Ora 25 / La Vingt-Cinquième Heure / The 25th Hour
These books by Constantin Virgil Gheorghiu, a Romanian writer who would be ordained a priest of the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1963, always impressed me.
I was still in Military College when I bought them in 1969.
Many, many years ago!
It is not my intention to describe both novels, but they constitute a poignant testimony of the suffering mankind went through in the agony of World War II.
In spite of that, or maybe because of that, the message of Virgil Gheorghiu is full of love and hope in the human race. Somehow, the sun manages to shine through all the reigning darkness, a little flame shines among all death and desperation.
The Twenty-Fifth Hour, was published in 1949. The scars could just barely be healed!
In 1967, a film based on the book was produced by Carlo Ponti and directed by Henri Verneuil. The film starred Anthony Quinn and Serge Reggiani on the main roles.
Mr. Gheorghiu died in Paris in 1992. May he rest in peace. He deserves it!
Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp in occupied Poland, built by the Warsaw - Bialystok railway line, receiving transports from July 1942.
Treblinka I was a forced labour camp in support of Treblinka II, the death camp. The incoming deportation trains generally consisted of 50-60 cattle wagons containing six to seven thousand people in total. It is estimated that a minimum of 800,000 Jews lost their lives in Treblinka.
In the first months of 1943 a resistance group was organized, finally leading to an uprise in August 1943. Of the 200 inmates who managed to break out, only about 60 were alive at the end of the war and could tell the world about the nightmare of Treblinka.
For over forty years now, every once in a while I pick up these books and re-read them. I am always shocked by how filthy and guilty we can be for such horrible crimes.
Shame on mankind! Shame on us!