An eerie feeling descends upon us as we step through the gates of the camp, home to the ghosts of a past that we ought never forget to remember.
Auschwitz-Birkenau. The search for perfection brought humanity to this place. It was here that human beings who were deemed imperfect turned to ash. They too had tread on these rails. For many it was to be their final walk.
1,471,595 people – men, women and children – took their last breath at the end of the line.
We tiptoe in their footsteps, humbled.
I do not want to think of perfection. Not today. We are – all of us – imperfect. Our flaws make us who we are. They do not make us undeserving of a chance at life. There were those who though differently. There are those who still do.
No. I do not want to think of perfection today.
I had the privilege of knowing a Ukrainian lady who lived through Auschwitz. She was in that line but got pulled out to be a slave in a German household.
Its amazing what we as humans can justify doing to each other.
It is. I’m afraid many would rather forget, and in view of the rise of the far right throughout Europe of late it would seem that many have forgotten. And yet – how could anyone ever wish for a repeat of this?
I don’t think anyone wishes it to happen, most just don’t look very far down the road ahead.
I’m curious tho, which far right regimes are you referring to?
(No disrespect, just wondering.)
No offence taken. I was thinking with horror about the increasing popularity across Europe of parties such as French National Front and the Dutch Freedom party, the Danish People’s party, the Finns party and the Flemish Vlaams Belang, neo-Nazi parties such as Golden Dawn in Greece, the BNP in the UK – the list goes on.
It started in the same way with the Nazi party in Germany: people were upset because of the dire economic situation and the far right offered a solution. I regard any party that has “National” in its title with suspicion (although I imagine there are those who have that label and do not belong to the far right). Still…
We must have read different history books, so I’m going to have to do some digging. What I thought I remembered was that the Nazi party rose from marxist roots. That would make it the far left. Communism is the same. I agree that to strong a sense of nationalism can blind a society. That was what caused the people of Germany to put up with a marxist/unknown party takeover-they desired to see Germany returned to the glory of its former days, under dictators.
I guess I’ll just have to do a little more digging.
As to the current parties you mention, unfortunately I’m not familiar with them.
Please understand, I’m not trying to pick a fight, I just want to understand better.
My apologies, I wasn’t going to allow myself to get too political in commenting on others posts.
If you feel the need to delete this I understand.
The loss of life at Auschwitz was truly tragic. I am with you in wanting to insure that it never happens again.
That picture is taken in a place I have always wanted to go. The history of the Holocaust and the many lives that were lost because of it has always struck a chord with me. No one is perfect and to classify oneself as perfect, is treading on dangerous ground.
It is a place filled with sadness – we spent the whole day walking around the camp, revisiting what we knew already, learning more. Such horrors. There was a room filled with the shoes of those who have given their lives in that place. There was one in particular – could’ve fit in the palm of my hand. I stared it for a very long time, numbed by the pain of that lost soul – one amongst so many – who never got to grow up, to fall in love, have a family, build a life. There is much sorrow in that place, but you should visit when you get the chance. Whatever you see in movies, whatever you read in books, nothing compares to being there. The scale is unimaginable.
What a lovely thought to keep in mind.
They deserve to be remembered, and although we cannot change the past, in remembering we may be able to ensure that nothing of the kind happens again in the future.
Yes, I remember. My mother has stories and experiences.
My heart goes out to her. That this could happen – it is beyond human comprehension. I know that survivors have an ambivalent relationship with the place. Some return every year and speak to visitors – living witnesses to what went on. Others have never returned. They wanted to move on, they could never forget, but they did not wish to allow that place to define their entire existence. I empathise with both. Thank you for sharing that, Erik.
No, she would never go back. When they bought their house, my mother wouldn’t step foot in it until my dad removed the fireplace. On the Fourth of July, she has to put in earplugs for the fireworks, or she has such anxiety. And she has stories about rats in a bombed building that she cowered in as a little girl in the basement. It is heart breaking. The fear still festers inside her.
Erik… if there was anything I could say. In times like this, words are not enough.
Eloquently, poignantly said, Vic…lovely.
Thank you, Lee-Anne. Every picture comes with its own story. How many boys have walked down that path, just like the little boy I captured. How many of them got the chance to leave?
How devastating that such a place of beauty can hold such horror.
Beyond words. I was going to write much more for this post, but could not go on. So much sadness. Thank you for your comment, Suzy.
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Vic, you pay tribute in your own way in this post, for which I commend you.
My tribute awaits my second book.
Thank you, navigator, and all the best with your work.
Thank you, Vic. Unless I am very much mistaken, my books may well have a similar degree of influence as did the concept of heliocentricity.
I’m assuming that you are aware of how popular that notion was with the powers that be at the time. 2014 is going to be an interesting year.
It can take decades, centuries even to be able to evaluate the influence of a book, so who knows? Here is to an interesting year.
We can never forget Viki.
The problem with our world is this prevalent short memory many of it’s leaders choose to have. We will never forget.
Thank you, Dotta. I actually got an attempt at trolling on this post. Like I said, there are still those out there who would deny others the right to a life. Unbelievable. Hope you are well. I’ve been working on my suggestion sheet over the weekends, hope to be able to send it to you come Sunday – fingers crossed x
Unbelievable Viki,you must be exhausted with all the travelling. I look forward to getting it 🙂
It does take its toll. Will do my best, Dotta x
Very powerful. I cannot imagine what it would be like to visit.
I did not realise until I was there how vast the camp was. It was a very moving experience and one I will not soon forget. Thank you, Aussa.
this is really moving…
Thank you, dragonscaleclippings. x
It’s like I can hear the cries of the lost in the distance. My heart feels like it is being tugged.
The echoes are still there… Thank you, Frances.
Another brilliant post Ms Briggs.
Thank you, Sean. It was a strange contrast between the greenness of the place, almost serene, and the harrowing past it holds suspended in time.
I sat in the friends hospital room as she lay dying, holding her mother’s hand, in all the years that I had known Bubbie Genia she had never spoken of her time at this horrible place. But as her daughter lay dying she spoke about her parents and siblings all who had perished there and life was something we should always cherish no matter the pain and hate should never be tolerated, everyone must speak up.
Thank you for speaking up.
What a moving story. Thank you for sharing it. Wise words.
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