Day 13: I spent the whole day at Auschwitz. I felt numb as I stood in line. It was only after I walked through the gates reading the infamous lines of “arbeit macht frei” that I could feel the uneasiness settling in. Through each exhibit, the weight on my chest started to compound. I had heard about the shoes, and hair on display, but even then, I could feel my heart pounding as I walked into each subsequent room. Despite the anticipation, I was taken aback by the sheer volume of belongings of the prisoners that was uncovered, and left on display. There were just so many shoes, many of which were from children.
Children often draw whatever comes to mind, such as dinosaurs, and cats. An artist traced some of the prisoners’ drawings to share what children had in mind. Not only were there drawings of people being hung, but there were also drawings of homes being destroyed, and the arrival of trains filled with more prisoners. These children were bereft of their innocence and their childhood, and it made my heart ache.
It’s difficult to imagine what the prisoners had to experience, but the displayed items, and explanations help paint a clearer picture. It’s so difficult to comprehend the events that had happened here.
It was such a beautiful day. It was 35C, the wind was blowing, and you can hear the rustling of leaves because of how quiet everyone visiting was. The peacefulness, and silence of the present was just so strongly juxtaposed by the content within the confines of the camp. It is extremely difficult to articulate the thoughts and feelings that I was experiencing. To truly understand, you have to be here yourself.
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