When one talks of the Holocaust or the Shoah, the black&white film Schindler's List now starts to play in one's mind. Or if you have been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, it is that railway car and what spills out of it that spears your mind's eye. For those who have physically visited such places as Buchenwald, the air still oppresses with a miasma after sixty years.
Facts come rolling off the tongue like six million Jews murdered. Another five to six million others were also murdered; homosexuals, Gypsies, ministers, activists, and even American servicemen are counted in that number. At the Holocaust Museum one is introduced to the mind-numbing realization of how much an industry death in Nazi Germany was with over 600 camps of various sizes scattered throughout the Third Reich.
And then you read that what you knew is not even the full story. Tucked into a quiet town in Germany are the records of Hell on Earth. Six buildings, under the auspices of the International Red Cross in Bad Arolsen, have quietly held the most detailed look into the death machine that was Nazi Germany's concentration camps. No there were not 'only 600' such camps, think over 20,000 of various sizes and varying cruelty. There is probably graphic depictions of the Dora underground facility tucked away there, detailing how many people had to die to build one V-2 rocket. That over 17 million people were put into these camps; of that number some 12 million were worked to death or simply gassed if they were lucky, some poor souls became medical experiments.
One description from a Russian imprisoned in one of those camps reads like a scene from Alexander Nevsky. Of Jews being thrown alive into the flames. Little children being murdered. Of gutters flowing red with Jewish blood, blood the same color as their murderers. To poleaxe the reader there in one document is the name Frank, Annelise; Anne Frank was just a statistic in the Nazi bureaucracy of death.
Only now are these documents perhaps coming to public light after being sheltered for decades by bureacracies and their rules. One has to wonder if the likes of John Demjanjuk would have made it into the United States to hide for decades from his crimes if these files had been more widely known earlier? Maybe just maybe a full accounting of this gross atrocity can be realized when each country that has equal control over these records decide to release them to the public.