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Thursday, January 26, 2012

thoughts on: The Liberators

The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the HolocaustThe Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust by Michael Hirsh

Michael Hirsh spoke with over 150 Americans who were among the first to encounter Nazi concentration camps, sometimes mere hours after German troops had deserted them. They shared with him not only their experiences as young men and women witnessing hitherto unimaginable cruelty, but how those sights - and smells - affected them throughout their lives.

Many, but not all, of them did not speak about their experiences for decades after the war. Some just wanted to put it in the past. Others found that nobody wanted to hear about it. So why now? Many say they began speaking publicly about what they saw in response to Holocaust deniers and with the realization that soon there will be no witnesses left to speak out. These who saw atrocities against their fellow man that still give them nightmares speak out to anyone who will listen in the hope that learning about the past will spark a desire to prevent it from recurring.

That is the reason to read books like this. It is difficult to read about such monstrous hatred. It is honestly not something I like to think about, such pervasive evil, so much passivity to evil. I am a lover of happily ever afters, gardens in bloom, and laughing babies....but I know that ignorance does not create bliss. We need to know and remember and make sure future generations do, too.

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