At the end of the conference, Prof. Levy still had a couple more days to explore other parts of Germany. Instead, he would travel to Poland to visit the death camps in Auschwitz where his grandparents were incarcerated. After visiting a first generation gas chamber in Auschwitz I, he would proceed to visit Auschwitz II where the annihilation program was perfected to accommodate daily arrival of thousands of new victims at the peak of atrocities. He was walking along the old train track leading to the disembark platform for the victims. The sky was overcast with dark clouds though no rain was in forecast. It was as if even the nature remained shameful after witnessing the horror taken place here! Prof. Levy was still searching for an answer to the inquiry circulating inside his brain, when he accidentally bumped into an elderly gentleman walking in front him along the same track. He apologized profusely. The gentleman accepted his apology, while introducing himself as Nikolai Yvchenko from Ukraine.
Both of them would join walking together. Prof. Levy would inquire whether any of Mr. Yvchenko’s relatives was murdered there! He responded “I’m here to show respect to the victims of this genocide from a descendant of victims from a different genocide.” Mr. Yvchenko then inquired whether Prof. Levy ever heard the word “Holodomor”. He went on to explain that in Ukraine it meant “to kill by starvation”. It was a man-made famine by the order of Soviet-dictator Stalin. Several millions died when their food was confiscated by force to export. Later, documents would show that there was a comprehensive and systematic plan to annihilate a segment of Soviet-Ukrainians thought to be obstacle to Stalin’s totalitarian rule. His own parents would perish leaving him behind. And all these happened in a short period of 1932-33.
Prof. Levy looked at overcast sky. Finally, he found a probable answer to his curiosity. Suddenly, the events of Charlottesville in US from past year juxtaposed with images of current right-wing extremism in Europe began to flash inside his brain. A chill flew down his spine.