It is Holocaust Memorial day although since the word originates from religious burnt offering, it does seem paradoxically pejorative particularly in reference to the genocide of European Jewry – Shoah meaning calamity, destruction is often preferred.

Putting aside semantics the day recalls the persecution, destruction and disappearance of millions, murdered for race, creed, politics, sexuality and disability in the empire of Nazi Germany – as well as all subsequent genocides. This year the theme for focus is #dontstandby – a reference to all the local populations who actively support(ed) or facilitate(d) state policies of persecution, as well as the silent bystanders, fearful or indifferent. photoart - candle for shoah I designed this photoart a while ago but I did not really see what was in it until today. On close-up the background becomes like many faces – some smiling, some ghoulish and many vaporising into the abstract. [Click to enlarge]

Indeed the genocide of millions are an abstraction – hard to fathom, connect with or feel compassion for and so the lighted candle commemorates the many in the one story. Today we remember one town in one country where my husband’s extended family perished – that place was Pabienica in Poland:

On the evening of  May 16, 1942, the military police went into the ghetto and ordered the Jews to leave their homes immediately, not allowing them to take anything. Under a hail of rifle butts, the Jewish people were all herded into the Krusche & Enders sports stadium. Several dozens Jews were killed along the way. They stood in the pouring rain all night and the next day. They were not allowed to move and were given no food or water. In the evening, groups “A” and “B” were ordered to split up. A freight train arrived that night at the railway station by the square. The freight cars into which people were loaded were waiting in the vicinity of the mill, some 450 meters from the stadium.  The people marked “B” were pushed into the wagons. They were beaten, mothers were separated from their children, and they were all thrown into freight cars. Many people were killed during this event, mainly children, whose heads were smashed against the cars by the Nazis. The cars were then sealed; they stayed in the station for the whole night and left for Chelmno. (Virtual shtetl)



12 thoughts on “Calamity

    1. we can never forget but the grand children barely know of it – perhaps that is the way it should be although one only has to look at Sri Lanka to see how nothing changes whether we forgive or forget

  1. Exraordinary and very fitting artwork for an extraordinary post, Laura. As you say, it’s hard to fathom today, even though it still (or again) seems to be happening in one form or another in certain places in the world.

    1. the photoart was never intended for anything in particular Kiki til I noticed it yesterday and saw how fitting it was for this commemorative day.
      I fear that Europe is in danger of creating a holocaust all over again with its ill-conceived policies of imposition

  2. The sadness is the continuing presence of what one can only call ‘evil’ in our societies, one group of destructive people replaced by another – different ‘ideologies’, different aims, and the same disregard and atrocities.

    1. agree Candy – once more the world is dividing in two diametrically opposed parts – I fear calamity will never end – it makes me sad and angry and mostly fearful

feedback is food for thought....

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