To Bear Eternal Witness

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “To Bear Eternal Witness.”

I just finished reading a most gut-wrenching book, Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli. I came across this book after learning that my wife’s grandmother had been selected by Dr. Josef Mengele (may his name be forever cursed) for torturous experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust. This New York Times Bestseller is a vivid eyewitness account by a Jewish forensic pathologist, who worked directly for Dr. Mengele, and tells of the unspeakable cruelty and horrors at Auschwitz, the largest Nazi death camp vastly accounting toward the twelve million people exterminated by the Nazis, six million of them Jews.


From my experience, once you pick up this book, you cannot put it down until you finish it completely, and I urge everyone to make this a must-read, especially as there will soon be no more Holocaust survivors to tell us, in-person, the hell that they lived through.

(Free Photo of Kyklon B Poison Gas via Pixabay)

Flashback Holocaust

Holocaust -Prints
So I wanted to share this amazing and scary story (true) that happened to me a number of years ago. 


I went with my daughter to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. 


One of their exhibits is of a cattle car train used to transport Jews in the Holocaust to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. 


I remember how frightening it was to see this actual train car (the likes of which I had previously only seen in the movies) where hundreds of thousands of people were herded aboard like animals for the torturous trip to their ultimate murderous and inhuman deaths. 


At the exhibit, I’m not sure that I was supposed to do this, but being a very tactile person, I reached out to touch the train car, maybe partly because I could not believe this was the real thing where such human horrors had occurred. 


Immediately upon touching it, something happened to me–for a moment, everything went black and then I experienced an intense flashback (like being transported back in time and place) to literally being there with the actual people stuffed into these cattle cars–without food, water, sanitation, or enough air to breath–and I could see up close their anguished faces, and actually hear them screaming.


First, I thought I have a vivid imagination and that all the studies on the holocaust and my family being survivors had really had an impact on me. 


But then something else happened to me. 


When I left the Holocaust Museum, I started to get a crazy sharp pain in the side of my neck. Not a soar throat, but like my throat just wasn’t working right. 


I tried to sort of ignore it, but over the course of the day, it got worse and worse, as my breathing was becoming ever more difficult, and it felt like I was actually choking to death–my life was in danger. 


I was rushed to the hospital emergency room, and at first they weren’t sure what was happening to me, and so they started a whole series of tests. 


Crazy enough the tests revealed a deep tissue infection right in the side of my neck, and based on the danger to my breathing and swallowing, the doctors came in to talk with me about doing emergency throat emergency. 


I couldn’t believe what was happening–out of the blue, I touched that death car to Auschwitz and next thing I know, I had a severe tissue infection and my life was hanging by a thread. 


Again unexplainably, but thank G-d miraculously, overnight the dangerous infection literally just disappeared as mysteriously as it was born into my neck tissue–the doctors could not explain it!


The Holocaust which claimed six million Jewish lives–men, women, children–in perhaps the most evil and hideous human event in history, and felt like I had just been transported back in time and touched not just the car, but the actual history and event itself. 


I am left with this mysterious event in my life, it was scary and dangerous, and when they say don’t touch the exhibits, I think I will listen next time. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Noticeably Absent From Auschwitz Liberation Memorial

Auschwitz Concentration Camp
So yesterday was the 70th anniversary memorial of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp,



More than 1.1 million Jews and 100,000 other POWs and ethnic minorities were EXTERMINATED there.



There was forced labor, beatings, torture, starvation, the gas chambers and the crimatoria, the electrified barbed wire and attack dogs, the human experimentation, and every cruelty known to mankind. 



At yesterdays memorial at Auschwitz 50 countries sent delegations “with heads of state leading those from:” 



– Germany

– Austria

– Belgium

– Bulgaria

– Croatia

– Lithuania

– France

– Netherlands

– Poland 

– Switzerland

– Ukraine (even though they are currently fighting a war with Russia!)



And even Russian President Putin “marks day at the Jewish Museum in Moscow.”



It is quite mysterious, why like with the recent Unity Rally in France after the terror attacks there on Charlie Hebdo Magazine and a Jewish grocery store that left 17 dead, that the head of state for the United States was once again noticeably absent.



This time, a meeting in Saudi Arabia took precendence–why of course.



At least, the million plus murdered at Auschwitz got a (prepared) statement to mark their tragic deaths.



What does all this say about our commitment to human rights and fighting blind hatred, discrimination, racism, Islamist terrorism, and outright genocide?  



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ricardo Francesconi)