06 February 2017


(You might have seen this on my Facebook. I wanted to share here too.)

Carus is learning about WWII in school and yesterday while trying to find something to watch we found a documentary on Amazon. It was an interview with a survivor.
She was 15 when her town in Poland was invaded. Her brother was 18. He was sent off to work, and they never heard from him again. They moved her and her parents to the basement of their home while a German family moved in, and she wasn't even allowed to go into her garden.
She was 18 when they split her from her parents and was sent off to Auschwitz and 21 when she was liberated. She was one of 150 women that survived a death march that started with over 2000 women in January 1945. Liberation for her was in May 1945. Her best friend died in her arms while she watched an Allied jeep approach.
On the train to Auschwitz, after living in an occupied city for 3 years, not knowing what came of her brother, not knowing when she'd see her parents again, she still thought the war would be over soon; within 6 months.
She was the only member of her family, the only one of her closest friends, the only one of her town to survive.
The only one. 
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We went on to start a BBC documentary on Netflix with 6 episodes. Not surprisingly, episode 1 was about Auschwitz.
In it, they interviewed survivors AND Nazi soldiers. One Nazi soldier still held his prejudice. He had little to no remorse for what he did. He looked embarrassed to be speaking of it but not remorseful. He spoke of massacres of shooting women and children at the edge of a pit they were forced to dig, and when asked why he just said because it's what was done. When asked if he regret any of it, he said no. When asked why, he said because they were Jews.
He had grown up with the anti-Semitic propaganda that bread the Nazi regime and the concentration camps and WWII. It was so deeply instilled in him that 80 years later he still had no regrets about murdering hundreds (or thousands) of men, women, and children.
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It's all been rattling around in my head today. It was hard to watch. It will be hard to continue to watch.
My daughter is 15. My son is 18.
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I wish I had gotten some of Robert's grandmother's stories written down/recorded (she grew up in England and was coming of age during WWII). The few she shared with me were amazing.

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