Part of me is happy Linzi wasn’t here with me in Poland for this trip. Today we visited Auschwitz. It was emotional. It was eye-opening. It was heavy.
I don’t think she could’ve handled it emotionally. She was such a compassionate and loving woman. The pictures of the victims made her look extremely healthy by comparison.
Auschwitz was a mixture of emotions. I found myself in awe of the magnitude of this tremendous event and the true scope of it all. It’s hard to fathom something you’ve only read about it in books. Seeing it in person perhaps isn’t even enough to let it sink in.
There were three times I was caught off-guard, dumbfounded, and with no response other than to let fall the tears down my cheeks with futile attempts to suppress them.
I walked past the pile of prosthetics of disabled veterans, killed by the very country they’d fought for years prior in World War I.
I remember walking past the pile of suitcases and bags, packed by unsuspecting multitudes of people who were told to pack for new settlement, paradise even, via propoganda. I noticed their names were written upon them, along with some letters and various numbers. What they stood for, I could not be sure, but one thing it reminded me of that I often forget when reading about these events:
They had names.
All of them. To me or anyone really they were strangers…but to someone, they were a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a relative, a close friend, a confidante. They had names.
Then I walked through a barracks designed to house children. I observed the sickening paintings that covered the two middle walls, an attempt to make the barracks look cheerful, happy. I tried to imagine Lila being there. I couldn’t.
Perhaps it’s the parent in me, but I couldn’t imagine the parents who would never see their children again and vice versa. Even if you were to survive…life could just never be normal again after such a tragedy.
It makes me want to say a great many things concerning racism, bigotry, and any other sort of hatred or propoganda we find ourselves experiencing at present.
Perhaps moreso, however, it makes me think about time. How precious it is. How we shouldn’t waste a single moment. How love should be the forefront of everything we say and do.
I’d like to say I spent my time wisely with Linzi while she was here. I think I did, but like anyone else I’ve had my moments of doubt. Perhaps it’s all just foolish thinking…but I don’t think so.