Saturday, December 16, 2006

One Man’s Reply to Haman and His “Conference”

Eugene, a blogger from New York, tells how his granddad invented the Holocaust.

Sandy Cash quotes Eugene’s post in its entirety in her excellent Israel Diary. I excerpt it here:

My grandfather and his sister had many relatives. The exact count is not known. My grandfather used to know, but, as time went by and his mind weakened, his estimates started to vary. Somewhere around 20 seems to be about the right number. You can count 16 in the group photo from 1940, or is it 1941, that I have seen. You only get 8, I think, if you count the names mentioned in the yellowed letter. Yes, I think it’s 8 names that the neighbor lists as my grandfather’s relatives who were lined up outside the village and shot by Germans and Ukrainians in 1941. It’s 8 if you just count the names, but then the letter does refer to “and everyone else.” I don’t remember the names. I haven’t seen the letter for a while. My grandmother had it, but she has given it to a museum. I live on a different continent now. This doesn’t mean these people never were. First, they lived, and then they were dead. It is a fact. I had relatives, before I was born. It is a fact. I have seen the letter.
That is not all, though. My grandfather said that when he had returned from the war, he went home. Home to his Mama. He said that when he had got there, a Ukrainian woman neighbor opened the door. To be clear, that’s not the same neighbor as the one who wrote the letter. He had remembered the neighbor well. The neighbor was wearing his mother’s pendant, and had opened his mother’s door. His mother wasn’t there because she was dead. So was his sister, and the rest of his relatives. Whether there were 8 or 16 of them, or, may be, more, because some had not made it into the group photo, they were all no longer. First, they were, and then they were not. It is a fact. I have heard my grandfather tell the story and cry. 40 years on, and he still cried. It made me sad that they were dead... Silly, I have never met these people.
Apparently, when my grandfather returned home and saw the neighbor with the pendant and all, he understood. He said she had told him, but she needn’t have. He was gray when he woke up the next morning. I suppose it is possible that he went gray gradually, over the years, but he said it had happened overnight. I don’t know if it’s true, because I wasn’t there, and my grandmother didn’t know my grandfather then, so she can’t say, and he didn’t have any relatives who were alive, so they would not have been able to confirm it, and he didn’t have any friends left in the village, because they were all in the same ravine as his relatives, but I believe him. I don’t think he would have lied about that. 1945 – 1941 + 17 = 21.
My father knows where the ravine is. He has seen it. He never lived in that village, but he went there to see it, just this year. He says he saw a collective headstone. I know he did, because I have seen the photo of the headstone that he took. He says he spoke to an old Ukrainian woman who told him how it had happened. She was a child at the time, and she was there. I have seen her photo. I wasn’t there, but I believe him. He would not have made it up.
My father went to the archives when he was there, and he got the names. I don’t have the photocopy of the list of the dead, but he does. A long list of names with my, very rare, last name. They don’t mean much to me, but these names once were. It is a fact.
I have no cousins. I have no second cousins. I have no third cousins on my father’s side. I have no fourth cousins on my father’s side. How long is the list of natural numbers? If you get to the end of the list, which is not a mathematical possibility, I don’t have those cousins on my father’s side. I have never been to a large gathering of my family – there is not much of it to gather. My father’s father was lucky – he played the trumpet far away from home that year. My father’s father begot my father. My father begot me. That is it on that side. It is a fact.
Now, the President of Iran and a group of assorted nut-jobs that the Associated (with Terrorists) Press has dignified by referring to as “scholars” are holding a “Holocaust Conference.” They would have me believe that my family never was. My grandfather, apparently, made up his story about having a family of 16, or whatever that number was, and then not having it. Part of a grandiose conspiracy spanning the continents and dozens of languages, deep inside the Soviet Union, which a mouse could not have entered unnoticed, not knowing a word of Hebrew or English or whatever other language my people had conspired to dupe the world about their suffering in, my grandfather joined the millions of those who invented their loss. I have not seen the letter. If I have, it was a fake. The edges must have been held up to the lamp to make them look yellow and old. The smudges of the ink were not those from tears, but from tap water. My father cannot speak Ukrainian, and if he does, he made it all up. The group photo that I have not seen is of paid extras. Their similarity to me is striking, but that is just a ruse. I have not seen my grandfather cry, and if I did, he was faking it. There was never a neighbor. There was never a house. There was never a pendant. There was never a mother. There was never a sister. Everyone goes gray at some point. The photo my grandfather never clutched was a cut-out of a model from a house and garden magazine. There were never “and everyone else.” There was never a child who saw. My father lied about it. And if he didn’t, he was duped – the old woman invented the story. The photocopy is just that, a poor quality copy of a piece of paper. The ground beneath the stone is empty.
There is a method to this madness. If you prove that one invented one’s past suffering, one’s future suffering does not seem as atrocious. No reason to feel bad about exterminating a people who have pretended to have been part-exterminated before – they are just getting what they have been faking all along. If my grandfather’s family did not exist, when I go, who is to say I ever was here?
My family was. I am. I will be. It is a fact. I will beget children. My children will beget their children. My children’s children will beget their children. Till the end of time. It is a fact. Screw you, Ahmadinejad.

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