Day 28: Antisemitism is Unchristian!
1938 September 6th. Pope Pius XII tells pilgrims they must not involve themselves with antisemitism.
A considered concern might well have been that any further consternation with the German Reich might have led to the flock leaving the fold. With the Church's own anti-Jewish leanings sitting in the crypt, the apparent stillness was allowing for the further diminishing of Jewish influence under foot of a Nazi ideology of hate! The Church duplicitously adhered to its own counsel while the Jews of Europe were cut adrift amidst a tide of antisemitism which would consume them, whole!
1939 September 6th. Wehrmacht occupies Cracow.
By the time I will reach Cracow, the reverberations of what it must have been like for a Free Polish State to witness the vulgar and capricious nature of German aggression, will have long passed. The tell-tale signs of bullet holes will no doubt emerge to show the casual visitor that War once raged here. But I am not to be a casual visitor. I am looking for the existence of a Jewish Community which had some 57,000 - 64,000 Jews prior to the German Invasion and am not to be surprised that very few of these Jews have Survived.
Chillingly, one of the representatives at The Wannsee Conference was SS Brigadefuhrer Dr. Eberhard Schongarth. Schongarth appeared as a Representative of the Security Police and SD, and he was the Security Police Commander of Cracow. Between March 3rd. 1941 when the Cracow Ghetto was established, and March 1943 when the final Liquidation of the Ghetto was complete, Belzec and Auschwitz Birkenau had taken its toll upon Jewish coexistence, drawn from within Cracow.
"..If ..authority of ..National Socialist Reich is to be upheld ..then ..unacceptable that representatives of ..Reich should be obliged to meet Jews when they enter or leave ..house ..and are ..liable to infection with epidemics. ..clear ..Cracow of Jews ..by November 1st. 1940." Hans Frank.
1940 September 6th. Ion Antonescu Governs Romania.
The fate of the Jews of Romania is exposed to the whim of a regime that seeks its favour with Hitler and a Nazi party with a Jewish Solution to a Romanian resolve. Well over 460,000 Jews were Slaughtered and Romania is all but a barren landscape for the Jewish People today!
1941 September 6th. Over a 12 day period 843 of Rasainiai’s Jewish Men, Women and Their Children, and all 412 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children of Georgenburg are murdered. Some 70 of Zbaraz’s Jews are murdered at the Lubienicki Forest. Both Vilna Ghettos established and sealed with 40,000 Jews Enclosed. Hitler issues War Directive No. 35 for the conduct of operations in Russia.
The steady stream of Statistics is but a reminder that these were Jewish People, ejected from their Homes, ejected from their Communities and ejected from all existence by a Hitlerite system fully engaged in War. That War which raged in Russia was used as a screen for The Final Solution and while Hitler’s clear intention had been to meet The Jews of Europe with a Murderous Solution, it was the function of the Reich to ensure Hitler’s main goal was achieved. All around you, you are becoming witness to that terrible fate, whether it is in Auschwitz, Rasainiai, Wolbrom or Zbaraz. I need not remind those of you reading these pages, that while I have set down a period of only 30 or so days, I only record a fraction of the overall Catastrophe for the Jews of Europe. Their Tragedy lasted more than 12 years, persisted for more than 4,300 days and consumed 6,000,000 Jewish Men, Women and Their Children.
But do not become distracted by the Statistic! There are other statistics which will mesmerise you. 50 - 70 Million lives lost in World War Two. But here, in such a short period of time, from between 1933, when Hitler came to power, and 1945 when that power was relinquished, 6,000,000 of that total were Jews. Jewish People who were systematically sorted, sifted through a relentless procedure toward destruction, and within the confines of Ghettos, Camps, Cities, Towns, Villages, Shtetls and Killing Sites, were brutally Murdered. All because they were Jews! That was not War, it was a Genocide within a War, set to conceal its heinous nature.
1942 September 6th. 8,000 of Wolbrom’s Jews are murdered.
No part of this journey, this odyssey into a Slaughter so unique, can ever allow the mind to resolve the inadequate response to such a calamity. The pure need to be able to comprehend what was undertaken by Hitler’s legions is barely audible above the silence emanating from the 6,000,000 quietened Jewish People who were Murdered. Perhaps in response to the stillness, the Statistical relevance gives way under the pressure of recognising the Human dimensions to this Tragedy, which is so truly awful we occupy the space with words that are repeated over and over again, just as these Jewish People were Gassed, over and over again. Just as they fell into an abyss, over and over again. Just as they succumbed to hunger and privation, over and over again. So forgive me for repeating myself, but there are not enough words to convey the true extent of the horror felt by 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe!
1944 September 6th. the Final Transport from Westerbork, Holland, arrives at Auschwitz.
Amongst the 1,000 Jews of Holland who arrived at this supposed final destination were the members of The Secret Annex of Jews, including Anne Frank. Edith Frank and Hermann van Pels did not Survive Auschwitz. Anne and Margot perished at Belsen. Auguste van Pels died after being removed from Theresienstadt to an unknown destination. Peter van Pels died in Mauthausen Camp. Fritz Pfeffer died in the Neuengamme Camp while Otto Frank was Liberated by Russian Forces from Auschwitz, January 27th. 1945.
A Book a Day, or so of suggested reading!