65 years ago today, Russian troops liberated what was left of the Auschwitz death camp. Unfortunately less than 3,000 inmates were left, the rest had either been executed or put on a forced death march away from the camp. The camp itself was in tatters as the SS had tried to destroy as much evidence of their crimes as possible.
65 years ago isn’t that long ago really. I know lots of people of that age and older. They were alive at the same time these poor soles were being tortured and gassed – this is not a medieval crime akin to burning the witches, this is a modern-day crime, meticulously planned and carried out by intelligent people.
Every year (About this time) another conversation/debate rages about should we keep Auschwitz and other symbols of Nazi persecution. Why don’t we just raze them to the ground and eradicate the evidence of how shitty the human race can be with each other. (Pardon the language).
I say no. We must keep them all. We must study and try to understand how these tragic events came to be in the first place and ensure we teach out children, and our children’s children that this simply cannot happen again. Having visited Auschwitz first hand recently I can testify that these monuments will gain ever more importance as the years pass and the people who witnessed the events first hand fade away. We must carry on their fight.
I think we owe it to them.
It’s encouraging to see that, in Hampshire at least, the Holocaust is being taught at school and is taken seriously by schools and pupils alike. One of my neighbours have a teenage daughter (Lyndsay McGregor) that recently met a holocaust survivor as part of a history field trip. On the back of this meeting, Lyndsey wrote the following poem which she has allowed me to share with you…
Tired of Guilt
I can see your face but I know you’re not there.
I know that you are just a nightmare,
I can see in your face the hell you were in,
I can wait simply for the hell to begin,
I know it could have been me who was taken,
And still now I hope only to waken,
It wasn’t my fault, all were at risk,
All of us suffered no matter how brisk,
I have suffered long without your help,
No matter how wild you were, young whelp,
You know I loved you with all of my heart,
And it broke when were pulled without mercy apart,
Teas have left empty grooves in my face
But I have no left for others to chase
But I am still here and you are elsewhere,
I can accept it but still we move nowhere,
I shall never forget you but know I must leave
For also I almost died for what I believe.
Poignant, I think you would agree, and lets us hope that if the rest of the future generation think as deeply about the Holocaust as Lyndsey then hopefully the human race won’t repeat it’s mistakes…