The BBC commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz, 70 years ago, the site of almost one million murdered, but also a symbol of the six million other Jews killed and hundreds of thousands others killed in a genocidal purge of the pure Aryan-Nazi race that took place in a ring of hundreds of other camps.
As a Catholic the service itself was one I was familiar with. The solemn intonation, readings from extracts of Primo Levi, If This is a Man. Prince Charles bumbling on about the three lines scratched into a wall at Auschwitz: ‘I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when he is silent.’ Then there was the music of Thereseinstadt sung by fresh-faced children of every creed an affirmation that even though the body may suffer and burn away the joy of creation of music and art will transcend self and for that moment shine.
I get all that. I understand the paradox of man being a flimsy thing, yet somehow indestructible. I understand that when the rule of law is subverted and twisted the oppressor and the oppressed can share the same body and it becomes literally every man for themselves. Then we had the wisdom of David Cameron.
As a holocaust survivor kept repeating: ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’