A blog by an American expatriate living in the heart of New Europe


"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
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  Name:
  Gustav
  Location:
  Warsaw, Poland

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*roundtrip ticket

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Just one thing

Probably to nearly every reader's surprise WS remained silent over the last week or so on a number of issues. However, there was little either encouraging or interesting.

Bush's innauguration was a bore, as was his fuzz-filled speech there.

America's deadliest day in Iraq since the beginning of the war occurred. Depressing, but hardly surprising.

Condoleezza Rice was confirmed. Yawn.

But one event was extremely important, one about which I wanted to comment.

This past week saw the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death-camp at Auschwitz.

Being relatively well-traveled in my host country, I have visited Auschwitz. It's a terrible place to visit, full of sadness and fear. Even today.

And that's good, because it's an experience you never forget. It shouldn't be fun, it should teach you something. The caretakers there have done an excellent job to ensure that.

As you tour through some of the buildings there, one observes displays behind large glass planes imbedded in the walls. The displays go far back. Maybe 20 yards. The panes are 10 feet across and maybe 5 feet high. They start at about waist level.

In the first display is a jagged pile of hundreds and hundreds of eyeglasses. They were removed from victims of the gas chamber every day, and shipped back to Germany for recycling. Those in the pile in the display are only the ones that were waiting to be shipped out when the Soviets reached Auschwitz.

Behind the second pane is another pile -- this one consisting of thousands of strands of hair. The hair was removed from victims of the gas chamber every day, and shipped back to Germany to be used in wigs or as pillow-stuffing and some say to be used in German uniforms. All this is only what was waiting to be shipped out when the Soviets reached Auschwitz.

In the last display is another pile, also large, going all the way back, and piling up to shoulder level. The things it contains were taken from victims of the gas chamber every day, and shipped back to Germany to be recycled. What you see are only those that were waiting to be shipped out when the Soviets reached Auschwitz.


They're baby shoes.

May all the victims rest in peace, and may we honor their memory by learning the lessons Auschwitz has to teach.

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