Auschwitz Anniversary Angst

SEARED IN MY MEMORY is a visit to the infamous Auschwitz extermination camp, revived now by the 75th anniversary of its closure in January 1945. I was hosted by the director of Poland’s heavy industry department, Edward Gierek;

I’d got to know Mr. Gierik, son of a coal miner, when he visited my Indian company’s deep coking coal mines in Sijua, Bihar. I was shopping in Europe for specialized mining equipment and Poland was one of the countries on my short list of likely suppliers.

I was met at the Warsaw airport off Air-India’s flight from New Delhi by Mr. Gierek’s aide and whisked away to the director’s downtown office where I was given a summary by him of what lay in store for me during my week-long visit. He then cheerfully said: “Call me Ed! We’re off to Gdansk en route to Auschwitz, which you must see for yourself. It was closed down in January 1945, but its infamous history can only be gauged by walking through its grounds and seeing the concentration camp for oneself in person.”

And so it came to pass that I entered the portals adorned by the words Arbeit Macht Frei:

On my return to India I wrote a whole essay about my feelings on man’s inhumanity toward man, but felt that they did not do justice due to words that escaped me to describe adequately the sheer enormity of what I had witnessed – even now all these years later when the world at large is experiencing Auschwitz Anniversary Angst.

References: My Diary, Wikipedia

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