Jul 11, 2009

Getting started

So I have decided to become a blogger and to bore the world with my thoughts and reflections. To start, I tell a story about a man from Poland. When I travelled to Cracow this June, in order to teach at Jagiellonian University, he sat in my compartment, unceasingly attempting to start a conversation with me. He did not really understand that I wanted to prepare my course.
When we reached Oswiecim, he gave a deep sigh and asked me whether I knew about this place. I told him I actually did know about Auschwitz. He gave another sigh and spoke about that "catastrophe" it meant.
I uttered some words about the return of anti-semitism in our days and in Poland. He answered, that he knew about it and that he also knew the cause. I became interested. What could be the cause?
His explanation kind of struck me like lightning: in his opinion, the Jews were to blame for it.
Then, in Cracow, the center is packed with "melleks", those little electric cars to carry the tourists from sight to sight. The names of the places are written upon them. It goes like: Wawel - Ghetto - Auschwitz.
The sheet of paper that lay on my breakfast table every morning in the hotel I lived, did not only tell me about the wheather forecast and cultural events but also informed me about the cheapest ways to go to Auschwitz.
Finally, I saw that advertisment of a tourist office next to where I gave my classes. So what would Mr. Finkelstein say, the one who wrote the book "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering".

Two photographs to illustrate; this one from Kazimierz, the former Jewish Quarter (not too many of the former inhabitants left) and as a header the advertisment. Makes me sad, thoroughly sad.

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