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Terezin fortress
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The following manuscript was written by Hanus Pollak at the Terezin concentration camp in 1944. We were saving it to run in July, but now, with the insane killing going on in Syria, rapes and displacement all over religious and race, we decided to run it now. I can not read it without choking up and shedding a tear...It was recovered "July 4 1950"...

"The war is now over, a war that has silenced millions of hearts, that has broken three quarters of our number. Millions have fallen, millions with a smile on their faces, beneath a tattered flag, a tin cross of courage. Millions of brave and tired hearts have stopped beating, hearts that had always beat honestly.

But the crosses, the crosses will silence those millions of hearts. The crosses that dirty and besmirch their graves were forged by false and deceiving hands, hands that bathed in milk while they bathed the bodies and hearts of others in blood. Now the war is over, only a quarter of us are left. Of the others, crosses alone mark their memory. Only now do we see what crosses and banners mean. What of those silent rigid, crosses now? What of those blood-stained banners?

Now, after the war, even to lament all this wickedness is already balm to our wounds. The sky is blue and the sun is shining, yet in the distance, far away, a small dark cloud has drawn up. This little cloud means war in the distance, a cloud that that would overshadow the whole sky, that would destroy millions. This little cloud calls for utter destruction, calls for those who can hear it to destroy, to set the firmament ablaze.

Inmate artwork from TerezinInmate artwork from Terezin

We, the old ones, are worn out, no longer of any use. It is up to you, and you alone, to make the sport of crosses unfashionable. You are the last bastion in the struggle. You must fight to bury all crosses deep in the earth. He who cannot do without crosses is a weakling. Let him stay at home.

But it is not only your task to fight without crosses. That is only one small step toward driving that cloud away. It is your task to rid the world of the tempest of war, to build a dam to hold back the old and evil world, a huge dam that can not be swept away. You must form your ranks under one flag, the best, that will lead you forward to victory, and then plant that flag on the pinnacle of that dam!

May your flag not be a mere rag. Let it be your shield, a shield of justice, truth and love. You must not hide behind this shield. The shield must not weaken your conscience. Let the shield be only the symbol of your striving, striving toward the birth of a new life..."

These words that come to us, as it were, from the other side of the grave, were written in the late summer of 1944, just before the liquidation transports to Auschwitz, where Hanus Pollak clearly perished .This is how the young author foresaw his fate and that of his comrades. But all his longing is fully directed toward to the future. I add these words, directed to people like you and I...

You can join the struggle to make the sport of crosses unfashionable and to help build that dam to hold back the tempest of war, and help to keep the sky blue forever. One day we might all stand together and plant our flag of Truth Justice and Love on the pinnacle of that dam under a flag that is not a mere rag and only then will we be certain that the universe will continue to unfold as it should for our children's children and then our brief lives will not have been in vain... -Peacemaker

PS: Hanus was just a child.

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