THE HORRORS OF BERGEN-BELSEN

THE HORRORS OF BERGEN-BELSEN

Filip Muller was a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz—a Jewish slave laborer who was kept alive because he helped take corpses from the gas chambers to the crematoria. One of the very few Sonderkommandos to survive the Holocaust, Muller later described the remarkable behavior of one group of Czech Jews who were being marched towards the gas chambers and were told what was about to happen:

“Their voices grew subdued and tense, their movements forced, their eyes stared as though they had been hypnotized… Suddenly a voice began to sing. Others joined in, and the sound swelled into a mighty choir. They sang first the Czechoslovak national anthem and then the Hebrew song ‘Hatikvah.’”

Enraged SS men tried to halt the singing by beating the Jews into submission, Muller wrote. “It was as if they regarded the singing as a last kind of protest which they were determined to stifle if they could.” But the SS was unable to stop them. “To be allowed to die together was the only comfort left to these people… And when they sang Hatikvah, now the national anthem of the state of Israel, they were glancing into the future, but it was a future which they would not be allowed to see. To me the bearing of my countrymen seemed an exemplary gesture of national honor and national pride which stirred my soul.”

Overwhelmed by feelings of remorse, Muller tried to join the group as they entered the gas chamber, but they pushed him back out. A woman implored him, “Your death won’t give us back our lives. That’s no way. You must get out of here alive, you must bear witness to our suffering and to the injustice done to us.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s