The Saddest Irony 70 Years Later – A First-Person Account from SWC's Writer/Director & Executive Producer, Moriah Films' Richard Trank

January 28, 2015
It is the saddest irony that 70 years later, I sit in a comfortable hotel room, looking out on this amazing medieval city, when an hour away is the site of what was the most horrific killing center the world has known. Auschwitz. My grandmother, my uncle, my great aunts and great uncles, most of my father's cousins, all were murdered there.

Today was a very surreal experience to be sitting inside the pr
ess and media tent, yards away from the infamous entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the trains arrived and dropped off terrified people, forced into cattle cars, many sick and dying from the journey. And then to be separated from wives, husbands, mothers and fathers, siblings. Some going left, some directed to the right. Some for death just moments after they arrived. Others for a more protracted death, being forced to work, starving and cold. 

It's where my grandmother, Chana Trenk, was sent and most likely killed the same day she arrived from Michalovce, Slovakia. It was in a sub camp of Birkenau that my father's youngest brother, Mitsu, was killed not long before the camp was liberated. He was just a teenager. It was where all of my father's aunts and uncles, his cousins perished.

I have been to this horrible, evil place at least ten times over the years, swearing to myself I'll never come back. And then my work brings me here yet again.

Today, as Europe has erupted into a miasma of anti-Semitism, the likes of which we haven't seen in seven decades, it seems right to be here to commemorate the moment 70 years ago that Auschwitz Birkenau was liberated and to be among the dwindling number of survivors who got the best revenge against their tormentors—they survived, started or rebuilt their families and helped to create a State to ensure that this never happens again.