Sunday, April 07, 2013

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Auschwitz Today

My daughter visited Auschwitz as part of the March of the Living about a month ago.  Here’s some of her photo’s and thoughts in (honor?) of Holocaust Hero’s and Martyr’s Day…

I am a 3rd generation Holocaust survivor.  We hear of those, soldiers or people who go through a terrible experience, who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  My grandfather survived the Kovno Ghetto, followed by Dachau.  A sister was taken away to Auschwitz, other family members killed in the Ghetto.  He survived labor camps and death camps, and built a new life in the U.S.  But the Holocaust affected how he related to his children, how he slept, even how he walked down the street. 

Some of those affects continue, pain and anxiety passed from generation to generation.  I barely knew, I barely understood, until I visited…

Auschwitz

The first thing that strikes you about Auschwitz is the size.  It’s ENORMOUS.  Full train loads of Jews arrived, were literally packed into barracks, worked to death and disposed of.  When you stand in front of it, it goes on for as far as the eye can see…

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The industrial scope is unbelievable.  Gas chambers, crematoriums, even the barracks and toilets (holes in the floor) were at industrial scale.  The gas chambers were blown up to hide evidence, and the crematoriums set on fire.  But the remains sit as a quiet testimony to the horror…

Crematoriums, all that’s left is the chimney stack, go on and on…

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Barracks.  10 men to a bunk, thousands to a room.  The holes are the “toilets”.

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Gas chambers, blown up to hide the evidence.  Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in these buildings, just another day at the office for the Nazi’s (y”s")…

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There is no way to prepare for or understand the scale, the scope, the pure industrialization of the horror. 

Though touched by the horror, and have no doubt about it – it’s part of the very fabric of the Jewish people whether we realize it or not, we marched out to carry the Jewish people forward.

Am Yisroel Chai, the Jewish people live!

2 comments:

Josh said...

Just a minor correction, the Auschwitz camp is small and adjacent to the much larger adjacent Birkenau, so it should be referred to as Auschwitz-Birkenau.

When I went to Poland, I prodded our tour guide that it seemed quite pleasant, green grass and trees. She replied that she herself had heard a survivor of the camp reply to a similar question that it wasn't like that 70 yeras ago and they would have ate any plant life if it had existed.

Cate said...

A really fascinating insight - thank you

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