Auschwitz. Sixty-five years since we came out of hell
Photo: Reuters

There is no explanation

Shoah survivor Noah Klieger still cannot fathom what happened during Holocaust

POLAND – It seemed like a delusion. After all, it couldn’t have happened in reality: Planned and calculated slaughter, tested in various methods in order to come up with the most suitable and most effective formula. The murder of six million people – babies, children, women, and men – just because they were Jewish.


Sixty-five years have passed since we came out of hell. During all those 65 years I’ve been reconstructing and recounting – tens of thousands of times – what had happened in those camps, established in the framework of the plan for the Jewish people’s complete annihilation.


We, the few who miraculously survived that immense extermination machine set up by the Germans, saw it all. We witnessed the reckless abandon, the cruelty that knew no limit, the murderous passion of people who looked like the rest of humanity – yet behaved like bloodthirsty predators.


I wrote that we survived miraculously, and this is indeed the proper and most suitable expression. Only thanks to a miracle – or more accurately, a series of miracles – it was possible to survive Auschwitz and all the other extermination camps.


Time and again, in every lecture, and the more I talk about Auschwitz and the other camps, I discover that I have difficulty understanding what happened and why it had happened. To this very day, it seems to me that I’m talking about things that could not have taken place in reality, even though I know that they indeed took place, and that I experienced them personally.


Forever a mystery

I always use the term “to tell” and never say “to explain” – because there is no explanation. Nobody would ever be able to explain the Holocaust. Nobody would ever be able to explain the German hatred for the Jews.


For dozens of years now, historians, experts and scholars have been trying to come up with an explanation. They wrote hundreds of studies, offered hundred of arguments and assumptions, tried to identify all sorts of reasons from the past, and analyzed history and the conduct of Jews and non-Jews in order to find an explanation. Yet all of them failed. They failed because there’s simply no explanation.


There is no explanation, and this will forever remain a mystery. A mystery whose price was paid by the Jewish people, with the destruction of their culture and all the glorious communities in eastern European states that will never come back to life. We lost six million Jews, who fell victim to this wildness, which cannot be explained.


פרסום ראשון: 04.12.10, 14:11
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