Writing in response to a call for a creative columnist (oh; that would be ME!) with the most excellent prompt to write a paragraph describing my opinions on the following subject: People who don’t believe the Holocaust happened.
Here’s what I sent them:
As for People who Don’t Believe the Holocaust Happened:
I mean, I can sympathize: It is hard to believe it happened; even the Jews didn’t believe it was happening while it was happening; some of the stories were so over the top, they were simply unbelievable: that the “labor camps” were really death camps; that people were being gassed to death upon arrival, in the thousands, entire towns; that people, entire towns, were being led into the forests, made to dig massive ditches, made to strip down, stand at the edges, and then shot in the backs of their heads, to tumble down into the ditches, by the hundreds.
Someone would escape and run back to tell the story, to warn everyone, to urge them to leave, now, while they still had a chance; but no one would believe them. No, they said, You’re Crazy; No, they said, Not here; We are from here, these people are our friends, have been for generations, you are wrong, and this will pass…
Even when you see it with your own eyes, you can’t believe it. People didn’t believe it when, yes, Nazis did raid and ransack homes in the middle of the night, eating and stealing and breaking everything, herding everyone out, and shooting down anyone who made too much noise; Nazis – soldiers in uniforms with guns and boots – did actually smash crying babies into the ground, did torture all ages and sexes in humiliating and diabolical ways, did lock people inside buildings and burn them to death, did play mind games at all times: “Yes, Jobs, and Free Bread, just sign up here”; ‘Hey, it’s just a shower, don’t worry; we’ll give you back your clothes when you come out; make sure you fold ’em all nice so they don’t get lost – you know how we like Order!’
Eventually, when you’re actually in it, the hunger, the blood, the stench and the truth of it sinks in; but for us, years later, perhaps only the overwhelming evidence, story upon story upon story, documents, journals, photographs, films, tattoos, piles of hair and glasses and shoes and suitcases – never enough to get the magnitude across – perhaps only sitting through hours and hours and hours of it, to see and hear the scope – perhaps only then would it begin to become real, palpable.
But why would anyone who didn’t believe the Holocaust happened ever sit through any of those stories, any of that kind of evidence? Besides, it could all be one big fake conspiracy, right? Nope.
Believe it: The Holocaust happened; and that ‘event’ illuminates more about Humanity than we would care to know.
Which may be another reason why some people don’t believe, won’t believe it happened: They are afraid to admit that humanity could be that psychotic.