ability to gas people. Cremate their remains and dispose of their ashes in the nearest River. In Poland, these x3 Rivers lay at the Centre of all that Hitler envisaged would obliterate all traces of those ill and infirm he had set his eugenics team on. For the Jews of Europe, who could be all too easily transported to their Deaths in the Camps built and established by Hitler for that purpose, the ash of Krematoria and Funeral Pyre was never too distant from the flow of a River which would distribute the ash as far away from the scene of the atrocity as was possible.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Thu, October 05, 2017 20:31:08
It is Thursday September 28th. 2017 and I am aiming for Treblinka. It is hard not to remonstrate with someone’s god when what awaits me is the hollowed out call from a dark place, Treblinka. I know the Jewish Murdered are there. I do not know how many we seek. I do not know their names even if that is quite Wrong! I do have an idea of the vast number of those Jews of Treblinka who await me! In excess of 700,000 and as many as 1,200,000. All Murdered because they were Jews. There are many others interred here, but these are the subject of an other's quest, and though they have been intolerably treated, I involve myself in a search for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews.
They are not part of my endeavour in finding why we allowed this all to happen and for the Jews of Treblinka and even though I know the names of some of Treblinka’s Jews, all of whom were forcibly transported there, I cannot ever know all who remain here, lost to all practicable efforts to locate and name them. However, I will still follow their route towards an abominable place and will be certain Always to Remember, Never to Forget that for me, I will be on the return train from Malkinia Station to Warsaw. So now, I have walked my customary 4 miles and I have to travel a further 6 miles and I have not even have got any further than Warsaw.
Today I will have walked 10 miles and travelled about another 134 Miles, once I get started. As with Chelmno, my walk on such hallowed ground will not be measured in time nor distance. That would violate the cause I have established for myself. So I will let you in on what seemed farcical, but caused me delay and moments of confusion. My walk to Warsawa Centralna Train Station takes 30 minutes so I set out in good time. But before that eventual journey begins, allow me to take you to the ticket desk at Warsawa Centralna Railway Station. My Polish being what it is, non-existant, I had written where it was I wished to go! TREBLINKA!
Now bearing in mind that this site of reverence to Polish Jewry, World Jewry and the State of Israel, and lest we forget History we too have a stake in acknowledging the awful crimes here, a State official looked blankly at my piece of paper. Anyway, we move forward and I had arrived at Centralna and asked for my ticket and was informed they do not have trains to where I wished to go. I even showed how it was spelled but I was then sent to another rail official. I was eventually pointed to a Bus Company which would supposedly facilitate my journey to Warsawa Western Railway Station. The Bus Company was certain I had been sent to them purely because they spoke English and the Train people didn't??
So now I was in a queue for Bus service I did not want? Ah! Polish buses. I am reminded of a previous venture on Polish buses heading to Belzec. As I trudged through knee high snow, and as the Bus which deposited me, the wrong side of Belzec, I was forced to trudge for ever just to reach the Belzec Gates. I actually saw the Bus veer into the distance along the Lvov road and straight past the Death Camp at Belzec, the Camp he obviously had never heard of? Or had he? I needed to get to Treblinka and the Bus Company furnished me with a ticket to get me to Western Station? I paid for the Bus ticket but decided against journeying across Warsaw in a Bus. I was eager to put Warsaw behind me.
I caught a Taxi which would be quicker. The Taxi Driver takes me to the Westin Hotel? The concierge had to explain to the Taxi driver I wanted the Western Train Station. Eventually, duly set down at said Station, queued in a relentless line of other would be traveller’s and got my Tickets and then set off for the platform. Amazingly. In the distanced I my route toward the Centralna station stood before me in the distance. The train even stopped at Warsawa Centralna to pick up passengers on my way now toward Malkinia! Aggghhhh! I wrote a piece for a Magazine a good while back, and on this day, it appears to appropriate a space in time that has already been consumed.
"..My quest for comprehension of ..events within The Holocaust commenced with ..Murder of a 4 year old Jewish Girl, Tokele. She resided in Sokoly, Poland. Now for a failed catholic like myself ..it is an abhorrence that anyone should be Murdered because of a Faith ..a Belief system ..ethnicity or antecedence. Troubling too that a Child's life can be so callously destroyed. I am sure that anti-Semitism played a key role in this particular atrocity as it does in ..whole of The Holocaust. It also concerns me that those who have profited within Poland from ..Destruction of 3,000,000 Polish Jews can maintain their supposed christian or even catholic status." Patrick Dempsey.
But if all that this sounds like idiocy, I was making My way toward Malkinia and as we all are to be made aware of, Malkinia is the staging post for Warsaw’s Jews to be Destroyed in Treblinka. So in some way I did not mind the mild farce which had got me here, before a sign which reads MALKINIA. The journey itself was time to listen to and talk to Kasia and her Son Patrick which took my attention away from this apprehension and sinking feeling which was gripping me. I arrived after a rather pleasant journey and there before me was that sign, MALKINIA! MALKINIA was not just a place I had heard of, it was a torrent of issues and concerns for the past few years as I tried to add to what I knew of Treblinka, a synonymous resonance with a dark space in our revulsion of what could and was achieved here.
To say I was exhausted is an under statement. But to know I had achieved what I had set out to undertake, and more, has eased a burden I have felt since I began this odyssey, 20 years ago. A promise made has been fulfilled now and I have met with a deeper seated concern that Memory is not fading into a forgotten state. There was a greeting too of sorts, with a Child from a place whose Community name SOKOLY is on a stone here in Treblinka. This is my ultimate reward. I have gone full circle in my search to when Tokele was introduced to me and her Community, many of whom have been laid before us, here in amongst the other 700,000 or 1,200,000 Jews of Treblinka.
That communal place, Sokoly has signalled for all, a time when hatred ruled over life and human decency was eradicated. But while lives have been taken from us, and 6,000,000 constitutes a lot of names now missing from us, we have words, acts and deeds to permanently defend their memory. Is it enough that mention is made of the tragedy they faced? NO! It will never deliver in essence what is lost, what was taken and how all too easily we abandoned so many Human lives. All we can do now is add a measure of remorse to a degree of empathy and know how wrong this World had been in the Catastrophe for 6,000,000 Jews. I will rewrite this, and add to a piece on Treblinka itself, as I will with Chelmno, as they are stand alone atrocity’s in need of a marker beyond a travelogue of sorts.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Wed, October 04, 2017 21:27:38
It is Wednesday September 27th and it is 2017. I simply forgot I hadn't altered my Phones time, so I had crept into Wednesday thinking I was working on what remained of Tuesday. It is late, I am tired but I have things on my mind. So while I can, I write! I never quite appreciated the magnitude of grief that can be brought to People. But now I have ventured upon a realisation. I have been to Chelmno and now know that nothing compares to that loss of life which has been interrupted by the intervention of others. Hitler interrupted the lives of 6,000,000 Jews of Europe and absolutely nothing will ever compare to the sense of grief this evokes.
The Irish are known for their melancholy nature but I am always upbeat, the glass is Always half full in my neck of the woods. For me too, no one has a monopoly over grief and this was brought to the fore a while ago as I managed an office staff. I listened as a Woman informed a fellow Female colleague that she had no need to grieve, she had only lost an Aunt, or someone not so immediate? Her reasoning being? She had lost her Mom the previous year and her Uncles Brother's Cousin, or whoever, the year before that. I felt quite aggrieved that anyone can impose their own sense of loss upon another so as to simply dismiss the fundamental grieving process owned by all and any People.
I clearly spelled out to her, that grief belongs to the individual concerned and she had no right to deny anyone the right to grieve in whatever capacity they chose and for whomever they had a grief over. I pointed out also that my own Mom's loss was, and until I began this journey, incomparable and no one else's could surely compare to my Moms. As I am never giving of what remains private to me, I will share this fact that in the space of x2 years my Mom had lost a Sister, her Dad, x2 Daughters and a Husband. Of course, these were my Aunt, my Granddad, both my Sisters and my Dad. But I had not been comparing my own grief then and until now was not prepared to compare anyone's sense of grief. How could I suggest grief, when there are Jews who know the meaning of this enormous grief we seek to add to the memory of The Holocaust. Each to their own!
However, that the magnitude of grief is felt now as I sit here wondering what can ever compare to the experience of those Jews left to reflect and grieve over The Holocaust, I am uneasy. I feel perturbed that while Simon Wiesenthal insists we should not look on The Holocaust merely statistically, how do I compare such an immense horror without recourse to numbers so devoid of all names. I have met and been introduced to so many People whose sense of grief bears no comparison to anything I could ever feel nor measure, even in all of History. But it appears it is incumbent upon those who seek, Always to Remember, Never to Forget, that such numbers as those which have been taken from us in The Holocaust, somehow insist on the calculation being made.
The overall assessment, which extrapolates such a criteria as is measured 6,000,000 times over with loss, grief and the horrible realisation of a terrible wrong, bears no comparison. That these Jews were taken from us and systematically interrupted from their own vibrant life, is an accusation of all that Humanity should stand for. I will get some rest now as Lodz awaits and I am supposed to be up in about 4 hours to breakfast before I begin journeying again. It appears my journey is endless. It also seems like sleep and rest have been removed from any equation I wish to make. Monday, I was travelling and awake for some 22 hours. It appears I have been on the go for 20 hours, and this was Tuesday??
I am fully awake? And I have taken my stroll to Centralna and I will have walked about 11 miles today and travelled 175 other Miles or so. As I am fully cognisant that while not all Jews suffered the same fate, all too few Jews of the 11,293,300 intended for destruction escaped the trawl of 6,000,000 innocent lives that were totally Destroyed. But of those who did Survive, they do not have the same regard or even disregard for their former neighbours as many would seem to hold. Each tale of Survival is different. Each story of those Survivors informs us of a familiar tale of intolerance from some of their neighbours and the warming sense of human dignity reaching out to save too few.
Brutality and atrocity was met by a Jew wherever they were bounded by the intolerance or indeed, the seeming indifference of all too many. However, what can be hidden in the terms of reference connected to the contribution 6,000,000 terrorised and destroyed Jews must bring to memory, is the attempts by many to save the few. In proportion though, the many 26,000 amongst all Nations, are far too few while the few Survivors are the remnant of far too many, 6,000,000 of whom were Destroyed. I am certain that perspective will be considered as I reach the Marek Edelman Dialogue Centre in Lodz though will be more amply exposed when I reach the Death Camp at Treblinka tomorrow. I am more certain of that exposure of grief which not only creeps up on me, unawares, it is a presence I feel constantly.
Lodz, it is clear, was fundamentally chosen as a centre of Jewish presence for the Ghettoisation, containment and eventual removal toward the Death Camps of the Warthegau's Jews. If we need to be pedantic in terms of Hitler's establishment of all x6 Death Camps, then they were established in German Occupied Poland. There is a play on words still, and while semantics have no responsible space to procure ownership of any part of The Holocaust, the word 'collaboration' shares a presence. Why is it then that we are prepared to accept a seeming collaborative effort with Hitler's germanising attempt to rename the City of Lodz and indeed its Ghetto.
We should in no way allow for the altering of the obvious Polish nature of a City so as to conform to a German insinuating accent. The Lodz Jews, and others who had lived in Lodz or were transported to Lodz, were Ghettoised in the Lodz Ghetto and died there, were Murdered there or were transported to their deaths elsewhere as Lodz Jews. The very nature of Hitler's attempt to eradicate Lodz Jewry should not reflect other than the very Jewish nature of Hitler's attempt to annihilate all of them as the Jewish inhabitants of the City of Lodz and then the Lodz Ghetto. Meanwhile, thoughts raging, it is essential for me that I focus on this day, seizing this moment and sizing the Marek Edelman Centre's ability to afford a dialogue to what was taken from Lodz Jewry.
To be more precise, the coming to terms with the murderous loss to Lodz Jewry. I am sitting here at the Marek Edelman Centre and I am looking across a Park which remembers the loss and the efforts of the some. The statue of Jan Karski is omnipresent gazing over the Park itself. The apparent mission here and vision that those who planned and instigated this worthy enterprise, an array of displays and focal points set before me, is well constructed and it has a resonance with the past that sweeps into our present! The attempt to add diversity to what lessons must be learned from The Holocaust past, is sure to shape the future for any organisation seeking to confront an unease with which Poland perceives The Holocaust.
The Dialogue Center
is an open, secular cultural institution acting beyond any political divisions, the primary purpose of which is to undertake educational, research and cultural activity including but not limited to:
1) Popularizing the heritage of different cultures,
2) Promoting multicultural and multiethnic legacy of Lodz, with the emphasis put on the Jewish culture,
3) Propagating the idea of tolerance and counteracting any signs of racism, xenophobia and lack of respect for people of different outlooks on the world, different backgrounds and cultures,
4) Undertaking educational activity in the scope of multiculturality for Polish and foreign communities,
5) Undertaking training and educational activity for children, the youth and the grown-up as well as organizing international exchange,
6) Running a library and an archive as well as building up various collections, especially those related to the Lodz Jewish community and the history of the Lodz Ghetto,
7) Carrying out projects commemorating the Lodz Jewish community,
8) Activities aiming at commemorating the Survivors and the Righteous and their families,
9) Popularising art works promoting the idea of multiculturality and multiethnicity,
10) Obtaining non-budgetary funds from national and foreign sources and using them for the purposes of statutory tasks.
The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center is the public cultural institution and education center, created on the basis of the multicultural and multiethnic past of Lodz, to discuss the history and its influence on today's life, with the emphasis on the Jewish culture, history and Polish-Jewish relations. An institution open towards the future, attractive for the local, national and international audience.
The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center is an institution that preserves the multicultural and historical heritage of Lodz through education, publishing, art projects and commemorative events, cooperating with many other institutions and organizations in Poland and abroad, recognized locally and internationally.
I commend the sterling efforts undertaken here as I would agree, those at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews measures with intricacy, the fate of 3,000,000 Polish Jews. Again though! I am visiting places in reverse order. Having visited Chelmno yesterday, I now visit the place so many of them were transported from, for their last time. Lodz itself, which expelled its Jewish Community to Chelmno, is close at hand. I will be amazed if any hint of a former Jewish presence greets me as I am amazed at Warsaw's almost complete lack of acknowledgement of its former resident Jews. The idea though that a dialogue, in part to Remember Marek Edelman and his Jewishness, is to be found here in Lodz is surprising. I am reminded now of a quote from Elie Wiesel and what is set before me confirms that Memory will be sustained by the efforts of more than those who write it.
"..Holocaust defies literature. ..describing an event ..we transmit ..its reflection. ..No one has ..right to speak for ..dead. ..story had to be told. In spite of all risks ..misunderstandings ..for ..sake of our children." Elie Wiesel.
What is more enlivening in this building is the careful tread of visitors whose efforts sift across an emotive space for those Survivors who venture here. All too many now no longer able to impart their truths for us. The concept of the space, which seeks to put in the lessons from the past so as to ensure our future, actually appears like an idealistic reality. I am aware of the ownership given to both Lodz and the Death Camps in Hitler's scheme of things. But I will now manage to alter course and change the definition I have often used to one which places ownership of Hitler's Death Camps, with him as it was he who established these Death Camps in occupied Poland, and I fully restore their ownership to Hitler and at his front door.
"..Letters From ..Ghetto is not just a love story ..but also history to which ..world remained indifferent. It is my personal ..internal protest ..closed in ..convention of motion theater." Kariny Gory.
I meet with Kariny Gory (Karina Gora) at the Centre and I find there are those looking for more ways to add toward the memory we all seek to add to. The Holocaust impressed upon Karina, who had utilised the love letters from Aljuche Izrael Orenbach (Lutek) to a Jewish girl he had met before Hitler's invasion of Poland, and this was Edith Blau. Their love story became a series of pen pal letters once the x2 became separated by Hitler's war. Lutek, a native of Tomaszow-Mazowiecki came from the same Town as does Karina, so her interest in producing this work was more than coincidental. The two, whose separation lasted without them meeting again, as Lutek was murdered in Treblinka and Edith was murdered in the Riga Ghetto, is as compelling as it is tragic.
"..yearning locked in ..words ..hope giving breath to say goodnight ..to greet ..morning ..monotonous days filled with fear ..where life and death are mixed in unity." Kariny Gory.
But love transcends all, and when literature has been deprived of an answer, Movement and Expression, which is what Karina's group brought to the Theatre, has ensured that memory is not alone and has another grasp at holding on. Here too, I am drawn to the statue of Jan Karski as it stares out over an obliteration process that physically left more Jews intact, within Lodz itself and more than Hitler would have demanded. Jan Karski himself evokes a reminder in us that too few like him persisted with letting the World know of a burgeoning route toward The Holocaust. The Catastrophe for all of European Jewry unfolded before his eyes and as it continued its rampage through our Historical consciousness, it remains as damnable, reprehensible and certainly accusatory for knowing it was known to the World of the time.
"..Lutek Orenbach and Edith Blau became ..pretext for my creative work on structuring their characters. ..to close ..time ..place and circumstances ..in ..Tomaszow space." Kariny Gory.
I wonder though, how would the impact upon this Centers efforts be, if it is to acknowledge the integrity of the past which could all too easily be affected by the arbitrary efforts to prevent the use of the word 'Collaboration'? This is a position which exposes the Centres efforts to re-ignite Polish Jewish relations even when collaborative efforts to add to Hitler's final resolve, and though only aimed at by some in Polish circles, it is widely known that some Poles were greatly involved in collaborating against their Jewish Community. Jewish Survivors know, for their part that luck in avoiding those who would collaborate against them is very pronounced and true. When there is an emphasis which appears to run counter to what certain elements of this Polish government wishes to alter, bleach or even deny, these would seem to impede your efforts:
"..to discuss the history and its influence on today's life, with the emphasis on the Jewish culture, history and Polish-Jewish relations."
and can there remain an independent view, free from the governments seeming 'revisionist' words and those fully amplified and untruthful implications. The Polish governments insinuation would surely alter those Polish efforts which sought to both save Jews from The Holocaust and also perhaps exonerate those who perpetrated many of the excesses History clearly acknowledges? I am keen to discuss this, and should it make any difference to the way History is written, it should be tackled everywhere. I have a wish to gain from the Center, and I will look more deeply to gain the insight into my search for further comprehension.
We must involve all those who know The Holocaust and from whichever perspective, and accept that in acknowledging the terrible wrongs done. To do so, we do a service to all in History and in Remembrance for the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, we choose to remember them correctly. I know now I am tired as I have been travelling today for more than 14 hours. The train arriving at, and I forget the platform, is running 12, 17, 25, and then 57 minutes late. In my confusion, there is a Swiss guy, and in my tiredness I forgot to ask his name? While he lends me his support, as his Polish is perfect. At least I know the Train will arrive, eventually.
I am back at the Hotel, the walk is beginning to feel more wearisome and I have yet to prepare for what will be a most difficult day, Treblinka. Before I go though, I heard someone say it was a Jewish Festival around this time. I found this greeting and wish to share it with you all, even if it is against all principles held within agnosticism? So Chag Sameach! I know the Jewish People celebrate Sukkot and that this is meant to be a celebratory acceptance of God providing for his chosen People, the Israelites! This then to me is my concern, and it as if it was written in my deference to my own religious background. It is not meant to cause any offence to anyone whatsoever.
So when the Holocaust launched the Jews of Europe into a wilderness and all Jewish faith focused on their God's faithfulness to keep his promises to secure them, it is also to make them aware of the power of his presence. However, we saw 6,000,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children abandoned and brutally Murdered. This, I am afraid is what strikes me as I still see that stone to the memory of the Jews of Sokoly. It evokes a great anger in me that is rightly directed at a World standing on the sidelines as the trail of despair stretches 6,000,000 People long. And it is not just that what happened in Sokoly that frustrates my, but what happened to Tokele threatens my very understanding.
Then as we look to 6,000,000 Jewish innocents, at the brutality, because of the vile and indiscriminate hatred, and with the knowledge of knowing that those in power were accepting of all of this atrocity, and we realise the intolerable depth of despair inflicted upon these People and the scornful indifference observed by all 6,000,000 Jews as they are strewn through a wasteland. Forgive me if I am at pains to share what is not a condemnation of any faith, but it is a reason for me not to have one, and I am very tired?????
"..In spite of ..vast accumulating literature ..an abyss still lies between those who endured ..unimaginable and those who did not. ..Survivors themselves remain pendant between ..living ..and ..dead ..searching ..to pierce ..realms of each." Nora Levin.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Tue, October 03, 2017 20:28:03
It is Tuesday September 26th. 2017 and for me, Chelmno awaits and it is weighing heavily. I have taken my leisurely 4 miles stroll to the Centralna train station and I will have walked my usual 8 miles by my return. Any walking in pursuit of Memory, which will involve today's walk around Chelmno, cannot ever be counted. Also, and this might seem ironic to many, but my walk into Warsaw Centralna for my visit to the Death Camp throws up a strange anomaly. This will see me on a Train bound for Berlin. I can hardly believe it.
Admittedly, I will get off at Kutno to journey on toward Kolo and then to Chelmno. But this Train heads direct to Berlin, the heart of where Hitler's plan to Destroy all of European Jewry was conceived of and largely conducted. Direct from Hitler, the plan to murder the ill and the infirm of Germany and Austria, had its genesis in Berlin too and then, so as to alleviate the symptoms of der Einsatzgruppe's psychological well being, a more mechanised approach was conceived. Chelmno was the first Death Camp established by Hitler in German Occupied Poland.
As such, the terrible lessons to be learned would be experienced by Lodz Jews. Whatever else, a target was set for The Jewish People, a marker was agreed that 11,293,300 Jews, as adjudged by The Wannsee Conference, would be sought out and The Holocaust Slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews would be realised. Hitler moved no further than his desk to share details in voiced undertones of all he had planned. So here, on these platforms in the Centralna station, every Train has a significance.
Each destination has a meaning in our reach for comprehending the entirety of The Holocaust. Bydgoszcz, Cracow, Czestichowa, Katowice, Kielce, Kutno, Lodz, Lowicz-Glowny, Piotrkow-Trybalinski, Tychy and especially Warsaw, all flash up recalcitrant images of everything I have been steeped in for more than 20 years now. The shock I am feeling is quite palpable. There is a whirring sense that I am in the midst of a cauldron which was deadly for the Jewish People, and this was merely 70 to 80 years ago.
But for Warsaw, as I leave it slowly behind, this was the largest contained, brutalised and Destroyed Jewish Community in all of Europe. It pauses me to consider how many of The Holocaust's Jews had merged with their Polish neighbours to board trains for far away places. Here, where a place like Treblinka beckoned, how we now wish the Jews could have gotten onto trains bound elsewhere. But with Treblinka, it functioned fully upon the transportation of Jews from Warsaw, and while other Jews had been expelled from other communities, Treblinka was Warsaw's nemesis.
So while I speed in the opposite direction, and toward Kutno, my mind looks out upon a landscape drenched with the blood of Jewish lives. It is troubling, knowing Chelmno approaches, and I will once again stand on the very space, where the epitome of all hatreds was conducted. Chelmno, which still secretes to the mind the missing presence of more than 152,000 to 400,000 Jews, taken and transported from the Countryside this Train is travelling through.
I am troubled as we travel and as I see order, with life continuing without a flicker of recognition for what must have been so obvious during those times. If it is to be said then it is going to be a pleasure to walk amongst those I can feel close to. In some strange and uniquely personal way, these Murdered Jews have given me cause to accuse, reflect and look far more deeper into humanity's gravest wrongs, for an answer.
I will not measure such reverence in other that the consumption of concerns for the passing of Human Beings, and regardless of the Fact that their Jewish designation ensured their destruction, my concern is a purely human response to an awful atrocity. Today, I will have travelled some 388 more Miles and will have looked across open Countryside, purged of all Jewish presence. But, to reach this Death Camp on the Ner River, it is an accomplishment I have neared for 12 years.
Chelmno itself is a sterile ground transformed into a visitor center, a form of museum. It has nothing really to suggest that murders took place here. Hitler established this Death Camp on German Occupied Polish land and this too is a strange anomaly. Different from all other Death Camps, though in a similar way to Treblinka, in that Murder and interring were achieved in situ and removed elsewhere for interring. Chelmno's Death Camp is x2 distinct sites and the Murders were largely achieved en-route from one site to the other.
The site of the killing is separated by a journey through hell for those Jews encased in Gassing Vans augmented purely for killing those who entered. I perhaps journey here the wrong way round, visiting the containment site first and then the transporting and loading area, as it was, secondly. But along that road from one place to another space, Jews were gassed and their lifeless bodies removed to where they awaited, no final resting space.
The feverish attempts to finally disinter and destroy the evidence of their detailed mass Murder would seek to dislodge from Memory the place were these Jews were laid to no rest. I have walked and walked. I have been from every corner of this containment centre and feel deeply that some force beckons which is intangible, yet still, it calls to those who seek the place where so many have failed to escape.
I am displeased with the loading area. Reconstructed and with no resemblance to what was the former place of such horror for the Jewish People, and others, brought there. My day is done. My head is done. I have nearly 200 miles to make a resolution with myself to add further to what needs to be said. I am weary. Tired. Not quite worn out and a walk back to my hotel, through night time Warsaw to confront the confusion. I am struck by the awe struck realisation of what humankind can accomplish against Humanity. I have Eugen Kogon’s The Theory and Practice of Hell to while away the coming hours, knowing full well, I have just visited a hellish place, and I have walked freely amongst lost but not Forgotten souls, and I manage to emerge.
Revisiting the PastPosted by P.A. Draigh Mon, October 02, 2017 21:12:19
It is Monday September 25th. and I have landed in Poland's Capitol, Warsaw, or as I am hearing it, Varshava!! An injustice to linguists. My taxi takes me the 8 Miles to my Hotel, where the Logos stands alongside The Vistula River just across from their National Stadium. I am prepared, he says, for an avalanche of emotions. So many things sweep across me as I prepare to meet with the itinerary I had set before I set off. There is this deepening feeling that loss might just overtake me as I try once more, to make sense of the illogical theatre of Genocide Hitler brought to the ramparts of the x6 Death Camps he had established in German Occupied Poland.
The feeling of loss is, in itself, inexplicable as much as it is incomprehensible to any human being and I feel it, as wounding as any pain of grief. Grief, bound by humanity to add a memorial to a posterity we have been delivered, a sharply reminding stigma upon the very psyche of our humanity. Here, as I look back on the route from Warsawa Centralna Rail Station, I am guided by the missing Jewish presence which seems inextricably to draw me forward. Today I have travelled about 1,500 Miles. So I now submit to that feeling which suggests I am on the last leg of a journey, an odyssey of sorts which has accompanied me for so long. Or is this a pilgrimage and is that a correct term for what I must now accomplish.
Perhaps it is more honourable a visit I make because it is my choice to do so. What I consider correct however, is the truth and only the truth can truly inform History. I tread a fine line between what belongs to the Jewish World and what is owned by a Humanity which chose to abandon its responsibility to the Jewish People, who are The Holocaust. Sometimes, there are thoughts of a personal nature which transfer perfectly to how I feel, and it is deeply felt over a huge loss which should never have been delivered to History, let alone to 6,000,000 innocent Jewish People, all Men, Women and Their Children, for being Jews.
This World we occupy was thrown into a moral abyss along with 6,000,000 Jews, who were so immorally regarded, they were allowed to be destroyed without much protest or even the semblance of World concern. There are x6 very important reasons why Remembrance is centred in and around Poland. The establishment of Hitler’s Death Camps in German Occupied Poland has left a repository for memory in the most immense graveyard for the Jewish People ever devised. Thrown headlong into an abyss, and into which our own Humanity tumbled alongside these innocent Jews, the atrocity confronts us to this day.
What occurs to me in my search has been the shocking realisation that of these x6 Death Camps, there are x4 which remain almost forgotten when placed alongside Auschwitz/Birkenau, Treblinka or in fact, the Warsaw Ghetto. I realised this visiting Sobibor and more especially Belzec, where their status lay in out of the way community’s not readily as approachable as Auschwitz/Birkenau or Treblinka. For those of us seeking a time and place in time, they will be more easily forgotten if they are not reached. Wherever the Jews were slain, there is a need to approach these places with the same intensity of shock and horror, which not be reserved solely for the more infamous and known of the Death Camps.
Without any laudable concern forming over the negligible intervention we are witness to, and to this day, will we allow for these less visited Death Camps to simply fade from the landscape of The Holocaust. Then as we reach the reality of it all, that there was an imperative adopted by the few, who in order to save lives managed to save too few, what place can there be for sites of such depravity. We have secured for all posterity a precedent that was so depraved, the wrong lessons have been since learned, and all too often. I have learned from personal experience that the choices made can be wrong for the right reasons and can hurt, can cause pain and can ensure to make distance less fonder from what is known.
I had a feeling all 6,000,000 of these Jews, who are The Holocaust were joined together at the same time in this carnage and we have been left with a very difficult prospect of finding them in the detail that has been hidden from us. I was making plans to visit the Polin Museum and I wish I had just sat down and let the entire feeling for the Catastrophe, an experience I felt deeply, could it just wash over me and give me the answers I sought. I was time constrained by other official timetables and then again, one can have too much time to mull over pasts and as they confuse the present give a differing meaning to all of our futures. I guess ones soul lays exposed and thoughts impose their own agenda. You have to choose your direction for whatever reason, only for it to then smack you straight in the face.
You remember all you forgot to say or do! You give up everything you are and have Nothing left only to find it is not enough that time has taken everything with it!! I took a x4 hour walk around this City to take in a flavour of a Jewish Past which was not here anymore. I met a hint of a Jewish past in both Cracow and Lublin. It was not here in Warsaw. If you share x2 pictures to illustrate this, there is a plaque on a building, singularly pointing to when Jews once walked freely. What then struck me, the Umschlagplatz Memorial, so desolate and tucked away so out of sight as to be a forgotten reminder of what it is meant to add in memory for us. Also, and clearly the Polish People, and their government, have an awareness problem with the word 'collaboration'.
They do not see the word in isolation and that those who 'collaborated' are being accused of what they did. Yet there is this position where they choose to feel the term accuses all of Poland for what some Poles did, and to far too many of their Jewish neighbours. Of course many forms of collaboration existed without Poles dealing directly with German occupying forces. Informing on a Jewish neighbour was collaborating in their very destruction. But Jews too have to accept the Fact, while not all Poles were Bad, some clearly were. I have much to unravel in these thought processes, but the unfortunate aspect in this, given that Poland is for the Jews their Largest graveyard, and as such, Jews need to visit these Graves. This is more of an imperative than for Poles to have any need to alter their relative position toward accepting some responsibility for what was done by certain Poles in their own backyard.
There is a conflicting synergy between the two positions of Grief and a supposed refusal to accept the fuller responsibility. But there are places like the Polin Museum and the Marek Edelman Centre which just might afford some solution. I deal in those words which seek to add meaning to a dialogue and both these places are constituted in affording dialogue their welcoming space. Dialogue too is about listening and if the concerns around a term such as 'collaboration' is focused upon, in a negative way, it will seek to dismiss an integrity that speaks of all rights for all and the wrongs which run counter to them adapted by the few. I could catalogue an accumulation of corroborative evidence that places Poles at German doors giving away Jewish neighbours.
But that is not my remit yet it is the purpose in History to state the factual integrity in all matters and if they are True, they will benefit all of History. I guess I am approaching some form of vindication for doubting the evidence I have become a witness to in which everyone accepts the responsibility that has been assigned to them. I cannot seem to get my thoughts in order at the moment. They are running away with the prospect that tomorrow, Chelmno will crush the formed opinion I had already gained and that there will be a coming together of what was not resolved in solving a solution for Hitler’s radical view in delivering The Holocaust. But, I doubt there will be any change other than a shift of emphasis in knowing Jews need to find their lost People and Poland, holding the soil of that search somehow captive have an interest in only securing .
TestimonyPosted by P.A. Draigh Tue, September 19, 2017 13:12:17
"..Some people say it is too dangerous for me to go back there now. That I'll never be able to return. ..from time to time ..I go there in my mind. ..another family lives in that home ..another ..in my bedroom ..while I am 1,000's of miles away. ..reminders of ..life I loved ..girl I was." Malala Yousafzai.
Reading these words I was transported back nearly 80 years to when Jews were forced to give up their homes and their previous lives. I realise how fortunate it became for any Jew to be able to write the words which spelt loss. But also, in recognising their loss can be spelled out 6,000,000 tangible ways, and while each discourse will be different, it will be similarly unique. History has been assured we must learn, but continually we have learned that intolerance profits sooner than respect for our fellow human being. Had Gabby Sprenger, Halina Birenbaum, Inge Auerbacher, Natalie Mehlman Scharf or any Jewish Survivor penned these words, we would recognise the enormity of their loss and the magnitude of their grief.
Can it be acceptable that Jews who managed to Survive the most apocalyptic assault on Humanity, where 6,000,000 People were routinely, systematically and brutally Murdered in the most unprecedented and unparalleled assault upon the integrity of any human being, can they be allowed to fear returning to their former lives or homes. Can this be acceptable simply because of the collaborative efforts of those communities which dispelled them. Of course Hitler's demands were met by resistance, but in many cases collaboration paid rich dividends as is clearly evidenced to this day. Jews were made very aware that it was too dangerous for them to return, in places like Biala-Podlaska, Boleslawiec, Diosgyor, Kielce, Kunmadaras, Lublin, Mordy, Parczew, Piaski, Polaniec, Sokoly, Skarzysko-Kamienna and Turek.
With more than 1,000 Jewish Survivors being Murdered after Hitler’s defeat and with some 100,000 Jews forced to flee Poland, the landscape of collaboration takes on a differing complexion. The emphasis then became an effort for local communities to hold onto what had not been theirs in the first place. Here, and where such fear persisted for the Jewish Survivor, a gain was made by community's too busy confiscating what did not belong to them. In place of any Christian duty to their Jewish neighbours, greed overtook various communities. In each and every case that community knew what had happened to the Jews of Europe. Even if they did not know the detailed actions which had been led against 6,000,000 Jews in Death Camps, Ghetto’s and the Killing Sites throughout Hitler’s expanse into their Country’s, they knew the scale of the atrocity as it amplified itself in the failure on 6,000,000 Jews to return to their former homes, lives and freedoms.
So from 1,000's of miles away from their former homes, from their previous existence and without the lives the Jewish Survivor assumed remained theirs, they too can revisit in their minds ALL that has been taken from them. Surely such is the collaboration with Hitler's efforts that still today Jews are dispossessed and fearful of reclaiming ALL that is rightfully theirs. It would appear that any collaboration in the catastrophe that engulfed 6,000,000 Jews ensures a further Hitlerite demand is posthumously gained. Fear for the Jews has denied them their former lives and possessions. Clearly, and by definition, collaboration comes in many guises and there is a definite synergy between what is a hostile and aggressive effort and what remains the more muted response that is all too often recognised as resignation.
But, and this is the crucial element in all collaborating efforts, and in overseeing what is to be regarded as colluding with Hitler, his Nazi’s or especially in terms of The Final Solution of The Jewish Question especially, what we generally recognise as consorting, conspiring, co-operating, even fraternising or simply sympathising with those we should be working against, must be recognised as collaboration in its specific detail. So when it comes to the collaboration with Hitler’s efforts to destroy the Jews of Europe, and these efforts existed on the entire Continent of Europe and with every Country involved to some degree or another, we cannot disregard what some people or states might perceive and consider was their inability to act.
There are many occasions in which collaboration was quite fundamentally turned around and in the case of say an Oskar Schindler, he fully managed to recover from this collaborative effort to redeem his humanity and save more than 1,000 Jews. In contact with Polish students it has been pointed out to me that I am at odds with Polish Political efforts to sanitise Polish collaboration? The premise of my work is not simply Always to Remember, Never to Forget the 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust, but as an accusation which accounts for their loss. Without reservation I make the accusation, for all those who assisted in the Catastrophe, and this becomes a definitive assessment. My words should not offend any Jew. My statements must not cause derision to a Jew who Survived all attempts to destroy any x1 of the 6,000,000 of them.
What the Survivor must insist upon is nothing but the Truth, the entire veracity of that whole Truth and its factual status in the Fidelity of its telling. This means an acknowledgement must be given to the Survivor, by all those who assisted, by those of nations who either obliged or participated in the Catastrophe for 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, to come to terms with their co-operative stance.
1) Belgium had its own ss legions, with more than 3,500 including a Waffen SS unit and various paramilitary groups.
2) Byelorussia participation with Hitler’s efforts are to be recognised, and in Minsk, a specific charge is made of their terrifying efforts to murder Minsk Jewry.
3) Denmark, lauded as a nation of Righteous, did serve the Hitler cause too with various Nazi idealised groups and a Waffen ss contingent.
4) Estonia marshalled many of its most ardent antisemitic legions to man the Death Camps and explore the deep recesses of the Killing Sites to deliver toward Hitler’s final aim.
5) France had the Milice and other organisations ranking among the 10’s of 1,000’s, all submitting to Hitlerite rule and the collaborative effort in removing Jews toward annihilation.
6) Holland serviced the Waffen SS need and many established Nazi affiliated groups existed to round up and disgorge Jews toward the Death Camps.
7) Hungary is synonymous with the Arrow Crosses endeavours on Hitler’s behalf and the near precision exercise to abandon the last remaining Jewish Community of substance toward Auschwitz, during the last stages of Hitler’s failed thousand year Reich.
8) Latvia’s Arajs kommando swept through this Baltic State doing Hitler’s bidding. If we are to accept that Araj kept his own particular collaboration localised, the tentacles of Latvian Collaboration spread far and wide. They manned the Gates at Treblinka, Maly-Trostenets. They were occupied in the Killing Sites along with der Einsatzgruppe and rampaged throughout Byelorussia, Russia and the Ukraine. Their status amongst the Waffen SS also show’s their collaborative nature! Latvian auxiliaries were on hand to crush the Jewish Rebellion in Warsaw.
9) Lithuania was instrumental in targeting their own Jewish communities at the behest of Hitler’s protagonist agenda. They also assisted alongside German forces against the Russians.
10) Norway formed a Waffen SS Division and nazi sympathisers abetted the efforts of the Quislings to control the power brokerage in their own Country.
11) Poland’s 'blue police' not only assisted the Nazi effort to consume 3,000,000 Jews but wilfully participated and perpetrated Crimes against Humanity. Their presence against the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a clear collaboration against the Jewish People and Poland’s sovereignty.
12) Russia had its own anti-Russian allegiances and this, when coupled with Nazi sympathies, enlarged Hitler’s efforts into the wider Russian field. Entire Armies of dissident Russian forces colluded with Hitler’s efforts while Russian guards patrolled the Death Camps, guarded the Killing Sites and operated the Gas Chambers.
13) Slovakian collaboration and the Hlinka Guard oversaw the disintegration of the Czechoslovakian republic and were entirely active in the deportation of their Jewish People toward the Death Camps.
14) Ukrainian Collaboration took upon itself many distinctions and a Waffen SS unit was instrumental in every anti-Jewish action throughout Eastern Europe. The Ukraine supplied a militia which could field in excess of 18 divisional strength units of some 180,000 members.
15) Yugoslavia had the Croatian Ustasia to act for the Hitlerite influence in the region and they were systematically brutal against Jews, Serbs and Gypsies alike.
So the complexion of cooperation might be varied, wherever it was met, but it held a single accord when it was dealing with The Jewish Question. It is too simplistic to recognise in the actions of the Balts or the Ukrainian’s something which did not exist in Holland or Poland. But the simple fact of the matter is, collaboration which assisted Hitler in his efforts to devour as many Jews as was conceivably possible, was articulated in each and every one of these Country’s here mentioned.