The 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation

Dear Editor;

With this being the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation, I present some thoughts from 25 years ago when I was a community Remembrance Day ceremony co-organizer.

I invited Calgary’s Sidney and Bronia Cyngiser to speak; Auschwitz survivors, the Cyngisers had a far-flung speaking history to school, church, and community groups.

Mr. Cyngiser’s talk to a spellbound audience did not recount details of what and how they suffered; instead, his was a positive message. “Even though I had all the reasons in the world to be hateful and distrustful of humanity, hate and revenge was not the answer because it would never bring respect, understanding, and peace to a shattered world.” If I remained hateful, he said, I would be keeping myself locked in a concentration camp where hate would consume me.

“Instead,” he said, “despite years of having been dehumanized, degraded, and terribly mistreated, I was able to rejoin humanity, maintain a high standard of civilized behavior, and be capable of love, respect, and friendship. Despite what happened to us, we were loving and caring parents.”

In a letter to me, Mr. Cyngiser wrote: “Revenge and hatred will not produce the peace and serenity which we all strive for and deserve. This is especially so when we think of our children. The cycle of hatred has to stop sometime and it is our responsibility, in our own way, to hasten that time.”

Before driving the Cyngisers back to Calgary, Georgine and I invited them to our home where we introduced them to our children. It was a pleasant and highly significant visit—pleasant because we enjoyed their company and highly significant because Mrs. Cyngiser rolled up her blouse sleeve and showed us her Auschwitz tattoo.

David Nadeau

Three Hills, AB