Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2013

April 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

“[Early in 1942], Jan Karski, a twenty-eight-year-old Polish diplomat and Roman Catholic had disquised himself as a Jew, donning an armband with the Star of David, and smuggled himself through a tunnel into the Warsaw ghetto. Posing as a Ukrainian militiaman, he also infiltrated Belzec, a Nazi death camp near the border between Poland and Ukraine. In late 1942 Karski escaped carrying hundreds of documents on miniature micro-film contained in the shaft of a key. He arranged to meet in London..on the eve of the meeting, Schwarzbart examined Karski’s documents, and, aghast, cabled the World Jewish Congress in New York, describing suffering of the Jews in Poland:

JEWS IN POLAND ALMOST COMPLETELY ANNIHILATED STOP READ REPORTS DEPORTATION THEN THOUSAND JEWS FOR DEATH STOP IN BELZEC FORCED TO DIG THEIR OWN GRAVE MASS SUICIDE HUNDREDS CHILDREN THROWN ALIVE INTO GUTTERS DEATH CAMPS IN BELZEC THREBLINKA DISTRICT MALKINIA THOUSANDS DEAD NOT BURIED IN SOBIBOR DISTRICT WLODAWSKI MASS GRAVES MURDER PREGNANT WOMEN STOP JEWS NAKED DRAGGED INTO DEATH CHAMBERS GESTAPO MEN ASKED PAYMENT FOR QUICKER KILLING HUNTING FUGITIVES STOP THOUSANDS DAILY VICTIMS THROUGHOUT POLAND STOP BELIEVE THE UNBELIEVABLE STOP.”1

Today is Holocaust Remembrance day. I’m not quite sure how to remember such an ‘event’ as this; an event that, realistically, I can’t even imagine. It seems like an impossible imperative, but nevertheless, this post small reflection of my effort. The  genocides that have occurred since WWII encourage me to pause and ask what the world looks like today in terms of human rights abuses. And what I can do.


1‘The Problem from Hell’ Samantha Power
2 A question that ought never to have been asked: Should children starve to death to spare a cellist? Listen to the story  behind this question on Voices from the Ghetto, a BBC presentation of the remarkable secret project conducted inside the Warsaw Ghetto during the World War II.
3 Forget? (a thought provoked at the end of this poem)
Other relevant posts here and here.

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