Skip to comments.Should Auschwitz Be Left to dDecay?
Posted on 01/26/2009 11:35:43 AM PST by nickcarraway
On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, two experts on Auschwitz argue for and against the idea that the former Nazi death camp should be allowed to crumble away.
Historian Robert Jan Van Pelt says that once the last survivor has died it should be left for nature to reclaim, and eventually forgotten.
But former Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, once an inmate, says Auschwitz must be preserved to bear witness to the fate of its victims.
ROBERT JAN VAN PELT, HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR
Many Auschwitz survivors have told me that a visit to the camp can teach little to those who were not imprisoned there. Their view is best summarised in the text of Alain Resnais' celebrated movie Night and Fog (1955), written by the camp survivor Jean Cayrol. As the camera pans across the empty barracks, the narrator warns the viewer that these remains do not reveal the wartime reality of "endless, uninterrupted fear". The barracks offer no more than "the shell, the shadow".
Should the world marshal enormous resources to preserve empty shells and faint shadows?
Certainly, as long as there are survivors who desire to return to the place of their suffering, it is appropriate that whatever remains of the camps is preserved.
Many of the same survivors who have told me that I can derive little knowledge from a visit to the camp acknowledge that it was good for them to return to the place, anchoring an all-encompassing nightmare back to a particular place.
The world owes it to them not to close such an opportunity for a return. As long as one survivor is still alive, the remains of the camp should remain available.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
The United Nations might need to help, but it should be preserved....
oh, does this mean “out of sight, out of mind?” put it down the memory hole? I question the motives.
I doubt anyone told him that. I knew very little about the Holocaust when I first visited Dachau in the 1980's. The visit impacted me so much that I returned over a dozen times and learned everything I could about the Holocaust and, specifically Dachau. To this day, I speak about the place when it is appropriate to bring it up in conversation.
Decay... as opposed to “kept in perfect working order?” Sometimes a decrepit monument has just as much evocative power, as at Angkor Wat.
This is a very good question. On the one hand, we should never forget that evil, and how coldly it was done. On the other hand, if a people wallow in victimization, or guilt, then they never move forward and progress. Whatever we decide, the future will ultimately judge us.
Many Auschwitz survivors have told me that a visit to the camp can teach little to those who were not imprisoned there.
For what it’s worth...and I can’t EVEN BEGIN to imagine what survivors experienced.....I found the visit SOBERING and UNFORGETABLE. I took a great interest in touring all of the places mentioned in ‘Schindler’s Ark’ and after seeing ‘Schindler’s List (based on it). Personally, I think it should be a requirement for all high-school aged kids to see....and I believe it is required by Polish authorities that theirs do. JMHO
Bronze It ...
Preserve it, not so it is not forgotten, but so it cannot be denied.
I, too, visited Dachau in the early 80’s. The profound Spiritual impact I felt that day has never left me. Burned into my soul.
I would say impact is an appropriate description. Like a hammer blow of horror and despair.
I think the camps should be preserved.
Or perhaps change the enscription to note that these “liberators” were able to take and enslave Berliners by use of materiel provided by the Western Allies, but the atrocities committed, such as the mass-scale rapes, were entirely Soviet.
A year after the battle of Waterloo, bone collectors picked up the skeletons, then ground them up to be used as fertilizer in England.
In truth, there is little that is special about the Holocaust. It was not the only industrial genocide, nor was it unmatched in its inhumanity and brutality. Neither the Stalinist nor Maoist mass murders are forgotten, but there is no great lesson there, either, other than that tyranny is evil.
Except to the Jews. It was their final warning that they could never again rely on the good graces of others when threatened, and only by their hard work and diligence could they survive. It is an important lesson that should not be lost on us as well.
78% of American (liberal) Jews learned nothing by voting for you know who.
Elie Wiesel lost all of his money to Madoff but I will not cry. Wiesel’s fawning over Hussein Obama is so disgusting it is not to believed.
Would history be re-written then because no one would be around to say they were there or to show where the camp was?
If we let the memorial cease to exist, we will take a great burden on our conscience. We will trample upon the testament of the victims.
I hope to be a false prophet in saying that, but if we allow Auschwitz-Birkenau to disappear from the face of the Earth, we might just be opening a way for a similar evil to return.
Prof Wladyslaw Bartoszewski is a historian, author, diplomat and former Auschwitz inmate.
I don't need to say more than that.
Once it is gone the Islamo-fascists and their ilk will claim it never was.
Maybe Iran can help fund it. It would be educational for them. That way, they can see it was a real place, a real event, real history, and affected real people. Barry can meet with them without precondition and maybe it will become part of his volunteer reach-out effort.
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