Six million Jews, 2 million Romany people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexuals were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust.
The United Nations has designated 27th January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the date of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945.
One who died there was celebrated author, Irene Nemirovsky, who fled the 1917 revolution in Russia to become resident in Paris.
Tragically, when Germany invaded France in 1940, she was among the many Jews arrested by French collaborators and sent to the death camps.
The manuscript of her final work, the unfinished Suite Francaise, was rescued by her elder daughter, Denise, who kept it for fifty years without reading it, thinking it a journal of her mother's which would be too painful to read.
In the late 1990s,
however, when donating her mother's papers to a French
archive, she decided to examine the notebook first. Upon discovering
what it contained, she instead had it published in France, where it
became a best seller. It has since been translated into 38 languages.
In Memory Of Irene Nemerovsky
Prodded, harried, without hope,
she gathered items in a case,
essentials that might see her through
this ordeal: spectacles, soap,
fresh underwear, a blouse or two,
a photo of a cherished face.
The books she wrote, to great acclaim,
would speak for her. She was resigned:
a helpless rabbit in a snare.
Her children, elsewhere, played a game,
all innocence and unaware.
Her door was left ajar behind.
Then hurriedly and under guard,
she trod in step with others who,
each with a fever-yellow star,
were herded to a station yard
to ride a fetid railway car
to Auschwitz in the morning dew.