Gun Owners of America
- “Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” -Winston Churchill
Jay Rubin, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin, in his latest newsletter, has an appropriate reason why some Gentiles, especially, need to pause and honor the millions of innocent Holocaust dead this April 11th:
“… the end of the Holocaust [was] the beginning of a process to memorialize victims, rebuild shattered lives, punish perpetrators and educate bystanders. The process … is no less important in an era when the leaders of Iran threaten the Jewish people with genocide and a local letter writer in Friday’s Austin American-Statesman portrays Israelis and ‘Zionists in America’ as modern day Nazis advocating ‘a final solution’ for the Palestinians.”
Even those without ignorant views could benefit from a close reading of such as this recent article about a survivor and this fine, older book by another. Or a careful look at these surviving children. Or the banality of evil in the satisfied grins of these real Nazis, SS taking a break from another hard day of murdering—not an Israeli or a Zionist among them.
The best-known photographs of liberated concentration camp inmates are of adults. But hundreds of thousands of Jewish children were slain by the Nazis, often with their mothers, immediately upon arrival. Some were used as slave labor. Better off, perhaps, than these of the 180 survivors (52 of them younger than eight) at Auschwitz whom the Nazi doctors retained for medical experiments. Photo from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Livia Bitton-Jackson’s 1999 young-adult book is not the first Holocaust memoir I’ve read, but it may be the most memorable. Not an easy read, of course, none of them are. I had to put it down several times and go off and do something else to forestall being consumed by anger and tears.
Especially affecting is the fact that she was only thirteen when her Czechoslovakian family was humiliated by the invading Hungarians, turned over to the SS and shipped to Auschwitz. Only the infamous Dr. Mengele saved her from the gas, telling her at "selection" to lie that she was sixteen, because she was tall for her age and he was struck by her blond hair and blue-green eyes. He’d apparently never seen a Jew who looked Aryan.
All the pertinent details of the experience are revealed, slowly in dramatic fashion. The recreated scenes and dialogue (and telescoped events) are more historical fiction than unadulterated fact. Which is not to question their truth, however. In the end, her story of strength and survival in the face of so much cruelty and heartbreak is inspiring. Some of us really can survive almost anything. Of course, she was left with much to work through: "My friends, my family, all those achingly dear to me, my entire world, rose up in smoke, vanished."
The book’s dedication is especially touching: "…to the children in Israel who, unsung and unacclaimed, risk their lives every day just by traveling to school…the only guarantee that a Holocaust will never happen again."
That, and the fact that they are protected by the IDF.
"Someone told me a few months ago that Auschwitz would be a life-changer for me, and they were right, but I would like to emphasize that it is a good change. In the six weeks since I was there, the majority of my previous petty concerns have stopped mattering to me, completely…It has been a very surprising and welcome change. My experience of life is different, in a good way."
Even my server had a tough time accepting this photo of Nazi SS officers enjoying a little time off after a hard day of murdering Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and other deviants (but mainly Jews) at the Auschwitz death camp–you know, one of those places prominent practitioners of the Religion of Peace such as Mahmoud the Mad claim didn’t exist. From a new collection of photos at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I couldn’t view them all.