To all our devoted followers I apologise for not having let people know sooner that I am at present on a European tour with my younger son, Tom.
Today I visited the scene of the most poignant symbol of the extermination of European Jewry, and many many others, Auschwitz-Birkenau. I have quite a lot to say about the way this symbol has been depoliticised, used in the service of the State - both Polish, Israeli and American - and 'inconvenient' facts omitted.
E.g. until I prised it out of the guide there was no mention of the fact that there were 5 Jewish escapees, including Rudolph Vrba. The guide stated that no-one had escaped from the inner or central sanctum of Auschwitz-Birkenau. This is of course wrong, as a cursory reference to Vrba's 'I Escaped From Auschwitz' would confirm.
But then there was nothing to be seen at the bookshops at Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau of Vrba's book. The nearest one gets is a book 'London has been informed...' by Henryk Swiebocki, in which there is a chapter of the escapees Vrba and Wetzler. Why is this? The same reason the book isn't stocked at the Washington Holocaust Museum. Vrba was an anti-Zionist, a dissident and like the Commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Marek Edelman, he was incovenient to the Zionist/American reconstruction of what the Nazi era and Auschwitz and the deportations meant.
As I'm staying in a hostel in Krakow at the moment, with no access to books, it is difficult to give a longer exposition at the moment but remained assured that when back at home..... The guides seem to read from a script since many other 'facts' they gave out are dubious at best and interlaced with a fabled Polish nationalism. One wouldn't know e.g. of the existence of anti-Semitism in the Polish Home Army and Resistance even in the war (though unlike the Zionists they fought and to their credit did their best to bring the existence of Auschwitz to world attention).
However I will leave this and much else to another blog when I return from Europe on July 24!
There are many other stories that I will be saving up and if I have time I will post them, such as the ex-Israeli General who says that Israel should behave towards the Palestinians more like the Nazis!
Again my apologies for the temporary interruption.