The State of Things: Germany, 1942

On January 20, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich presented to Hitler “the final solution to the Jewish problem.”
As his plan of forced ghettoization of hundreds
of
thousands—
millions—
of Jews
crumbled into a heap of dysentery and disease and depleted resources,
he led the charge in developing mass killings
watching as they modeled it after carbon monoxide poisoning in cars,
silent
and dutiful soldiers turning the keys.

On January 20, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich presented to Hitler “the final solution to the Jewish problem,”
and opened the first Nazi death camp at Chelmno
(Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek, Auschwitz-Birkenau)
packing his animals onto trains like cattle
and into chambers like sardines
and then cooking them.

The smell, they say, was other worldly
and crept each day and each night into the households of the German people.
The clouds of smoke, they say, rose high into the heavens,
(but only if you believe in that kind of thing.)
And everywhere you could see, they said, there was the evidence:
The teeth, the bones, the lampshades of skin and the cushion stuffings of hair.

But all anyone could really talk about in Germany, 1942,
was how damn quiet it was.