Books keep memories of Holocaust fresh—April 27, 2012
Holocaust Remembrance Day is in April. Although it probably brings painful memories to survivors, it must never be forgotten. Hitler earns the lead role in what must have been one of the worst events in the history of mankind. His cast of Nazi soldiers seemed to enjoy inflicting unspeakable cruelty on millions.
Did Germans realize the role they were playing in what was one of the cruelest, most horrific events in the history of mankind? Perhaps the citizens were blinded by the promises of a better life and greater prosperity . The unsuspecting frog in a pan of water seems like a logical comparison. As threats started to dominate the speeches (or the water began to boil), some were jolted back to reality, but it was too late. Somehow, Hitler managed to inject a huge group of men with the ability to torment innocent people. These Nazi soldiers sent human beings to their deaths daily and added their lifeless bodies to growing piles as though they were little more than refuse.
“The Boy Who Dared” by Susan Bartoletti is based on Helmuth Hubener, a young hero who lost his life to the Nazis for his selfless attempts to spread the truth about Hitler’s motives. Michelle McCann recorded the story of “Luba, The Angel of Bergen-Belson”, whose courage saved the lives of 54 children who had been left in the cold to die. Luba convinced her fellow prisoners to help house and feed the children, knowing that her life would end quickly if she were caught caring for them.
Concentration camps became the home of the very young to the very old. These prisoners faced uncertainty, cruelty and hunger everyday. ”The Nazi Doctors” by Robert J. Lifton describes the painful experimental procedures performed without anesthesia or cleanliness. Isabella Leitner shares her memories in “The Big Lie”. “Survivors; True Stories of Children of the Holocaust” by Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun confirms the nightmarish existence that the youngest prisoners endured.
Although “The Boy In the Striped Pajamas” by John Boyne is fiction, it accurately describes the Nazi mentality while seeing first hand the pathetic existence of its victims.
Survivors have told thousands of stories; yet, horrific situations around the world continue to dominate the news. What is it which causes such hate and destruction? Perhaps, countries and their peoples should check their tolerance quotients and adopt the adage, “Live and let live.”