A fellow expat who lives in the Netherlands has a mighty blog. Whilst I don’t read it as often as I’d like, I find it incredibly refreshing and equally real.
She recently visited Poland, making that most gruesome of all journeys to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Rather than simply share the link to her latest entry, I’m posting it here. I hope this gives it more weight than a mere shared link will. Because it is truly something that should be read slowly and carefully. And, perhaps as many times as can be stomached.
On most days, I believe in our collective ability as a species to do good. To extend kindness to those in need. To rise above whatever challenges we face as individuals and as members of various groups and demonstrate that we are not monsters. But, history reminds us of how truly awful we can be. And, we mustn’t forget. We absolutely positively mustn’t allow ourselves to fall prey to fear and hate and difference and commit the most vile offences we can commit against one another ever again.
Thank you, Farrah, for bearing witness. I don’t know how you wrote this piece, but I’m glad you did. Words fail me, so I’ll simply borrow from you…
The following stats are taken directly from her piece and taken from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial:
Note: The following facts are taken directly from The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Guidebook that I purchased on site in Auschwitz and from the placards outside of the respective blocks. I have photographs of the plackards where I took this information.
Auschwitz was the largest Nazi German concentration camp and death camp. In the years 1940-1945, the Nazis deported at least 1, 300,000 people to Auschwitz:
- 1, 100,000 Jews
- 140,000-150,000 Poles
- 23,000 Roma (Gypsies)
- 15,000 Soviet POWs
- 25,000 prisoners from other ethnic groups
1,100,000 of these people died in Auschwitz, approximately 90% of the victims were Jews. The SS murdered the majority of them in the gas chambers.
Thank you so much for the kind words. And you’re right- sometimes words are all we have. I still can’t wrap my head around it, and I know that whatever I could ever do would never be enough. How can it? I just gotta raise my people in this world to be good and help others- I can’t think of anything else.
I’ve read your post three times today to go along with the two times I read it yesterday evening. If your words have this effect on me, I can’t imagine what going and seeing it first hand feels like. You’re doing an awesome job, Farrah, both in raising your little people and in sharing your experiences with those elsewhere. Thank you.