Chocolate and Hugs
I’m not talking about all that sappy romantic Valentine’s Day stuff. This is much more important.
Last night, I happened to catch a CNN special about survivors of Auschwitz. One of the interviews was with a now 80 year old woman who survived the medical tests performed by the Nazis. Specifically, this woman was a twin. She and her twin sister were taken from their mother. Then, the horrific tests began; measuring and comparing, measuring and comparing, measuring and comparing…every part of her body to that of her sister, then those results compared to those of other twins. These girls were only 10 at the time.
Since this is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the interviews turned to the day that the allied troops came into the camp. This woman, now in her twilight years, remembers so fondly how the Americans brought them chocolate and hugs. In her words, “Chocolate and hugs were our first taste of freedom.”
That chocolate had to be incredible, don’t ya think? I mean, concentration camps were famous for serving hot water with a few vegetables in it. This was called soup. There was never enough and the soup was, for all intents and purposes, just watery slop. To go from soup and a heel of bread to the deliciousness that is chocolate? Can you even imagine?
Still, I’ve gotta think those hugs were a lot more important than the chocolate. For children snatched away from their parents and tortured, what must that first hug have felt like? An embrace from God? Or, would the children have shrunk away into the backdrop, not ready to trust adults in uniforms? Hugs seem to be the universal language of affection.
There have been studies done about the time a hug should last to promote the flow of oxytocin into the blood stream. Can you imagine the warm embrace of someone you’ve never met? What if that someone came as a liberator from a corrupt torture system? It’s something I don’t think many of us can imagine. When it comes to the holocaust, I don’t even want to imagine it. Still, I think it’s best if we look back on this tragic time in global history to recognize just how far we human beings got off track…and remember…so this kind of thing never happens again.