Some of the survivors of the concentration camps, haunted by nightmares will not talk and will not hear what had happenedthere, then. They give a start, become anxious and panic whenever they the words Mauthausen, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen orKaufering or particularly when hear the words Birkenau-Auschwitz.
As far as I am concerned, since the very first day of liberation which caught me at Landsberg in Bavaria, I felt the urge, the wish to return to Birkenau-Auschwitz and to sees as a free man the place were my youth was humiliated and trampled underfoot, were my parents, two brothers and a sister were killed, where my friends since childhood were exterminated, where hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed.
I wanted to see with my own eyes that the gas chambers were demolished, and the ovens of crematoria had been turned into museum, that the watchtowers in the corners of each camp were deserted, that the platforms which witnessed the selections for gas chambers were covered with gases, that the barbed wire which once conducted high tension current is rusted and hangs uselessly off the concrete pillars.
I felt the urge and the need to stay a few moments on the "death platform" where I had parted for good with my mother and my brothers and sister and then walk slowly by myself towards camp E. To strop in front of the "Disinfection Post" where they took away everything that reminded us our homes and we received the streaked Häftling's clothes and then stay a while on the threshold of camp E, where Then, on June 9, 1945, even our names were annulled and replaced by mere figures: "1.465". Then go and stretch out on the Appellplatz in front of barrack No. 21 look up in the sky and make sure there are no more black-bluish wreaths of smoke rising from the crematoria, make sure that everything is silent, nobody shouts and swears any more, nobody cries or whines or curses any more...
Thirteen years after my liberation, in summer 1957, that strange wish came true.
The whole camp had been turned into a huge museum. The barber-wire fence supported by high concrete pillars was still there, but in no longer conducted high-tension current. Even the plates figuring a death's head any two crossed bone reading: "Achtung! Lebensgefahr!" Attention! Danger of death! Were left untouched. The blocks were also intact only that in them there were no more Häftlings, but museum exhibits. And crematorium No. 1 which the SS-men no longer had time to demolish was all there.
Theses began to grow on the Appellplatzs, on the alleys which saw numbers of people -- parents and children, brothers and sisters, fiancées and holding their hands filled with foreboding of death and still desperately fighting them, heading for the gas chambers. Walking the camp I was seized with a feeling of anxiety that I could not explain. I calmed down only when reaching the place where once there was the political section of the SS. The only building that no longer existed, as in the stead a gallows was built to carry out the sentence of death passed at the trial of the former commander of theBirkenau-Auschwitz camp: Standartenführer-SS Rudolf Höss. The sight of the gallows and the notification near by informing of the carrying out of the death sentence reassured me.
I went then to the ruins of crematoria No 2 and 3 and I lingered there for a while, telling myself that I would never know in witch of the crematoria was killed my mother, in which of them two of my brothers and a sister had been burnt to ashes.
Walking with heavy steps and downcast eyes around the ruins, in the unusually high grass I saw several patches of barren earth, a striking contrast to the huge carpet of grass. I kneeled down and when I felt the earth a shudder crept over me, but I did not draw back my hand. My fingers kept stroking the dust: some ashes and thin splinters of human bones.
Ever since I keep asking myself and I ask you, too, my reader: If the earth, this huge globe, with its unfathomable depths, did not find, has not find sufficient powers and resources to heal its wounds, to cover with life-giving grass the Place where fascism had committed its crimes, how could my wounds heal never to bleed again?