“..Monsters exist ..they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are ..common men ..functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” Primo Levi.
Sometimes, and there are all too many of these times, so please excuse me a little for the amount of the push back that is necessary, so as to counter the disingenuous nature of some who see everything in the little that some do. Amongst the many who YadVashem have declared Righteous, there are 6,000,000 Jews who were systematically rounded up, transported to their deaths, arriving at places of execution and all along that proverbial route toward destruction, where there were witnesses everywhere who did absolutely nothing even to alleviate the Jewish suffering.
“..those who ignored ..law ..opposed populist opinion ..dared to do what is right.” Simhas Frumkin.
While I have no doubt that there will be many ways to interpret who is and who was a Righteous amongst the World’s indifference to the Jewish struggle. But, and while we allow an ethical balance to morally judge those who acted in accordance with all humanistic certainty, the counter demand is to denounce those who did not act accordingly. I am not here to say what I would have done, had I been alive to do so, but I can be categorically clear on, I know what I would not have done to betray a fellow human being to th hatred of another for the difference in their religious and ethnological persuasion.
“..It is of ..highest importance not only to record and recount ..both for ourselves and for ..future ..evidences of human degradation ..but side by side with them to set forth ..evidences of human exaltation and nobility. Let ..epic of heroic deeds of love ..as opposed by those of hatred ..of rescure as opposed to destruction ..bear equal witness to unborn generations. On ..flood of sin ..hatred and blood let loose by Hitler upon ..World ..there swam a small ark which preserved intact ..common heritage of a Judeo Chistian outlook ..founded on ..double principle of love of god and love of one’s fellow men. ..demonism of Hitler had sought to overturn and overwhelm it in ..floods of hate. It was saved by ..heroisim of a handful of saints.” Shholem Asch.
For me, and while my grounding will be founded upon a christian if not a catholic ethos,it is beyond question for me to countenenace other than that all human lives are more priceless than life itself. Human Beings being totally disregarded from all human existence, simply because they were Jews, speaks against us for not having the moral fibre, as these Righteous surely have, to say stop, desist or leave these People alone. The fact here also, and that the pertinence of knowledge to the knowing World was issued, is also an accusation of what is intolerable to the human condition while intolerance permeates the air we breath.
“..I saw a flood once in ..mountains. Wooden huts ..torn from their foundations were carried above ..raging waters. One could still see lighted lamps in them ..Men ..Women ..Children in their cradles were tied to ..ceiling beams. Other huts were empty inside ..but one could see a tangle of arms waving from ..roof ..like branches blowing in ..wind waving desperately toward heaven ..toward ..river banks for help. At a distance ..one could see mouths gaping ..but one could not hear ..cries because ..roar of ..waters drowned out everything. And that’s how ..Jewish masses flowed to their destruction at ..time of ..deportations. Sinking as helplessly into ..deluge of destruction. And if ..for even one of ..days of my life ..I should forget how I saw you then ..my people ..desperate and confused ..delivered over to extinction ..may all knowledge of me be forgotten and my name be cursed like that of those traitors who are unworthy to share your pain.” Rachel Auerbach.
Such awareness therefore, of the knowledge of the awful effects that placed the Jewish People upon a timed and graduating conveyor belt toward extinction. This fact is only important as to when those who issued these reports or testimony’s did so. Even when these truths were conveyed, and it is astonishingly clear they were conveyed well after the very truth of what was happening to the Jewish People, was in front of the World’s eyes. Whether this truth is evident in Germany, Austria or indeed in Poland alongside the Death Camps there, Jews iding in these Countries were being hounded out of existence on a continually worsening scale and by those who sought to profit from Jewish misery.
“..going into hiding which forced enervating passivity on ..Jews demanded constant activity and vigilance upon their helpers.” Joseph Michman.
Also me, and I am well aware of the fuller meaning that term of what Righteous means, and the very fact that the largest contingent of these Righteous are Poles. What remains inexplicable to me, and I hate using any examples of this gravest tragedy ever inflicted upon a people, let alone upon the Jewish People, but there are more than 3,000,000 Polish Jewish examples of this tragedy. What so inflicted itself upon the Jews here in Poland, was at the behest of Hitler, but entailed the conspiratorial efforts of all too many who were not Jews themselves.
“..It is ..duty of righteous men to make war on all undeserved privilege ..but one must not forget that this is a war without end.” Primo Levi.
It must be recognised too, that the sheer scale of what transpired within Poland to Polish Jewry cannot equate in any way as for us to ever condone the sheer lack of a more concerted response by a more knowledgeable national body. Simply put, this commemoration of those hugely upstanding Human Beings, who put the Jewish People first in their hour of need, placed their own moral concern before their own safety. Moral probity within a Community stands before that community or it is a failed community in need of an intersecting commentary. This has been my cause to uphold all truths, always, and I see in that act in itself, a human demand that should have prevailed.
“..For over a decade .in our time ..in full view of all our senses ..a great evil manifested itself in guise of a dictator. Deranged ..sadistic ..he gained power ..and during his regime perverted ..very nature and essence of man.” Philip Friedman.
We either each recognise that we are all Our Brothers Keeper and through that essential demand, the factual truth will uphold the integrity in history that outlines that effort. We each must search to see how the Jews were so mistreated, abused and then annihiliated, that we wonder why much more was not done to prevent this. We will of course, in the recounting of these horrific events, uncover the sheer lack of a Wold intervention that should have been presented, and on behalf of these Jews who were betrayed by such indifferences. What it was for the Jewish People to feel their abandonment, is in order for us to further the Remembrance of those 6,000,000 Murdered Jews.
“..If you get back tell our comrades that we are at Oswiecim because some of our comrades wanted to liquidate us as we were inconvenient to them.” Norbert Barlicki.
For that truthful search and reason alone, I have continued a narrative that must press for a more comprehensive understanding of what is lost and why we have lost so much more than some might consider. With that in mind. I draw attention to the clear cut fact that in a 2 day rage of despicable carnage, Hitler’s Einsatz under Paul Blobel Slaughtered 33,771 Jews of Kiev. Then, and whether or not we are to look to the Polish governments attempt today, in switching Poland’s geographical position, we identify Polish Jewry as having been consumed within Poland in all the 6 Death Camps established there, including Majdanek, in the City of Lublin, Poland.
“..In Majdanek and everywhere in Poland. They gave what is ..best in humanity. I have it all ..in my soul ..letters written to me by many. Everything is possible ..in spite of other manifestations. I ..myself have never experienced any animosity toward me and what I represent. There is always ..goodwill and hope.” Halina Birenbaum.
What we cannot ignore either is, that alongside the innumerable Jews from all over Europe, who were transported East, most of these understood that they were being deported to Poland. We must then consider why Poland’s past position, with regards its own Jewish People, they seek to distance even in Death, the Memory of the vibrancy of Polish Jewish life is so dismissed. In that regard, there can be no emphasis that would consider the forms of moralistic or ethical empathy this Polish government seems to countenance as a major unconcern.
“..circumstances of my present life ..impossibility of reaching a large library ..loss of my own books have made me dependent upon notes and ..memory. Both ..supplemntary reading and..research demanded by ..very laws of ..craft ..have been denied me.” Marc Bloch.
For instance, in more than 5 years of Hitlerite control in Poland, the responses from non-Jewish Poles and from their absconding government, had not sought to directly save the 3,000,000 of their own Jewish Community. So for the Polish Jewish Survivor, it was largely left to them and some element of luck to save themselves. It is equally certain that by whatever other means the Polish Jewish Survivor managed to Survive, whether this was a fated chance or not, it is they themselves who found some way to save their own lives, hindered by an indifference to their aim.
“..When I die there will be no one left who knew them. ..it keeps them alive when they are in people’s memories.” Leslie Baruch.
Sadly, and whether from an inbred, unchristian and an indifferent attitude, the Polish Jews were confronted by a totally inhumane and intolerable hatred. The Polish Jews were abandoned to their fate and to this day, and what is now being rankled over in very dispiriting terms, is a defining Polish moment which seeks to redefine its past. That distortion, which has 3,300,000 Polish Jews somehow responsible for the tragedy imposed upon them is as racist as any theory can profess. Perhaps too, in what Raul Hilberg themed as the 3 anti-Jewish policy’s, namely:
02 Expuslion and
03 Eradication, well perhaps there is a Fourth from here on in,
Quite horribly, this limits what Jews are allowed to grieve over in the face of all that has been witnessed in the process leading toward their total annihilation. While numbering these 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, history has yet to clarify the exacting detail of this number and is quite probably well shot of the true assessment we should be making. Make no mistake. It is incumbent upon History to ensure the lasting legacy for these 3,300,000 Polish Jews, and the 6,000,000 Murdered Jews of Europe.
“..No Jewish inmate counted on ever leaving Auschwitz alive. We lived in ..shadow of ..chimneys both spatially and intellectually. ..chimney was ..alpha and omega of all conversations.” Lucie Adelsberger.
The lasting legacy toward memory is not to be forged from a failure to confront what was enacted by some non-Jewish Poles, with or without the Polish governmental connivance of the time. To ensure the rapid dissolution of any and All Jewish presence in the Jewish Poland that belonged to a Polish Jewry that is now vanquished, collusion did not need a national cohesion. Individual community’s and neighbourlyness was collectively absent. Comradeship no longer remained within Poland for much of the 3,300,000 Polish Jews left to fend for themselves. For Polish Jews, Mercilessly brutalised, abandoned and exorcised from their Polish status, their Jewish antecedence earmarked the demand for their destruction.
“..When we were transferred to ..school we starved ..because ..only food we received apart from small rations of bread was watery soup. ..Poles began secretly to barter their army gear ..shoes ..coats ..blankets ..for food with ..civilian population. Afterwards they would turn to ..Germans and point ..look ..that Jew has shoes and I haven’t. ..Germans ordered ..Jew to remove his shoes and give them to ..Pole. ..same thing happened with blankets ..coats and other items. ..within a few days we were left without shoes ..coats ..even uniforms.” David Leiser.
As we seek to recognise those who acted with true humanity, and for anyone of the 11,293,300 Jews of Europe, mandated by Hitler’s Wannsee Conference and targeted for destruction, those saviours are to be commended. To have Survived at all, without luck or sheer will, the Jewish Survivor of Poland and Europe must have been aided by those who Samuel Oliner calls the Altruistic Personality.
“..Altruism simply means devotion to ..welfare of others ..based on selflessness. Specifically ..I have characterized altruism as a behavior that is directed towards helping another ..that involves some effort ..energy ..and sacrifice to ..actor ..that is accompanied by no external reward ..and ..is voluntary.” Samuel P. Oliner.