Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book #9

There is a line in this book that resonated so deeply in my soul that I had to put the book down and walk away for a minute.  I stared out of the window at the grass, the waving trees…my eyes welled with tears and I kept murmuring, “I’m so sorry.  I’m so sorry.” as I squeezed them tightly shut. 

One of the main characters in the book had re-discovered part of our past - “our past” meaning humanity’s - a part that no one liked to talk about because it was “too terrible”, “too despicable”, “too horrible” to discuss…the deportation in France by the French Vichy Police of over 8,000 Jews – more than 4,000 of them were children.  These children, already mourning the very recent deaths of their fathers (earlier sent away to the gas chambers,) were ripped from the arms of their mothers who were then, right in front of their little eyes, carted away to be gassed at Auschwitz. The children followed only days later.  Very few children escaped.  None of the adults survived.

Most of France seemed to chose to pretend it didn’t happen, or chose to forget that it did, which I think is worse.  The rest of the world supposedly just never knew.

That makes me sound a little odd, I know…crying over something I took no part in or that happened so long ago, so far away...but then again, I’ve never tried to hide my emotional side.  My children know long before they look that silent tears flow down my cheeks while we watch moving stories or read well crafted books. 

They know that a good historical documentary will bring just as many tears as fiction, if not more.
I remember reading about this particular event, not while learning about World War II in early schooling, but just very recently in a well-taught college class.  I remember being incensed, and embarrassed at humanity…and angry that it had been swept “under the rug.” There have been many such events that I’ve recently learned about in the annals of human history.

“Sorry for not knowing.  Sorry for being forty-five years old and not knowing.” p.192

I’ve always puzzled over people who choose not to learn more about an historical event, or refuse to watch the news, because it’s “too horrible.”  (If you are one of those people reading this, please note that I said I puzzled over this, I did not say that I judge you.)  Personally, I feel its almost a sense of duty to pass along this knowlege to as many people as possible; that it's a lie to keep the truth about who we are as human beings - what we're capable of doing to each other - a secret.  It completely dishonors the people who struggled, died...survived...that's unbearable to me for some reason.

Perhaps I am too passionate about my History studies.  Like the main character in the book, I too feel a physical change after discovery of horrors that have occurred in our past.  There have been so many, so many are still happening that so many people are not aware of. 

Perhaps I would be a happier person to not know…

…read this book, and let me know what you think.

*Please note that there is so much more to this book than just the historical part I've mentioned.  Here is a complete synopsis.  I just always seem to gravitate to the history...wonder why!? :) 
Thanks for the recommendation, Nancy.  I've obviously had my head in the history books for too long to not have found this book  earlier! I can’t honestly say that it was life-changing because it brought forth, just more strongly, feelings I’ve already had.  But it definitely impacted my soul the way a really good book should.

Onward and Forward to Book #10!

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