Where are we going? Where are they taking us?
To the land of Pitchipoi.
When we leave, it’s still dark, when we arrive, it’s already dark
It’s the land of smoke and screams
Why did our mothers leave us?
Who will give us water for death. (Elsa Morante, History, Turin 1974, p. 145)
... not even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious. (Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History, Thesis n. 6)
Stars and triangles, symbols and colours, sewn onto ragged striped pyjamas. Women, men and children transformed into anonymous objects, stücken, pieces to be placed on the shelves of the dead at Auschwitz Birkenau, Mauthasen and Treblinka.
These triangles and stars do not appear in black and white, thus not as part of past history, but as a coloured patchwork of contemporary memory. Today, from the offices of power, we are told that in order to protect our mothers and our swollen bellies we must “apply to immigrants the same methods used by the SS: punish ten for every wrong done to one of our citizens”, and that “there was something good even in the most drastic measures taken under Nazi Fascism”.
Thus, perhaps, in the end it is we who are the “Land of Smoke and Screams”.