I probably got interested in the events of the Second World War after I read ‘Anne Frank’s diary’. Following that, my curiosity to know more developed once I watched the movie: ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas ’. The mentioned book and the movie turned out to be my utter favourites especially for the way they had an impact on me. These stories touched the core of my heart. Then, last year, I read extensively about the Holocaust Memorial Day which takes place on 27th January each year in the United Kingdom in remembrance of the millions of Jews and others killed during the Holocaust. For those of you who do not know what the Holocaust is, let me go into the background. The basic definition of the holocaust according to Wikipedia says: The Holocaust was the mass murder or genocide of approximately six million Jews during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, throughout German-occupied territory. Out of the nine million Jews who resided in Europe, two-thirds were killed. While reading about the survivors of the Holocaust, I happened to read about Viktor Frankl who wrote a book about his experiences in the Jewish Concentration camps where the prisoners suffered mental, emotional, physical and psychological turmoil on a daily basis. Frankl’s book- ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ revolved around the psychology of a person who has to go through days and nights shoddier than death on a daily basis. He talks about his battle for survival; the optimism of seeing a better world; the wish for independence.
The two books and the movie I referred to in the previous paragraph helped me form certain opinions about the holocaust and the treatment of Jews. The concentration camps focused on reaching higher mortality rates with passing days. These included forced labour camps and they had these gas chambers where hundreds of prisoners were locked and left to die. They were robbed off the basic necessities of life: a home, clothes, food, sleep, happiness and freedom. The Holocaust was actually a movement with the sole ambition of wiping off ‘Jews’ from almost the entire world. This was based on prejudices and racial or cultural bias. The Nazis termed their plan of mass killing the Jews as ‘The Final Solution’ and they established killing centers to facilitate their ideology and motives. I could never understand what made the Jews worthy of all the affliction? The only explanation behind this was the fact that they were born as Jews. Viktor Frankl discussed about his day to day activities in his book and eventually he also talked about the psychology of a person who is liberated from the concentration camps and goes back to be a part of the real existing world. It obviously takes years to come out of certain mannerisms and mindsets. These people suffered it all.
Just think of it, how would it be if someone locked you in a jail and gave you a bowl of soup or single bread each day? Add to it the extensive manual work you are forced to do in extreme weather conditions; no shoes, no sweaters, no respect, no dignity, no smiles. How would it be if they regularly forced you to shave your head, brawl for food, take orders, sleep less, talk less and think less? Suppose this goes on for years and you get accustomed to leading a life that’s actually not a life and then one day you are set free to be a part of this world. Wouldn’t you take years to adjust to ‘normal’ conditions especially on a psychological level? Man’s Search for Meaning made me think about all of this; about pain, about struggle, about strength.
Today, I dedicate this little post to every person who lost his/her life in the Holocaust; to every individual who fortunately survived the killing but lost a verve; to every victim who lost people he loved, people he cared for; to every being who tussled because he/she was born not a Nazi, but a Jew. They say it takes years to come over a loss but I don’t think even centuries would be enough to overlook the holocaust because this is one of the most noteworthy and wretched events in the history of the world which destroyed humanity; which destroyed you and me because after all we are all humans. As I come to a close, I pray for the wounded and their families and I hope humanity wins over all other evils. That’s it for now, may be!