Sixtyfive years ago last week, Auschwitz was liberated from the Nazis. At the New York Times, Samuel Pisar relates his experience as a concentration camp survivor.
Today, the last living survivors of the Holocaust are disappearing one by one. Soon, history will speak about Auschwitz with the impersonal voice of researchers and novelists at best, and at worst in the malevolent register of revisionists and falsifiers who call the Nazi Final Solution a myth. This process has already begun.
And it is why those of us who survived have a duty to transmit to humankind the memory of what we endured in body and soul, to tell our children that the fanaticism and violence that nearly destroyed our universe have the power to enflame theirs, too. The fury of the Haitian earthquake, which has taken more than 200,000 lives, teaches us how cruel nature can be to man. The Holocaust, which destroyed a people, teaches us that nature, even in its cruelest moments, is benign in comparison with man when he loses his moral compass and his reason.
It was not that a select group of people who had a capacity for genocide just happened to end up in the same place at the same time. This is what all humans are capable of. Pisar knows the human heart’s murderous capacity from experience. Read the rest of his story here.