Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Anniversaries

On 18th January 1943 Jewish Prisoners in the Warsaw ghetto made the first organized resistance to their treatment by the Nazi occupiers of Poland. Armed civilians fought against the second expulsion of Jews to the camps. Already the Nazis had created Treblinka, Auschwitz, Majdanek and Sobibor. The previous concentration of over 380,000 Jews into the cramped confines of the walled ghetto had already weakened and killed many through disease. The four day resistance, though it surprised the Germans considerably and delayed the expulsion, did not ultimately prevent the dreadful ovens at Treblinka from receiving their victims. The heroism in the subsequent Warsaw ghetto uprising, that lasted over much of the summer of 1943 only put off the appointment with the clanking cattle trucks.

It pays to think about what we have lost. The enormous resource of culture and intellect that much of European Jewry represented can be seen in Jakob Bronowksi. His humane and thoughtful insights on the human condition in "The Ascent of Man" were, for many people in Britain, the first introduction to the consolations of philosophy and a great landmark in television history. Bronowski was born in Lodz, just a short distance from Warsaw. It is sobering to think that on his 35th Birthday, also 18th January, Jakob Bronowski's co-religionists in Poland began the fateful struggle to resist annihilation. Only by chance did he himself survive, and escape the horror of ghetto, camp and furnace that awaited the majority of that remarkable group -European Jews- the Ashkanazkim.

When the President of Iran speaks as a holocaust denier- we should not be silent.

1 comment:

Simon said...

Indeed Cicero, the loss to culture and humanity caused by the holocaust is something that should be foremost in out minds when we deal with Iran. Not only has Ahmadinejad publically called for Israel to be destroyed and denied the Holocost, but the usual suspects of both the far-left and the high-Tory 'realists' are calling for a policy of barefaced appeasement, qua Simon Jenkins in the Guardian today.