Hugo Glyn wrote:
Life is holy by Hugo Gryn
I keep seeing my brother and grandparents in the selection line in Auschwitz, and so many aunts and uncles, cousins and friends and neighbours-indeed, most of the Jewish Community of my hometown-slowly, unknowingly, walking to their deaths. I think of all the love and laughter and learning that was extinguished in their lives…I think of the homes they might have built, the illnesses they might have cured and how civilisation could have been strengthened.
When the world saw and understood what unspeakable atrocities had been committed, I was sure that never again would there be any anti-semitism, or race-hatreds of any kind and that nothing would ever again erode the Divine image imprinted on every human being and the dignity of individual men and women.
The sad truth is that tyranny and race-hatred did not end when the 2nd World War ended.
Time is short and the task is urgent…
Evil is real, so is good. There is a choice.
And we are not so much chosen as choosers.
Life is holy.
Mine and yours.
And that of those who came before us
And the life of those after us.
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Max Hamburger, a Dutch Jew describes his experience of Auschwitz and his liberation from Buchenwald by Allied troops.
By way of the redistribution camp, Westerbork, I ended up in Auschwitz … of the 1,200 people in our transport, 1,000 were gassed to death immediately we arrived. 120 men and 60 to 80 women were allowed to stay alive a little longer. At the time, the average time of survival was three months … Everything was taken away from us , except for a pair of glasses and a belt.
Within a few hours, we had been reduced to bald, shaven, rag-clad souls identified by number, who from that day on vegetated in a state of complete abandonment, hopelessness and wretchedness. Our bleak life was full of suffering, disease, hunger and cold, and was constantly threatened by the gas chamber.
In April 1945, I was freed, more dead than alive, from the Buchenwald Concentration camp by the American Eighth Army under the leadership of General Patton. I was so weak at the time that I could no longer walk. I remember one particular night: I was lying in bed, consumed by fever. The good American food did not agree with my drained stomach and my weakened bowels, and only increased my exhaustion. I got the feeling that ‘if I fall asleep now, I won’t wake up tomorrow!’ At that moment I decided that I could not allow myself to die, I would not be able to fulfil my assignment: to bear witness to what had happened to us.