Thursday, 3 February 2005

The Horror Revisited

I have a bad habit of making fun of things. I make fun of The Visitor's hair-style, I make fun of Daphne's orange ribbon Uruk-Hai, and I make fun of Erna's affinity for salmon.

Sure, this habit has gotten me into trouble more than once, but I can't help it. I'm like Chandler in Friends, I can't help shooting sarcastic remarks at everything.

However, there ARE certain things I do not make fun of.

Erna's post HERE about self-help books mentioned my disdain for these books, and mentioned Dr. Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.

I may not have read the book, but rest assured, I will never make jokes about it.

Dr Frankl is a survivor of Auschwitz. He survived the Holocaust, the most horrifying and most evil act in the modern history of humankind. It is not a subject for ridicule.

I've personally visited Auschwitz and Birkenau (also known as Aushwitz II) in Poland, the largest mass concentration camp in Europe during World War II, and I count that visit as one of the most sobering experiences in my life.

There is just something about the place that chilled me. Whether it was the thought of all the people who died here, or the sight of piles and piles of shoes, bags and prosthetic legs that used to belong to the victims, or being inside an actual gas chamber, or the huge mountain of human hair that is still on display on the site; for weeks after the visit, I just could not get the place out of my mind.

When you think of everything that has happened there, you can't help but feel thankful that you did not have to go through the tragedy that was the Holocaust.

Before going there, all I knew of World War II was the stuff we learn in Sejarah lessons, and even that is all Malaysian-ised versions of the War. Nothing is mentioned of WWII in Europe, and certainly nothing is mentioned of the Holocaust.

We Malaysians are so sheltered.

It is my belief that everyone should visit Auschwitz, if only to learn the true horror of the Holocaust, and as a sobering reminder of the evil that humans can afflict on their fellow humans.

But since Poland is too far away a place to easily visit, there are some good books that should give you an idea of what the Holocaust was all about. The ones I know of are:

  • If This is a Man, by Primo Levi
  • The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank

There is also a website HERE that lists some children's books about the Holocaust.

Other websites that lists books on the Holocaust are:

No comments: