My father was a person who I consider a WWII hero. After landing on D-day with a pulverized knee cap, broken shoulder, ankle and having been blown off target when parachuting to behind enemy lines he was captured by landing almost on top of a German machine gun nest.
He spent months in POW camps, sabotaging brick making works, escaping and being recaptured twice. At 22 years old he was finally placed in a concentration work camp and although they were treated better than those in the concentration part of the camp, it was no picnic.
After escaping a third time he went back to the last camp with the liberation forces and recovered a ring my grandfather had given him that the camp commandant had confiscated.
After his return to Canada and his military discharge, he spent years in the hospital recovering. Finally released home he slept on the floor, the bed too soft and strange to him after the time spent in the camps.
In 1947 he and my mother, a nurse he met while recovering from his many surgeries, got married and went to live in a small apartment in Toronto. If it had not been for his neighbours, Jewish families that took them under their wings, sharing what they had and helping them establish themselves a life in post war Ontario their lives would have been much harder than it was. They were forever grateful to them, my father fully understanding from his experiences just what they as a people had suffered before , during and after the war.
Well after reading Elie Weiesel’s books and just recently the Weight of Freedom, part of the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs, by survivor Nate Leipeiger, I for one am delighted that our Prime Minister brought him to my attention through his visit.
I was shocked by the book that showed what he and others went through even after coming to Canada. I am in awe of the work he and other survivors have done to correct the messages and mis-information that was made available to visitors to Auschwitz in the past. How that could have survived for so long is to me beyond mind blowing…
Even today, in 2016, I read the words that one Canadian is wondering why there are so few “Jews” in Poland. Really?
It is high time the world really focuses on what is important, or we will get another round of the horrors of WWII.
In my opinion, it is a small price to pay for our Prime Minister to visit Auschwitz and am shocked that some in our society have described it as a frivolous trip. In my mind it is VERY important to those survivors and humanity that we understand how mankind went down that road so many years ago.
I suggest instead of complaining about the expense of this trip, those worried about the cost should spend their money to find out just WHY it is and always will be, too little, too late….