“..I did not know what it was to have family ..you don’t know what it is to have family ..this security of people caring for you. It seems so natural to everybody ..when you don’t have family you just fend for yourself. You can’t just relax.” Evelyne Haendel.
Though this piece is on the use of the novel, so as to examine both the cruel and fraudulent effort to promote it as a work, they do not stand for The Holocaust. I wish to remind us all who we write for are those who can no longer add their pen to paper. These who relate their to a commercial exercise, an interest outside the integrity we have difficulty comprehending. For me, I lend my words while borrowing from this particular Survivor who knows what it is that is essential in the search for some form of comprehension to this catastrophic deed.
“..You should not feel bad because you don’t know at all what it is to be rootless. You have roots. I did not know at all what it was to have a family. You never know what it is ..what you have never experienced. Maybe it will help you in your thinking.” Evelyne Haendel.
While 6,000,000 Jews languish elsewhere in the novel’s attempt to compose words, this piece is broadened out to retain some of what Evelyne Haendel shares of her own experiences. Evelyne was born in Vienna in August 1937 to Moses and Pessah Wolfowicz Haendel and life was both nurturing and concerning. However, when Evelyne and her Mother managed to escape the Nazi persecution and sought refuge in Belgium in December of that year, Evelyne’s Father did not immediately go along with them. Eventually though, Evelyne’s Father followed them in the January of 1938 just ahead of the Nazi’s invasion of Austria.
“..Everywhere you went there was a rabble. People who suddenly felt they were someone ..who saw that this was their chance. People who looked on ..Anschluss ..first and foremost ..as an opportunity to get involved in ..witch hunt.” Moriz Scheyer.
On March 11th. 1938, accommodated by the German forces who crossed the border into Free Austria, Austrian Nazi’s raised the tempo of welcome. The following day, on March 12th. the German Army entered Vienna amidst scenes of rapturous welcoming’s. There was to be no welcome from Austrian Jewry. By March 13th., with all of Austria being absorbed into the Hitler Reich, by means of this ‘Anschluss’, Austria disappears from the European map. The immediate assault upon the Jewish People, and the systematic larceny of all Jewish assets is set in motion and the grand witch hunt begins.
“..Shoah destroyed my Family and it nearly killed me ..I am alive again. I am myself. I am no longer in hiding.” Evelyne Haendel.
For Evelyne, as luck would have it, she Survived and her ability to inform us is in great part due to the generosity of spirit and strength of courage of her Parents Moses and Pessah. Now though, and within all of Hitler’s German Austrian sphere of influence, the enactment of the Nuremberg racial laws, which were previously applied to German Jews, struck deeper. Further along, and after Germany invaded Belgium in May of 1940, the peace was not only shattered for the Belgian People but particularly for Belgian Jews.
“..I’m still discovering who I am and trying to see people as they are ..all over ..World.” Evelyne Haendel.
All Jews migrant or national, who formerly felt secure were no longer so became perched upon that same knife edge which had been threatening German and Austrian Jewry. When the Belgians arrested Moses Haendel, he was constituted as an enemy alien and deported to France that same year. For Evelyne, who was but a 3 year old ‘enemy alien’, she now was under direct threat of both persecution and transportation. In 1941 when the Nazi’s began instituting a widespread set of anti-Jewish and discriminatory laws, Evelyne’s Mother knew it was time to act before Pessah was arrested late in 1942, she had arranged to hide her daughter with some Christian neighbours.
“..I love Israel ..but I wouldn’t want to live there. I don’t like ..attitude ..that we are eternal victims. I don’t define myself that way.” Evelyne Haendel.
Evelyne, who was 5 years of age, was to be then raised as a Catholic and though this finally managed to save her life, a wedge was driven between her memory and her former Parents. Though she remained disconnected from her Family and Jewish ways, I clearly recognise with her in relating to this period as her ’emptiness’. I cannot know such emptiness. Both the hidden Jewish Child and the vacant sensitivity are both an element of The Holocaust that is in need of exploring. As I survey the novel’s suggestion, it becomes somewhat cumbersome to even attempt to relate the two.
“..For many hidden Children their parents were strangers ..often unwelcome strangers. When parents came to claim them ..it created ambivalent feelings at best. Acceptance ..hostility ..resentment ..shame ..regret were only some of ..emotions we hidden children had. Some of us may still continue to have such feelings about our Jewishness ..our religion. ..we children could ..not easily give up that which helped us survive. If being Jewish meant danger ..disapproval ..something one could be killed for ..why would a child want to take it back?” Nechama Tec.
For me, to then search in these other books, which I will not name, I cannot find what I always hope for in my own words and that they are simply never demeaning of the effort to relate the immense loss. There are already far too many novel’s who bare enough of the wrongs I perceive that they perhaps manage. Without the very integrity necessary in our search we distort the view we are not fully at liberty to see. The unrelenting loss and the attempt at understanding what The Holocaust means to those who lived and died it is a compatible need.
“..Wherever Men and Women are persecuted because of their race ..religion ..political views ..that place must ..at that moment ..become ..center of ..universe.” Elie Wiesel.
Today, I stand aghast at the diminishing in words of a plight, of an effective scheme to mass murder 1,000,000’s of Jews, plans so substantially deliberate, the treatment of the Jews of the catastrophe must be exemplary. There can be no other tone which affords this unique and unparalleled assault upon human value, and which sunk civilisation into an abyss, without it being reverential. For me, and so as to find any of or similar responses to an immeasurable crime, those like Evelyne Haendel are amongst the sourced and sought out to bring forward their appreciation of my own and History’s search.
“..history of Man is ..history of crimes ..history can repeat. ..information is a defense. Through this we can build ..we must build ..a defense against repetition.” Simon Wiesenthal.
With Evelyne’s very words, the sense of both the belonging, which she does not feel capable of accepting and the gigantic loss which would overwhelm us, we extrapolate our concern. For her words alone, which are the most resistent to forgetfulness we seek to produce, can afford us an insight into a chasm so empty, the torrent of memory barely infills with 6,000,000 losses. Evelyne’s own sense of The Holocaust, because she is a constituent part of that tragedy, is the very relevance for which we must choose our own words.
“..A novel about Treblinka is either not a novel or it’s not about Treblinka.” Elie Wiesel.
Then, as I sought to remember it, when I discussed this subject of recollection with Elie Wiesel, it was clear that novels on The Holocaust do not exist. Elie was most adamant that such books are written either as novels or they are Not recognisable as aspects of The Holocaust. Elie, as a Survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, with his referencing of Treblinka here it has the same bearing for all Jews who emerged from any Camp, Killing Site or indeed any place of hiding from The Holocaust. I am one of many who would consider it unworthy of the memory of those 6,000,000 European Jews, catapulted into oblivion, to be at all served well by the novel.
“..It was a past of everybody leaving ..a child of 3 doesn’t know it’s because of ..War. It’s just that People ..closest that you have faith in ..that you rely on ..are just leaving.” Evelyne Haendel.
For The Holocaust, and for any work to be classed as a fiction, these works must remain outside such a remit as would be acceptable to the History of this catastrophe for the Jewish People. Throughout what I wish to say on this, I will use the experience of Evelyne, a Surviving Jew, somehow lost in a World that resides alongside us. After a time of uncertainty, she resorted to escape from this World she did not know and felt somehow distracted from it to find her way back. When Theodor Adorno pointed to the inexplicable use of poetry after such an event as The Holocaust, one cannot but consider it a concern for Evelyne or any Surviving Jew that their experience is being betrayed.
“..To write a poem after Auschwitz would be barbaric.” Theodor Adorno.
It is clear, and whatever form it takes, that all of culture has been vanquished in the Gas Chambers of Hitler’s Final Solution. For the Survivor, in trying to reclaim a life that would never sit comfortably with them, Evelyne too emerged to become aware of what loss means. Due to the massive destruction inflicted upon her Family, Evelyne was still alone to collect whatever memories she could recall. In all of this Evelyne was still a Surviving Jew, very much alone. For we, those who wish to be here, we also seek to regain fragments of a memory that has been crushed into dust.
“..It’s never finished. ..If I found another Aunt somewhere I would feel very happy because she would no longer be an Aunt or Cousin or whatever buried in ..darkness ..forgotten. I will not have abandoned them.” Evelyne Haendel.
For those missing Jews, whose embers have been scattered over all of Europe, they do not rest so lightly. Here, and I will contain the fuller critical analysis of the form of the novel, and though I have in my possession three such books, two are unworthy of a title as a work, due to their total lack of integrity. For me too, these two works are a blemish which indelibly stain the memory for the 6,000,000 Jews we both seek to remember and eulogise. The other of these three works, which was initially orchestrated as an autobiographical account of a Jew who managed to Survive, proved to be an account of a Surviving Jew.
“..biggest resistance that we could have done to ..Germans was to survive.” Eta Wrobel.
Though this third work was less than honest in the first aspect, it regains a redemptive quality in its fictional account of a Survivor’s own experiences. For me then, and to all of this we have to add that the genre of the novel does Not offer or lend the Surviving Jew a voice. The chance to emerge from the darkness does not manage to bring forth the lost Family, those firmly lodged within the grasp of The Holocaust. Today, as time elapses at an alarming rate, these Jews, who were so religiously taken from us, require more from us than tall tales.
“..I lost completely ..notion of who I was. ..I started to go back in my past ..which I had just totally pushed away. I recovered my first name ..then my original Family name ..name that my Father and Mother gave me.” Evelyne Haendel.
Such misguided efforts to commercialise the irredeemable loss with a value in monetary terms is both morally vacuous and ethically wrong. Such works, as these novels proliferate, are blotting the landscape of a view we wish to add to the lost memory of 6,000,000 Jews now being obscured. Our deliberate search, facing into a fading memory that is secreted beneath the soil of an entire Continent, is a fact which our research must afford us. It is in the effort to deliver an insight into such an immense loss that we approach the regular passing of those Survivor’s we must always seek to learn from, with an enormous measure of loss for us all.
“..Only much later did I grasp how important for history it is to record all details ..to write down witnesses’ statements. ..witnesses do not live forever ..following generations must ..learn of their fate ..their suffering.” Zev Birger.
It is clear that we, who stand against the tidal wave of imposition that pervades The Holocaust arena, become a further witness to the dismantling of the integrity only the truth maintains. The attempt to secure memory for those lost Jews who require it, is ably achieved by all that we seek to bring back from the depths of a deep despair. There is barely the faintest hint of a remembered past in the presence in such works that will be audibly recognised and recorded as factional efforts. How can it be that all that these Jews who suffered can be dismantled by the largesse of a profit motive already assigned to consuming their passage from us.
“..I didn’t feel Jewish before. I’m feeling it now. I have a duty to be Jewish and not to be afraid of being a Jew.” Evelyne Haendel.
This then is what we are up against and what must always be maintained properly in showing where once Jews were that there is No fear for the Jew being a Jew. The Jewish People are no longer a viable presence within their former community’s, either by design or by the wish of those who have sought to own all that the Jews once possessed. To the books in question, there are two passages in these formed words, which alight us to perhaps all that is wrong within their pages. From History we know their assertions to be untrue, in a garbled assembly of words which distract us from the real search in a memory departed.
“..he was my guide and mentor ..kind of father I would have wished for.”
This passage alerts us to what no Jew, who managed to Survive Hitler’s intention for them could propose. The only Father, Mother, Parent or even other Family member they could ever wish for would be those returned of the ritually destroyed and taken from them. In the immediate aftermath of all that the Jewish People had been put through and Survived, their search for any single member of their destroyed Family has been a lifelong quest. Their desire, impassioned as it has been, it has been a need to resurrect those memories of them, where there remained no significant chance of them having ever Survived.
“..this book is dedicated to ..memory of.”
In that limitless search, the Jewish People would never confine their Parents to a memory either forgotten or betrayed by the desire to implant another in its place. In this second quote from another work, there is no mention here of the parents supposedly lost or the family driven to extinction. The words are not for the loss of any immediate community, nor in Evelyne’s case the destruction of the 25,000 or so of the Belgian Nation’s Jews which Evelyne seeks to recall. The words are not even concerned with the 6,000,000 Jews of Europe who are The Holocaust.
“..past ..has enabled me to regard ..novel with a critic’s detachment ..but ..controversy aroused ..make me question my initial decision to write it.”
No! This unworthy tome is dedicated to the loss of a dog. The alarm bells should have wrung more clearly and louder for me. Latterly, and within this next work, it is not without impact, or even credit but, though lauded as a novel, it was created as a Jewish autobiographical journey through times when no Jew was safe. It is evident that the positive lessons of The Holocaust have yet to be learned and intolerance is as entrenched as the indifference which confides with it reaps ever further wastage from our own human existence.
“..impossible to put into words what we have been through. One thing is clear ..what happened exceeded our boldest dreams. ..Germans ran twice from ..Ghetto.” Mordechai Anielewicz.
As a hero of the Warsaw Ghetto Jewish Resistance, Mordechai Anielewicz best chooses the words which exemplify the Jewish struggle. In the midst of a gentile indifference, force feeding the intolerance against them, only words designed to expand upon the incomprehensible nature of the perpetration, and the struggle against it, can best serve this Jewish memory. For all that remains wrong in societal intolerances to this day, inappropriate works have taken the wrong sided lessons from the terms of The Holocaust. So as to deal brutally with the tolerances we should have secured, the lessons of intolerances permeate the World arena.
“..I built a physical site for visitors ..which tells and presents ..history of The Holocaust. I expanded ..education and research of ..subject and laid ..foundations for making ..place a world center for commemorating ..memory of The Holocaust and its heritage. ..Despite years of lack of diplomatic relations with ..countries of ..Communist bloc in Eastern Europe ..I have been able to establish working relations with archives in these countries and obtain 100’s of 1,000’s of documents relating to The Holocaust there.” Dr. Yitzhak Arad.
For any semblance of hatred, which those same biased and bigoted people regard others, those who participate in this life and who are treated with, far too differently, The Holocaust lesson is not well learned. In all of this conjecture though we have to be certain, when dealing with such loss. This is Not with our own Father’s memory, nor with recalling our own Mother’s loss or those of our Brother’s and Sister’s so long disappeared, but we are dealing wholly with due respect for what we know is lost. Here too, we are accounting for those myriad of Family connections now vanquished from History and all of posterity.
“..It’s not such an easy road. I’ve been through it so I can understand. I’m happy. I’m making others aware of their Jewishness ..of ..tradition.” Evelyne Haendel.
In its stead, we recognise our duty is to respect the Jewish loss as our loss and record their omission from this space and time so as not to forget they passed this way. That these were Jewish Families annihilated from the midst of a most civilised and cultural Continent, but who were still wholly and totally destroyed and eviscerated from all existence, confronts our moral probity. That these slaughtered Jews represent, as to what could have been a fate for us also, this all leaves an indelible stain over what supposedly civilised us. The stark lesson for us, while we must seek to come to terms with The Holocaust, which offers so little of what has passed into time, must be recalled in all we make of our effort.
“..I managed to go to Auschwitz ..I’m not sure I made peace there or ever could. ..I don’t look at Germany ..same way anymore. I’ve let go of that hate ..that fear.” Evelyne Haendel.
That we cannot give over a second to other than revisiting and reclaiming all that will present to us, the lost lives of 6,000,000 vanquished Jews, Men, Women and Their Children from Europe, it has to contain a veracity missing in such words that are not concerned with them. When Evelyne visited Auschwitz, she stood on the site of the closest graveyard to where her Family might well have been laid, or whose ashes might well have been sprinkled under her very feet, but Evelyne could not know. With what flowers Evelyne sought to rest before the memory for her incalculable losses, these must have been tinged with ever greater sadness.
“..Recognition of ..truth ..whole truth and opening ones heart and sharing ..experiences is necessary to stop ..evil ..to gel rid of ..aggression ..hate and ..prejudice. To convey ..Auschwitz truth is a great lesson. ” Halina Birenbaum.
How could Evelyne ever be certain that her bouquet touched anywhere near where that place interring her Family was to be. When Evelyne visited Israel, the natural Homeland of each and every Jew, as it is proposed in all of History, there became a newer awareness. For Evelyne, this was to be a sense of belonging that has been missing from most of her life and has been delivered back to the Jewish People after 5,000 years. In ensuring this right of settlement and through it a perpetuity of living, we owe Evelyne what we cannot give to 6,000,000 other Jews. It should Never have taken, for the very gravest crimes ever perpetrated against a People to raise our conscious above a selfish concern.
“..Give us a patch of Earth that is free of antisemitism.” Isabella Leitner.
The very State of Israel was thus handed back to the Jews of antiquity, but given over as a guilt ridden World’s salving of that guilt, as injudicious a personal absolution as can be suggested. Today, a World’s sanctioning is all too easily forgotten by too many willing to distort the rightful truth of ownership of a land bestowed upon the Jewish People. In acknowledging the Jewish 5,000 year return to their ‘Promised Land’, can we do less than assist the Jews to live free of antisemitism. In this demand I clearly write my words of loss, and as I hear the wishes of many like Isabella Leitner, for a land the Jews own and have been owed, my words do not falter.
“..My whole life I never had my feet under a table ..sitting and feeling I have ..right to be here ..I don’t have to do anything ..I don’t have to apologize ..I’m just home. ..That is how I felt in front of ..Wailing Wall.” Evelyne Haendel.