Birkenau's hidden parable

© 2017 Peter Free


31 May 2017



Theme — be careful whom you look down on


Thoughtfully considered morality tarnishes our pretended chalices of rectitude.



For example — the lesson at Birkenau


Over 2017's (American) Memorial Day, I went to Poland's Auschwitz-Birkenau.


Photograph of Birkenau entrance gate in May 2017.


Not much of the extermination camp left. Absent signs, one might not recognize the place's Satanic purpose.


Photograph of Birkenau tracks from just inside the entrance gate in May 2017.


Photograph of Birkenau ruins, as seen from across the entering railraod tracks in May 2017.


Photograph of Birkenau Sonderkommando revolt site and ruins, taken in May 2017.


Nature has healed the periphery beyond the once-confining fence. In today's May morning — tree leaves, flowers and singing birds soothingly overmantle visible signs the Holocaust's pain.


Photograph of Birkenau periphery guard tower, fence and May 2017 flower.


Photograph of Birkenau fence and visitors pathway taken in May 2017.


Photograph of Birkenau pine tree in periphery forest taken in May 2017.


Photograph of Birkenau birch trees in periphery forest taken in May 2017.




A starkly offensive Christian church, as well


At one corner of Birkenau sits a church with a large cross on its roof. It is located inside the SS commandant's killing ground headquarters.



Christians preponderantly approved of or did almost nothing substantial to prevent or interfere with the Holocaust. And now a tiny portion has the astonishing audacity to plant their standard at the edge of Birkenau's crucifixion of the Star of David.


Decency shudders.


Moral dopes like these miss the gist of even the most powerfully presented teachings.



Birkenau's question


Is (a) the regimented Nazi evil that built and ran Birkenau worse than (b) the centuries-long American imperialism that:



genocided Native Americans,


enslaved uncountable numbers of Africans,




continues to kill brownish people (in very large numbers), whom the United States considers to be inconveniently located or acting?



Probably not


It is the concentrated dose of regimented extermination at Birkenau (and others) that deceives most of us into thinking that, "We're not like those guys."


I am reminded of past American thinking, which proposed that:



the only good Indian is a dead Indian


"them" blacks can't take care of themselves




(the current self-justification that) — American values have to make the world safe for democracy.



These represent the self-serving BS that we spout as excuses for our continuing stream of reprehensible behavior.



The moral? — Birkenau's geometrically laid out extermination plan — hides as much as it reveals about human nature


Leaving Auschwitz this May 2017 day, I darkly conclude (again) that powerful humans usually choose to be historically and ethically blind.


Ignorance and lack of self-reflection leave us feeling complacently superior. Regimented Nazi organization seems to make the ethically condemnable difference in my fellow Americans' minds.


In mine, not. Centuries of American-approved extermination and oppression of others easily equal the more concentrated Nazi record. Not seeing this equivalence, I think, nurtures the seed of more of the same.


Birkenau fragments slowly under the sky.


Photogrtaph of Birkenau visitors carrying sun umbrellas in May 2017.


The few who comprehend its parable, go home with insight. I doubt so with the rest.


Humility and familiarity with inner darkness are necessary to soulful learning. This is Birkenau's usually unrecognized parable.