Dancing at Auschwitz

The notation at YouTube reads:

On a recent trip to Europe, a family of three generations (a Holocaust survivor, his daughter and his grandchildren) dance to Gloria Gaynor’s pop song – ‘I Will Survive’ at concentration camps and memorials throughout Europe.

This clip was first edited with the help of my friend Pisithpong Siraphisit who runs Compeung Art Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand. This dance is a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit and a celebration of life. Despite the systematic brutality and cruelty endured, we have still survived.

At first I thought: no; this is not solemn enough for a place of unimaginable horror and inhumanity.

Then I thought: This man survived it. He sort of owns all of it. He can do what he wants. But is this encouraging people to take things too lightly?

Then I concluded: We are watching the disease of Anti-Semitism, upon which these places were built, again fester in Europe, and the “global community” can barely be bothered to notice. The age is so bathed in irony that almost nothing is taken seriously; the people can’t pull themselves away from their gadgets…so why not? Why not launch a big, dancing middle finger directed toward the agents of apathy and malevolence, who thoughtlessly spout their hate, or who simply can’t be bothered speaking against it.

“I survived, baby! You did your worst, and now I dance on your historical dustbins. And I’ll dance again!”

Go for it, sir!

Related: Sigh

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://cleansingfiredor.com/ Nerina

    @maria horvath,

    I noticed that liturgical sounding music at the end, too. That’s what made the whole thing so poignant for me. Then there was the voice over of the grandfather saying, “If you would have told me I would be here 63 years later with my kids, I would say, what you talking about?”

  • MB

    I think the hands across the knee stuff was one of the steps of the Charleston – how wonderful that he brought up from the depths of his memory, a dance that was popular when he was young and carefree. The whole thing brought me to tears.

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  • regina

    “Let our tears be turned into dancing, for the Lord the light of our life, has turned the night into day”. I think that was from one of the songs on the ten worst list but at any rate-we saw this psalm played out in front of our eyes! How true those psalms are and how powerful to see it in flesh and blood-God has blessed that family. What a joy to see.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    TO LIFE. I showed U.S. Army films of the liberated concentration camps to my history classes. I am retired now. How I would love to have had this video to close the WWII unit on.

  • Sandra

    It’s been taken down, complaints about the use of the melody I am sure, but I did see it else where…

    If I were there I would have joined in the dancing, L’Chaim!

    Actually, the “L’Chaim! To Life!” song and dance number from Fiddler on the Roof seems also appropriate too!

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