WARNING: This post is very different from my usual posts about parenthood and other important topics such as TV. It has nothing and, yet everything, to do with my children. When I was a senior in high school, I was privileged to go on the 1992 March of the Living trip to Poland and Israel. Since Holocaust Remembrance Day begins tonight, I have decided to share excerpts from my journal that I wrote on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) 1992. Please, feel free to skip today's post. It is hard subject to deal with. However, I feel that it is my obligation to write about it.
It is now eleven o'clock after a full day. It is hard to write now but I'm afraid that I will forget some of the things I so badly want to express.
The entire day was spent in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz has a campus feeling which disturbed me. In my mind now I picture the trees and the brick building and they seem, sick as it is to say, pretty.
The feeling of the day was disbelief. I think this is partly because Auschwitz is now a museum. Everything was behind glass. Everything was seen through the eyes of a tour guide - not my own. The numbers are unbelievably large. From 1942-1943, 1,300,000 prisoners died. This is approximately 20,000 people a day.
The March itself was delayed for quite a while. There were security concerns. That is not new on our trip through Poland but it is especially terrifying here in Auschwitz.
Once the March started, it was an amazing experience. 6,000 Jews walking together from Auschwitz to Birkenau as free people. When we arrived in Birkenau there as a long memorial service. Members of the Israeli cabinet and others spoke. 6,000 voices sang Hatikvah in Birkenau. In hell. It was an act of triumph.
We didn't have much time to look around Birkenau. We went into one barrack, however, that really upset me. This was the only building I have seen that has not been touched in fifty years. It stands exactly how it was during the War - to the nail.
All of the gas chambers and crematoria have been destroyed. The horror though is still very real. You can see where everything was. You can hear the 1 million children crying. You can hear the silence.
Shabbat in Poland is just one day away. I can not wait. After Shabbat we will leave for Israel.
I thank you for indulging me if you made it through my out of the ordinary post. One more, although a very happy one, to come tomorrow and then we will be back to the regularly scheduled nonsense of disco balls, TV and (gasp!) Pretty Princess Camp.