Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Suffering Child

Also in Lodz we were able to see a monument which I know many people in Lodz walk by every day. Some I’m sure walk by knowing what it represents, some maybe block it out of their memories, and some don’t and may never know why this statue is there. It’s a fairly disturbing monument though – it looks somewhat disturbing, so I would be surprised to find someone that would be able to walk by it everyday and not wonder what it is. Some say it looks like a break heart. At any rate – the monument is there to honor and remember the children who didn’t necessarily die in concentration camps, but those who suffered both Polish and other children throughout Europe. Many children died very early due to a program often nicknamed as the T4 Euthanasia program in which the Germans were trying to rid their race of any “defect” in their blood lines. Anyone who was handicapped in some form or fashion, mentally or physically, or just appeared so, was sent away to be euthanized. I know there is still much debate on assisted killing and euthanasia in that sense, and I can often understand the argument in some cases, if people are suffering and they make a choice… ok, so I still can’t even understand that situation, but even in those situations, people make their own choices. In this situation, the Nazis made the choice for them. This monument is for them. This monument is also for the many children who were “Germanized” rather than being sent to death. But in a sense they still suffered their own death. If they had the “right” physical features of an Aryan and demonstrated that they were “worthy” to the German race, then they were taken from their parents and sent to Germany where they were raised as Germans. They were forced to assume new identities, forced to change their names, change their religions, assume a new family and become the same people who were murdering their biological parents. This monument is for them and their loss. It was at this monument that I again remember something Chaim said. I’m not sure if he read it from another reading or was just speaking – but in response to the question of “how could they” when people ask how Nazis and Germans could stand by while millions of Jews, Romas, Gypsies, Gays, Lesbians – HUMAN BEINGS were murdered – Chaim spoke of the T4 program and reminded us that the Nazis first did it to “their own” – they first murdered thousands of their own citizens in order to racially cleanse their population as if these people were not HUMAN BEINGS themselves. This monument is for them.

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