The Cap has recently become disturbed by events in history – those related to Auschwitz. Mention of the word usually means that 80% of people switch off. After all who wants to read about atrocities committed on Jews etc. I know – people have better more pleasant things to do, than become depressed reading about such disturbing things.
Why would I want to explore all this now – at my later stage in life? All this was triggered accidentally when I was browsing documentaries on Netflix. I came across: Auschwitz: The Nazis and the ‘Final Solution’ at around 22:00 on 13th June 2014. It’s a BBC mini-series documentary. I must say that I was slightly avoidant about even watching part of this, at such a time of night. But something made me click on it. I could not stop until the first episode was near the end. I then awoke on Saturday 14th June, and had to continue – as I did. At this time I’m near the end of episode 2. Going slowly – because the film turns up so much stuff, that I’ve had to get on the ‘net’ to review. Click here for write up on BBC documentary.
Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Höss (represented in German as Höß, also sometimes spelled Hoeß, or Hoess) is/was the most accomplished mass murderer in history – and opened my eyes to the darkest recesses of human nature. He is estimated to have wiped out approximately 2.5 million people. It’s difficult to make an accurate estimate.
Some would easily label Hoess ‘a monster’, who was not part of the human race or representative of that which was ‘human’ – but no – when you read about Hoess he was much similar to an average human being (except in what he did). But the process of labelling, classifying and reducing humans to something else is exactly what the Nazis did. If you who reads this simply puts Hoess out of the human race, then you fall victim of the same pathology. As disdainful as Hoess is, he is human – we may not like him to be part of that which we consider ‘human’ but he is.
Until that Black Friday, I did not realise that the Holocaust was not just about extermination of the Jews; it was also about extermination of the Poles. BTW, Black Friday had absolutely nothing to do with any motivation to watch these films or read related materials. According to Episode 3, ‘Factories of death’: “During 1942 around 200,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz from all over Europe – from France, Holland, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Poland, the Czech lands, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. About 70% of them were murdered immediately upon arrival. Before they had been taken away, they had been told by the Nazis to leave behind their money and belongings for safekeeping.”
Auschwitz (and related) is of course, inseparably connected to the Nuremberg Trials, and the whole War Crimes ‘movement’. Seventy percent of Jews from several nations in Europe were rounded up and sent to parts of Poland for extermination. European nations cooperated with the Nazis – some would argue under some degree of duress. After all a large part of Europe was occupied by the Nazis.
It was said that neither authorities in Guernsey nor France, knew that the Jews they handed over would be murdered – which begs the question ‘What did they think the Nazi’s were gonna do with them?’.
Beyond shame is the fact that medical doctors were involved in experiments that eventually created the killing fields.
Where was God when all of this was happening?
This short post has been very difficult to write. You must remember I did not grow up in England from childhood. I could not have picked up the history as naturally as others who lived and were educated here would.
I’m not complete on this story, of course. I’ve got to come back to it after reading more.
Some (not all) of my reading/viewing list:
- The Holocaust explained.
- The Jewish Virtual Library.
- More from the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum.
[And thank you I do not wish for any assistance]