Sunday, November 7, 2010

For Remembrance Day -- Remember


Orysia Paszczak Tracz

In addition to those war dead whose memory we honour on Remembrance Day, I wish to remember those whom very few in Canada will think of -- not the soldiers, but the ordinary people, the innocent victims of war. I was born right after the war, but my family and I still bear the scars.
On this day

- Remember those who died in the flames of their own homes, bombed by one side or the other.

- Remember those who were left hanging for days on Gestapo gallows in so many Ukrainian villages, as a reminder to others not to oppose foreign authority.

- Remember those who were herded into cattle cars from village and city markets, into forced labour, who died in German factories and railroads from Allied bombs.

- Remember those who were forced into the German army, to die in internment camps from starvation and typhoid without fighting for or against anyone.

- Remember the concentration camp inmates, not only the Jews, but the clergy, the Ukrainians, Poles, Balts, Gypsies, and the homosexuals.

- Remember those who were executed on the spot for harboring or even feeding Jews.

- Remember the political prisoners who were executed in their cells or left for dead by the retreating Soviet army.

- Remember the underground and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, who fought both the Nazis and the Soviets, with no aid from anyone else.

- Remember the refugees who died fleeing their homes, who were killed as they rode or walked the roads west -- shot down by low-flying Soviet planes who could see whom they were shooting.

- Remember those who died after being forcibly repatriated from the Displaced Persons camps to the Soviet Union -- and those who committed suicide rather than return.

- Remember those who massively deserted the Red Army, to fight for independence, who were sent to dig ditches instead, only to die in them.

- Remember the orphans, and the helpless elderly.

- Remember the babies, who died of hunger and lack of medical care. There were no doctors for the untermenschen, the "subhuman" Slavs.

- Remember the survivors, some of whom are the living dead, whose minds and emotions have departed to another time and place because of what they lived through then.

- Remember the millions -- victims of war, conquest, hunger -- who lie in unmarked graves throughout Eastern Europe, whom the West has forgotten or chooses to ignore.

- Remember, then dare look me in the eye and tell me about war crimes, collaboration, and atrocities.

- Remember, and thank God the war was not fought on North American soil.
© 1999 Orysia Tracz, Winnipeg.

I wrote this at the height of the Dechene Commission hearings in Canada --
Sol Littman, self-proclaimed Nazi hunter, had lied to the media and the Government by stating that Mengele had gotten into Canada at one point. He then proceeded to defame the Ukrainian and other Eastern European communities by practically saying there were Nazis under every bed and in every basement of these communities. Some people wanted to believe this.

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