Sunday, January 27, 2008
Lest we forget: Auschwitz, 1945
On this date, January 27, 1945, the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz in Poland was liberated by the forces of the Soviet Union.
In the preceding three years, something over a million people (the exact total will never be known) had been murdered there on an assembly-line basis.
They were part of approximately six million 'enemies' murdered by the Nazi regime in concentration and extermination camps, plus another six million or more (again, the real total will never be known) killed in prisoner-of-war camps (particularly Soviet prisoners) or starved to death or shot or otherwise murdered in German-occupied areas.
There were many concentration and extermination camps, but Auschwitz tops the list in terms of the sheer number of murders and the casual, almost banal brutality of its activities.
I could post links to many organizations and Web sites that describe what went on there, but I'll leave you to do an Internet search on your own. There are so many that you could spend a year reading them and not be done.
All I can say is this: if you ever get the chance, visit Auschwitz. Most of what was there now lies in ruins . . .
. . . but enough is left for you to understand.
Stand in the gas chambers.
Be silent, and listen.
Those who died there . . .
Many of their souls are still there.
They have never left.
And if you have ears to hear . . .
You can still hear them scream.