Thursday, May 1, 2008

Austria's Greatest Tragedy? I Think Not

From the letters section in today's National Post.
Austria's Greatest Tragedy?
Re: Man Traps Daughter For 24 Years; Kept In Dungeon, Bore His Children, Police Say, April 28.
Much has been said over the past few days about "Austria's greatest tragedy ever." Twelve years ago I stood at the Mauthausen concentration camp with my father, a former inmate of the camp, and I also wondered how among the many farms surrounding the camp not one was able to identify what was going on in their midst for so many years during the war.

Furthermore, Mauthausen was surrounded by other concentration camps, including at least one death camp, from where my father was liberated after spending weeks burying Jewish victims.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day and I challenge the Austrian people to finally admit that this was in fact the greatest tragedy in the history of their nation.

Marvin Stenge, Montreal.

After all, this is the Country where Hitler was a German and Mozart an Austrian. I did once have the opportunity of visiting Mathausen. It's truly frightening how the horrors of the past can be so sanitized by the weather of 50 years. More info on just how bad Mathausen-Gussen and the smaller satellite camps can be found here. It is true that Nazi Germany did invade Austria, but they were not exactly met with much resistance. Even today, the famous Vienna Synagogue that survived the war -- it was to be made into a museum -- there are no signs leading to it, and both my friend Adam Sandler, who speaks fluent avrit (modern Hebrew), and me with a last name like Rabin, were unable to get past the Israeli security.

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