How would you interpret this version of “I will survive” ?

I don’t normally do politics or religion on this blog, partly because I want this blog to be a happy place and partly because I have some fairly radical views on things that will likely upset people. However, on this occasion I’m dipping my toe in the water because I feel there is a message worth spreading.
Check this out…

There are two further videos in the series…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_Np3aZh6sU which, I must say, does nothing for me and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpfID7pLe7M where one gets to the truth behind the old man’s feelings.
An Australian newspaper article highlights some of the controversy surrounding these videos but here I will give my own personal take on it.

Given the criticisms expressed by some in the article, do you see anyone (metaphorically) holding a gun to the old boy’s head in the videos and making him dance ?
To me … No.
Do you see an old, frail gentleman trying his best to join in with the dancing and the spirit in which it is intended ?
To me …Yes.
Do you think the first video in some way belittles the events that took place during the holocaust ?
To me … No, because that is not the point of the video nor the message it seeks to put across.
I am sure there are those who would take one look at it and throw their arms up in horror and disgust (as is their right), but there is a deeper meaning to it.
In the YouTube comments relating to the third of these videos there is a reply to a comment which reads, @—– It seems you don’t understand. The only reason he’s laughing is because you can’t cry all the time.
And that is the point !
I’m not Jewish, but neither am I anti-semitic. I have my own views on Israel, its government etc., which I will keep to myself, but I also have views on the rights of the generation that lived through those times to remember, and to cope, in their own way; and that goes for those on the Allied side, the former Nazis, and all those who were persecuted.
From them, and only from them, can we learn.
I wish I had had a video camera with me when I took my old man to France to see the remains of the “Mulberry Harbour” at Arromanches. He separated from us for a little while and went to stand by one of the telescopes looking out across the water. There were tears in his eyes, but they weren’t all tears of sadness.
He had never left the British Isles before that trip, even during the war, but he had been one of those assigned the task of procuring masses of component parts for the construction of the Mulberry Harbour, although at the time he had no idea what the things were going to be used for. Now, here he was surveying the remnants of his labour, alone with his thoughts and his memories of those times.
Who were we to dictate to him how he should react ?
He was elated that he had been given the chance to see the site; something he admitted that he had never thought in his wildest dreams that he would ever do. (Indeed, until that day we had no knowledge of his involvement in the procurement process).
He was, no doubt, sad too… possibly thinking of various pilots whose planes he had fitted with radios but who had not returned from various missions; sad for the terrible losses incurred (on all sides) during those hellish times.
Did he dance a little jig along the seafront ? No, that wasn’t his style. But he did have an air of happiness about him that day. He was visibly lifted by the knowledge (…hope …belief ? ) that those days were gone, and that the world now knew better than to allow such things to happen again.
Had he met a German veteran on that day I am certain, from what I know of him, that he would have embraced him like a long lost friend. My Dad’s hatred never extended beyond Adolf himself; to him everyone else was simply “obeying orders”, which made them a good soldier. That soldier may have been part of an opposing army, but that was no reason to dislike or disrespect the man.
As far as the video of Adolk and his grandchildren is concerned I subscribe to the description of the video as stated on YouTube…

This dance is a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit and a celebration of life.

Despite the systematic brutality and cruelty endured, we have still survived.

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5 Responses to “How would you interpret this version of “I will survive” ?”

  1. Eideard Says:

    My [late] closest friend and I went through something similar a number of times. We traveled abroad a number of times over the years – many times to Europe.

    He was the most decorated soldier from our home state – during WW2 – and had 16 months in hospital after the war to reflect upon how the world got to that level of pain and despair.

    Of several events, I remember being in Switzerland when his eye lit upon a German of his age riding in a telepherique with us to a mountain top. Clyde picked out that even in civilian dress, the way he slung his binoculars, he resembled nothing so much as a tank commander.

    And Clyde in his fey fashion began to whistle what was the marching song of the Panzers.

    The German almost swallowed his binoculars. He turned to us – and he and Clyde immediately engaged each other in German. Turned out they probably faced each other somewhere in the Netherlands after Normandy.

    It ended with tearful hugs and many wishes for such crimes and stupidity never to be repeated.

    • honorarynewfie Says:

      And so it should end.
      I like “that level of pain and despair”, such a good way of putting things.
      Thanks for the story Edward.

  2. Kikipotamus the Hobo Says:

    Oh, I got here too late. The video is no longer viewable.

    • honorarynewfie Says:

      Hi Kelly,
      Oh, that’s a surprise. Thanks for the heads up.
      Have found another version which should hold up long enough for you to watch it.

  3. Kikipotamus the Hobo Says:

    Tom, I totally agree with you that nobody –fellow survivors or others–can dictate to a survivor how to behave or react or process emotions. I especially appreciated video #3 in which you do indeed get a better idea of the old guy’s feelings. Had anyone told him that he would one day be back there with his grandchildren, he would have thought them crazy. First, there’s the miracle of his survival. Second, there’s the miracle of not just surviving, but of going on to have grandchildren. Then there’s the miracle of having the type of lifestyle that he went on to have for himself…one in which one comes to Auschwitz with grown grandchildren to educate, to remember, and yes–to celebrate life.


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