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“All you ever need to know about the end times” by Robert Van Kampen
Jews selected as “fit to work” were taken from families, given meager-bread rations and weak soup, then forced into back breaking work until they died. They sorted clothes and belongings of family and friends hauled from Hungary. One evil aspect of Auschwitz – Jews had to put their own people into crematoria, collect them, haul them to ovens, or watch while soldiers shot naked women and children, pushed them into the pits and set them on fire. This beautiful little orthodox Jewish boy was one of those gassed by Zyklon B – the crematoria is behind him. Out of 8,000 Nazi SS members who served at Auschwitz, only 800 went on trial – 90% were never held accountable.
These two handsome young teenagers were the siblings of Lili Jacobs, a woman who survived Auschwitz. After the liberation of the camp, Lili was trying to find a warm coat when she found the Auschwitz Album, a small book of photographs taken by Nazi Guards, probably for record keeping. It is the only record found so far that details the entire perverted processing of Jews–from the time they arrived by cattle car at Auschwitz right up to when they were slaughtered. Lili found a picture of her two brothers in the small album. They had been killed shortly after arriving because they were too young and were not considered “fit for work.” I was especially moved by the photo of these fine, smart, disciplined young boys, remembering the joy and pride we had when our own son went to the United States Military Academy at West Point. There he had a very fine-looking uniform. Sril (Israel) and Zeleg were the cream of the crop, but were cut down without having a chance to live–all the preparing to serve their country and their people. It is hard to fathom the depths of the horrors of this vicious, shameless and cowardly crime. These soldiers were “killed in action” and should be recognized and rewarded posthumously in Hungary and in Israel with earned medals and full military honors.
Many of these precious victims no doubt tried to be positive and keep on believing something good or someone
would eventually come and save them. Most could not even grasp the degree of The Evil confronting them and thereby continued to go forward. However, at some point on the long path to slaughter, all but the innocent babies and toddlers would have seen what was coming. There were those, however, who “knew” from the beginning, either by intuition or from rumors back in the ghetto of mass murders of Jews by the Nazis. Or just from being one who “knows.”
Whenever the time came for her, this woman now knows. She has no naïve thoughts left. She makes no effort at hope. She has pulled her black shawl over her head and now grasps it with a strong hand. She walks straight toward the storm. Perhaps she is already at the door of the fake “showers” and hears the screams of those being gassed. Perhaps she knows the smell of the burning flesh coming from the crematoria. Perhaps she passed the Fire Pits of ’44 and saw babies being tossed in alive, clothes and all. Whatever the reasons, the woman in black now knows.
The small Album photo did not give a clear picture of her hand, so I painted my strong Irish hand as her own, symbolically giving a sister in death the hand which I could not give her in life – thereby bonding our destinies.