Truth, Justice, and the Twilight Zone

“You walk into this room at your own risk–because it leads to the future. Not a future that will be, but one that might be. This is not a new world. It is simply an extension of what began in the old one. 

“It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. . . . It has one iron rule. Logic is an enemy and truth is a menace.” Rod Serling, The Obsolete Man

It’s one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.

The story centers around a librarian (Burgess Meredith) named Wordsworth. Since books and religious faith have been outlawed, the librarian faces execution. He has become obsolete.

Before he dies, he finds a way to teach the world. He shows them that humans cannot violate each other without violating themselves.

He reads his illegal Bible. He asserts that there is a God. He has peace even in the face of death. The one who condemned him dies pleading and begging. It is the second man who has become obsolete. Continue reading “Truth, Justice, and the Twilight Zone”

Elie Wiesel: Remembering horror in order to end it

Whether you return from war or elsewhere
when it’s an elsewhere
unimaginable to others
it is hard to come back.  Delbo, 256
I was a new teacher when I pulled Night off a bookshelf in my classroom.  It’s Elie Wiesel’s account of his concentration camp experiences as a teenager during the Holocaust. When I’d finished, it took me three days to feel normal again.
Years later, I had to read the book again in preparation for a grad level course in Holocaust Literature–a class I had accidentally signed into. After all, who would sign up for Holocaust Literature on purpose? Holocaust Literature would be depressing.
By the time I realized what I’d done, it was too late. The only other class that would fit my degree would have been filled by then. So I bought my own copy of Night and girded my heart.
The professor said the book would prepare us for the class. It did. The teacher was a Jewish woman. Her mother had survived Auschwitz. All she taught became so real. Continue reading “Elie Wiesel: Remembering horror in order to end it”

What Happens When the Incomprehensible Happens

In Elie Wiesel’s Night, a supposed madman comes to a Jewish community and tells the people that the Nazis are systematically killing Jews. The people’s reaction? Denial. Disbelief. Utter disbelief.
It is not until they arrive at Auschwitz that they understand that the “madman” spoke only truth. They hadn’t believed him because what was happening was incomprehensible.
It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around what happened in the Holocaust. It’s also hard to wrap our minds around child sex abuse. Continue reading “What Happens When the Incomprehensible Happens”

Civility: The First Step Toward Love

David Tuck was a Jewish boy in Poland when the Nazis invaded his homeland. He moved to the Lodz Ghetto and sandwiched two years in Auschwitz between other camps before American soldiers liberated him.
David survived five and a half years of Nazi occupation. He somehow convinced his captors that he was 15, not 10, and that he was a mechanic. He could speak German and got to work in an office where he could dig through the trash “like an animal” to retrieve his German coworker’s discarded food. Continue reading “Civility: The First Step Toward Love”