In St. Anna am Aigen there is a small area named „Hölle,“ German for „hell.“ It’s a lonesome spot and only one single family had lived there aside from the other villages. Their house was named „Höllprassl“. When I was a child, I never thought about the special name of that region, situated nearby a strictly- monitored border, which was not easy to cross. After many years, I learned that the temperature in that valley is so high because the sun is burning there like hell. During World War II, the area earned its name in another way. The area known as „Holle“ actually became hell for many people. We know that on the very spot there was a camp for Jewish forced laborers and many of them were shot. You cannot imagine that deep suffering. The elderly people in our region report that the earth upon the mass graves still moved after a few days. A veritable hell.
A few years ago I met a man, who came back to St. Anna am Aigen. His name is Sandor Vandor. He’s one of the few who survived that horrible inferno. Sandor Vandor says that he is alive because local people gave him food. And he reports on that spot where the sun was shining so intensely, „I’ve never seen the sun“. That’s how dismal that place had become for him. Now that man comes back to the place of former atrocities to say thank you to the people who saved his life. Sandor Vandor became a sun himself, who gives us light and warmth and thus placably enlightens the dark side of our history.