A strange early Tale of the Holocaust:
The jews started collecting “Survivor tales” very shortly after the war ended. I call them the “Early tales.” Most of the Early tales were told in the first decade following the war. There was a dearth of new tales until the TV mini-series “Holocaust” in 1970 shook loose a few holdouts, who came forth with stories, but the real start of the “Modern tales” was Shindler’s list,in 1992. Following the release of that movie, hundreds of “Survivors” surfaced with tales they said they had been keeping secret for half a century.
The Modern tales are the most exciting tales, since they incorporate many of the scenes of the TV series and the movies. Although the modern tales are much more entertaining, with goolie-gnashing dogs, people hiding in privy sub-basements and eating out of their poop bowls, the early tales have much to teach us.
Nathan Finkel told his tale to Professor David Boder in 1946. Nathan lived in Eastern Poland when the war started, but he fled to Western Poland to get away from the Russians. In Western Poland the Germans started persecuting the jews. Within six months after the war started, all the jews had been taken to work camps. All except for 17,000 who were marched out of town and shot and buried in a mass grave. Nathan said the Ukrainians did all the dirty work. No survivors of the shootings have come forth, which tells us something of the comparative efficacy of a bullet to the brain, as opposed to gassing with insecticide.
Nathan and his brother were taken to the Gross Rosen camp, where they were subjected to holocausting by work. Nathan had to work the entire duration of the war, first in Gross Rosen, then in Buchenwald.
Nathan says the food was bad and the work was hard, but he said nothing of SS men beating babies brains out, catching them on the tips of their bayonets, or siccing gonad-biting dogs on the jews.
In fact, Nathan comes awfully close to outright “Holocaust denial,” in telling the professor about the college he was then attending---this is a verbatim quote:http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=...lay=finkelN_en“Maybe all my suspiciousness, but since I know that there are Ukrainians here, that there are Lithuanians here. They were our killers, because the Germans didn't kill us, but only the Ukrainians and the Lithuanians, and all.”
This man spent the entire war in German camps, and saw NO jews killed by the Germans! If Nathan told his tale in Germany today, he could face several years in a German prison.
Unlike modern Tales of the Holocaust, Nathan’s story contains no blatant obvious lies or physical impossibilities. Not once does he make his German captors appear to be inhuman ghouls, or himself a super-hero whose survival was “A miracle.’
In fact, Nathan’s tale sounds like the tale of someone who spent 5 years as an internee in a forced labor camp. The Holocaust Museum would never send David to tell his tale to school children.
The tales have come a long way in recent years, as we shall see.