Thursday, 24 January 2008

A different kind of crime

Yesterday, on the spur of the moment, a colleague at work suggested that we take half an hour to visit Liverpool Town Hall – a stone’s throw from our office – and have a look at an exhibition relating to Holocaust Memorial Day. So I went along, and I was very glad I did.

The exhibition is called RESPECTacles. It’s a quite extraordinary work of art consisting of innumerable pairs of second hand spectacles (some donated by celebrities ranging from Elton John to Ronnie Corbett, to say nothing of Tony Blair) and it’s inspired by photographic images taken during the Holocaust. I found the record of the Nazis’ terrible crimes very moving – as much so as when I visited Anne Frank’s house nearly twenty years ago, and that’s saying something.

The setting for the exhibition is utterly magnificent. The Town Hall is impressive externally, but even better on the inside. Yet although I pass it every day, I’d only ever been inside the Town Hall once before. This too gave me pause for thought. It’s so easy to take things for granted – to assume that ‘we’ll get round to them sooner or later’. And sometimes we never get round to it.

Since Christmas I’ve been labouring over the tedious task of proof-checking, hating the unpleasant weather and the traffic queues on the motorway, reading tedious financial documents, and sometimes feeling fed up. The January blues, and I suppose plenty of other people succumb to them. But seeing those dreadful photographs of the gas chambers at Auschwitz and learning about the lives of people who were sent there, never to return, made me realise how absurd it is not to appreciate to the full all life’s pleasures while one can. I knew that already, but it did no harm to have such a poignant reminder of a fundamental truth.

2 comments:

crimeficreader said...

I recommend a visit to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. It serves as a reminder of the extent man's inhumanity to man can reach; but also the power of the human spirit. How there can be any deniers of this, with so much evidence present in that one museum, is beyond me.

Ali Karim said...

"The January blues, and I suppose plenty of other people succumb to them. But seeing those dreadful photographs of the gas chambers at Auschwitz and learning about the lives of people who were sent there, never to return, made me realise how absurd it is not to appreciate to the full all life’s pleasures while one can"

Kind of puts ones own blues into context - I too find humanity at the extremes a cause for real concern - mans inhumanity to man is unsurpassed.

Ali