Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Auschwitz Memorial Day

This afternoon, a ceremony took place at Oswieczim, Poland, at the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Two survivors addressed the gathering of a few thousand, as did members of the Polish, Russian and Israeli governments. A few things struck me.

One of the survivors had been asked what was the worst aspect of the camp. The cold? No. The lice? No. The living conditions? No. The humilitation had been the most unbearable of all the unspeakable aspects of 'life' in Auschwitz.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, also spoke, and his political standpoint rang out a wee bit too loud for my liking at such an occasion. I recognise that the Jews were targeted by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. I will go so far as to say that starting a new life in the land they assume to be their homeland (of 2000 years ago) is understandable. But if they'd just asked the sitting population if they could join them, an enormous lot of grief since 1948 could have been prevented. In other words, Mr Netanyahu should have toned down his speech.


Cathy said...

Interesting - I don't think they felt they "had" to ask, and in keeping with the torture of humiliations at the hands of oppressors, I can certainly see why Jews in the late 40s weren't taking it anymore. Yet so many still do, we say "Never again" but how hypocritical! The West allows many more Auschwitz' to come into being without a second look - unless that country is resourceful to USA, Inc. As a Catholic-raised by WW2 parents all this was hidden from me and I'm grateful to see posts like yours keeping the flame of history alight.

Sybil said...

One of the saddest things today has been a complete silence about this days signifigance on the media over here...
Love Sybil x