Wednesday, October 12, 2011
My first reaction when facing a Holocaust denier was to prove him wrong. I went to the library checking out six different books from this era in history. That evening my husband and I discussed the denial. As he said, people that think this way have an answer for every argument a person can raise. The debating points don’t have to be logical, but usually when a person is of this mindset, they aren’t logical. So instead of trying to prove a point, I decided to learn for myself.
The first book I started to peruse though was Harry Truman: The Man From Independence by Karin C. Farley. A friend had mentioned a quote of one of the presidents about the Holocaust. I couldn’t find the quote coming from President Truman, but I did learn some interesting things about him that made me ponder his journey to holiness. He is the president who gave the order to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. People can say he would never make it to Heaven because he killed thousands of innocent lives. I am sure he wrestled with this himself. In the end, he and his advisors agreed that if they didn’t end the war in this drastic effort, millions more soldiers and civilians would have died. I know others have different opinions from mine and that my opinion could be wrong, but I believe there is a time to fight. I hope to see Harry someday after I have made my journey.
Holocaust Memories: Speaking the Truth by Elaine Landau, I read all the way through. The book is a simple read of individual stories of people living through the Holocaust. The stories moved me. I especially felt drawn to the author’s story of her family. Growing up, her father never talked about his siblings. She knew she had an uncle in Cuba. However, the relatives in Europe where never spoken of by her father. She assumed they were dying of old age across the sea. As an adult, she became reunited with her cousins from Cuba when she learned her aunt had been killed during the Holocaust. The memory of this so haunted her father that he couldn’t speak of her. Elaine’s father died when she was eleven. I pray he is enjoying time in heaven with his beloved sister.
The book I am almost finished with now is The Liberators: America’s Witnesses to the Holocaust by Michael Hirsh. In the beginning, I intended to share a story or two about the soldiers and medical personnel who helped liberate the prisoners from the death camps and concentration camps. I found the reading very choppy and hard to follow just one story. Besides, most of the stories are very similar. Interesting points of fact, General Dwight D. Eisenhower knew the Holocaust would be denied. He ordered all soldiers to go through the camps and if possible take pictures. He wanted eye witnesses and proof. He also wanted his soldiers to know what they were fighting for in Europe. General George S. Patton demanded the German civilians to tour the camps to see what was going on and he and his officers made the German civilian men dig graves for the thousands of bodies that were found. Like President Truman, these generals ordered the death of thousands of men. I don’t know if they were religious men. If they believed in God, I plan to speak with them someday. They are probably hanging out with the Maccabees and Archangel Michael.
As for the soldiers and medical personnel, they all have been affected by what they saw. The current term we use today of PTSD definitely played a role in these heroes lives after the war. The horrors they witnessed are forever etched in their minds: the masses of bodies, the skin and bone prisoners, and the smell of death and disease. Many of them said the horrors of war and seeing their buddies killed was nothing compared to the sights they saw in the camps. My prayers go out to them as well.
The number of history books I read through grade school, high school, and college all give proof to the Holocaust; yet, people still deny. They believe the government in the areas of education and military have all brainwashed the masses to believe in the atrocities the Nazi regime performed. Yes, I do believe the textbooks though they do tell the slanted version of the winner’s side of the story. My real proof comes from the stories of heroes, the eye witnesses. God bless those who died, the survivors, the soldiers, and the leaders who put a stop to the killing.
Blessings to you all.