I am privileged to witness the living proof of success that can result from spirit and determination. I am referring to WWII Holocaust survivors. They have lived through some of the most horrific, and for some in today’s world, unbelievable events the world has known. They survived what seemed unbelievable, indeed unimaginable, to themselves at the time it was happening. I have talked with many and they seem to have a unified response. There was no reason that I should have lived and someone else did not. It was all random and chance.”
They survived beating, starvation and degradation cast upon them by their persecutors. They all have stories to relate that have little sense of reality. Yet they did survive, and in fact they thrived.
One woman described standing in a line with her baby in her arms, waiting for a soldier to direct her to one of two lines. The line to the right led to a place from where there was no return. A column of black smoke rising from the chimney of a building in the distance would be the evidence of what happened inside. The line to the left would send her to work in a factory that produced ammunition that would ultimately be used to end the lives of those like herself. The soldier looked at the woman, grabbed her baby from her arms and tossed it into the air while another soldier took aim…and shot the infant in mid air. Without words or emotion the soldier motioned her to go to the left…she would live.
This is but one of many recantations that I have heard from my friends, the survivors of this time in history that is now portrayed in documentaries and books, some written by survivors themselves. It is not an uncommon story.
When I am with my friends, I marvel at their courage and zest for life. They had the courage to pick up and leave their homelands to begin new lives in a far away place. They have built families and businesses that will continue on when they are no longer here to tell their truths and show the world that they SURVIVED.
I see them mostly at parties hosted by organizations that celebrate their survival. They enter the festive ballrooms, some walking slowly and bodies bent a bit more with each passing year. Yet, there is always a bright smile on their lovely faces. They are so beautifully dressed with such elegance in tuxedos and fancy dresses. Though walking is not so easy, they rise to the lively sounds of the orchestra and glide happily across the dance floor for hours. They LIVE and ENJOY life. My heart sings and I am so grateful that I am present to witness their pleasures in life today.
I am left with one question. We are all human beings, which means that we have minds to think, reason and sort out good from evil. My question is, “How can it be possible that human beings can CHOOSE to perform such atrocities upon other human beings??” This I know is true, but I will never, ever understand.
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