Today I also went to Auschwitz. I am kind of at a loss on what to say about it.
One thing I didn’t know was that it is actually a series of camps. We went to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II, but there is a third that was basically lost.
It’s hard for me to grasp my experience there. When I try to really imagine what happened my mind closes. I may need to walk away from this post.
I am not sure if I should write about the history and leave it at the facts. Or if I should write about my feelings behind it.
We are all humans, and I am not sure what makes anyone feel like they can decide that a certain race is subhuman, 3/5ths of a person, or savages. So I am trying to judge it by the experience of those who lived it as opposed to bringing up every atrocity that man has subject other man to. It’s hard! It’s sobering.
Again, my mind wants to block it out. We saw exhibits of people’s hair that had been shaved. It was used to make products in Germany. Some of the hair was certainly children’s hair. We saw the shoes that belonged to people. We saw luggage that had people’s names and their date of births.
It was totally mind boggling to see a map that showed the many places the people came from to be sent to their death. There were photos of people that showed where they came from, their birth dates, how they died (firing squad, gas chamber, hanging). There were two twin girls who died within two days of each other. You could see when they were deported and when they died. Some died in a day some months.
The camp was mostly Jews, but also gypsies, Polish people, homosexuals, POWs. It is believed that 1.1M people were killed, and what for? For being Jewish? For being gay? For being a gypsy?
It was so weird to walk into a gas chamber and then into a crematory knowing that people had died their in masses. The wash rooms and toilets were not sanitary. People had to use them in masses and many suffered from stomach problems like diarrhea. And they had to sleep together. There were these standing punishment cells that held four to five people. People were in there over night and expected to still work their 11 hour work days or labor.
People were used as scientific experiments all in the name of creating this perfect, dominant race while an “undesirable” race was exterminated. What the What?! Who determines that a race is “undesirable.”
And what of the people who helped or the soldiers who worked there. Yes, you are following “orders” but don’t we know right from wrong? If faced with the same situation would I be silent or would I go with the flow. It’s hard to fathom how many turned a blind eye to this. If faced with the actions of evil what do we do? Are we silent to mistreatment around us? Probably, but we comfort ourselves by saying but nothing to this magnitude.
Okay. I am starting to ramble, but it was an experience I won’t soon forget.
On a lighter note, the county side was beautiful. The fall is very beautiful here!