web analytics
March 28, 2015 / 8 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


The Ashes of a People

KL Majdanek. Mglisty paŸdziernikowy poranek 2008

Davidi arrived safely in Poland. Today, he will visit the yeshiva in Lublin…and then on to Maidanek. I wrote this next part shortly after visiting there in 2003. It fills my mind today as I think of Davidi walking there, seeing the things I saw. Majdanek…it haunts me still.

Majdanek

(taken from paulasays.com)

Maidanek is one of the easiest death camps to understand because there is little need to imagine. When the Russian troops swept into Maidanek in July, 1944, the Germans didn’t have time to destroy the evidence, as they did in Auschwitz, Treblinka, and elsewhere. Here the gas chambers remain, with the stained residue of Zyklon-B gas on the ceiling and walls. Here the crematoria remain, still filled with the ashes of the last victims. Here the ashes remain.

Because it is so intact, Majdanek is also possibly one of the hardest camps to visit. It is a place of death, and death lingers in the air, in the ashes, and on the ground on which you walk. You stare at the houses that are but a few hundred meters from the camp perimeter and you wonder what kind of person can make a life so close to such death. Homes and gardens surround the camp. They open their windows in the morning, and see the crematoria. They entertain friends and play music, in the shadow of the mountain of ashes.

Once, they could have smelled the stench of burning bodies. The smell may be gone, but the air remains poisoned by the hatred. “What kind of person lives here?” I asked myself again and again.

Our guide took us to the door of the gas chamber…the first of several we would enter. “I’m going to take you in there,” he said, and through my tears and the pounding in my ears, I heard him add, “and I’m going to take you out of there.” Somehow he knew that we needed that encouragement, that promise.

As you walk into the crematoria, you see the table on which the Germans searched the corpses for hidden gold. Even in death, there was no dignity, no respect. You walk into the room with the ovens and through the tears, the horror becomes more real because you understand that it isn’t dust piling inside the ovens, but ashes that remain, even 60 years later, to hint of their anguish.

Worse, there is a mountain of ashes…yes, that’s what they call it in Hebrew. A mountain…God alone knows how many bodies need to be burned to create such a huge amount of ashes. I stared at those ashes and finally understood that if Israel were to take all the remains – the ashes, the remains of those who lie in desecrated cemeteries as I so desperately wanted us to do in those first few days in Poland…there wouldn’t be enough room in all of Israel to bury them. Poland is filled with the bones and ashes of 3 million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

Just as we entered the crematoria building, the skies opened. Thunder and lightening raged across the land that had been sunny just moments before. It was not difficult to imagine that this was the anger and the tears of a God who still cries for His children, and I wonder if some of those tears aren’t for those who still, even today, are murdered simply because they are Jews.

Our guide showed us a room filled with shoes. He told us there were 800,000 shoes there. A small portion of shoes, perhaps a few hundred, are displayed in Yad Vashem. A few hundred or a few hundred thousand – the numbers are incomprehensible and so our guide once again helped us. He urged us to find a shoe, a single shoe, and let it tell us its story. Imagine who wore it, what dreams they had before the Nazis came and stole it from them.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “The Ashes of a People”

  1. Cody Flecker says:

    The Germans were indeed guilty in the murdering of so many Jewish and non Jewish People, but we all must understand that it was really Christianity that was guilty in allowing so many criminals the ability to kill these millions of Jews. The Christian Church, both Catholic and Protestant, Orthodox,and Secular did very little to help the Jews. In fact they aided and abetted the Germans in their quest to make the world Judenfrei. The real blame lies within the antisemitism in the Church then as now. The Germans pulled the trigger, Christianity told them that is was OK for them to act. Everyone in the meantime turned a blind eye to the unfolding tragedy.

  2. Read this passage again.

    "Our guide showed us a room filled with shoes. He told us there were 800,000 shoes there. A small portion of shoes, perhaps a few hundred, are displayed in Yad Vashem. A few hundred or a few hundred thousand – the numbers are incomprehensible and so our guide once again helped us. He urged us to find a shoe, a single shoe, and let it tell us its story. "

    Hitler looked at this group of people, and for whatever reasons, he decided that all of them were guilty of the same things. He put them all into the same set of shoes, devaluing each and every one of them. He's not the only one.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Aftermath of Saudi air strike on Yemen.
Yemeni President Tells Arab League Houthis Must ‘Surrender or Else’ [video]
Latest Blogs Stories
The Dimona nuclear reactor dome. Iran has been using Israel's reluctance to join the NPT to escape criticism of its own program.

“Israel has nuclear weapons & it isn’t afraid to use them if necessary-Does that frighten you? Good”

JB Flag

American Jews think they know what’s best for Israel-better than Israelis. Here’s my take…

HarHabayitwDome.jpg

An old Arab man yelled at me “You’re stupid!” I returned the compliment; He had murder in his eyes.

Doug Goldstein

Why do people feel the need to check their email 50X a day, constantly dipping in & out of Facebook?

Betar is the world-wide Zionist youth movement that refuses to be silent, and as our founder Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote: “Silence is despicable.”

Life in Europe’s pre-War Yeshiva world makes today’s rulings look like the Taliban has taken over.

Moshe’s the 1st family member in thousands of years to have the honor of serving in a Jewish army

Often wig wearers become more attractive after marriage. Doesn’t this turn the intent on its head?

US official interference in Israel’s Elections is not only immoral but may be illegal under US law.

The greatest thing about leaving Israel is the joy in returning, hearing/seeing/smelling coming home

I never felt an election resonate so much; I had true existential fear that my candidate might lose

It appears that Agudah has joined with those choosing to erase women from the public sphere.

How can you turn your passion into your business? How can you build your business around your life?

Politicians have their own egos as priority, not the good of the country nor the will of the people

I might have to “reassess” my position on President Obama if his “new positions and comments” on Israel don’t match his pre-election statements.

Find out about peak oil and how the production & sale of cheap oil has affected other oil sources

More Articles from Paula Stern
A Soldier's Mother

The greatest thing about leaving Israel is the joy in returning, hearing/seeing/smelling coming home

50 shades of grey and mein kampf

At the entrance to attract attention beside copies of Fifty Shades of Grey was Hitler’s Mein Kampf

As Israel votes I’ll go to an ancient synagogue in India and ask God to guide the Jewish voters

What idiot thought of sounding a siren for food?

A stone-marker was made for his grandfather, 1 of 85,000 Jews murdered in that field by the Nazis

Kerry…and Bide…and EVERY DEMOCRAT just happened to be unavailable to meet with Netanyahu.

I’d rather you label me a concerned Jew, an Israeli. Someone who cares about the future of my nation

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/the-ashes-of-a-people/2014/02/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: