Hell: “…the belief that no one can look directly at Auschwitz and remain sane, which is itself but a corruption of the biblical story where God tells Moses that no man may behold God’s face and live.”

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Indeed….

“I had zero expectation of my mother turning up in the archives’ records. Although she was in Bergen-Belsen at the end of the war, she had first been deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in April 1944, the start of the extermination of Hungarian Jewry. When she arrived in Birkenau, the death camp, the gas chambers and crematoria were running full out, and the thinking may have been, why spill ink on those who are headed to the gas chambers anyway? So, she was never tattooed. After two months in Birkenau—the darkest days of her life—she and her two younger sisters were selected as part of a group of 3,200 girls and women sent to work in Germany and they ended up, together, as laborers in a munitions factory. Of the 3,200 lucky enough to be picked for that transport only 34 would survive—including my mother, but not her sisters.”

“He was in a cattle car when finally the Allies bombed the railroad tracks and the German soldiers who had been guarding the transport ran off. Before long the prisoners realized the guards were gone and broke down the doors and climbed down from the train. On the track next to theirs was a train filled with provisions for the German high command, and those who were strong enough broke in and took hold of the meats and other delicacies and fought off anyone who tried to come near. My father was too weak to struggle, and he crawled off and found a boxcar filled with potatoes and climbed into it and built a fire and roasted some potatoes. Then he climbed down from the boxcar and lay down in the field beside the railway embankment, listening to the cry of inmates who had gorged themselves on meat and marmalade and who were now dying of dysentery. He was delirious, more dead than alive, and lost consciousness. When he opened his eyes again, an S.S. man was standing over him, pointing a pistol at him and telling him to get to his feet. And my father said: Why are you bothering with me? You see that I am almost dead. Go, shoot me. The S.S. man said: I give orders, not you. Then he crouched and looked him in the eye and said: You, Juden, you Jews—you are the winners. You have beaten us. Soon it will be you the world celebrates. But for now, we, the Deutschefolke, we have the power. And my father said: Why do you care to mortify my life? Leave me be. And the S.S. man said: I mortify you because I have the power and because it is my will. And as long as I can, I will.”  wow

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2 thoughts on “Hell: “…the belief that no one can look directly at Auschwitz and remain sane, which is itself but a corruption of the biblical story where God tells Moses that no man may behold God’s face and live.”

  1. jewish intellectual tradition is writhe with historical persecution. probly contributes to their erudition and business acumen. good post.

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