As our Head is now leaving at half term, could you please introduce yourself to Anna, I think you did meet briefly who will be Head of School when you arrive in December. Perhaps outline what you did last time in case Anna needs to pass to Governors to get approval for your visit.
I have been asked to contact you with a view to me speaking to your Students about my work. This is the basis of that work.
I have spoken to your Students x2 years ago and would talk to them appreciably, about writing but ostensibly, why I write. I am mindful of the age group and would not wish to traumatise them with the subject matter.
Perhaps an overview of my visits to the Death Camps, my work and an question and answer session to give them a wider perspective on acceptance and Tolerance. Your view will be greatly appreciated. We can liaise this through Russell, if you so wish.
Provisionally! I could speak to your Children December 13th. till 18th. If this fits with You? Could you let myself or Russell know.
Huge apologies for taking so long to get back to you it has been a slightly manic week!
Thank you for your email. We greatly look forward to having you visit us again - I have booked the 13th December on the calendar so long as this date is still ok with you. What time do you envisage arriving? Would you need any resources in preparation for your session?
Thanks again and see you soon.
I can rearrange things for December 3rd., 4th. or 5th. I will work out the detail of the presentation and will put the images I will use on a memory stick for LapTop to Screen display?
"..By attempting to translate life into words ..I fear that I too have contributed to forgetting. I have ..inevitably ..left so much out. And as at ..beginning of this writing so now at its end ..meaning of wanton destruction continues to elude me. ..my words seem hollow." Irene Eber.
It is my love of Children, and just my own, which wishes to ensure they are guided correctly and given the intrinsic tools by which they will live and hopefully prosper. So often, I use the words of those whose chosen subject is The Holocaust in order for me to relay my own contention, my own resolve and my own desire to Remember what happened to 6,000,000 Jewish People of Europe, Their Children included. One such work is Irene Eber's Book - Choice, which for me signals a little known aspect, a factor for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews which was the limit to the Choice that was denied to them. Remember too though, Irene Eber's words add to a memory we seek to learn from, a desire for a comprehension those like Irene deliver with a first hand knowledge. Irene, amongst the many who deliver the horror with passion so remarkably devoid of anger fill a void and as such, the words are filled with meaning, resonance and feeling.
"..We feel ourselves linked together ..we cannot break free of our past. That we cannot forget." Yehuda Adelman.
We here have a responsibility to all History as to why we write about any single aspect of it and the integrity of the past must remain sacrosanct. In order that today we know the lessons for tomorrow are both truthful and honest, we have to learn with a resourceful nature that keenly seeks out the truth. The integrity of all History is guarded by bastions of a truth which cannot be distracted by impersonation. The truth is not open to debate. The Holocaust is not open to interpretation. The Holocaust is the factual truth of humanising systems that failed the Jewish People and allowed for 6,000,000 of them, Men, Women and Their Children to be ruthlessly sought out for slaughter. In case we forget, these many Jewish People is a Memory which belongs to those of us wishing Always to Remember, Never to Forget.
"..first victims were ..Jewish Children ..and I shall never forget ..harrowing scenes and ..blood curdling incidents when ..ss men ..cruelly attacked Children. ..Even today ..cries ..shrieking of those Children are clear in my mind." Adolf Berman.
For me in particular, writing exercises the need to learn from what I have and am reading, from the research conducted and from hearing from those who will always add to what is unbderstood, is The Holocaust. We must start with the premise that Hitler used his hatred of the Jewish People to gain power and then to convince other's that their own insignificance would be resolved by the intolerances to be shown towards others. Once Hitler had gained that power he used the infection of that resolution to debase and assault the integrity of the Jewish People. Once untethered by contraints Hitler sought not simply to assail the Jews, to assault these Jewish People but to entirely destroy all of European Jewry. No other resolve of Hitler's is more contemptible and certainly, The Final Solution became the result of that singular Hitler resolve which then annihilated 6,000,000 Jews of Europe.
"..We shall regain our health only by eliminating ..Jews." Adolf Hitler.
That Hitler's legion swept 6,000,000 Jews of Europe to oblivion and has laid waste to some 50 to 70 million people in total during World War II, affords any reverential term we must continually fight against. The man considered to have been Hitler's most effective tool in the delivery of these Jewish People toward destruction, an architect of annihilation, is Adolf Eichmann. This rather low ranked official in Hitler's Reich, an arm too of Himmler's more wieldy influence stated his contempt for Jewish existence very precisely. Clearly Eichmann was not merely a functionary and as he so succinctly declared his position, he strode the European stage an almost god like figure with supreme power over the life and subsequent destruction of these many Jews, Eichmann catapulted himself into the claim of an infamy manifestly abhorrent in all its configurations. At the behest of a Hitler who rarely explored the functioning of this aspect of his much acclaimed power, Eichmann wielded an inordinate power with precision and drive.
"..100 Dead are a catastrophe ..Millions of dead are a statistic." Adolf Eichmann.
Today, our own humanity should not have to conform to the ramifications of a statistic, a mathematical analysis which is without any merit when grouping together the detailed annihilation of an entire People. The mathematical sense in which Eichmann used this form of an accounting, fully seeking to confine a mass of Human Beings to a space in time has so many other differing forms. As for relating what is important in analysing the human loss, its immense catastrophe and the tragedy it has left for us to reach out and learn from, we are urged to remember the human dimension of what we have indeed lost. There is always a better course in the study of this research and is an example of what must be brought forward from the abyss. This has been clearly identified by Simon Wiesenthal when he states:
"..Murder of 6,000,000 Jews must never be reduced to a statistic." Simon Wiesenthal.
So I build my work around a contempt for words others might use when dealing with human lives that detract from their human dimension. Words so obviously matter when dealing with the destruction of 6,000,000 Human Beings, destroyed simply because they were Jews. With just 1 single word we start our sentence and this beginning is a selective process where inference and intention is chosen from an immense array of chosen words. These words, which are open to us all and which convey the correcting narrative of a perspective we adopt to best expand our own view, must be in the least reverential and at the most respectful of position over the loss Humanity can ill afford to ignore. We progress this narrative mindful of the calamity we are measuring in human terms and the seeming contempt clearly shown to 6,000,000 Jewish People.
"..I must state that I consider this murder ..this extermination of ..Jews ..to be one of ..most heinous crimes in ..history of mankind." Adolf Eichmann.
So by the time we have conceived of word 71, we have a paragraph which we have commenced and we have hopefully gained a narrative and creative flow. We then begin to accept that when the struggle for this Jewish life appeared so futile, and as it became discarded in the midst of The Holocaust, we must not allow for the actions of other's to influence how these wrongs are described as they are perceived. When all manner of evil is stacked against us, we must see the evil that men do as evil beyond the words of any contempt that could ever be delivered. This is not to say that men only delivered the level's of such an evil that we have come to recognise here in the terms of The Holocaust. Caught up in the hysteria of adulation, Women too took Hitler's words to diffuse their own common decency and slipped immorally from any ethical path toward the ignominy we see in 6,000,000 Murdered Jewish lives.
"..I will leap into my grave laughing because ..feeling that I have 5,000,000 human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction." Adolf Eichmann.
We are progressing amiably through words, but their definition must retain their meaning so that by the time we have written 771 of those words we have a page filled with our intention to a choice that was never afforded these Jews. However, that chosen subject on which we rest our associated dialogue has become a hopefully intelligible articulation of meaning for what Humanity has clearly lost. Further along, and as we get to 3,771 words we have established a first chapter which presents us with a figure beginning to present itself as informing us of the status of those Murdered Jews of Kiev is about to be confirmed. We cannot know, as we string the words together, to mark some form of memorial to what had previously existed that we will deliver a work that is credible to their memory.
"..Chief of ..Security Police and ..Security Service
Berlin, October 2nd. 1941
Operational Situation Report
Sonderkommando 4a in collaboration with Einsatzgruppe HQ and two Kommandos of police regiment South, executed 33,771 Jews in Kiev on September 29 and 30, 1941."
With the accumulation of 33,771 words we are a third of the way through to finishing this or any book. And this begins the story of a murder so calamitous, it is known as BabiYar. I gave my 3rd. Book the title Babi Yar - A Jewish Catastrophe for the very fact that on September 29th. and until Septemeber 30th. 1941, in a x2 day period of Slaughter, this place has shown an unprecedented event, even in the midst of the catastrophe which is the whole of The Holocaust. Here, BabiYar can be sectioned off into its own pocket of an atrocity so vast, it requires its own sentiment. But even with 33,771 words I cannot come close to giving any sense of meaning as to why BabiYar or The Holocaust occurred. Not only did human beings exact such an atrocity upon other Human Beings, but our World stood idly by as this was borne along.
. "..None has suffered more cruelly than ..Jew ..unspeakable evils wrought upon ..bodies and spirits of men by Hitler and his vile regime. ..Jew bore ..brunt of ..Nazi's first onslaught upon ..citadels of freedom and human dignity. He has borne and continued to bear a burden that might have seen beyond endurance. He has not allowed it to break his spirit ..he has never lost ..will to resist. Assuredly in ..day of victory ..Jew's suffering and his part in ..struggle will not be forgotten." Winston Churchill.
Toward the final stages of a calamity which breezed past 1,000,000's of Jewish lives to deliver 6,000,000 Jewish Slaughtered lives, history stands to accuse as duplicitous, many ministries in states which knew and so acquiesced their unhindered compliticty.
"..The Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service
October 7th. 1941
Operational Situation Report
USSR No. 106
In cooperation with the HQ of EGC and two Kommandos of the police regiment South, Sonderkommando 4a executed 33,771 Jews on September 29 and 30. (1) Gold and valuables, linen, and clothing were secured."
In my wish to share with you, I have brought with me x2 files with Photographic Albums containing a series of Pictures I took on my Journey through the x6 Death Camps which Hitler had established in Poland. Each one of these x6 Death Camps has a figure attached to it which represents the grave loss to the Jewish People who were Murdered within their confines. The other Album, which is to me one of the more reprehensible series of images of The Holocaust to be explored, is of Jewish Children, some with their Families who are no more. As these photographs focus upon those Children taken from France and Murdered in Auschwitz and Birkenau, they are a lasting memorial to such an immeasureable loss, sympathy and empathy for the images can be witnessed from amongtst those who now bear witness to them. This memorial array was conceived of and presented to us by Serge Klarsfeld in a Book I find so devastating in its composition.
"..Remember this day ..remember it well ..you will tell generations to come about it one day. ..we have been shut away in ..ghetto. I live here now ..world is separated from me and I’m separated from ..world." Renia Spiegel.
Memory is essential if History is to become a measure of what we must remember as it is what we are required to learn. Nothing I will present to you can be considered in any way an enjoyable experience but it is hoped that in some way you will enjoy the presentation of the facts. The weight of responsibility, which will give you an insight into what was a very terrifying and deadly detail for those Jewish People we seek to recall, will move you forward toward a place where tolerance should always be first and foremost our demand. For me, loss has played such an important part in my own life and I have infilled this void with sought after words. Sadly, no matter how many words I contrive to deliver, nothing could compare to what was personal to these 6,000,000 brutally slaughtered Jews of Europe. The awesome duty however, to recall, to remember and to never forget what consumed these Jewish People, is way beyond any form of comparison.
"..When he shot me I was wounded in ..head. I still have a big scar on my head ..where I was wounded by ..Germans. I got to my feet to see that horrible scene. ..screaming was unbearable ..Children shouting Mama ..Papa. I ran over to ..Children ..maybe my daughter was there. I called out ..Markele. ..I didn't see her. ..Children. ..were covered with blood." Rivka Yosselevska.
From an early age I was instilled with a love of Books and the words which flowed from them became a companion to my life long search. That search for a meaning to life's greatest loss, those we have loved and who have loved us in return is unending. I wrote my 1st. Book at age about 6 or 7 realising later that I had formed the pages of what would be termed a Bibliography, an account of the Books I had read, was reading and would wish to read. Little did I know that Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, George Orwell would lead me toward Maya Angelou and Martin Luther King. I was continually searching for meaning and I came across what I understood to be Jesus Christ as the first socialist in a bible riven with ethical morality, there emerges a goodness which should always be chosen. Confirmation too that the only difference between catholic's and protestant's was the church in which they chose to celebrate their god.
"..most important mitzvah ..or commandment ..of ..post ..Holocaust era should be hakarat hatov ..recognition of goodness." Rabbi Harold Schulweis.
The Album that you will see firstly will share with you images of what is left behind, what is detaining the Humanity concealed beneath its surface, in these Death Camps. The immeasureable loss is represented by stones for the large part, by memorials and by monoliths to memory we are required Always to Remember, Never to Forget. It is brought to mind here too, as I had been talking to a Lady who was from Szczecin, or Stettin given its anglocised name, and I remembered a piece I had written about the City which bore similarity's to my own journey toward the Death Camp at Belzec. The piece relayed that on February 15th. 1940 and at a train station close to Lublin, these 1,300 expelled Stettin Jews, Men, Women and Their Children were force marched in minus 20 degree temperatures, in 2 foot of snow and for some 20 miles.
"..we are still 150 of about 700 here. ..We are still in shock from ..last few days. It is desolately empty." Martha Bauchwitz.
Admittedly, I had barely been walking for about x2 miles, but trudging through 2 feet of snow, in minus 18 degree temperatures toward the Belzec Death Camp, I recalled what I always said to myself at the entrance to each of these x6 Death Camps, I will walk out of this place once my visit has ended. Martha Bauchwitz relays that from an inital 1,300 Szczecin Jews, 600 had previously died, and then of the 700 left, barely 150 were still alive for her to comment upon their status. For literally 1,000,000's of Jewish People, and other's, this was also to be the deadly case. For the transported Jews, arriving at any of the Death Camps, their final moments were to be spent in the static Gassing Chambers erected for the purpose. Only in the case of Chelmno was there a fundamental difference, that enclosed space was inside a Removal Van converted for the specific purpose of gassing the Jews enroute to the burial and kremation sites.
"..picture which my informant gave me concerning ..treatment of Jews in Poland is such that it can hardly be expressed in writing. ..Intention is to exterminate them eventually. ..all ..Jews were assembled for what was officially announced as delousing. At ..entrance they were forced to take off their clothes ..delousing procedure ..consisted of gassing ..and ..afterward ..all ..could be stuffed into a mass grave. ..source from whom I obtained all ..information on ..conditions ..Generalgouvernement ..is such that not ..slightest shade of disbelief exists concerning ..truthfulness of my informant’s descriptions." Karl Ingve Vendel.
What is not so obvious from the photographs I took within these Death Camps, and whereas we might see some of these same or similar headstones in graveyards the World over, here many of them are representative of entire lost Community's. Such is our disbelief, an incredulity as much to do with how could any people do such a monstrous deed, as with the deed itself. Of those Jews interred in the various Death Camps, sometimes a stone or a Monument can represent 10's and even 100's of Jewish People. Yet still again, while there are other stones which will represent to History the loss of 10's of 1,000's of Jewish Men, Women and Their Children, all so callously swept aside, the images cannot begin to measure our loss. Of course, interpreting these images and giving words to their meaning might suppose that nothing can approach me on The Holocaust that can surprise me, but I am often caught out by the sheer human enormity of the catastrophe. That its individual status, as it might be relayed by those concerned with its calamity for all humanity, can render me shocked still or stunned.
"..because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." Anne Frank
Perhaps for me, what history allows us, and with the benefit of hindsight, is the luxury of an accusation that is so firmly and categorically to be gained. The Holocaust offers such an expanse of damning detail that it is hardly surprising that we can accuse so readily. The dilemma though is not with today, with the now but with the then, and in the immediacy of what was fully emerging within this final solution. It is perhaps that so much was done, and though this is the atrocity itself in its grotesque form, what was allowed to happen to 6,000,000 People simply because they were Jews is yet to be grappled with. The full scale of the catastrophe as it was initally perceived, as it was witnessed and as it was then enacted upon, before prying eyes and from keenly interested observers, is the morally corrupted view that is sought out. To be given to us to this day a disingenuous discourse concealing the truth of what was known, not only alters the perception of all of history, it corrupts it.
"..I have to accept ..fact of Edith's death ..but I keep hoping I can find my Children. That is what I am living for at ..moment. I gravitate between hope and fear." Otto Frank.
Today, there are 3 lessons I bring with me today which will guarantee you all, I hope, a way through what will instruct you in life. It is simply to read, to write and to know how to add those words together to gain their meaning. I have just been to Amsterdam and visited The Anne Frank Huis where all these lessons are brought to bear in a way that makes the difficulty in my work appear more necessary. Here, on a wall in the Museum, I was presented with an image of a desperate Father, knowing that his Wife Edith Frank had been Murdered, but hoping beyond hope that his Daughter's Margot Frank and Anne Frank would somehow Survive. Otto advertises for information upon them.
"..Margot Frank 19 years and Anne Frank 16 years in January on transport from Bergen-Belsen. Otto Frank, Prinsengracht 263, tel.37059."
For Otto Frank, that total loss was soon to be fully realised and an emotional abyss was presented to him. Both the Frank Sister's become terminally ill from Typhus in Belsen, and Margot, first to die somtime in February 1945 is followed by Anne a few days later. Certainty is never a given in all too much which presents itself in relation to the Jews of The Holocaust. With Margot and Anne's presence within the fuller terms of The Holocaust, it is a shrouded certainty. A few weeks after the loss of life of both Margot and Anne, and many 1,000's of fellow Survivor's, Belsen is liberated by British troops of the Allied Forces reclaiming all of Europe from Hitler. For me, the basic ingredient in what I have delivered for the past 20 years and more, is that if there is no truth in history, we have no History. So I lend my name to an integrity which seeks to recall and remember the sheer human dimension that was catapulted into an abyss.
"..As we approached to within a few hundred yards of ..camp ..shouts ..cries ..shots cut off further conversation. I noticed ..an unpleasant stench that seemed to have come from decomposing bodies mixed with horse manure. ..Estonian was ..completely impervious to it. He even began to hum some sort of folk tune to himself. We emerged directly in front of ..loud ..sobbing ..reeking camp of death." Jan Karski.
Jan Karski had descened into such an abyss, speculated to be at Belzec, and though we remain uncertain as to which Camp he describes, the stench in his nostrils clearly displays a reality all too familiar to the 1,000,000's of Jews confined within their sphere of destruction. Not just that, the consuming embers of that hatred lit up the surrounding areas, invaded the nostils of those within earshot of the noises related to an industrial capacity for mass murder. I do this detailed exercise continually, troubling myself with the sheer scale of the hatred that exposed the Jews of of Europe to such danger, it annihilated 6,000,000 of them completely. More exclusively, and in order to remind us that human frailty must never be given over to a hatred for another nor indeed should the intolerance's of anyone be allowed to convey the forms of hatred to be witnessed during the entire period of Hitler's rage against the Jewish People.
"..By resettling ..Jews out of ..European economic area to a yet to be determined territory. In ..framework of this ..5,800,000 Jews will be affected." Adolf Eichmann.
For what and who might appear as different to us will certainly afford the few a vehicle by which they will present themselves as the savious of some form of uniqueness.There are terms which will defeat our attempts to come to an understanding of our past and here, with The Holocaust in such glaring an atrocity, resettling comes to mean what Hitler intended would be The Final Solution of The Jewish Question. That resolve was wholle a Jewish Annihilation. We struggle ever to comprehend how this atrocity was ever allowed to proceed let alone happen in the World we live in. I am mindful here too though, that a man who drove this effort foward, and on behalf of a political leader whose hatred for the Jewish People, and others, makes Adolf Hitler a formidable component in the term now determining race hatred, was a tool in the arsenal of that hatred.
"..I was in Berlin at that time and saw some pretty revolting sights ..destruction of Jewish shops ..Jews being arrested and led away ..police standing by while ..gangs destroyed ..shops ..even groups of well dressed women cheering. Maybe those women had a hangover next morning ..as they were intoxicated all right when this was taking place. I found it ..utterly revolting. In fact to a German journalist who saw me on that day and asked me what I was doing there ..I remember I just said very coldly ..I'm studying German culture." Hugh Greene.
Unfortunately, and throughout the narrative accounting of our contact with this atrocity, numbers play such a weight upon the formation of words they might appear less and less significant. The 200,000 murdered Jews at Majdanek gives rise to the slaughter of 300,000 Jewish lives at Sobibor which somewhat fails to confront us with what 400,000 Murdered Jews at Chelmno should scream at us. When we then approach the pages of my 4th. book and we reveal that 884,700 Jewish lives were wholly destoyed within Hitler's Belzec, we think we have recounted enough to have suggested the extremes of an atrocity still yet to be defined in its entirety. We then enter a cognizance with this figure of 900,000 plundered Jewish lives to deliver for Treblinka a stockpile of lost humanity. Atop of a Hitler pledge to deliver more vast numbers of Jewish dead than we can fully articulate, we xceed any comprehension of such numbers. All too easily 1,100,000 Jews consigned to their fate in Auschwitz and Birkenau pale into the significance brought to bear by The Holocaust atrocity itself.
"..rumour is abroad ..execution was filmed." Fritz Dietrich.
We have the very evidence of all that was undertaken by the killing apparatus of Hitler's Reich. Be that is the small amount of Film attributed to the exercise at Liepaja. But, with 1,250,000 Jews subsequently shot by der Einsatzgruppe in the fields and in the Killing Sites through the policy of Hitler's forged Lebensraum, photographic evidence is not limiting in its accusation. Amonsgt the catalogue of these evidences are the photographs of some 1,500,000 losses, which is a particularly gruelling figure as it represents the number of Jewish Children Slaughtered by these Hitlerite murder forces. Though we ahve managed to ensure 4,700,000 Jewish names are known, this is a specific detail that YadVashem has managed to sift through from the debris and ash of 6,000,000 lost Jewish lives
The Official Wannsee Conference Figures.
The General Government 2,284,000 Jews.
Unoccupied France 700,000 Jews.
The Eastern Territories 420,000 Jews.
Bialystok 400,000 Jews.
Occupied France 165,000 Jews.
Holland 160,800 Jews.
Germany 131,800 Jews.
Bohemia & Moravia 74,200 Jews.
Greece 69,600 Jews.
Austria 43,700 Jews.
Belgium 43,000 Jews.
Lithuania 34,000 Jews.
Denmark 5,600 Jews.
Latvia 3,500 Jews.
Norway 1,300 Jews.
Estonia Free of Jews. (1,000 Jews)
The Official Wannsee Conference Figures.
Russia 5,000,000 Jews.
( with Ukraine and Byelorussia)
Hungary 742,800 Jews.
Rumania 342,000 Jews.
England 330,000 Jews.
Slovakia 88,000 Jews.
Italy 58,000 Jews.
Turkey 55,500 Jews.
Bulgaria 48,000 Jews.
Croatia 40,000 Jews.
Switzerland 18,000 Jews.
Serbia 10,000 Jews.
Sweden 8,000 Jews.
Spain 6,000 Jews.
Ireland 4,000 Jews.
Portugal 3,000 Jews.
Finland 2,300 Jews.
Albania 200 Jews.
TOTAL 11,293,300 Jews to be Murdered!
While history seeks to contemplate the loss of 6,000,000 Jews, who were so systematically sought out for Slaughter that they were then ritually Murdered in such a mechanised fashion and on so immense an industrial scale, words seem so imperfect in reflecting upon the human nature of these lives so permanently lost. For me, presented with the image of a 4 year old Jewish Child, Tovah 'Tokele' Olshak, I could not but write about The Holocaust. Remember too that within this unprecedented catastrophe for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, who are The Holocaust, 1,500,000 of these are Jewish Children. All of this made it essential that I research the atrocity fully, always borrowing from the Survivor's who have much to teach us and I have learned to lend my own words to those whose lives have been extinguished. For the past x20 years I have been adding to the Testimony of the missing to ensure it is never just a Fading Memory of their tragedy.
Albania 591 Murdered Jews
Austria, 65,000 Murdered Jews
Belgium 24,387 Murdered Jews
Bulgaria 7,335 Murdered Jews
Czechoslovakia 260,000 Murdered Jews
Denmark 116 Murdered Jews
Estonia 4,000 Murdered Jews
Finland 15 Murdered Jews
France 90,000 Murdered Jews
Germany 171,000 Murdered Jews
Greece 69,221 Murdered Jews
Holland 106,000 Murdered Jews
Hungary 559,000 Murdered Jews
Ireland 9 Murdered Jews
Italy 15,000 Murdered Jews
Latvia 85,000 Murdered Jews
Lithuania 135,000 Murdered Jews
Luxembourg 720 Murdered Jews
Norway 758 Murdered Jews
Poland, 2,880,000 Murdered Jews
Romania 469,632 Murdered Jews
Russia 1,100,000 Murdered Jews
Estimate of Total 6,042,784 Murdered Jews
These estimates must be held in check as there can be no assurance as to the exacting nature of their precise detail. If we take for instance Poland, we are uncertain as to whether there were 3,100,000 Jews or even 3,200,000 Jews alive in Poland for Hitler's assault to contain and detain them. Some 90% of all Polish Jewry was destroyed however this will account for either 2,790,000 Murdered Polish Jews or 2,880,000 Polish Jews annihilated. Either way, it is an inordinate cost to humanity to even have to contemplate the loss of any 1 Jewish Person within the context of a Slaughter let alone 6,000, 600,000 or in fact 6,042,784 Jewish Murdered. So with this commitment to the detail of the atrocity, which ensures Always to Remember, Never to Forget, this then becomes my raisond'etre to write in their memory. This research then led to what became the title of my first book which sought to add my own respect for the testimony given with regards to the now approaching loss of those who have afforded us first hand evidences. Between 1933 and 1945 the Number of Jews allowed to escape, those given any choice let alone chance to flee are given.
200,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to the US,
125,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Palestine,
70,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to England,
50,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Argentina,
27,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Brazil,
25,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to China
14,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Bolivia, and
14,000 Jewish Men, Women some with Their Children escaped to Chile.
This represeneted 425,000 Jewish Men, Women and some with Their Children who escaped and who were most likely saved from The Holocaust by circumstance. So my idea to write, and with Testimony and Fading Memory in The Holocaust, it was my hope for history, with The Holocaust as a terrible indictment of our own inhumanity toward those we consider different, that we will learn respect and tolerance for all. For me, what is then essential in the recording of such numbers as were Murdered, is in the duty to be objective. Knowing the human minds inability to compute the sheer human dimension of the catastrophe, it becomes more of an imperative that we are correct and truthful in all our assessments. All too often there is missing in the specific detail of the very evidence, which delivers to us another blow. The astonishing detail, involving 4 year old Jewish Children being deported from France, which leaves more than 75,000 French Jews missing from my initial observance, cannot then fail to recognise nearly all of them were murdered in the Death Camps in Poland.
World Jewry stood at 15,192,218 Jews
European Jewry stood at 9,418,248 Jews were resident within Europe,
In 1932, the American Jewish Yearbook shared part of a consensus which showed that these numbers of Jewish People were present for Hitler to forge his inhuman solution. Amongst these of course are those French Jews and Their Children whose images are presented. Their photographs, even those som few that I have presented, omit so many others whose tenure with life has been removed from them. Coincidence and similarity so often come into view as I traverse this terrifying arena. I have been talking to a particular Survivor for a number of years now and she is a remarkable Lady in so many ways. I hope she considers me her Friend. She has an image of her Mother at Auschwitz, circa 1942. And this image from the 1942 period of destruction, becomes a memory for me from another era in the midst of this, with the 1944 Hungarian Transports. Tragic images can so conflict with perceptions that we intermingle our own sense of grief with that of other's and these hidden are what truly defeats our inability to comprehend fully the entire tragedy itself.
"..Auschwitz defeated culture ..later ..it defeated art. ..truth of Auschwitz remains hidden in its ashes." Elie Wiesel.
When the Survivor's Mother, who had already been Murdered can issue an image which for all Mother's must strangle their immediate concerns, the choices to be made are steeped in deeply depressing reflection. I will never point to the fact that we see so many comparison's to individual grief, but we cannot then share the personal grief which we seek to reflect upon. However, if the Survivor has gained any such comfort from the image they project onto their own course through the tragedy, it is incumbent upon us all to see the individual grief as an immense tragedy, before we begin to contemplate the overall catastrophe which we are supposedly learning from. It is a lasting legacy of the Survior trauma, entering the Survivoral World without a Mother, a Father, Children, their entire Families, how would we all consider this dilemma. We, who will be remembered by those closest to us, how can we ever come to terms with what some Survivor's leave behind, in its entirety, everything.
"..If you were to ask me ..have we deserved victory ..I should say ..no ..not after what we've done. ..amount of human blood we've shed knowingly and as a result of our delusions and also partly instigated by ..lust of blood ..I now realize we've deserved defeat ..we've deserved our fate ..accusing myself as well." Major General Johannes Bruhn.
When the World finally comes to terms with what has been allowed to happen, when Germany has fully acknowledged what its own General's did and knew they had done, no Memorial, nor amount of them, will ever conceal the shame of what the World then allowed to happen to 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust. With the full scale of the slaughter confined to over 4 million square miles, each and every one of these Murdered Jews should qualify for their own patch of Earth half a square mile with which to Remember them by. In all that I have learned and written about over these years, which in no way fully qualifies me as Knowing what only 6,000,000 Murdered Jews can truly know, what the Survivor knows too, I continue forward looking for those answers to an incomprehensible wrong. True! There are those who have Survived this genocidal intention, and I accept readily what they are aware of. That which we seek to comprehend, they have lived through.
"..Let me explain that even though I had been in Auschwitz I did not know about ..gas chambers. Can you imagine that. We thought ..when we were there ..that our parents and ..children were taken to camps which were much better. We assumed that they couldn't live through ..camp we were in. It was not until a large contingent from Auschwitz came to Belsen that I had to give up that idea that they were safe. I met 2 women in their 30’s who spoke Hungarian and they asked if it was true that ..Hungarian transports were so severely selected people to ..camps and ..others to be gassed. I said ..What are you saying. ..And they looked at me as if I were foolish ..but they didn't want to destroy my hope and so didn't try to explain. I ran back to ..tent and collapsed. I think I cried for weeks. I finally realized that everybody was killed." Maria Frank Abrams.
What cannot remain hidden is the clear hatred shown toward 6,000,000 Jews who were wholly discarded from life. Such was the devious nature, and the conspiracy to deceive had clearly caught out the Jews of Europe, these Jews marched toward extinction not knowing they were headed for their demise. Here, as I struggle with the words to come to terms with the horror which soon faced 6,000,000 living Jews, I reflect back that I am in no way equiped to use an emotive term like hatred to describe how I feel about the particular protagonists, perpetrators and participators, including even Adolf Hitler. I abhor the fact that little has been done to bring to Justice the many 10's of 1,000's of these killers. I detest the sheer hipocrisy of a World of united nations unable to act judicially when such a monstrous deed was struck in their name. I am disgusted also and deeply ashamed that these individuals, perpetrators and participants could ever be considered human beings.
"..From now on ..do not answer by your name. ..felt like ..not ..human person anymore. ..shaved our heads ..I felt so ashamed. And also when they told us to undress and to shower ..they made us feel like ..animals. ..men were walking around ..laughing and looking at us. And you take a young girl at that age ..who had never been exposed to a person ..to a man ..and you stay there naked ..I wanted ..ground to open ..and I should go into it. We were packed like sardines. ..beds were bunks ..3 layers. I was on ..top layer. If one person wanted to turn ..we all had to turn. They gave me ..little rations of hard ..dried up bread which was half mildew ..I could hardly eat it. ..a tin can of soup ..so rotten and vile ..when I tasted it I couldn’t eat it. .. I just ate ..bread and drank a little water ..which was just rust running out from ..sink that they had over there. ..finally ..got so hungry ..knew I had to eat ..soup ..so vile. ..so terrible. I never ate anything like that in my whole life. ..If I want to survive I have to eat ..soup. ..So I started eating ..soup. And I ..forcing ..soup down my throat ..big tears coming down my face. Eating ..crying ..eating ..crying ..this is how I was in Birkenau. Every day ..I woke up and I would find 1 ..2 people who wanted to end their lives and couldn’t take it anymore. ..throw themselves to ..electric wires ..make an end of it. ..every once in a blue moon ..couldn’t take it anymore. ..try to sneak out of ..barracks late at night and I would see ..sky. ..talk to myself ..can’t believe ..stars ..looking down at us in this Hell ..this camp ..same stars ..shining at ..outside of ..world. ..other people ..looking at ..same stars ..they are free. ..to do what they want to do. ..living a good life. ..we are ..in Hell ..human beings worse than animals. ..nobody is doing anything about it. ..young as I was ..asking myself these questions. ..Where is ..world ..Why isn’t ..world doing anything about this ..I would question God ..Where is God ..How can He let us be killed like that ..after I cried myself out real good ..I would go back to ..barracks." Lily Appelbaum.
I do not know theses killers personally, though I am affected on a deeply personal level by the abrogation of Humanity in the Mass Murder of these innocent Jews. Human Beings being made to feel inhuman is inhumane so yes, I hate that Hitler hated and yes I hate that Himmler, Heydrich, Eichmann and Hoess delivered the form of hatred Hitler demanded so as to ensure an atrocity that is The Holocaust. 6,000,000 Murdered Jews who are that Holocaust deserve every emotive term we can bring to the fore in order to commend their Memory to our own and seek Always to Remember, Never to Forget the brutal facts that are shared. Before us on the spread sheet of such callous indifference is the duplicity of people and of history and we too will be recalled in this period of History as to its detailed intolerance that remains so complicit with the indifference so vastly shown to these innocent Jews of Europe.
"..Without moral and intellectual independence there is no anchor for national independence." David Ben-Gurion.
Today we must stretch past such indifferences and now wage a continued effort to confront the very denial which would add systemically to that intolerable hatred and indifference. For us to own any more of the intellectual leagcy formed out of such an enormous catastrophe, we have to struggle more readily with those who would denounce that effort. As we assess that even the most ardent denier of The Holocaust is not stupid enough to believe their own lies, we add to the scale of the atrocity itself with a deeply wounding crime against those very lives for ever lost. The denier simply works upon the premise that there are those, gullible, ill informed, incredulous or even ashamed of the Fact that it indeed happened, and in their name, the name of humanity. The shame therefore, of a humanity that is unwritten into that particular concord, which Hitler delivered to the World, is to be borne shameully. But it is to the Jewish People, who succumbed to every known trickery and deceit, that We owe our deepest apology!
"..Apologists for defeated nations are sometimes able to play upon ..sympathy and magnanimity of their victors ..so that ..true facts ..never authoritatively recorded ..become obscured ..forgotten. ..in ..absence of any authoritative judicial pronouncement ..a tolerant or a credulous people is exposed. With ..passage of time ..former tend to discount ..perhaps because of their very horror ..stories of aggression and atrocity ..latter ..credulous ..misled by perhaps fanatical and perhaps dishonest propagandists ..come to believe that it was not they but their opponents who were guilty of that which they would themselves condemn. And so we believe that this Tribunal ..acting ..as we know it will act notwithstanding its appointment by ..victorious powers ..with complete and judicial objectivity ..will provide a contemporary touchstone and an authoritative and impartial record to which future historians may turn for truth ..and future politicians for warning." Sir Hartley Shawcross.
For what happened to those Jews who Survived we should all apologise openly for we carry the burden of their having to accept an apology on behalf of 6,000,000 of their own People, which they are ill placed to accept. For me, and for what was allowed to happen and for the rancid hatred these Jews of Europe felt, how could we ever apologise enough! It is to be recognised also, that an epitaph to the terms of The Holocaust is rebounding upon civilisation to this day. Germany fully knows and appreciates the weight of that burden and it is shouldering its immense responsibility with a renewed sense of purpose. Few ever owned up to the responsibility necessary for that decline in Humanity that has allowed these Jews who suffered along with Hitler's resolve. There were those of course who saw the solution as a method of personal enrichment. Also, there are those who enlisted in the full scale atrocity as an opportunity to impress their own abilities upon their erstwhile masters.
"..Untersturmfuhrer Willhelm Rosenbaum was ..worst of all .. Gestapo men in ..Rabka district. ..others tried to hide their barbaric acts by committing them some distance outside ..town. Rosenbaum and Heinrich Hamann ..head of ..Gestapo in Nowy Targ ..committed ..atrocities in broad daylight for all to see. Rosenbaum's favourite place for executions was ..densely populated Salona quarter. ..doctors in ..sanatoriums complained that ..cries and shootings disturbed their patients ..but Rosenbaum paid ..complaints not ..slightest heed. Hamann selected Mishana Dolna for his executions. He demanded ..Judenrat collect an exorbitant amount of money ..supposedly to pay for ..deportation of ..Jews. When ..Judenrat could not come up with ..payment ..Hamann gathered 800 Jews in ..square and murdered them." Dr. David Yacobovitz.
That descent into barbarity is easily confronted by word of deed, and these many major protagonists remained hard. Though they were so determined and convinced of Hitler's position with regards to the Jews, they themselves often sought to have those orders confirmed, and in written form, so as to cover for their own moral neglect! Today, I resist such moral degeneracy and ethical decline so much so that if I seem to condone a Nazi salute or accept as normal the parading of a Swastika on the streets, am I not duplicitous. If these who parade in front of us are either deniers or antisemites am I not complicit in my failure to respond. If you issue a Nazi salute you are a Nazi and ignorant of the cost not only to 6,000,000 Jews, who are The Holocaust but to 50/70 millions who laid down their lives during WWII fighting what racism and hatred extolls today. If you wave a Swastika banner you are a Nazi and if you have the platform to condemn this, and don't, you are a complicit and duplicitous accepter and reprehensibly indecent.
"..If there were only one decent German ..then he should be cherished despite that whole barbaric gang ..and because of that one decent German it is wrong to pour hatred over an entire people." Etty Hillesum.
I remember having to come to terms with Etty Hillesum's place amidst the horror of the catastrophe. I assumed, in not finishing her Book, that I could put off the day of her own reckoning with her own destruction. I never fooled myself in the slightest and Etty so sought out the one decent German in order that humanity should prevail and somehow prevail on those evil Germans, she too is a part of the morass of inhumanity she sought to bridge. Indeed there are many such Germans who are equal to Etty's wish and there are many who did not act in unison with this monstrous deed. Equally though, there are many more who did not act at all in stemming the flow of Jewish blood for which Etty Hillesum has become a part of. For me, in never forgetting, it protects the memory of those like Etty Hillesum who make up the sum total of 6,000,000 Jews swept aside to be buried in our past.
"..a rush to get everything down in writing before ..generation of survivors dies away. There is also a search for knowledge and understanding by ..descendants of survivors ..leading ..young to rediscover their Jewish heritage. Jews are proudly calling themselves Jews once more. ..young people of today will be ..leaders of ..next generation. They and people of all nations have an obligation to protect ..memory of The Holocaust." Ann Kazimirski.
This case for memory which Ann Kazmirski here sees breached by the past, still ensure the future learning process which will give hope and resurgence of pride in learning. The truth here also enforces the certainty, clearly applied to preventing all future atrocity, that with the hoped for never again becoming prevalent, we will live in peace with all People everywhere. Perhaps History, with the benefit of hindsight allows us the luxury of accusation. The Holocaust itself offers us such an expanse of damning detail that it is hardly surprising that we accuse so readily. The dilemma, in the immediacy of what was fully emerging as an affront to all humanity is just not so much what was done, though this is the atrocity itself in grotesque form, but what was allowed to happen as it was perceived, witnessed and then enacted in all its perversion.
"..Hatred can be nurtured anywhere ..idealism can be perverted into sadism anywhere. If hatred and sadism combine with modern technology ..inferno could erupt anew anywhere." Simon Wiesenthal.
For forgiveness, it must be sought in the first place and none too many who enacted the atrocity in the midst of The Holocaust sought forgiveness out. While that lack of contrition lays exposed, or is being considered by many, there are 6,000,000 Jewish People who will Never afford those who seek any form of forgiveness their consent. I was presented with the image of a 4 year old Jewish Child, Tovah 'Tokele' Olshak, so I could not but write about her presence within The Holocaust itself. Remember too that within this unprecedented catastrophe for 6,000,000 Murdered Jews, who are The Holocaust, 1,500,000 of these are Jewish Children. All of this made it essential I researched the atrocity fully, borrowing from the Survivor's who have much to teach us and using their words to bolster the impression of words I would give to those lost to us. I have continually lent my own words to those whose lives have been extinguished. For the past x20 years I have been adding to their Testimony to ensure it is never just a Fading Memory.
"..horrible sight ..I encountered during ..trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. ..things I saw beggar description. While I was touring ..camp I encountered ..3 men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. ..visual evidence and ..verbal testimony of starvation ..cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me ..sick. In one room ..where they were piled up 20 ..30 naked men ..killed by starvation ..George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made ..visit deliberately ..in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever ..in ..future ..there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda." General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
My own words are an attempt at the recompense all of these Jews deserve for their tragedy which all too many have refused to deliver. Also, an essential appreciation of how debased humanity can be must add to this commitment which ensures that I choose Always to Remember, Never to Forget and this becomes a raisond'etre which led to what became the title of my first book: Testimony and Fading Memory in The Holocaust. For history, The Holocaust is a terrible indictment of our own inhumanity toward those we consider different. What is then essential in the recording of such differing numbers is the duty we have to be objective in considering what we know is the human minds inability to compute this Human dimension. All too often there is missing in the specific detail, evidence of a further blow to recollection. Take the detail involving 4 year old Jewish Children being deported from France which leaves more than 75,000 French Jews so far missing from my observance. Nearly all of these French Jews are murdered in the Death Camps established in Poland.
"..millions of Jews ..captured ..who knows where they are. ..We have come ..from place where your brothers are. ..Two thousand years have we brought into this world children ..doomed to suffer." Moshe Flinker.
For many Western European Jews, who had never ventured further than their own border, Poland was to prove more than a wasteland for them all. We have the very evidence of their conduct toward extinction here and thanks to Serge Klarsfld, we have an immeasureable treasury of photographs too. Even those few that I have presented, still omit so many others whose tenure with life has been removed from them. I have been talking to a particular Survivor for a number of years now. She is a remarkable Lady and I hope she considers me her Friend. She has an image of her Mother at Auschwitz, circa 1942. This image from the 1942 period of destruction, and a memory from the 1944 Hungarian Transports are fused together. Images become powerful statements of when a Mother already Murdered, haunts her. That she has gained so much comfort from the image is something worth for her to cling to.
"..When my Parents were deported ..Eva needn't have gone. ..she might have been protected. But she didn't want to leave them." Leslie Baruch.
It is also a lasting legacy of her trauma, that she is entering this space, a Survivoral World without her Mother to console or remind her continually of their past together. That so many of these Survivor's have no other Family member to reconcile their deepest fears and terror to, the shock has been continual for more than 70 years now. For those like Arthur and Charlotte Baruch, Leslie Baruch's Parents, he knows too their fate and that of his Sister, Eva Baruch, as she too was deported to Riga and all were subsequently shot, sometime in 1942 in the Rumbula Forest. Surely such knowledge eats away at the core of the person, as surely as grief consumes us through our passage in our own time. It is inexplicable to me how such a coping mechanism can be extended to any Survivor who witnessed so must and knows far too much of an atrocity we are barely burdened with. But the Survivor knows and is enveloped in that knowledge we continually attempt to pry from them.
"..When I die there will be no one left who knew them. ..it keeps them alive when they are in people's memories." Leslie Baruch.
At some stage in our near future, the Survivor too will be gone and that too becomes the role of the writer to ensure that memory endures and the testimony for the 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, for whom we did not know, that they are clearly Remembered. I have given myself 6,000,000 reasons to write and continuously write in their favour. All it has taken from me is to have a concern that is greater than my own, to share a grief that is ever present and deliver back to posterity a position that would not have ever countenanced this vast tragedy which has so diminished the civilising principles of our own humanity. That is then the key role of any of us who seek to deliver the message from those whose impression is an indellible link to the wastage of lives. That the actual atrocity must teach us that in their consumation from amongst us, which has added a massive stain to our own humanity, we pass along a love of those past so that we can deliver that empathy for others forward.
"..I have greatly enjoyed ..cooperation and friendship of my pupils. I have learned that ..in ..end nothing remains as satisfying as ..love of those who come after." Leonore Goldschmidt.
As I seek to end on a positive note, this journey of mine has encountered much and as I try and impress upon you the need to know that while denial will point away from the facts, the educating principles delivered within this School and to these Children will serve them well. If we are to acknowledge the sheer capacity of mass murder that was achieveable, we have to know too that it was enacted in a time of enlightenment of our civilising times. Clearly there is still a darkness surrounding the sought after remembrance of these 6,000,000 Jews and it is written in those same terms of an antisemitism that has persisted for more than 3,000 years. For me it is incomprehensible that after all they have suffered there is still a certain perception of these Murdered Jews which may be expressed as a hatred toward all Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or even nonJewish individuals and or even their property. While it is directed toward the Jewish community, its institutions and or its religious facilities, it endangers us all as intolerance maims us all.
What is gratifying to me is the empathy of the staff who are listening and the understanding of those Students catered for so capably.
This posting is for the Teachers, Pupils and Students of Our Lady of Compassion, a fitting name for those learning how best to deliver the ethos of Tolerance and Acceptance. So not only am I impressed by the way your attention was held, but your tribute to my effort ensures Memory goes forward with understanding. The number of thank you letters that have arrived are warming and quite humbling. My work feels more like a positive influence as you have taken on board the need to accept both tolerance and concern. History only moves forward once we have understood the message from the past and you, as our future, fully appreciate that the lessons taught are both poignant and truthful. My sincere thanks to you all, Teachers, Students and particularly for those named here, and I hope I have copied your names correctly, spelling not being a corrective text on its own, Thank You so Very Much.
Ailis, Ann, Anna, Antonia, Aoife, Bo, Claire, Chloe, Dan, Emelia, Evie, Fin, Harrison, J.E., Jack, James, June, Kim, Leon, Liam, Lorraine, Mary, Millie, Riyaan, Russell, Scarlett and Shay.
I am travelling back today and I wanted to thank you for the warmth of the welcome I received. Your Staff and Student body are a credit to the ethos of School governance. You should be rightly proud of the standard of empathy I witnessed. It was my privilege to know History is being learned with enthusiasm, care and concern. My message is a simple one and it has been greatly expanded by a Staff body keen to ensure lessons are learned. Your School has enhanced my experience.
Thank you Patrick.
Quite honestly it was my pleasure. With a subject so emotive, The Holocaust will always present challenges. Tolerance is high in that regard and your student body endorses the full ethos of the care and compassion necessary to ensure they become fully rounded and concerned Human Beings. I will publish my words and send them to you. Your School is known whenever I mention my work.
I hope that you have had a good weekend.
Thank you for the wonderful morning that you gave to our Year 5 and 6 children. I was so impressed at the way they were able to talk about what they had covered with you – it certainly left an impact – thanks again. I understand that the children were very reverent and listened well which is great to hear.
"..it is quite normal ..Sisters or Brothers quarrel ..at times ..so did Margot and Anne. ..main thing is to know ..you intend ..best ..even if opinions differ." Otto Frank.