Usually I post on Wednesday, no rhyme or reason, but today I’m posting on this very important day. Why is it so important you may ask? On this day sixty-nine years ago the concentration camp known as Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops. The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Through education it may be possible to eradicate such genocides from happening again. However, the Holocaust isn’t really ancient history. We see genocides taking place the world over: Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur and Syria. It seems the world isn’t paying attention.
Paul tells me he is planning on remembering this day as a celebration that he is alive. If his father hadn’t survived the Holocaust there would be no children, no future offspring, no chance of life. For that I’m personally grateful. So I will remember this day as a day of life too.
While Joseph Kempler wasn’t in Auschwitz, his train did briefly stop there. As Joseph puts it, “The Nazis were too busy burning Hungarian Jews so they didn’t have room for us.” Haunting.
Joseph was still in the camp of Melk in Austria. He still had a death march of some ten days ahead him and a month or so barely surviving in yet another concentration camp before he would experience liberation. When it came in May, by Patton’s Third Army, it was nearly too late. Joseph had withered away to a mere sixty pounds and was lying in his bunk awaiting death. The call of food roused him from his state of inertia. But when he arrived at the place the bread was stored it had already been consumed by other starving prisoners.
By some miracle Joseph survived.
How will you remember this day?