Holocaust Remembrance Day
I have to warn you, dear reader. This is a bit outside my usual blog posts.
Wednesday 27 January was Holocaust Memorial Day. Of course the German TV and radio mentioned it. But the most impressive tv-program was broadcasted on Arte, which is a German/French channel.
It showed Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoa, which was shot in 1985 and consists of nothing but interviews with people who were involved in the holocaust: jewish survivors, people who had lived near the death camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau, German nazis who were among those who killed.
The whole film lasted over three hours, but after listening two hours to the interviews and watching people I could not bear it no more. One Jewish barber who at the time of the making of the film lived in Israel told how he had to enter the gas chamber and cut the hair of men and women who did not know that their deaths was only a quarter of an hour away. He told how he met friends and relations there. He was not allowed to tell them about their fate, because the Nazis were afraid of panicking people. Anybody who acted against that order was brutally killed.
I can’t get that interview out of my mind. I have to think of two quotations: “Man be noble, supportive and good” (“Edel sei der Mensch, hilfreich und gut”) – there’s certainly a better translation into English as the one I give here. The second is “homo hominis lupus est” which means Man acts like a wolf to fellow man. The interview showed me how utterly cruel, even bad, men (and women) can be, men who were no monsters, had children, had wives, had pets. And that made me very sad.