Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Endlösung der Judenfrage - Holocaust

The worst gang wars of all time – Nazis against the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s under the rule of Führer, as Adolf Hitler was known - is a testimony to the most abysmal depths to which the human race can ebb. Genocide of approximately six million European Jews and systematic annihilation of millions of people in other groups including ethnic Poles, the Romani, Soviets, and political and religious opponents as part of a program of deliberate state-sponsored extermination planned and executed by the SS (Schutzstaffel) army in Germany is what every human being, irrespective of religious, political and national boundaries, should be ashamed of.

And this is the context of the book I just finished reading - Holocaust by Gerald Green, based on the critically acclaimed NBC-TV series by the same name.

Through the fictional accounts of two men caught on the extreme spectrum of this catastrophe – Erik Dorf, officer in the Nazi Army, swept up in a frenzy of murderous rage and Rudi Weiss, a Berlinian Jew, the anguished victim, the author traces the bloody trail from Berlin to Warsaw to Russia to Czechoslovakia to Prague to Israel, unfolding the searing and contrasting saga of the two interlocked German families.

Green spares no gory detail – the destruction of European Jewry, the confabulations of the architects of Hitler's Final Solution, the slaughter at Babi Yar, the impoverished ghettos, the death trains used to export Jews, the concentration camps, the gas chambers, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and finally, the liberation of Auschwitz. He chronicles how euphemistic phrases such as Endlösung der Judenfrage (German for ‘the final solution to the Jewish question’), resettlement of Jews, autonomous Jewish territories, among others, were used as means to one end – mass obliteration of a whole race. Add to this, the complete apathy by religious and humanitarian institutions, governments and media organizations across the world.

If Holocaust is a story of extreme hatred, it is also a mesmerizing tale of passionate love. It captures the heroism and courage of the some few who fought to live and died with dignity. In its dismal setting of unparalleled monstrous deeds, it strives to keeps alive the hope in the spirit of human relationships.

The narrative brings alive the sadness beyond tears of the lives of the millions perished for no apparent logical reason, and though there is a sense of survival and triumph towards the end, one realizes that it comes at too exorbitant a price and with too many scars that even the waves o f time may not be able to alleviate.

2 comments:

  1. heart wrenching...to say the least...m sure after reading the book,it must have taken u, a colossal amount of effort to shrugg off the solemn efect...

    ReplyDelete

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