Maidanek - The Easiest and the Hardest Death Camp

Paula R. Stern,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Paula R. Stern
Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier"s Mother. The blog continues as Elie moved on to Reserve Duty, her second son, Shmuel served in Kfir and continues as her youngest son David now serves in Givati. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish. Links to the Author's blogs: * A Soldier"s MotherPaulaSays Israel Blogger...

Maidanek is one of the hardest camps to visit - because unlike many of the others, everything was left was like suddenly everything froze and Maidanek remained untouched. I stood and looked outside, beyond the barbed wire and in the distance - not very far at all - I saw new houses. I can understand if someone lived in a house and then along came someone else and built a horrid place close by...what can you do? This is your home...but what kind of person buys a home or worse, builds a home, within sight of a death camp?

What goes through their minds when they invite friends to a barbecue...within site of where the Nazis burned human beings? The answer, sadly, is that they probably don't give it a second thought. Worse, they probably use it - "just before you get to Maidanek, hang a left" - "if you passed Maidanek, you've gone too far, turn around and..." or "if you get lost, just ask people how to get to Maidanek - we're really close to there."

Maidanek leaves nothing to the imagination - the gas chambers...the ovens with ashes still remaining inside...and worst of all, the horrific and barbaric "Mountain of Ashes" where they display...quite literallly the ashes of only God knows how many. It is easy to imagine the humiliation, the stench of death and burning bodies.

It was there that I finally stopped asking the Israeli guide why we left all that remains of the Holocaust in Europe. I wanted us to dig up every grave; remove all the bones and ashes and bring them back to Israel, where they belong. For the first time, I turned to the guide and said to him in Hebrew..."there isn't enough space in all of Israel for them, is there?"

And so they remain in Europe - where their graves are sometimes desecrated, where their ashes are displayed like some trophy, where concentration camps are now called "museums."

Each year, there are fewer and fewer survivors left to tell the world what was done to them...and so we tell our children and we tell ourselves. And most of all, we tell the will NEVER see another Holocaust...never...not because suddenly Europe has stopped hating its Jews...not because those who do hate us have stopped dreaming of our annihilation...There will never be another Holocaust because we have learned the most important lesson of all. Menachem Begin said it...there are things more horrible than death and more precious than life...we will guard our people, our sons will go to war and risk their lives...because we will never allow ourselves to be imprisoned, beaten, starved, shot and gassed again.

It will never happen again. Even if they deny it happened; even if that bastard Mahmoud Abbas suggested that maybe "less than one million" were murdered...even than, WE know the truth; we live the truth. So we, no the Europeans, not the Americans and certainly not the Arabs, WE will stop it. We will never be helpless again.

May the God of Israel continue to protect us and bless our sons and daughters and keep them safe from hate and harm.

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