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  • Winter and Spring, 1945. As Allied troops advanced across Europe toward Germany, they

  • encountered Nazi concentration camps and liberated thousands of prisoners. In the camps, combat-hardened

  • soldiers witnessed first-hand the brutality and inhumanity of the Nazi regime and its

  • so-called policies ofracial superiority.” They found piles of unburied corpses and barracks

  • filled with dead and dying prisoners. The small percentage of inmates who survived often

  • required immediate assistance after months and years of maltreatment, starvation, and

  • forced labor at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. U.S. Army General Dwight

  • D. Eisenhower made a deliberate visit to the Ohrdruf concentration camp in order to witness

  • personally the evidence of Nazi atrocities. He urged others to see the camps directly,

  • lestthe stories of Nazi brutalitybe forgotten or dismissed asmerely propaganda.”

  • The weeks and months following liberation did not bring an immediate return to normal

  • life. Survivors struggled to restore their health, regain their dignity, and rebuild

  • lives disrupted and destroyed during the Holocaust. Sixty-five years after the end of World War

  • II, we honor and remember the victims of the Holocaust and the military personnel who liberated

  • and cared for the survivors.

  • I ran in that direction and as I came onto that place I noticed many prisoners yelling

  • and screaming and jumping and dancing. And there, standing among them were seven giants,

  • young people. They must have been 18 or 19... American soldiers. There were seven or eight

  • of them standing inside the camp. Apparently they cut the wire and came into the camp.

  • They were bewildered by us, wild and unkempt and dirty and, I’m sure, smelly people,

  • jumping and dancing and trying to embrace them and kiss them. And I did too. I also

  • joined the crowd and yelled and screamed and somehow knew that the day of liberation has

  • come. It was a strange feeling for me, however, because as I remember it, on the one hand,

  • I was, I was overwhelmed by this unexpected and unhoped for encounter of freedom, but

  • at the same time, what was happening was outside of me. I really... I didn’t know what to

  • make of it. I knew I was free, but I didn’t count on it. I somehow didn’t know what

  • it meant. And I knew it was great, but I… I was overjoyed because all people around

  • me were overjoyed and were singing and dancing and, and...But I was 17. I was free, but what

  • it meant I wasn’t sure.

  • From there we go into the barracks. They were long, almost like a poultry building that

  • we might see down in Missouri, perhaps a hundred feet long and maybe twenty-five feet wide.

  • But as we went into this first barracks, we were overrun almost by about twenty-five or

  • thirty of these inmates, who came and hugged us and tried to show us the gratitude they

  • had for us being there liberating them. Actually, we did not liberate them. It was the infantry

  • units themselves that liberated these people. But anyway, they were so overwhelmed with

  • emotion that they tried every way they could to show us appreciation. But I remember this

  • young man. His name was, we called him Bud. He and I both had some caramels and I had

  • some K-ration biscuits, and we started to distribute them among these soldiers, or rather,

  • these camp inmates. And the net result was all, we almost started a riot because they

  • fought like animals trying to get anything that looked like food. And this man and I

  • have discussed that since then and we have never encountered such an atmosphere of complete

  • desolation of the, of mankind. And then I recall that in these, in this building itself,

  • it was made like shelves that went clear to the ceiling and they would be just maybe two

  • feet wide and two feet square, and these went the full length of the building, and these

  • people would climb up and slide into these slots, I guess you could call them, and not

  • a blanket, not any kind of bed clothes at all, nothing but pure wood. And there they

  • slept at night, and no, no ventilation, and no sanitary equipment that they would need.

  • But that, what bothered me the most was out of these 25 or 30, there was 6 or 8 that just

  • stared at the walls. I mean, there was not one bit of a feeling of or any kind of expression

  • of who they were or what they were doing there. They just stared at the walls and I’ve often

  • wondered, I wonder how many of these ever will be able to recover from that traumatic

  • experience that they had been through. And so, that left me sad to say the least.

  • They were so thin. I couldn’t pick any of them up. I tried to, but if I were to pick

  • them up I’d tear the skin. So we had to be very, very careful moving them out. The

  • skin was just so terrible. So it would take, oh, about at least three people, one person

  • take the head, one person take the legs, and very carefully lift them up and get them outside,

  • go ahead and get them outside of that place. We put up tents outside. We had cots and clean

  • bedding. So we’d take them out there. Or, if there was a hospital nearby, we’d go

  • and take over that hospital and move them in there. But we couldn’t… for typhus,

  • that was the main thing, there was no medication. Just supportive treatment and get fluids down

  • them. Well they couldn’t drink anything, so we had to feed them with medicine droppers.

  • And we couldn’t give them hypos because there was no place to stick them. There was

  • no skin at all... no muscle, just skin

  • and bone. There was no place to give them a hypo.

  • I want you to know that when the war ended, I weighed the equivalent of probably what

  • is 70 pounds, and I was skin and bone. And I do remember that when that British soldier

  • came and asked me... he said he’s... can he do something for me? And I said to him

  • I’d like two things. I’d like him to give me, bring me warm socks. Were talking,

  • this was already May. It was warm. I was cold. I wanted warm socks, knee-length socks. And

  • I wanted sugar. So he brought me – I was craving sugar, I supposehe brought me

  • socks and I do remember two things. I remember when he... that I put on the socks and I started

  • to cry because I didn’t have any calf. I was all bones and this... the knee-length

  • socks wouldn’t stay on. But I also remember that when he gave me the sugar, and it may

  • not have been more than maybe a quarter of a pound maybe, a little bag of sugar, but

  • it was maybe, as I said, sugar, just plain sugar. I took that bag and I just poured it

  • into my mouth. I just ate it like that. And I remember... I remember it because he got

  • scared, and he ran out looking for the nurses because he thought God knows what I did to

  • myself by eating all this sugar. And I remember the nurse said to him in German that it’s

  • okay. I was probably just craving sugar.

  • My very clear view of freedom and liberation came that morning when I stood in this doorway

  • of that abandoned factory and I saw a car coming down the hill. And the reality of that

  • came when I saw the white star on its hood and not the swastika. There were two men in

  • that car. One jumped out. I saw some skeletal figures trying to get

  • some water from a hand pump. But over on the other side, leaning against the wall next

  • to the entrance of the building, I saw a girl standing, and I decided to walk up to her.

  • I remember that aura of him, of that awe, of that disbelief in daylight, to really see

  • someone who fought for our freedom, for my ideals. And he looked like God to me.

  • And I asked her in German and in English whether she spoke either language, and she answered

  • me in German. And I knew what I had to say. And I said to

  • him, “We are Jewish, you know.” For a very long timeat least to me it seemed

  • very longhe didn’t answer me. And then his own voice betrayed his emotion. He was

  • wearing dark glasses. I couldn’t see his eyes. He said, “So am I.”

  • I asked about her companions. He said, “May I see the other ladies?”A

  • form of address we hadn’t heard for six years. I told him most of the girls were inside.

  • They were too ill to walk. And he said to me, “Won’t you come with me?” I didn’t

  • know what he meant. So he held the door open for me and let me precede him. And that was

  • the moment of restoration of humanity, of humaneness, of dignity, of freedom.

  • We went inside the factory. It was an indescribable scene. There were women scattered over the

  • floor on scraps of straw, some of them quite obviously with the mark of death on their

  • faces. I took him to see my friends.

  • The girl who was my guide made sort of a sweeping gesture over this scene of devastation and

  • said the following words, “Noble be man, merciful and good.” And I could hardly believe

  • that she was able to summon a poem by the German poet Goethe, which was called, is called,

  • The Divine,” at such a moment. And there was nothing that she could have said that

  • would have underscored the grim irony of the situation better than what she did.

  • And this first young American of Liberation Day is now my husband. He opened not only

  • the door for me, but the door to my life and my future.

  • On this day in April 1945, with some of my comrades, I walked through the gates of a

  • place called Buchenwald. I was totally unprepared for what I saw. For someone of 19, they couldn’t

  • be prepared. They haven’t lived long enough. I was still trying to develop my values system.

  • I was still trying to sort things out. And then all of a sudden, slap, right in the face

  • was the horror perpetrated by man against man. But nevertheless the story must be told.

  • We must talk about the crematoriums. We must talk about the dead. We must talk about the

  • denigration of human personalities. How they tried to make people less than human. And

  • the purposes are beyond me. It boggles the mind for me to try to figure out, why? Why

  • would someone take millions of people and in a planned, organized, systematic way try

  • to destroy them and exterminate them? I have yet to come to grips with that in my own mind.

  • But I know that I must share this so that the history books really tell the story as

  • it is. That nobody sugarcoats the history as they did with slavery. And make you think

  • that all slaves loved the plantation when it’s not true. We cannot, even though the

  • revisionists are out there today writing books and telling students that it never happened,

  • we cannot ignore our responsibilities to tell the stories. Yes, we must be graphic. We must

  • use the media. We must come together like this to focus attention across the world.

  • But in the final analysis my friends, if we want to avoid another Holocaust, if we want

  • to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, then we have a personal responsibility to

  • do something about it.

Winter and Spring, 1945. As Allied troops advanced across Europe toward Germany, they

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ホロコーストの目撃者解放1945 (Witnesses to the Holocaust: Liberation 1945)

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    阿多賓 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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