Auschwitz. In popular culture the term has become an archetypal symbol, a metaphor for ultimate evil. So mind-bending were the actions undertaken at this, the largest mass murder factory in human history, that Auschwitz has become ground zero on the moral landscape.
“Too often the Holocaust is considered as a standalone event, almost as though the Jews of Europe were simply unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the events of 1940s did not happen apart from the events of the 1930s. And those events did not happen apart from the German philosophical and theological writings of the previous four centuries…”
In 1986 or 1987 I had an electrifying encounter with Alice Newman, not that I knew her name. It was at the time of the visit to New Zealand of David Irving, now known as a Holocaust denier and revisionist, but then with a reputation as an accomplished historian, even though somewhat controversial.
Our recent event, Saving The Shoah, opened with a new Shadows of Shoah story, that of Alice Newman. Eleven years old when the Nazis invaded Poland, Alice and her mother were forced into the Warsaw Ghetto… Years later, in New Zealand, Alice had an encounter with Holocaust denier David Irving.
Last month we learned of the passing of Moshe Fiszman. We had met Moshe in 2011 when we visited Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Centre to interview a number of survivors. He had a great impact on us. Moshe was profound and expressed himself in a way that connected deeply. I remember that we stopped and told him so.