Most Popular Post

Friday, 8 January 2021

I see them

I see them every day. Often there are faces with names, small children, teenagers, young men and women, families, seniors. Most did not survive.

The Auschwitz Memorial @AuschwitzMuseum on Twitter posts information every day about the atrocities suffered at that concentration camp during World War 2. The names, often with photos, give me pause. I acknowledge each one, to remember them. They had families, parents, siblings, grandparents and lived like others of the time, like my daughter today, working, raising kids.

Mothers and children never survived the selection. People were separated into two lines when they arrived at the camp, one for the gas chamber immediately, the other for the camp. Young and old always went to the gas chambers.

Sometimes their occupations are listed. Poets, farmers, doctors, blacksmiths, priests, every occupation you can imagine. If they survived the selection, some died within a few months, or were executed by a firing squad. Others lived a bit longer. Some organized escape plans and were caught and murdered. A few actually escaped. 

Every now and then, one is listed as a survivor of the camp. I always wonder how this person survived while so many died who had survived the selection.

They were predominantly Jews, over a million of them, also artists, educators, communists, Romas, homosexuals and mentally and physically handicapped. 

I want to remember what happened. I want to be reminded every day that they lived but tragically, were deemed unworthy of life by people who were unopposed by others. People stood by and many did nothing as the children, students, adults, parents and grandparents were robbed of their possessions and murdered at the hands of monsters.

It started with talk about what was wrong with other people and why they weren’t wanted in Germany. This need people feel to purge our societies of anyone judged to be different is a common sentiment throughout human history. What is wrong with us?

The events of this past week in the United States highlight for me how close any country could be to a repeat of such atrocities. As Canadians, we need to look in our own backyards. There is a fascist/white supremacist element here. A group in the Canadian military was exposed recently and the Proud Boys founder was a Canadian.

Last year, a candidate for the leadership of one of the political parties in the country had the slogan, “Take Back Canada.” One could legitimately ask, “Back from whom?” This slogan raised eyebrows and voices across the country. People spoke up!

Canada’s history with indigenous people of this land is shameful. We took their children and sent them to residential schools. Many children died. For those who survived, the results of the abuse they suffered in the schools is felt generations later. We have begun to acknowledge our treatment of the Indigenous people and teach our children about this history. It is a beginning.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been active in Canada as well and treatment of Black Canadians by police here can be shameful and deadly. We have much to answer for and repair in Canadian society.

I see them every day.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

You're absolutely right, we must never let this madness get a firm foothold in Canada. Our history is bad enough as it is. The way to fight back is to speak up, as you have done in this post. Don't let ignorance and hate get a free pass.

Sandi said...

Mankind has done many evil things. But please remember not everyone is your enemy. Even people like me, a white Christian American.

Martha said...

It hurt my heart to read this. I don't know if I've been naïve or what, but I never thought we'd see the things we are seeing these days and I fear it's only going to get worse. It's terrifying!

Beside a babbling brook... said...

As a Conservative American, I do not condone violence, by anyone.

As a Conservative American, I do not want to purge.

As a Conservative American, who remembers WWII, I remember Totalitarianism, and it being defeated. Members of my own family, being part of that defeat.

As a Conservative American, I want Peace and Justice for All.

As a Conservative American, I know there has been Injustice. And this should be addressed.


What you are listening to, on your Media, is totally one sided.

And They lie!!!

They are saying that all Conservative Americans are bigots, and rioters, and purgers, and hating the Blacks.

They lie!!!

We are not applauding the Rioting in Washington, the other day.

Any more than we applaud the Rioting, Violence, Burning of buildings, Destruction of People's Livelihoods, which went on, and is still going on, in our Country. By the militant organizations of BLM and Antifa.

Does your Media, tell you of these thing? Does it decry these things? No....

I repeat, as a Conservative American, I do not condone the Rioting which went on in Washington.

Please do not believe, that the majority of us, do.

Anvilcloud said...

I like to think that we're better now than we were in the past, but there is an underbelly.

Marie Smith said...

Beside a Rattling Brook,

I am sorry you felt you had to defend yourself as a conservative. My own parents were Conservatives as were their friends. They were good people, as I have no doubt you are as well. I know the vast majority of Americans are hard working, law abiding citizens who don’t condone violence of any kind.

I believe our national media shows us an observer’s view of the United States and is fair in its coverage. I reacted to the white supremacist /Proud Boy presence in the Capitol the other day. That could happen anywhere and it has a foothold here in Canada. With technology today, if Antifa was in the Capitol, they will be discovered on social media and exposed as well.

Conservatism is not bad in and of itself. Like anything, it can be used for wrongful purposes. Liberalism is the same. Look at Antifa..

I will speak up in my country if I see any indication of fascism taking hold. I remind myself of it every day with the Auschwitz Twitter account.

I am glad we had this exchange of ideas today because unless we discuss the issues, we won’t understand each other. I am glad to know you in blogland and will continue to follow your blog.

Take care. Marie

Liz Hinds said...

Excellent post. No country is immune especially these days I fear. My Italian daughter-in-law was subjected to a torrent of abuse recently.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.
My father was a German Jew. He survived the war though we believe that many/most of his family did not. He could not or would not talk about it.
And yes, sadly here in Australia, we have some of the same people agitating for their voices to be heard and their divisive principles (?) followed.

DJan said...

It's true that many of those who were in the Capitol Wednesday believed the Trump lies about the election being stolen, because they have heard it over and over. That doesn't make it true, but living in a bubble universe is unfortunately very easy to do these days. :-(

John's Island said...

Hi Marie, Great to see you back after the holidays! Hope you had an excellent Christmas and New Year Day. I so admire you for writing a post like this. I admire the way you responded to the Conservative American. You are absolutely right ... the only way we will ever overcome our differences is through open discussion. When it comes to politics I like to think of myself as pretty close to the center. Definitely not far right nor far left. On the right, I support fiscal conservatism. I think USA is going too far spending money that doesn't exist. On the left, I support the concept that all humans deserve access to health care. I could go on but better not. :-) Thanks again for sharing. Take good care and be well. John

eileeninmd said...


I have read many books about the concentration camps, I can not imagine a human being being treated/killed by these fascists. Every person has their rights. What happened here just sickens me, our so called leader incited the riot and the attack on our capitol. Take care, enjoy your weekend!

Bill said...

There are always people that believe their way and thoughts are the only ones that count. They believe what they want even if it a lie. These people don't live in reality. I hope that people pay attention, wakeup and speak out when needed. Living in a bubble is not the way to live, eventually it will be pierced.

Anita said...

Dear Marie!

Reading your post and comments make me sad.Lving here in peaceful Norway we all are very surprised this event could happen.I think the democratie in usa is ruined.I dont vote for Trump aI dont vote for Biden I vote for America
I hope and wish things will be better

About the holoucast i am very interestedn and read about it every day
We have much to answer for here as well.Jews was not liked .I can not understand it.I must be all about the money!

So dear friend i wish you a peacful weekend!

Greetings Anita

Helen said...

After all the atrocities of WW1 and WW2 and seemingly living in a modern world, it is inconceivable to me that man can still be filled with so much hate for his fellow man.
I live in hope that it will be otherwise.
Thank you for your wise words.

Joanne Noragon said...

Thank you, Marie. Those people who assaulted our capital this week are willfully uninformed. Misinformed by choice. I do not know a solution to this. We speak of being rid of them because they will "drink the kool-aid" some day. But then, they will only be dead and the next generation of conspiracy theorists arising. I do not know an answer.

Red said...

You relate many happenings that resulted from the public's neglect. Things have been developing south of us for many years and the root cause is from slavery of hundreds of years ago. Here , we caused aboriginal problems and it's difficult to change things. You've said some powerful things in this post. Things you suggest need to be done.

peppylady (Dora) said...

Hello from Idaho, and what happen in our world is hard for me wrap it all in. I still hope for better future.
I came over from "Deb" of she who seek.
If you have time stop in for a cup of coffee

Barbara said...

I think news has to be held accountable. It is your right to lean one way or the other but I sources of information should be something that we can believe to be as close as possible to the truth. Were this to happen, there might be a little less hatred spilled.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

All of these points have been made time and again. My father was Jewish, and even though that does not mean that I am Jewish, since Jewishness is matrilineal, half of my genes are Jewish, and I know what discrimination means. Someone recently, upon discovering my ancestry (I never try to hide it but I don't go out of my way to talk about it) said to me, "I didn't know you were a Jew person" - phrased that way exactly, with antisemitism dripping through it. If you have heard it, you can detect it in the inflexion of the voice almost. I read many fine words regularly, but I see few people getting involved in organizations that promote civil liberties, religious freedom and social justice. I had two Jewish grandparents on my father's side, both of whom perished in the gas chambers, and I would have been a candidate too had I been born there. Fine words did nothing to save them.

Retired Knitter said...

I am an American and still proud to say that because I don’t feel our president and his cult like followers represent who Americans are. I am a registered Independent.

The mistake our country made was thinking that anyone could be a national leader. And although the problems in our country right now are not limited to just the period of the Trump administration, Trump is uniquely talented and positioned to unite the problem groups together and give them legitimacy. I do not believe Trump represents the conservatives - but unfortunately, the conservatives find themselves afraid of Trump’s power and influence with the problem groups, and they can not control him - even now after the attack on the capital they cannot step up to doing the right thing. Trump was a massive mistake! Hopefully we can correct that now.

And for those conservatives like Marie Smith who may think that I am against all conservatives, let me say, I live in a strongly Democratic state with a Republican governor who is so popular, he is in his second term of office. I voted for him both times. He would be an EXCELLENT President. There are many conservatives in our country who are reasoned and deliberate and would make great national leaders. I wish they were brave enough to step forward and condemn obvious misdeeds of their leader and dole out consequences for those misdeeds. While I agree the news coverage is slanted ... thinking people can filter out the talking heads and hear DIRECTLY the words used by Trump and decide for themselves if you are ok or not with what he says and does in front of the camera or writes in tweets. I, for one, am not ok. He is his own worst enemy. I am glad he will soon be gone.

Dear Canada - while you have some similar problems as do all countries on this earth, you have been more successful in controlling them than the US. We still have a lot to learn here in the US.

Marie Smith said...

Dear Retired Knitter,

While my parents were conservatives, if the category existed here in Canada, I would consider myself an independent like you. At different times, I have voted for each of the three federal parties in this country, the Conservatives, the Liberals and the New Democratic Party. It depends on the circumstances of the time, the leader of the party and the local candidates. I have no party affiliation. I believe I am a liberal minded person but voting requires much thought and consideration.

The circumstances this past week have been scary to watch but they were a reminder of how watchful we have to be around the world to prevent fascism from taking hold. I have done a lot of research this week on white supremacy in Canada and how some politicians are courting members of neo-nazi groups in Canada. It looks like for some, a vote is a vote. I will educate myself more and do what I can to support anti-hate groups in this country.

Most of the time in my blog, I write about life on this island, nature, and family. However, sometimes I just have to speak up. I am glad I did because it is important to hear the opinions of others and exchange ideas about the issues. Thank you for writing.

Marie Smith

Polly said...

I can't begin to imagine the fear and horror those poor people went through, and as Helen said, after all the atrocities it is inconceivable and shameful that man can still be filled with so much hate for his fellow man. Hopefully the majority of us are good and kind.

Debbie said...

what happen in auschwitz was an atrocity, one that is difficult to read about but must be remembered so that it never happens again!!

i do not talk about politics but it was a very sad day in america this past week. what happened only represents a small number of us...the majority of us would never participate in such a riot!!

Margaret said...

Unfortunately, conservative (in the U.S.) doesn't equate any more with the Republican Party. They have been co-opted and brainwashed by Trump. At least half of the GOP approves of what happened in the Capitol, which was sedition. They firmly believe the election was stolen, as well as all kinds of other conspiracy theories. Our Republic is still teetering on the brink because I doubt that this is finished. They are scary and sad times. I've been to Dachau, and it was certainly sobering that it ever happened and that similar ideology and behaviors continue to happen. Jamais plus.

photowannabe said...

Such pain,such division, such pure evil!!
Humanity has taken a huge step backward.
I feel shame for what's gone on in our country..USA..
Each country has it's atrocities. They are all horrible, ugly and evil.
Praying for Us all!!!
Well written Marie. It truly makes my heart ache.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

The intense Trump supporters and their opposition group, the democratic leadership mainly, are a match made of evil hatred. Both groups created 6 January. Instead of putting effort into healing, energy is once again making it all about hating Trump. That is disgusting.

Think about it...If a person falls off the edge of reality and makes horrible decisions, after being vetbally battered repeatedly for years, is more battering that person the best action to take? Prayer, compassion, understanding is. Reaching out to haters is. Building understanding is.

Catarina said...

What has been happening in the USA should be a reminder that you can never let your guard down...

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

Thank you for sharing this heart felt post. It would be a wonderful world if all people were respected and all people were accepted regardless of race or religion. Hopefully the small segment of BLM leaders like Louis Farakhan who openly and blatantly abhors Jews as being devils and blame them for all of the worlds evils will not influence the others in that powerful group to hate as well just because of a person's religion or race. Very scary times.

Marie Smith said...


The fact that anyone would say such a thing to you is appalling. I cannot even imagine what that must be like for you. Having lost your grandparents in the Holocaust is unimaginable as well. I wish it weren’t so.

I will continue to speak up, for now if only on my blog, about white supremacy. If not now in our history, when? Silence is complicity.

I will also continue to support Amnesty International, as I have done for more than twenty years. I am looking within Canada to see how to best contribute in some way to support groups who work for social justice.

Take care,

Tanza Erlambang said...

your thought is majority feel now days.....

your impressive sentences :"Last year, a candidate for the leadership of one of the political parties in the country had the slogan, “Take Back Canada.” One could legitimately ask, “Back from whom?”

# Have a wonderful weekend.

At Home In New Zealand said...

Dear Marie, thanks for writing such a moving post. Atrocities committed against fellow humans has sadly been the same throughout human history. It happens over and over again, across all strata of society and in all races and creeds, and yet we still have not learned not to hate and be judgmental of others. So very sad.

Mage said...

In my graduate level painting class, I elected to paint the dying and dead of the holocaust. I put my heart and passion into this every large piece, and in the end I had to walk off and leave it in the classroom. I can't think of it now without it all coming home to me. Heartbreaking

Stewart M said...

Australia too - our Prime Minister refuses to speak out - and most people know why.

We live in dangerous times, and seem to elect only the foolish and vain.

Hope all is well in other areas!

Stewart M - Melbourne

baili said...

thoughtful ,powerful read dear Marie

i consider time of life gift until i did not know about what happened in Germany concentration camps ,i am far away and probably never encounter with people who faced such horrible situation or their loved one did yet i can feel the Pain and terror strongly and being a human being i cry ,regret and protest for that happened in past

i think this is time to raise voice through all resources we have in this world and teach our next generations what truly can keep them safe on planet earth
instead of praising only national heroes we have to start teaching our kids that what heroism actually means
it is deed done by any one or by so many for mutual good ,common good for whole humanity must be agenda for all ,along with learning institution ,social media and political parties
Lesson should aim the teaching of only one religion created by actual God Humanity and that's it!

regardless religion ,culture or race their must be strong lesson for bonding for all mankind otherwise no one can save us because as human we are already given help as our mind that we are wasting quickly in matters that are pushing us on edge of destruction