Telling it as it was

MANCUNIAN Ike Alterman, as reported elsewhere in this week’s edition, has just returned to Poland 80 years after his parents and brother met their fate at Treblinka, the infamous Nazi concentration camp. He was able to recite Kaddish on the site where they were murdered. No-one reading his searing words can fail to be moved by the raw emotions he expresses. Even seeing those words in print can scarcely capture the horrific nightmare he must have relived. The last time he saw his family was eight decades ago, just before Yom Kippur, being led away at gunpoint, by Nazi soldiers, to their deaths.

Tragically, Ike’s experience was not unique, six million Jews suffering the same fate as his own family members.

Those who read his chilling memories and reaction to being, for the first time, at the very place which marks his family’s final resting places, cannot but be deeply affected. Most Jewish Telegraph readers do not need reminding about Nazi atrocities, or having reinforced the number who perished in the Holocaust. It is not they who require any proof or confirmation. There are still those who seek to deny the Holocaust or, at least, dispute the number of Jews who were murdered. Holocaust denial is a crime. There are few survivors remaining to tell it as it was, but while there are, those guilty of Holocaust denial should, as part of their punishment, be forced to listen in person to the testimony of incredibly strong and courageous people like Ike Alterman. Only such powerful words that conjur up unspeakable images, can go any way to countering the despicable untruths that continue to be perpetrated by some.

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