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.