Thursday, July 19, 2007
Holocaust – The Final Solution
Holocaust – comes from the Greek word: "holos" (completely) and "kaustos" (burned sacrificial offering), but I don’t intend the same meaning now. It is far more horrifying than this.
Just before the onset of World War – II history witnessed the largest gruesome mass genocide. I am talking of the destruction of the large Jew population along with gypsies, homosexuals, Soviet POWs, and prisoners of all nationalities.
Train loads of unaware innocent people were brought to concentration camps. Unaware of their destiny, these people were told that they were being taken for a disinfecting bath and in turn were streamed into large gas chambers where they were killed in a matter of a couple of minutes. This is not all, there are many more atrocious evildoings that the Nazi’s inflicted upon them.
I had been to one such evil place during my recent trip to Europe – Auschwitz concentration camp in the outskirts of Krakow - the old capital of Poland.
From the heart of Krakow, we took a local transport bus to Oshwiecim, which is the polish town where the Auschwitz camps were located. When I saw it from a distance, it looked like red brick factory houses rowed in a vast barren land. Till that time I did not know what was in store inside.
When I walked inside the iron gates of the premises, I could already sense a strange sadness in the air. Everything there appeared still and lifeless. Gravel sand pathways were there with black notice boards indicating what is what. I wish I could publish a couple of the notices here on the blog, but I don’t yet have the pictures with me.
There are somewhere around 14 blocks in the area. Each block had an evil story to tell. Children, women, the aged, the diseased – everyone was subjected to an unbelievable level of torture – so much that dying seemed to have been a better alternative. To site some of the horrendous tortures, there were doctors who used to perform medical experiments of unimaginable horror on men, women and children. One such cruel doctor was Dr. Josef Mengele. Starting from experiments like performing operations and dissections without administrating anesthesia, to injecting chemicals into the eye of children in an attempt to change their color, to stitching twins together back to back just like Siamese twins and leaving the wound unprotected. There is a record which says that the mother of two such unfortunate children could not tolerate seeing her kids cry in pain and to free her children from this suffering, she stole some morphine from the clinic and killed them by over dosing them. The thought itself runs chills down my spine – it is so difficult to imagine the pains of the people trapped in the cruel place and punished for nothing that they had done. And to add to the cruelty, all this was done by first pampering the little children with candies and clothes. Can you imagine that the ignorant children used to happily shout ‘Uncle Mengele’ when they used to see him coming towards them with candies and goodies.. Unknown of what this undeserving uncle would do with them, they used to go with him in his personal car or in cars labeled with Red Cross to his death laboratory in Block 10 of Auschwitz and get subjected to dreadful treatments. You must be thinking that these scientists must have been crazy psychopaths, but this is not true either, there are reports which say – “….. Josef Mengele and the other camp doctors - masterminds of the horrors of Holocaust - were found to be psychologically normal. They were men of fine standing, cultured, husbands who morning and night kissed their wives, fathers who tucked their children into bed ...” .
That’s not all, there used to be roll call sessions of the inmates which would last for days and the people were not allowed to move for the entire duration – many people supposedly died during this wait. People who tried to escape were subjected to torture along with his/her entire family in the courtyards – so that no one else dared to run away.
There is a room in one of the blocks which have a whole dump of the personal belongings of the inmates. Things like toothbrushes, combs, feeding bottles, shoes – they are heaped there and they yell back at us asking us of their fault. Why did they have to meet a destiny as terrifying as that.
After WW1 in 1920, Adolf Hitler joined the National Socialist German Workers Party known as the Nazis. He called for all the Germans from all over Europe to unite and form a strong central government and fight for the cancellation of the Versailles Treaty. He reserved the brunt of his vituperation for the Jews, whom he portrayed as responsible for all of the problems and evils of the world, particularly democracy, Communism, and internationalism, as well as Germany's defeat in the War(WW1). Jews were the German nation's true enemy, he wrote. As such, they were not a race, but an anti-race. His hatred of the Jews was always known, but it took this ugly face soon after he empowered Austria. And from 1933 onwards, till about early 1940’s around a total of 6 million Jews, Gypsies, Blacks, Homosexuals, Communists and others were killed. Once a population of a couple of millions, the number of Jews have been reduced to a couple of thousands.
If you are thinking that this is something of the past and not being done now, then think again. Similar treatment is being levied onto people of Baghdad, Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East countries by none other than American troops. Saddam was labeled as cruel, look at what better America is doing. In fact it is shameful and surprising that how America is engaging itself in terrorist activity under the veil of reform and purification. All of this is really happening and how easily we pass judgments about wrong and right and who deserves what. A couple of days back I had a discussion with a couple of my colleagues and I was surprised to see that they are moving with the masses without exercising their ability to think and love. Without even having to face a personal attack they have such strong views about a community. Studies show that out of the entire community population, only 5% of its people are involved in extremist activities, and we should understand this and not penalize the rest of the 95% of the population because of them. Its important to remember that what we give reflects and comes back to us.
For long I thought why is there so much of hatred in the hearts of people. How do people gather enough courage to kill the innocent? Today, 3 out of 100 accused in the 1993 Mumbai Blasts have been announced a death sentence. The 7 serial blasts in Mumbai which took almost a thousand innocent lives and unaccounted loss of property and livelihood, was it all worth it? Why is it that terror spreaders justify their evil doing as a cause of something else? Was the Babri Masjid demolition worth the aftermaths it had caused? People can’t understand the value of life and keep looking for a reason to hate one another. It is so difficult to break free from the bonds of hatred? Is it so difficult to love? Someone needs to stop. And it is not a shame to be the first one to take the little step of brotherhood.