The Devil’s Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen was a book recommended to me recently by a friend. The title both put me off and intrigued me. I’m not a huge fan of math nor of the Devil, to be quite frank. When I was struggling with geometry in high school, I would have assumed both were from Hell. But after learning Yolen’s novel was a fictional, time travel piece about the Holocaust, I decided to give it a go.
After all, I want to visit Auschwitz one day. The Devil’s Arithmetic was a way to do this from my living room couch.
Continue reading “A Brief Book Review: The Devil’s Arithmetic”
Some of my personal interests are crime, psychology and history. These areas of study often intersect as humans tend to kill one another, often times over differences they can’t or won’t remedy. The Holocaust is a prime example of this trifecta intersection. From 1933-1945 roughly, the Holocaust was carried out by Adolf Hitler and his Nazis with great detail and intentionality. The Germans were very well organized and kept paperwork and records on everything they did, including in each death camp.
I started learning about the Holocaust around 8th grade, or around 13 years of age. Even now, when I see pictures and footage of Auschwitz, I feel confused. Surely, this wide brick gateway with the glass lookout tower wasn’t so bad, was it? It looks like an airport tower, or even an entrance to a theme park. Everything appears so orderly and ordinary, if a little old and European looking. I expect Hell on earth–flames shooting out of the gate, the Devil walking around on the railroad tracks, bloodstains on the fences, anything really.
How could evil look like so ordinary, so efficient? Where were the flashing lights, the warning signals or other clues? No. There was just brick, mortar, glass and railroad ties at the entrance. And something else I learned recently—Auschwitz is massive. The immensity of the death camp be seen in the BBC drone footage here.
The evil was in the ordinary.
Continue reading “Thoughts on Auschwitz & The Appearance of Evil”