I have often wondered about the emotions of the Auschwitz liberators. Joy? Pain? Regrets? Anger? Or all of the above? My imagination tells me they must have been felt as if they were punched in the gut. Their silence, and the silence of those saved, must have deafening.
Today is the seventy-first anniversary of prisoners being liberated from the horror that was Auschwitz. Virtual Jerusalem has put together a slide show of children killed, and saved, which I feel everyone… regardless of religious affiliation… should bear witness to.
As a Catholic, as a mother and grandmother, my heart bleeds for lives lost, futures erased. I was not even born when Auschwitz was liberated, but I did visit the camp with my sisters and parents a few years back. The Auschwitz tour came in the middle of the week, sandwiched between our visit to Warsaw and Krakow. I remember my mother obstinately refusing to leave the bus, saying: ‘I don’t want to see it. I can’t stomach it. I lived through this period. You girls go’.
The tour bus guide quietly told her she needed to come, to walk the corridors other mothers walked, to stare at the items families were forced to relinquish piled high in the rooms, to stare at the chimneys where smoke from the furnaces once blew…because without witnesses the evil allowed to flourish here would one day return. In one room there were piles of broken violins. In another, hair cut from the victims. Display after display extolling the Auschwitz Horror.
Please take a moment today and access Virtual Jerusalem’s link and look into the faces of the children pictured in their slideshow. Say a prayer for their souls, and for all the innocent souls killed in man’s quest for domination over others. Evil cannot be allowed to win.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)