On January 27, 2015, the liberation of the camps ofAuschwitz Birkenau, in memory of the millions of Jews murdered and massacred in the name of Hitler's racist ideology, according to which the German race is superior to other races considered inferior. On the basis of this ideology, the Holocaust - The Hebrew catastrophe that will cost the lives of more than five million Jews, organized in a methodical and cold manner.
Some testimonies of former deportees have mentioned on several occasions, Primo Levi, Italian writer, survivor of this genocide whose words alone can account for “absolute evil” (Annette Wieviorka);
Maybe we can survive the diseases and escape the selections, maybe even resist the work and the hunger that consumes us? (...). We have traveled here in sealed wagons, we have seen our wives and children go to nothingness; and we, become slaves, we have made a hundred times the monotonous journey of the beast at work, dead to ourselves before dying to life, anonymously. We will not be returning. No one will leave here, who could bring to the world, with the sign imprinted in his flesh, the grim news of what the man at Auschwitz, could have done with another man. (If it's a man, 1947).
The "Final Solution"
The Endlosung project - Final Solution -, conceived by high Nazi dignitaries, such as Himmler, Eichmann or Heydrich, was conceived with the aim of exterminating the Jewish race as revealed by the words of Heinrich Himmler in a speech delivered on October 4, 1943 in front of SS generals;
“This subject must be discussed between us, in all honesty, but we will never mention it in public. I mean the liquidation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish race. This is a question that we should be able to speak freely; the Jews must be exterminated. This is our program and we must apply it ”.
The initial objective of the Third Reich was to exclude the Jewish populations which were placed under the domination of the Nazi yoke, as the territorial expansion of the empire took place. The plan put in place provided for the evacuation, again the use of certain terms conceals a much more brutal reality, "towards the East" in other words towards the USSR. When the German-Soviet pact was broken on June 22, 1941, Hitler and his associates set out to conquer all of the territories in the East in order to send the Jewish population there. But, this ambition will be shattered at the gates of Moscow, when, once past the confusion and the daze, the Soviet armies led a counter-offensive marking the beginning of a reflux of German troops and a military defeat.
From then on, the plan for the systematic extermination and elimination of the Jewish people began. Through this project, it is the paroxysm of Hitler's ideology that is reached, since the extermination of the Jewish people follows the ghettoization and its brutality, marked by famine. The notion of survival dominating the daily life of these stigmatized populations. The repeated violence perpetrated by the Einsatzgruppe, which scoured the spaces over which the Nazi army had passed, in order to flush out political opponents, but especially Jews. They were charged with murdering them unconditionally.
Germany also mobilized its "allies" or rather its clientele in order to extend the deportation of Jews across the continent. France was "invited" to it, as the words of the Vichy government chief of police indicate just before the Vel d'Hiv roundup in July 1942:
“As you have been informed orally, the German authorities have decided to transfer to the eastern territories the Jews residing in the Paris region and belonging to the following categories: stateless Germans, Austrians, Czechoslovaks, Poles, Russians, refugees Saarland. They invited the French authorities to bring together Jews belonging to these categories in camps in the occupied zone from where they will proceed to their transfer. "
In these words, the weight of words but especially of silences is sometimes worth even more. This note gives the impression that Vichy France retains a certain sovereignty, because it has been "invited". In reality, France is placed under the tight control of Nazi Germany. Behind the very diplomatic term "guest", we must see the term "ordered". Moreover, this note does not reveal the destination of these Jews in a context where the process of extermination is already underway. Through different terms of this message, it is the send to death that is presented.
The extermination camps
The extermination camps, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Auschwitz Birkenau, were the application of the Final Solution project. For five years, this systematic assassination process will be perpetrated on the European continent, the Nazis attempting to keep secret the horrors committed inside this concentration camp archipelago.
The geographical location of the exterminations was carefully thought out, by the choice of Poland in its borders before 1939. Several reasons can explain this choice among which, Poland as the geopolitical pivot of the countryside of the East and especially, Poland as a place of implantation of the most important Jewish communities, all facilitated by the presence of communication axes, marked by the high density of railway axes. The geographical conditions, represented by the dense forest cover and the many almost uninhabited regions have favored the preservation of secrecy.
Auschwitz was officially chosen by the high Nazi dignitaries to constitute the center of massive annihilation of the Jews of Europe, by decision of Himmler in particular. After the train convoys had traveled to these camps, the Jews, unaware of what to expect, were mostly gassed (Zyklon B) upon arrival. A "selection" was made between the Jews fit to work and those not fit. For the latter, death was immediate. For the others, it was only a very short reprieve, a few weeks, maybe a few months. Abraham Bomba, a survivor of Treblinka leaves unequivocal testimony:
“We were petrified.
What happened to the woman, to the child?
What woman ? What child? There is not anybody.
More people ! But how did they kill, how did they gass so many people at once?
But they had their method ... "
At the end of the war, panicked by the arrival of the Red Army, the Nazis undertook the systematic destruction of the evidence that constituted these extermination camps. They did not succeed, but many structures were destroyed. British and American troops manifested a "explosive mixture of horror, anger, shame, guilt and fear" according to them, in the face of such atrocities with the discovery of human mass graves and the reality of what happened. really took place during these five years of war from 1940 to 1945.
"In the silence of the world, two thirds of the Jews of Europe, men, women and children were murdered by the Nazis, according to a deliberate plan of extermination." Their fault? Being guilty of the “crime of being born” (Anne Grynberg). It was indeed a genocide committed against the Jews and a catastrophe for humanity.
Through the commemorations of January 27, 2015, Memory and History have mingled through testimonies and analyzes by historians, in order to remember this event which traumatized European societies. 70 years separate us from this genocide, the testimonies of the survivors still reach us today, but it is clear that in ten years, the direct memory, drawn from the reality of the events experienced by the survivors, will have disappeared. Only literature and writing will remain as the sole source of this dark past to enable this wish so often expressed, that of “never again” to be applied.
- The Shoah, the impossible oblivion, by AnneGrynberg, Gallimard discovery, 1995.
- 1945, the discovery, by Annette Wieviorka. Threshold, January 2015.
- The Auschwitz commander is talking about Rudolf Hoess. The Pocket Discovery, 2005.