I ran across one today that I just can’t shake. Even after decades of reading about the Holocaust I still find pictures that simply horrify me in ways that defy explanation. The suffering displayed by the victims. The inhuman cruelty shown by the Nazis. Even the evil of the photographer who felt that the event should be preserved like a trophy by snapping the photograph. It’s as if the whole picture is a portal into Hell.
But here I am seven decades and an ocean away from the act, stunned with impotent rage. Even though I want to crawl through the picture and rip the Nazi apart with my own hands and stop the horror, there’s nothing I can do. The suffering is over. The Nazis in front of the camera and behind it most likely long dead like their victims. Yet the moment has been captured and lives on in the photograph.
The photograph reminds me that while the term is thrown about loosely today, and is often used against those who suffered it themselves, there is only one Holocaust – one true Sho’ah.