Though this paper had a few punctuation problems, I made a B+ on it and this is a sophmore level class.
The Irony of Liberation
When the liberators came, they came with hope of eliminating the torture and inhumanity the Nazi Germans were imposing on the Jews. Men and women came with the hope of releasing victims from the evil claw that had grasped Jews for so long. Some liberators came with the idea that the Jews would be given a new life, a life of freedom. However, freedom was far from what Jews were given after liberation. To the many Jews, who stood on the other side of the barbed wire fence, liberation was not a time to celebrate. Yet, it was a time to try to pick up what particles of life that remained. As Lucille Eichengreen explains in her testimonial story of liberation day, liberation was not about freedom.
It was expected that there would be casualties of war. U.S and Russian army men had seen victims of war before, RO and nothing could be shocking. Or could it? As army men approached the barbed wire fences, many gasped in horror, turned their heads, and some men became sick. With their fingers ringed tightly around metal threads, Jewish souls stood, gazing at young healthy men. Empty eyes gazed back at these young and healthy bodies, bodies that were an inadvertent insult to the half-living. Time was motionless at one moment, and fast-forwarded the next. After all that had happened, were these victims really free? Was it a time to celebrate? Where would they go now? Who would take them? Much less, who would believe that such inhumanity happened? The looks received by nurses were not looks that showed sympathy, nor compassion, but instead offered back the images of Nazi ideology; the idea that Jews were filthy, weak and feeble people. And they were, but not by their own free will.
Though color seemed to be restored as liberators approached, it also brought back the color of emotions. For so long, Jews had numbed themselves to the atrocities they faced each day. Being free now meant looking for remnants of life. For many, liberation was simply a reminder of all that was lost. Eichengreen explains, Despite our liberation, I was totally without hope (340).
There were those who thought of their loved ones who fell victim to the wrath of Hitlers final solution. While others, especially children wondered who would care for them. Many felt guilty that they survived and their friends and family did not. For many, liberation was not an immediate invitation to a new life. Recalling liberation day, Eichgreen says, I had dreamed of a great party, with fanfare, music, dancing and fireworks. There was, however, only renewed sorrow for the dead and little hope for the living(342).
Those who found the strength to journey back home were hit even harder by former neighbors. As former Jewish residents came home, many were told to leave, despite the liberation. There were also those less fortunate, who had no home to return to, known as Displaced Persons. Along with the displaced persons, lived Nazi sympathizers, who routinely practiced anti-Semitic behaviors. So again, the question arises: Were the Jews really liberated?
Though all may have seemed lost, one must keep in mind that the Jews are survivors. And survive is what they did. Just shortly after liberation, Jewish strangers were marrying, children were born and life prevailed. Though Jewish people will never be liberated from the nightmares of Hitlers reign, perhaps the ability to replenish life through new birth, will.
Images from The Holocaust: A Literature Anthology
Jean E. Brown, Elainw C. Stephens, Janet E. Rubin