What are we to expect? We get up early, after reaching Krakow at nearly 1 AM. Not the time we expected, but with all the construction on the various arteries leading to the city from Frankfurt, less than surprising.
Oh, sure, when we realized that our arrival at our destination was going to be way later than we expected, we elected to enjoy a wonderful dinner in Brno, Czech Republic. Where the service and the food- and, to satisfy a challenge in which my son is participating, with a plethora of local beers (the winner will have consumed [via selfie publication] the largest variety of beers– was superb. I recommend you all enjoy a few hours in this wonderful town.
But, we finally reached Krakow (and the Hilton Hotel) and settled in for the night. A wonderful little hotel, where my son and I (as Jews in Poland) could feel safe. From which we arose to arrive at Auschwitz at the appointed time (9:30 AM) for our tour.
Wonderfully, our guide really spoke English well. Not so wonderfully, she had memorized the script that Poland provided her to spout. For people like me, who know how much antipathy existed- and still pertains- towards the Jews, it is difficult to listen to her whitewash.
Sure, the Nazis were the ones who perpetrated this evil against my people. Who perfected the method of killing Jews without using any of the bullets they would need to combat the Allied forces. Who devised systems that would eliminate the rights of Jews to teach, to practice medicine, to engage in business activities, to remain in the homes they purchased, to retain the art they had amassed over generations, to live in peace.
The Nazis also removed the identity of their victims. By tattooing numbers on their wrists, removing their names as identifiers, only using the numbers assigned by the German authorities. (And, you doubt how many Jews they killed? The Germans were proud of their murderous activities and numbered each individual killed, massacred, and tortured. Until they lost the war and then claimed they had no idea.)
Just like the wife of the Kommandant of Auschwitz, when adjudged at Nuremberg. She claimed she had no idea that Jews were being gassed and cremated (which, by the way, violated Jewish precepts). Like one would not recognize the stench created when a single human being is burned- let alone the thousands each and every day of the week.
Or, the fact that the Polish people (who were evacuated from the immediate area of Auschwitz, but still lived nearby) who also claimed they had no idea. (And, still claim that canaard to this very day.) As they watched (and heard the cries of) Jews by the thousands being transported from every nook and cranny of Europe by train (80 to a car, which meant every human in the car had to stand erect for the entire journey) to their death at Auschwitz.
Where Dr. Mengele and others chose which “subjects” were to be tortured (oh, wait- they called these experiments) with chemicals that would change the color of their eyes, deplete them of vision, sterilize them, remove vital organs, etc. Where Germans would choose women to be their sexual (among other tasks) slaves until they died. Where companies like Bayer and Farber (among many other German firms) would choose other Jews to become slaves to produce the chemicals and weapons that Germany used to attack the Allies.
And, as soon as the Germans knew their cause was lost, that the Russians were about to overrun Poland, they blew up the crematoria, they blew up the gas chambers, hoping that the world would be willing to go along with the charade that they knew nothing about the eradication of the Jews, the plan to make the world Judenrein (devoid of Jewish people).
Even the Red Cross was in on this charade. The head of the Red Cross was at death’s door, so the assistant could foster his anti-Semitism by agreeing that the Germans weren’t killing Jews, that the Jews were being carefully attended.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing..
But, then again, these were not good people…