Monday, July 24, 2006

Some numbers

Do you ever think about the fact that 11 million people died in Nazi concentration, POW and work camps during the second world war? I do.

And that doesn't count all the people in similar institutions in Russia or in Rwanda or Cambodia or the long list of other countries where certain types of people were deemed no longer worthy of air. Darfur? Anyone keeping up with that?

I'm watching Band of Brothers again and the way the small bits of information are released throughout the series that resonate in the 9th episode where they discover a small concentration camp is, I believe, some of the series' strongest beauty.

According to my Master of All Things Trivia, MAB, there are 12 million people in New York City. Imagine walking around Times Square before the theatre, riding the subway at rush hour, standing crushed together on a bus in a rain storm. Then picture 11 twelfths of those people dead. Just gone. There are about 12 people in my office. Only one of us would remain.

It might seem like a very small town indeed.

1 comment:

  1. I've been staggered by the sheer enormity of the Holocaust again and again, particularly when I try to teach the literature of the time to students. It's very difficult to grasp, isn't it? And it's difficult for me, as a teacher and a human being, to adequately convey to my kids how important a piece of history this is, PARTICULALY in light of so much that's happening in the world.

    I had an excruciating conversation with one of my classes while we discussed the events that led to the persecution of the Jews (and everyone else who stood counter to the Third Reich's vision of the perfect society). When I told them about the slow erosion of rights and privileges, I mentioned the current event of illegal wire tapping and the concept of the slippery slope,and I was HORRIFIED at the number of kids who took no issue whatsoever with the government listening in on their conversations. "If I've done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide, I have nothing to worry about." Oh, the ignorance of youth. Do me a favor, kids - do some reading about what happens when people's rights are taken away - watch Enemy of the State, for crying out loud - then get back to me about how okay it is for the government to listen to your phone calls.