The time has come. It sneaks up peaceably, unnoticed. The anticipated quivering and quaking does not materialize. For those who would quiver and quake are no longer here. Yes, the time has come: the last Holocaust survivor of Treblinka.
Samuel Willenberg, by name. He came back to the camp, to which he had been deported from Warsaw 62 miles away some 70 years ago, and in which he and a few others revolted for 20 or 30 minutes. He came back because an education center is to be opened on the premises of the infamous Nazi house of human slaughter.
Samuel Willenberg came back perhaps because his daughter, Orit Willenberg-Giladi, an architect from Tel Aviv, will design the education center.
“We meet at one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world,” said Pawel Spiewak, director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, during the ceremony, during which the foundation stone for the camp was laid. Total cost: unknown. Just like the total number of Jews killed there: unknown. Life was so cheap that even the exacting Nazis couldn’t keep a precise count. A human being, if no longer of infinite worth, is easy to lose track of.
JTA reports that Shevah Weiss, a former Israeli ambassador to Poland, referred during the ceremony to the recent ban on ritual slaughter, or shechitah, in Poland. The slaughter of human beings proceeded without conscience. In Poland, it is only animals that prompt massive outcries of conscience over their slaughter.
Copyright © 2013 by the Intermountain Jewish News