Today January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and where is the most important place that it should be commemorated, in the German Bundestag of course. I saw some of the ceremony there. In front of the whole Parliament, the President of the German Republic and Prime Minister Angela Merkel, a Holocaust survivor Ruth Kluger, now 84 years old, originally from Vienna, told her story. She speaks fluent German and is in fact Professor of German Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and teaches German literature at German Universities. She has also written a book entitled in English “Still Alive,” and is one of the survivors who has not shied away from confronting the Germans in their own home.
She told how her father was killed and then she and her mother and sister were taken away by the German soldiers when she was 11 years old. How a woman told her to lie about her age and say she was 13, that probably saved her life. How she survived three concentration camps, Theresienstadt, Auschwitz and Christianstadt. She described an incident in which scraps of food were being given out and how a large German SS soldier prevented her from getting any and punched her in the face.
She also spoke about the so-called Forced Labor, that the Germans instituted during the war to bring civilians from the occupied territories to work in German industries, farms and homes. Many German people think these people were treated well, but in fact there were 15 million of them and they were treated as slaves and millions were worked to death. Note that these were usually not Jews, since Jews were killed on sight or in the concentration camps. These slave laborers were treated very badly, but those that survived received no compensation until 2000. Many of the women who were forcibly transported to Germany were forced to be prostitutes, a story that even until now has not been exposed.
Ruth Kluger said that she was not sure about speaking to the Bundestag, but decided to do so because of the change in Germany and the decision by the German Government to allow 1 million migrants from Syria and elsewhere to enter Germany and apply for asylum. She specifically applauded Angel Merkel’s attitude “We can do it!” Of course, the Syrian and other Muslims will not show any gratitude towards the Jews or even realize that it was their terrible sacrifice and suffering that was the price of current German liberalism.