August 10, 2010

Holocaust Survivors Postwar Journeys to Poland

This lecture by Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is a moving account of a number of survivors' returns to Poland after the war, as uncovered through her research of Yizkor Books.

Towards the end of her lecture she quotes a section of Julian Tuwim's text We Polish Jews... whose sentiment I found particularly striking:

There was a Star of David painted on the armbands, which you wore in the ghetto. I believe in a future Poland, in which that star, that one from the armbands, will become one of the highest awards granted to the most courageous of Polish soldiers and officers. They will wear it with pride on their chests next to the ancient Virtuti Militari. Thus, there will be the Cross - of the Ghetto - a name that is deeply symbolic. There will be the Order of the Yellow Patch- more regarded than most other trinkets existing currently. There will stand - in Warsaw, and in every other Polish city, a remaining, permanent and conserved fragment of the ghetto in an unchanged form, just as we find it in all its horror of smoldering embers and destruction. We will surround this monument to the infamy of our enemies, and the glory of our martyred heroes with chains, chains cast from captured Hitlerite artillery, and each day we shall plait fresh, living flowers into the iron links, so that future generations shall have a memory of the massacred nation that remains fresh and alive for all eternity, and as a sign that our anguish over it remains always living and fresh.

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