Georgie Couldn’t Go Through the Door
“What is going to happen to me?”
That grey spring day, touring the camp, General George Patton strode forward–as always, forward– towards the door of the lab where Nazi doctors tortured to death children in bizarre experiments: Poles, Russians, Serbs, Jews, children of German political prisoners. He reached the door, put his hand on the doorknob but stood frozen.
Patton had seen mangled little casualties of war, smelled their death stench before, but this was different. Suddenly he was rushing down a waterfall of disgust, splashing into a nausea whirlpool. The question he knew the children asked became his, the savage fact that no one had to train the doctors to do unspeakable acts. It was already inside them, like it was already inside the Japanese doing the same atrocities to Chinese children in Manchuria, like it was already inside the British fiends dropping experimental firebombs on the tens of thousands of civilians huddled in Dresden, just like the American black magic warlocks hidden in the New Mexico mountains were this minute casting spells to create some kind of push-button doomsday.
Long ago he fought down with fanatical tenacity his fear of death in combat as he fought down his learning disability as a boy, but his sickness at facing this uniquely concentrated cruelty he could not overcome. So many times reading history Patton emphatically believed he had lived many ancient soldiers’ lives so strong his empathy. Now he became the child led to this torture chamber, and he could not open the door.
“Send in the son-of-a-bitching krauts from the town to clean it up,” he said to his aide after he turned and walked away. “Make that bastard-Burgomaster and his wife go in first,” he added. Patton ordered so it was done.
The Burgomaster and his wife committed suicide soon after.
This is a strong piece and works through the horror with a measured cadence. A reminder that we, humans, hold each other in very little regard, but when faced with what we have done, condoned and been a part of our consciences cannot take the weight of what has passed. Nothing can be hidden; we have a tendency to keep souvenirs and records which eventually condemn us.
Yes, the souvenirs and records expose the guilty eventually. Thanks for the comment Bhi.