Sunday, April 18, 2010

ashes to ashes

The world was moved this week by the images of thousands of mourners in Warsaw, who had gathered to pay homage to those who lost their lives in a tragic presidential plane crash, that took place in Russia last Saturday.

As the names of those who perished were read out one by one, and as their faces were shown on the wall of remembrance erected in their honour, I could not help thinking of the many who had been buried in Polish soil, with much less ceremony.

The billowing clouds of volcanic ash that have shrouded Europe this past week, are for me a strange and ironic reminder of the Warsaw Ghetto, and of Auschwitz-Birkenau. How long I wondered, would it take to show the faces, and read the names of the millions that died there.

There are of course, many memorials to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust but few can be as poignant, as the one in the forests of Plunge, a small town in Lithuania.
Jacob Bunka, who is the last remaining Jew in the little town, carved these beautiful works out of cedar wood, in memory of the many thousands of his community who were murdered there during the Holocaust.

Of the almost 2300 Jews who remained in Plunge after 1941, only 6 survived.

In the quiet of the forest, with the dappled light and bird song, they are a glorious testimony to the human spirit...

xxx elle

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