The last voices of The Holocaust

Today is the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The Washington Post has produced this clip.

There are fewer and fewer of those who still remember.

The Soviet army entered Auschwitz — the network of extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland — on Jan. 27, 1945, liberating the most notorious site of the Holocaust. In the decades since, groups of survivors have gathered to honor that day — including an annual remembrance at Auschwitz itself. This year, they mark the 70th anniversary of liberation on Tuesday — a day that, for a significant portion of remaining survivors, may be the last major remembrance of their lifetimes. The numbers themselves tell the story.

A decade ago, 1,500 survivors traveled to Auschwitz in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary. This year, organizers are expecting 300 or so. “This is the last big one for many of the survivors,” said Ronald Lauder, billionaire philanthropist and president of the World Jewish Congress, which is financing the travel expenses for more than 100 survivors. “By the time we reach the 75th anniversary, there may be almost no survivors left. But they are coming now, because they want to bear witness, to stand there and say, “we outlasted Hitler. We made it.’”

The survivors partly carry a legacy of horror, memories of the brutality of a labor prison that, by September of 1941, became an assembly line of death where more than 1 million would perish at the hands of the Third Reich. The vast majority of the victims were the Jews of Europe, subjected to Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution.” But others also deemed outside the racial and ideological lines of the Nazis also died. Ethnic Roma. Homosexuals. Jehovah’s Witnesses. Polish prisoners of war.

The survivors carry another legacy as well, one even more relevant: The power of human will to persevere. What follows are the tales of four survivors of Auschwitz, since resettled in the United States, Israel, France and southern Germany. Their recollections come amid what for some is a new period of uncertainty. In France — home of 89-year-old survivor Raphael Esrail — the anniversary comes less than three weeks after a terrorist assault on a kosher grocery store in Paris in which four people lost their lives.

We must never forget what was done, we must oppose anti-semitism and we must always remember the legacy of those murdered and those who have survived.

What is unbelievable is that there are people who continue to deny these atrocities ever happened.


– Washington Post


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  • Sailor Sam

    But we still see atrocities committed today by “religious” people on people of other religions than their own.
    Mankind has learned nothing and we may well have to fight another war to get rid of these people.

  • hookerphil

    Anybody that was to spend some time at the Auschwitz Camp and the many other surviving camps dotted throughout Europe would never subscribe to that few. The time I spent doing this, spent 3 days at Auschwitz Birkenau alone was perhaps the most poignant time of my life. I also thought that the Holocaust Museum in Washington should be compulsory viewing for any idiotic denier of this period of time in our history.
    Now perhaps it should be compulsory viewing for those denying the ever increasing atrocities being carried out under the banner of Islam.

    • I visited Yad Vashem in Jersusalem, i learned things I never knew before and it was numbing. The memorial is beautiful even though it contains a horrific story of an appalling time in world history.

    • Pharmachick

      I have visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.

      It is a complete, and grueling experience. At the end, there is The Reflection Room.

      At the end, in the reflection room, I was completely undone, and the older Jewish gentleman sitting on the steps next to me was as broken, probably worse, than me. We ended up holding hands. No words. Just a simple gesture.

      This I remember about the people that memorialize the Holocaust, their ability to grieve together and to reach out in solidarity – but not exclusiveness.

  • Greg M

    Seventy years ago the free world united to remove and eradicate a blight on humanity. Now we are inviting another one in, and not doing a thing to stop it.

  • Eiselmann

    There are people in our neighbourhoods who want to see the destruction of the State of Israel…what do they think will happen if they got their wish…a Truth and Reconciliation conference?. …

  • Margaret McCall

    I received an email today regarding this and asking what we really lost at Auchwitz. I wish I could put it up on this forum as it is really telling.

  • Bart67

    What’s worse than people denying it ever happened, is that right now, in areas controlled by ISIS, it is starting to happen again. We can either man up and deal with it now, or we will be forced to deal with it later. I suggest we do it while they are still over there!

  • Herb

    Great post Cam. Thank you for the reminder. As the old saying goes – those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Here is a link to another of these voices – Marion Blumenthal Lazan ( Totalitarianism in all forms must be called out and defeated. Lest we forget…..

  • Genevieve

    Anti-semitism is the longest and deepest hatred of human history, dating back many thousands of years. Unfortunately this hatred still finds itself intact and rich in potential for many more years. It is not only the most vicious hatred of all time, but also the most irrational.
    When the Black Plague decimated Europe, Jews were accused of starting the Plague by poisoning the wells with a mixture made of spiders, lizards and the hearts of Christians mixed together with various other sacred elements.
    Jews have also been blamed for the spreading of AIDS.
    This is a culture that has had to perennially resist its annihilation through a succession of uprootings and assaults.
    What can possibly justify such a causeless hatred?

    • James

      i think a lot of it is just an attempt at open debate- which gets very quickly labelled as “hatred”. i presume this post will be also- case in point. its very strange.

  • James

    The Holy-cause. Look at the language. And still 4 million dead across the Middle East as we sit back and watch, and fund it. nothing to see here.

  • James

    and 40 years since the NZ Government made it illegal to question the Holy-cause (outlawed freedom of speech). David Irving and his work still banned in NZ.

    • Genevieve

      Everyone is entitled to their view and even if a book is banned, the information inside is very readily available online. However, the Holocaust denier Irving did have to backtrack on some of his ludicrous claims.
      Little wonder that the man was ‘persona non- grata’ in so many countries.

    • The man is an idiot, and anyone who believes what he has to say is likewise an idiot.

      I don’t agree with banning his book, it should be used for mockery not be banned.

  • Genevieve
  • sandalwood789

    Now the danger to the world is Islam rather than Nazism. In 100 years or so I wonder how many non-Muslims will be left to testify to the foolishness of Western leaders who naively let the “wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing” ideology into their countries.

  • Pharmachick

    A teacher of mine in H/S always used to wear high necked blouses and long sleeved, with lacy details. I thought it was an “old” thing when I was 16 & 17. One day she reached across a table, and I saw what was on her arm. I guess my face gave me away. She took me outside and said “We don’t talk about this. We never talk about this. And when you go back in, you don’t talk about this”. Bless her, she’s gone now, but I remember. She only came in 2 days a week to teach a certain class.

  • Unamused77

    ***What is unbelievable is that there are people who continue to deny these atrocities ever happened.***

    I don’t think revisionists (e.g. Professor Arthur Butz) deny that millions died. They question how it happened. For instance they point to the fact that the US pathologist Dr Charles Larson found no cases of poisoning. They question how the Red Cross which was delivering supplies didn’t note it. British Intelligence intercepted German communications from 1942 onwards. F. Hinsley notes that British Intelligence was decoding the secret messages from Hoess, Camp Commandant of Auschwitz, to Berlin, which included his daily returns, and goes on to say:–

    “The returns from Auschwitz, the largest of the camps with 20,000 prisoners, mentioned illness as the main cause of death but included references to shootings and hangings. There were no references in the decrypts to gassings.”

    What is consistent is that US and British medical officers who entered in 1945 did report typhus epidemics and that the place was chaotic, supplies had run out and people starved.

    Jewish Princeton academic, Professor Adorno Mayer noted that evidence of gas being used to kill people was rare and unreliable. He concluded it probably was used, but that most of the deaths were due to disease.

    The Nizkor Project was set up to rebut revisionist claims and I am working my way through it.

  • Patterson