The Ordinariness of Auschwitz

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This is the fourth week of the month. For Reflections Off the Bimah, the fourth week features thought leaders from throughout the Jewish world and beyond. These special posts give you the opportunity to consider important opinions you may not readily encounter. As yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I share this blog by Alex Benjamin published in “The Times of Israel.”  Benjamin is the director of EIPA, a multi-disciplined pro-Israel advocacy group based in Brussels, with offices in Paris and Berlin.

Posted by Rabbi Greg Harris

1 comment

I’m a benefit of the doubt sort of person, so I’ll only say that the idea behind this article – that ordinary life, including down to the lives of household pets, goes on right next to atrocities – seems very similar to the idea expressed in W. H. Auden’s “Musee des Beaux Arts,” and it’s probably just a coincidence. From the poem:

“About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
. . .
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.”

I look forward to the author’s next blog post about how he heard the news of our airstrike that took out Soulemani while he was sitting in a bar in NYC and a low dishonest decade of appeasing the Iranians came to an end.

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