A note by Zalman Gradowski written on 6 September 1944, was hidden in an aluminium flask. It reads:
Search everywhere, in every inch of soil. Tens of documents are buried under it – mine and those of other persons – which will throw light on everything that was happening here. Great quantities of teeth are also buried here. It was we, the Sonderkommando, who expressly have strewn them all over the terrain, as many as we could, so that the world should find material traces of the millions of murdered people. We ourselves have lost hope of being able to live to see the moment of liberation.”
I am still gobsmacked that there are some out there who use the seeming ‘lack of physical evidence’ of the Holocaust to deny it ever happened. This was the ultimate intention of the genocide – to not only wipe out a race, but the memory of that race! David Baddiel meets with a Holocaust denier in his documentary Confronting Holocaust Denial (BBC Two). Mulqueen told Baddiel that if the Holocaust had happened, Jews would not buy German cars. Baddiel replied that he owned an Audi, adding: “That proves, does it, that the Holocaust didn’t happen?” Mulqueen responded: “Well, it does raise questions.”
How do you explain then, the matching tattoos? The remains of Auschwitz, video footage of the liberation? Eye-witness testimonies? Official documentation? What happened to the 6 million people if they were not then, murdered in an attempted genocide? They didn’t just disappear!
I’m currently working on a presentation on teaching controversial histories, to deliver to my peers. I have chosen to do mine on Holocaust denial, having seen Deborah Lipstadt speak live at AmCon back in 2018 about her court case against Holocaust denier, David Irving.
I’m also currently reading @David R. Gillham ‘s Annelies which has been controversially received by some who dislike his attempt to imagine Anne Frank’s life had she survived the Holocaust – what if readers believe this version to be true? Can everyone appreciate this as a piece of imaginative literature; an attempt to give her a life after death? It is certainly a brave path in which to tread.
So far, what got me was Gillham’s interpretation of the Frank’s discovery – upon discovery of the annex, Otto is questioned why he did not come clean when he had the chance – they would have been treated fairly (their captors claimed), instead of being allocated to the punishment barracks. This made me question whether the Franks would have had more chance of survival had they not gone into hiding; though would they have entered the camps sooner and still died, having been victims of malnourishment and unsanitary conditions for longer?
If she had survived, what would become of her diary, the Anne Frank house? Would their significance change? Would she even decide to publish her diary, or would she be dismissive of her childish thoughts?
I am currently following Anne in Bergen-Belsen’s displaced persons camp, I look forward to pondering the life Gilham has granted her.