by Morris Nadjar, Brandeis University
When I think about both the once shiny and now rusty metals at the Auschwitz Death Camp, I think about the stories they would be able to tell in the darkest time of the 20th century.
More specifically, I think to the millions of lifeless bodies in the Holocaust. From the tiniest foot of an infant, to the most elderly, death did not discriminate.
Imagine the stories that could be told from the metal that witnessed:
The digging of nails into the cell walls from zyklon B running through the metal pipes to meet the very crowded room beneath,
The metal trigger that was pulled that lodged a metal bullet to end a premature life,
A metal sword that caught infants as part of a sick game,
The millions of shovels that hit dirt or snow to bury friends and family,
The opening and closing of metal ovens to cremate raw flesh, dead or alive,
The opening and closing sounds of the metal bars that sealed doom within the box carts,
The metal barb that conducted electricity to siege it’s prisoners through their time in hell; witnessing their prisoners whither everyday,
The metal iron cross that sat proudly on the Nazi officer’s uniform as he broke every code of humanity,
The metal experimental chairs that doctor Mengele used to take the lives of countless unborn infants, born infants, and their mothers,
The sound of Hitler’s voice throughout the war period through the metal radios in German homes and Nazi vehicles,
The very car that Hitler rode in on his way to deliver hate to his followers, screaming “Heil Hitler” as they praised and hailed their new life in a very morally demented society.
The metal shavers that were the last to have touched the scalps of millions of women before their end on this Earth,
The countless sewing machines containing the fresh sweat of broken spirits,
The metal wagons that transported over and over and over again, the lifeless bodies and materials alike throughout the ghetto,
The screeching of the heavy box cart wheels as they came to halt with the men, women, and children now lifeless inside,
The metal revolver on the gun now pushing the next bullet forward to punish one last time, the back-broken laborers for an attempted escape,
The turning of gears as the doors to the gas chambers were sealed with victims feigned with showering.
Imagine the kind of screams, mourning, and murder that these pieces of metal observed. Just as frequency doesn’t disappear, neither will the screams and torture of the 6 million. These pieces of metal pledge the most vocal of any testimony.