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Auschwitz-Birkenau

October 30, 2006

A few days ago I saw a bunch of Israeli kids at the WWII extermination camp at Birkenau, Poland. They were walking down the very same railway tracks that had delivered a generation of their forebears to death in the gas chambers. It was great to see the Star of David displayed in that setting, I can tell you.

The day was grim, overcast, brooding. We watched from the guard post, much as the SS men would have done, not so very long ago. Birkenau was purpose-built by the Nazis for the liquidation of the Jews, and it was teeming with ghosts. I wondered what they made of it — what they thought of these bold children, who bore on the backs of their jackets the name of a nation that more than a million people whispered for comfort, once or twice, in this dreadful place before they were killed.

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