Suddenly she was there. My stomach clenched. It couldn't be. I blinked my eyes, but the camera had panned away.
Where was Joe? Where was Joe? Where was Joe?
I couldn't take my eyes way from the bank of televisions. I heard Joe call me from the next store down in the mall. I waved frantically for him to come. I didn't look away. They were still panning over the camp. Every television was playing the same channel. There must have been twenty or thirty broadcasting. Joe rushed over, "What's wrong?"
"Watch!" I commanded trying to slow my breathing, "I saw something incredible. It may happen again, they are still panning the same area of the camp."
"You saw something incredible on the History Channel?"
"Oh my God," Joe said as the historical footage taken at the liberation of one of the Nazi Concentration Camps hit his eyes. No matter how often you see these kind of ...
"There!" I almost jumped out of my chair. "Look! LOOK!"
"Holy Shit," Joe saw her and, like me, had a visceral reaction.
Sitting atop a barrel looking back at the camera with eyes that didn't belong to her anymore was a little girl with Down Syndrome. Devastation had been wrought around her and she sits peaceably on a barrel looking directy at the camera!
Then, she was gone the programme had cut back to the talking head.
Joe is a WWII buff and we've seen practically every documentary, every movie, that had anything to do with the period. We've even read Berlin Noir - the triology of murder mysteries set in Nazi Berlin. My interest has always been more regarding the extermination of people with disabilities. What happened at Hadamar in particular and I want to one day visit the memorial there. It has always frustrated me that there is little emphasis put on the Nazi experimentation with means of mass destruction on the institutionalized disabled. The book, "By Trust Betrayed" by Hugh Gallager, stunned me with his ability to document the horrors of what happend to people with disabilities in Germany, with his ability to tell a story, and passion to get it right - this was the first book that made that history really real to me. Yet in all my readings I could not imagine a person with a disability making it to a death camp. And once there surviving it.
Who was this little girl?
Joe went into the store. They had so much merchandise that I couldn't get in. He asked if they could check to see what channel was showing the documentary, and if possible, what the name of the documentary was. They looked at him as if he had asked them to actually provide customer care, told him they didn't have time for that 'kind of nonsense' and he came out and said, "I wished it was you who'd gone in." (At times my ... umm ... personality ... really annoys Joe and at other times he likes to send me in like his own personal 'hell on wheels' to deal with snotty clerks and the like.)
"Forget the store, I'm not in a mood for a fight."
"She survived. If there is a Top Ten list for miracles, this would be near the top. I've got a glow on."
But now we're home and now it the next morning, I feeling refreshed because I went to bed early. Joe, though, stayed up and watched Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil which started at 8 and went on to 10:30. I didn't think the television broadcasted that late!
This all leads up to ... DOES ANYONE KNOW THE NAME OF THAT DOCUMENTARY!?! I'd really like to track it down.
She made it.
But, what happened next?