Shaken Not Stirred

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Holocaust:Silent Anniversary

Yesterday was the 60th Anniversary, marking the liberation of the Auschwitz Camp. For the most part, people celebrated in silence, mourning for those lost and for those who endured the unspeakable pain of being tortured.

When I was still a pre-med student at WVU, one activity that was done to commemorate this awful time in history was to read aloud the names/victims of those who died in concentration camps. The ledger of names was placed in a tent in the middle of campus. Volunteers were gathered for 24 hours, each volunteer reading three names from the ledger. The response was overwhelming and there were students lined up for blocks. I volunteered for this, but did not realize the emotional impact it would have on me.

I stepped up to the podium to read the names into a microphone so that the everyone within earshot distance could hear my voice. Two of the names I read shocked me--because not only were we to read the names, but their place of death and also their ages. Two of the names I read were twin children, 9 months old. A nausea came over me as I struggled to read out the ages of these poor souls. A lump in my throat which blocked my voice so that "9 months old" was barely audible. I couldn't believe the inhumanity, the insane drive to do harm to anyone, much less infants.

I have recently read the book "Night" by Elie Wiesel. And in my junior high literature class read "The Diary of Anne Frank". The descriptions given by Wiesel were heartbreaking enough. I recommend everyone read it.

The world may have commemorated in silence. But I don't think that this portion of history should be without voice.


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