Indescribable Pain

Two years ago I was in Washington DC and had the opportunity to visit the Auschwitz Museum.  I found myself completely unprepared for the experience.  My initial reaction to the sight of the ovens in which hundreds of thousands of human beings were burned was one of total revulsion.  I was dumbfounded at the sheer calculation and detachment from feeling to which they bore horrifying testimony.  As I was touring, I came upon an exhibit of shoes.  A lot of them were patched or small, having obviously belonged to children and poor people.  This saddened me particularly.  What wrong could they have possibly done, what harm?  I stopped and prayed - moved profoundly both for the victims and for the perpetrators of this iniquity - that such a thing would never happen again.  And, in the knowledge that just as we all have the capacity to act selflessly out of concern for others' well-being, so do we all have the potential to be murderers and torturers, I vowed never in any way to contribute to such a calamity.

Events such as those which occurred at Auschwitz are violent reminders of what can happen when individuals - and by extension, whole societies lose touch with basic human feeling.

childoftheland childoftheland
46-50, F
12 Responses Feb 22, 2009

I too visited the Holocaust Museum (not the Aushwitz museum) in Washington DC with my Mother and my Wife and my two Daughters. As we walked we saw the maps - were people - including my Mother lived - she pointed out her town on the map where she lived as a ten year old girl when the Nazis came marching in - the same age my Daughter was as she listened to my Mother, as we walked further we came across walls with pictures of children on the wall including a picture of my Mother's young Cousin who was among the murdered 6,000,000. You see my Dear I filled out the pages of testimony with my Mother of the 20+ relatives we lost on my Mother's side of the family. I turned around as we walked and behind us - well behind us were perhaps sixty people crowding up as close as they could to hear my Mother speak as we walked. The Nazis arrested my Grandfather - a Doctor when they marched into Marinske Lazne in the Sudetanland in what was then Czechoslovakia - they were just beginging then - practicing on beating the crap out of Jews who were profesionals - Lawyers, Doctors, Accountants - just to demean them - and if they agreed to leave and had where to go and left everything behind they let them leave - My Grandfather and Grandmother and my Mother made it out penniless but they made it out to Tangiers trough Italy - he was a Doctor and what he had between his ears the Nazis could not steal from him and so they thank G-d got out alive - or I would not be here to tell you this. How many unborn did the Nazis steal from the world How many Einstiens were not born - what this unspeakable evil did the world will never ever know or realize and yet some have the gall - the unmitigated gall to say it never happened? Oh it happened - and we know on what transports an on what dates and to which camps every relative was shipped - we know and we remember.

Also know that before the Holocaust was the biggest organized murder against an identifyable group that the world had ever seen that it was the biggest organized mass theft the world had ever seen. This theft from Jews - down to the gold they took from their teeth in the gas chambers is how these bastards financed their war.

Israel was founded on some very very simple words - "Never Again" - and beieve it because if you want to know - if you want to understand why there is a State of Israel in this world well now you know. And no one will ever G-d willing change this.

This story was so well written and speaks powerfully of the feelings many of us share regarding these horrific events. Thank you.

Childoftheland,<br><br />
I never meant by my comments to negate your experience; of course your feelings are valid. If it helps, I have had similar feelings on visiting Jewish Holocaust memorials, as I think many have. There are certain pictures, eg shoes piled up, or those awful pictures of bodies being bulldozed, that are incredibly powerful and have moved me and many others for years now.<br><br />
Rather than negate your experience, I was using my comment to explore what it meant to deny that a Holocaust - and in my view (which I think Nanseltar shares) this word applies beyond the Jewish Holocaust.<br><br />
Perhaps one day what happened to the Tibetans will be described as a Holocaust? I sincerely hope not.<br />
Peace to you Child and your hugs to your feelings of grief.<br />

I feel it would be wrong to apply the word "holocaust" only to the Jewish holocaust. Later generations may get the impression that it was a one-time thing that is over now. Unfortunately, genocide is still going on. <br />
I am glad the Jewish people have gone to great extents to preserve the evidence of their suffering. It is a lesson to everyone, but it is also important to know about Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, the Kurds, and many others. As was said earlier, every generation has its potential monsters and saints. I think it is important that the general masses know what is possible......<br />
As ChildoftheLand says, Peace.

'You couldn't be further from the truth in knowing what "I WAS THINKING". <br />
<br />
I never said I thought the Holocaust was "unique". Nor did I intimate such. I shared my experience and FEELINGS around the horrific acts. Additionally, I was specifically sharing in a forum entitled: I Hate People Who Think the Holocaust Never Happened. Sadly, there are many similar acts through history that I could share about unremittingly, and probably will at some point in its proper forum. To highlight a few: The genocide of the Tibetans by the Chinese in as late as 1985 where thousands of Monks and Nuns were brutally torchered, raped and murdered. The KKK’s reign of terror in the South, and so much more.<br />
<br />
I merely shared that, "I vowed never in any way to contribute to such a calamity.<br />
<br />
If I had time in one story to speak to all of life's atrocities, I would be writing until I am dead. Given that I am already 47 years old, sadly my remaining time on this earth wouldn't be enough to fulfill such a task.<br />
<br />
So, please read my story carefully, look at the specific story titles I am sharing about and understand that I am not negating or minimizing any other catastrophic event in history. But rather I am sharing about a specific feeling I had around this event.<br />
<br />
Thank you for your comment. Peace

AP,<br />
Japanese in WWII had instituionalised practices of torture didn't they, including forced prostitution? However, I think many people feel the way you do, that the Jewish Holocaust is unique. I tend to feel that while it may be the most extreme example, that does not, sadly, make it "unique". Similar acts of organised and deliberate extermination happened before then and since. Yuck.

The Jewish Holocaust is one of many. Armenians, Kurds, Slovenians, Croatians, Pol Pot's Killing Fields, the Women's Holocaust (The Burning Times), and many, too many, others throughout history.

I'm with AP and CC, but I have possible answer, after some thought.<br />
Some people are scared I think about the power of the Jewish Holocaust, and what it means. <br />
In particular, it is a continued source of unity and strength for Jewish people, at least it seems so from the outside. I continue to be fascinated in it, as many are, because the Nazis and the sheer extent of their plan are almost mesmerising in their size and power.<br />
But the story of the Jewish Holocaust itself continues to be told, as it should, and continues to have its power. <br />
But like anything of power, sometimes I think this is not used in the right way. When it is used, for example, to justify other injustices in the Middle East, I think the power of the Jewish Holocaust is used in the wrong way.<br />
Also I don't think we should be blinded by its power to the fact that similar acts of attempted genocide have occured in the 20th century, for example the Armenian massacre which preceeded WWII and is thought to have killed somewhere around 1 and a half million people. Hitler watched this and many think he copied it. The Turkish government continues to vigorously deny the extent of the killings, unlike the German governement. Many Jewish people have tried to actively stop Armenians referring to what happened as a Holocaust; it would seem they want to keep the power the power of this word for their own use.<br />
Others are so frightened of the power of this event, the power it still has has to condemn the morality of certain groups of people, that they try to counter this power by denying that it happened at all, as unbelievable as this seems.

Yes, the photos are proof. The survivors have testimony.Film footage from several WW2 camps, tell it all. I believe they are just being cruel and they seem ridiculous.

I simply cannot understand people who say the Jewish Holocaust never happened. Where on earth did this misconception come from?<br />
As I have written elsewhere on EP, my own father was one of the Canadian soldiers that liberated Bergen-Belsen. What he saw there was so horrific it scarred him for life. He never discussed it with us, his family, but once when I was fourteen he brought home some of his old war buddies after their 15th regimental WW2 reunion. They went into the den and closed the door, but being a snoopy teenager I eavesdropped, and what I heard about Bergen-Belsen has stayed with me for life.

in rereading your story again i am thankful that your prayed for the ones victimised and the abusers you are showing the same compassion that Jesus showed to the ones that hung Him on the cross. and that is what God (by any name) desires from humanity. your heart is in the right place and i commend you many would not be able to say that. Go in peace

this time period, ,and the horrible events in history, has always terrified me. when i was a youth and learning about the Nazi's, just reading about it made me sick and scared of showers and ovens. i am the type of personality that has always had nightmares, if i read or watched things evil. so in my own self, i feel the pain, and the terror felt by the people. the thoughts of what happened. i don't understand how anyone could do anything so evil to another human being or animals. sadly there are places like Darfur that are still like this. as a person that experences pain in my mind, when i listen to people explain accidents or pain from disease, i don't know if i could handle that well. just as, even though i am a christian, i would not watch the passion of Christ. emotionally, i would not be able to do that. i used to faint in health class. <br />
the experience that you had at the museum was important and it is needed to remind the world that this evil did happen. how people that say it didn't happen, i don't understand them. but it is essentualy true, that each person alive at any time could become either a hitler or mother thersea., as sad as that is.<br />
but on the same subject, in another idea, i don't understand how God could allow this evil? and my thoughts say that God doesn't desire this,but this world is powered by evil in many ways. on the other side, the people that say each of us choose that particular learning expereince before we come down here. my ? is, what would going thru that evil help either the victim or the perpetraitor? i am thinking more and more on the idea that we do choose to come here, but i haven't come to any understanding of what living and dying because of atrocities like this, helps mankind.there are many ?s i don't have an answer to and this is one of them.