Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Last Jew in Auschwitz

Before going to the death camp, we have just spent half an hour at the jewish cemetery in the town of Auschwitz itself. It's very unkempt. Why? Because there is not a single jew left here. Before the war, 58 per cent of the town's population was jewish. A few remained after the war. But by 2000, only one jew remained, but in that year he died. Why did he stay? As an act of defiance? No one really knows, but Shimon Kruger's grave is one which all visitors pay their respect at.

14 comments:

Gerry57 said...

Why did he stay ? If he'd gone to Israel, he would have faced continued attacks (war, suicide bombs, scuds and rockets) from his enemies and would have been savagely derided by the BBC and others for trying to defend himself.

David Cotton said...

Thank you Iain.

Sometimes the shortest posts say the most.

Bastiat1 said...

This message was brought to you by the Likud Party

Olfe said...

Hello Iain, I find it strange how every person who visits Auschwitz says what a good memorial it is. When I visited in 2004 I was shocked at the way people were 'respecting' the camp. At the entrance to the camp a number of Japanese tourists were having a 'football pose' photo taken by their tour guide. There was a sign next to the wall where a large number of prisoners were murdered asking for people to be quiet, this was being ignored. At the Birkenau camp school children were having races (not the childrens fault, the adults were not controlling them). It was only when I was talking to an American visiting with his father that it really hit home. His father was a survivor of the camp. It seemed to me that it was being used as a tourist attraction rather than a memorial and a reminder to people about what can happen when fascists are given power.

Chris O'D said...

Well done Gerry57 for ruining this thread at the first opportunity

titus-aduxas said...

"Bastiat1 said...
This message was brought to you by the Likud Party"

People like you are the reason that Hitler was allowed to come to power. The reason why Labour has been "in power" for 13 years.

I was privileged to know a survivor of the death camps. Even 40 years on, he couldn't talk of his experiences.

People, like you, who make light of the torment, he suffered, are despicable.

DespairingLiberal said...

I would like to distance myself from the execrable comments of Gerry57, who clearly cannot distinguish a hearfelt piece of blog journalism from a request to get into BBC-bashing.

On the presentation of Auschwitz, I have to say, whilst I was very moved to be there amongst the memory of so much suffering, I too was dismayed by some aspects of the way in which the Polish authorities there present things. However, it is useful to recall that Poland was utterly devastated at the end of WW2, has had much difficulty and poverty to deal with since then and has made a genuine effort to record this ghastly phase of their historical record.

I don't neccessarily agree that children should not be allowed to be themselves on the site - what better victory is there over Nazism and the oppression they directed at Jews, socialists, communists, homosexuals, gypsies and other minorities (and all the nameless children that died there in terrible circumstances) that that children of all nations, including non-Europeans, should be allowed there?

Jimmy said...

"People, like you, who make light of the torment, he suffered, are despicable."

Whereas your Labour crack was really really classy.

................................. said...

He didn't need a reason, Iain. It was his home.

jack-spot said...

I watched a show on the discovery channel last week called nazi hunters,i think Iain you will understand why they went after the nazi bastards and gave them Hell..

titus-aduxas said...

"Jimmy said...
"People, like you, who make light of the torment, he suffered, are despicable."

Whereas your Labour crack was really really classy."

It doesn't change the fact that it is true. It is the attitude that allows all kinds of horrors to occur.

gianni said...

One of things that any future govt of this hell bound nation should promise if it wants to do something to try and remedy the situation, is arrange for every child in the uk at some point visits Aushwitz. Evil exists and it is our duty to fight it, knowledge and truth are weapons, no education is complete without knowing what evil human kind is capable of.

HS said...

Olfe, I completely agree.

Iain, I visited Krakow's Jewish quarter in the summer, with its many synagogues. I presume you are talking about the Krakow north of the river rather than this area of the town, below it?

Gerry57 said...

I apologise if I upset Chris O'D and Despairing Liberal with my earlier comment. A quarter of my family were wiped out by the Nazis in Poland. I am very emotive about this and what has happened subsequently. I'm sure iain will be hugely affected by his visit to Auschwitz.