Ahoy there me mateys! Yesterday I reviewed the tattooist of auschwitz. Reading about the Holocaust always causes me grief and sadness and can cause me mood to darken for days. Still I periodically read books on this topic for the reasons I talked about yesterday. After I posted me review, I read some articles that highlighted again the importance of remembering and honoring victims of the Nazis. Because of headlines like this:
“Poland’s Senate passes controversial Holocaust bill” – The BBC article stated that:
It [the bill] says that “whoever accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich … shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years”.
But it adds the caveat that a person “is not committing a crime if he or she commits such an act as part of artistic or scientific activities”.
It passed in a late-night sitting of the upper house of the Polish parliament with 57 votes to 23, with two abstaining.
I mean seriously. Of course some people in the Polish nation were complicit in the Holocaust. As were those of many other countries. A lot of people from those same countries tried to fight the atrocities and help others. We have documented proof people. Apparently Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said while Poland was committed to combating lies of the Holocaust:
“The camps where millions of Jews were murdered were not Polish. This truth needs to be protected,” he said.
The camps are called Polish camps because some were located in Poland. That is a truth. So this just feels like a ridiculous attempt to rewrite history. Attempting to reclassify such actions after the fact is a disgrace to all people who have suffered such atrocities.
So here are two other articles where truth is listed and proof is given:
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz – and his secret love” – this in an in-depth article about the release of the novel. It contains photos of Lale from many periods in his life and many of the concentration camps. The photos can be unsettling so beware of that. But one of the interesting photos shows:
Regarding other documents, one was discovered with Lale’s name and number in a list with other prisoners . . . “The top of the document says Politische Abt – Aufnhmershreiber, Pramienauszahlung vom 26.7.44, which translates to – Political Wing Admittance Writer,” Morris says.
Seeing his name and number on this list is further proof and for some reason especially hard-hitting for me.
The other article:
“Auschwitz inmate’s notes from hell finally revealed” – this article is about a fascinating piece of Auschwitz history. In 1944, 26 year-old Marcel Nadjari, a Greek Jew, wrote a 13 page manuscript while in Auschwitz. “He was among about 2,200 members of the Sonderkommando – Jewish slaves of the SS who had to escort fellow Jews to the gas chambers. Then they had to burn the bodies, collect gold fillings and women’s hair, and throw the ashes into a nearby river.” The manuscript was buried near the crematoriums and found in 1980. One problem – it was so exposed to elements that in was nearly illegible. By using recent more modern technology, the writing was able to be deciphered. The article did not contain the whole manuscript (as it was published recently in German) but the line that hit hard in this article was:
“The crematorium is a big building with a wide chimney and 15 ovens. Under a garden there are two enormous cellars. One is where people undress and the other is the death chamber. People enter it naked and once about 3,000 are inside it is locked and they are gassed. After six or seven minutes of suffering they die,” he wrote . . .
“The gas canisters were always delivered in a German Red Cross vehicle with two SS men. They then dropped the gas through openings – and half an hour later our work began. We dragged the bodies of those innocent women and children to the lift, which took them to the ovens.”
If I learned the detail about the vehicle at some point then I had forgotten. Such a blatantly horrible use of a symbol that is supposed to mean health and human compassion.
I don’t know when Holocaust denial truly began but with the story of the Polish bill and others like the Holocaust denier being at Trump’s State of the Union speech, the novel is an important addition at an important time.
Not me usual type of blog but have to admit that the news got me dander up and I had to rage on me soapbox. If only I could make all Holocaust deniers walk the plank and be tasty morsels for the sharks. Arrrr!
x The Captain
EDIT as of 2/12/19: Kate @ booksaremyfavouriteandbest discussed how there has been some dispute about the accuracy of the tattooist of auschwitz’s “true” story. To read the aritcle by the Auschwitz Memorial Research Center click here!