This Year In Auschwitz
It is hard to imagine leaving Egypt for the Wilderness...
...and it turns out we've left Vienna for Poland?
And then our first stop is Auschwitz!
Auschwitz-Birkenau thoughts--impossible to be more comprehensive here--it's overwhelmingly sad:
- The Poles established the museum/memorial at Auschwitz-Birkenau shortly after the end of the war. It's all much bigger than we imagined it and though the original stenches are long gone, near the crematoria at Birkenau, there was some sort of fowl odor.
- We visited under a gray sky, with rain and chill wind blowing. That people survived at all seems miraculous.
- Not surprisingly, there were several reminders that Poles died there first, that Poles also had numbers tattooed on their arms (maybe even more than Jews), that Poles fought against the Nazis from the beginning and even some in Oswiecim.
- I [Mark] have often said in the past five to ten years that, however irreverent it may seem, (like Picasso (sp?) and his "blue period"?) "I've had my 'holocaust period'." More recently I've said that every Jewish teenager should have a week of Sho'a Nightmares. I had a night of them a week earlier in Villach. Nonetheless, upon entering the gates at Birkenau I was overcome, my body halted, I felt chocked up, overwhelmed by the enormity of what had occurred here.
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