Iris Watches The Holocaust Filmby John Grey
Iris associates black and white with pain. The past can't help itself. It's either raining or snowing. Sunlight hides, afraid of being discovered by the soldiers. There are specks on the film like grit in the memory. Her heart loses altitude at the sight of rivers, bridges, buildings, all made of shadows, half-lit by bleached flames from the ghetto. A close-up of a little girl expands her eyes to saucer size. "That could be me," whispers Iris. There are people toting baggage, prized possessions. Women wear plain dresses, babushkas. Men fill out their only coats for the last time. "My family," she says. She knows they're not but they may as well be. The SS smile for the cameras. Their shepherd dogs growl. At the railway siding, the camera cranks slow. Like a silent comedy, prisoners board train cars at a furious, inhuman pace. Iris doesn't laugh. But, then again, when does she laugh? Tracks glisten as if steel is the new flesh. Bodies squeeze together as if people are the old cattle. You were six years of age then, Iris. And you were guilty as charged.