Monday, December 8, 2014

Holocaust Nightmares

I always knew the Holocaust was real and I always knew that someday I would address it for myself and try to understand it for myself.

Well, that time has come. Unspeakable Prayers, the seventh of the Thaddeus books, opens in the Nazi extermination camp of Treblinka. The year is 1942 and the main character is a man named Lodzi Ashstein. He is a Jew caught up in the camp and pulled aside to help the Nazis process the endless stream of Jews who would die each day in Treblinka.

Read this twice: each day, the Nazis killed at Treblinka between 30,000-40,000 Jews. Now read it again.

That second figure is eight times the size of the town where I first began to practice law. Eight mayors in one day. Eight city councils. Eight police departments. Eight complete sets of 5000 residents. Every day.

Relating that number to something I understand, such as the size of the town where I first practiced law, helps me realize the scope of what was going on at just this one of many German death camps.

Auschwitz, by comparison, was a labor camp. And yet you've heard how unbelievably horrible that was. Treblinka expected no such production like labor. Treblinka expected only bodies of dead Jews.

Researching the story and reading the memoirs of these long dead heroes who scrabbled up out of hell and came round to tell the rest of us their story, researching that has given me nightmares. Like the main character says at one point, I see my dying breath leave my lungs as two white pigeons and I know I am hallucinating.

I know I must be hallucinating.

But I'm not.

Neither will you. Preorder this book now. It's going to be an incredible story that will be told and re-told, I promise you.

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