“All that we can do is just survive.All that we can do to help ourselves
Is stay alive…”
These are the opening lines of the song “Red Sector A” by Canadian Rock band ‘Rush’. I am not exactly a fan of the band, there are only a few of their songs I like and Red Sector A is not one of them.Then why do a blog on the song?
It is only by chance, I was doing research on survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Gary Lee Weinrib aka Geddy Lee is the lead vocalist of the band Rush, His parents were Jewish Holocaust survivors from Poland who had survived the ghetto in their hometown Starachowice, followed by their imprisonments at Dachau and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, during the Holocaust. They were about 13 years old when they were initially imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp, close to the same age as Anne Frank at that time.“It was kind of surreal pre-teen shit,” says Lee, describing how his father bribed guards to bring his mother shoes. After a period, his mother was transferred to Bergen-Belsen and his father to Dachau. When the war ended after the Allies liberated the camps, his father set out in search of his mother and found her at a displaced persons camp. They married there and eventually emigrated to Canada.
“Red Sector A” provides a first-person account of a nameless protagonist living in an unspecified prison camp setting. “Red Sector A” first appeared on the band’s 1984 album “Grace Under Pressure”.
Though “Red Sector A,” like much of the album from which it comes, is set in a bleak, apocalyptic future, “the psychology” of the song comes directly from a story Geddy Lee’s mother told him about the day she was liberated.
“She didn’t believe [liberation] was possible. She didn’t believe that if there was a society outside the camp how they could allow this to exist, so she believed society was done in.”This is something I can fully understand because it is question that haunts me,leave alone those who survived it.
Lee did co-write the song with other members of Rush,Neil Pearl and Alex Lifeson.
Someone remarked this week about Holocaust stories”will you ever give it a rest” I will give it a rest when it is no longer relevant, and that will be never. This song even indicates that it was not only the victims that were affected it is also their children,grand children and later generations. Aside from that this dark era in mankind’s history must never be forgotten because it can so easily happen again and it can become indeed a bleak, apocalyptic future as in the song Red Sector A.
Needless to say the song has now become one of my favourites.
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