Tuesday, April 20, 2010

WWII Photos

Pictures tell the truth, don't they? And a few weeks ago I recovered some very old pictures from a box in the top of my closet. It was a plastic box that I'd not opened for a long time and I'd almost forgotten about the treasures it contained. Deep down toward the bottom was an old, old photo book and a handful of tiny envelopes with faded ink. They are of WWII vintage. The letters were written by a handsome soldier stationed in Germany back in the 40's to his almost new bride, the woman that would become my mother. Much was written on those small sheets of paper, mostly dreams of life that would come true once the war was over. Reading them is a travel through time to say the least.
The pictures were not so promising. They are shocking! I've long forgotten how my father came to possess these snapshots. I'm certain he never owned a camera during those days. The images are historic. The Allies had evidently just arrived on the scene of one of Hitlers German death camps. Hundreds of Jewish men, mostly skeleton-like were laid out along a railroad track as if they were stacked wood. The American GI's faces were preserved on the old photo paper, all of them in shock as they walked along the dead. It's a piece of the Holocaust, right there in my closet.
I wonder how many other closets hold such horror. I've recently heard that the number of WWII veterans is diminishing every day and thus many old houses with such closets are giving up such historic finds. I'll probably contact a museum somewhere to see if they would like these. I don't think my children or grandchildren are interested in these just yet. I'm convinced that these artifacts are absolutely necessary to teach the future about the mistakes of the past. No pictures, no event, right? And many in our world are insisting that the atrocities of WWII never happened. Politically correct folks are trying to "go along" to "get along" with that thought. But, pictures prevent history from being re-written! And it is critical that history be taught and understood correctly, so that such an event will never happen again.
BUT...what about Rwanda? What about Darphur? What about Uganda and the Congo? What about Cambodia? Did we learn anything from the great war that was fought to end all wars, but didn't!
Will we ever learn how to stop that God-awful cycle of man's inhumanity to man? Evil certainly exists and must be confronted. I've got the pictures to prove it.

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