This goes way beyond "what I don't get". Somebody help me out here.
Tonight, I was perusing the news online (which I realize was my first mistake) and I found an article on Obama's planned visit to Buchenwald tomorrow. It drew my attention because its title claimed that survivors of Buchenwald consider Obama "family". This made me curious.
I have long been a big fan (not the right word at all, but it will have to do) of Holocaust literature, movies, documentaries. It's the legacy thing, the never again thing, the obligation, the learning from historical atrocity, the inspiration of people who lived, prayed, loved through that and managed to piece together a life when it was over, as if such things were ever over.
It turns out that Obama's great-uncle helped liberate a sub-camp of Buchenwald while fighting in World War II. My dad did that (different camp), so I understand the power of the images, the memory, the witnessing. I get that.
But then I kept reading. Perhaps you clicked on the link to the article. Maybe you read the whole thing. And maybe, just maybe, you stopped, frozen in your tracks, at the same point in the article as I did. But just in case you missed it, here it is:
"Every building in the Buchenwald complex radiates death, suffering and evil....In the crematorium, where tens of thousands of bodies were burned, the ovens have been restored and are fully functional."
Could someone, anyone, please explain to me what possible reason under the sun there could be for restoring Nazi crematorium ovens to be "fully functional"?
Please tell me this is sloppy reporting. Or a poor choice of words. Or a misunderstanding. Or a typo.