In 2003, after Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby’s father died, Jeff related a story to Jay Nordlinger, who wrote about it in his Impromptus column (NRO).
You can read Jay Nordlinger’s full write-up here.
(Jeff ) and his dad (Mark) had taken a trip to Auschwitz together. His dad had been there before. Mark Jacoby was the only member of his family to get out of Auschwitz alive. In a speech, Jeff spoke of the trip that he took with his dad. I (Jay) will excerpt it now, as I did back in 2003:
When we were in Auschwitz — in the huge section called Birkenau, the part of the camp where the trains pulled in, where the selection took place, where the gas was — my dad and I saw a large group of Israeli students. They had come on some kind of school program, and as we walked along a path near the crematoria, these Israeli kids overtook us. Like school groups everywhere, they were loud and boisterous, joking and laughing with each other.
I can’t tell you how offended I was. “Shut up!” I wanted to tell them. “Have some decency! You’re in Auschwitz. This is the biggest Jewish graveyard on earth. Don’t you realize how many people were murdered here? How many Jews died just for being Jews? You’re laughing here? In Auschwitz?”
And then, suddenly, I had a change of heart. And I said to my father: “Who do you think would be more appalled to know that all these Jewish kids are running around and laughing in this place — your mother? Or Adolf Eichmann? Who would be more revolted? Who would feel more defeated?”