Johannesburg – Holocaust survivors and Russian, Israeli and Polish officials commemorated the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Wednesday.
Polish President Andrzej Duda was forthright on why memory and fidelity to truth matters.
“It is an important signal that we must always, whatever the circumstances, fulfill our duty as witnesses to memory and guardians of the truth about the Holocaust,” he said in a speech. The notorious Vlakplass is to many black South Africans what Auschwitz is to Jews around the world. The name of Eugene Alexander de Kock, South Africa’s original bogeyman, is synonymous with Vlakpass, a place of horrors where black lives were disposed with impunity and disregard. De Kock, who earned the nickname “Prime Evil” for his murderous capabilities, deserves no penny from the fiscus.
His existence has already come at a high cost for many black families – human life. He led the apartheid army’s counter- insurgency unit Koevoet in Namibia, a dirty war fought in the bush that left few prisoners.
When riots worsened in South Africa, De Kock was brought home in the 1980s to head Vlakplaas, a farm in which the security services interrogated suspects and refined their killing techniques – letter bombs, booby-trapped headphones and vehicles, and poison – which claimed the lives of countless civilians and liberation fighters.
The testimony of intelligence officials this past week that a democratic government has spent taxpayers money for the comfort of De Kock is not only repulsive, but a betrayal of the memory of freedom fighters who perished at his hands or command. This government has failed to keep fidelity to the truth of history and is actively part of sanitising the image of apartheid murderers.
The irony of betrayal is that when you are betrayed, you sometimes end up betraying yourself. This is what the ANC-led government has come to. Has the government extended the same courtesy it has shown “Prime Evil” to the families of the fallen martyrs and military veterans who continue to wallow in poverty?
Over the years, De Kock has transformed himself into someone who helped the families of his victims find elusive closure.
This sanitisation of the image of apartheid murderers should worry us all. Funding De Kock’s lifestyle not only sanitises the image of murderers but denigrates the liberation movement.
At this rate, one would not be surprised if De Kock gets a state funeral when hell’s gates are finally flung wide open for him.
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