Arbeit macht frei ~ You are not forgotten...

I went to bed the other night restless, tossing & turning about how to share what is heavy in my mind...I've thought about sharing these words & these pictures for days now...I've debated whether or not it was even something to share on Happy Soul Project...I mean, what I'm about to show you isn't something you have a Facebook Album for...It is not cute, nor funny & it definitely won't make you happy...


But I came to the conclusion that regardless of all that, it is important...So important...It is a moment in history & not too many people will get the insightful opportunity like I did...So please be warned that the pictures are graphic, the story is tragic & it all may leave your heart a bit heavy...

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While in Prague on our honeymoon, Craig and I decided to take history, however horrific, into our own hands...And while it obviously wasn't a typical, romantic-honeymoonish-type thing to do, it is something that will always stay with us...



We met a little Jewish lady whose parents died in Terezin at a Jewish Concentration Camp...She shared with us their story & thousands of others with such deep tragedy, compassion & heart...It was a tour I will never be able to get out of my mind...



We went with her to one of the largest concentration camps in the Czech Republic...



We walked the grounds that were converted into a Jewish ghetto during occupation in World War II...






We saw the gas chambers where thousands upon thousands appallingly died...And a crematory where everything was eerily burned away...





We saw pictures that were sacredly preserved, that scared little children drew depicting their hardships...


We even saw an empty swimming pool, that was used as a fight till death arena of sorts...




We walked under the same archway Jewish men, woman & children did while they were worked to near death. The entrance to Auschwitz has the same words & seeing this really shook me up...The little Jewish lady told us the German phrase Arbeit macht frie meant "Work will set you free"...




And we saw a memorial that seemed to never stop, honouring all those who lost their life in this unbelievable time in history...






Being there you could almost feel, breath, touch the history in the walls, the graves & the hidden prayer rooms...



The whole experience was heartbreaking...Writing this post, reliving what I was feeling, seeing these pictures again is hard...Can you even begin to imagine for a moment, what these people went through?  Put the death piece aside for a minute and just think of the excruciating pain as a mumma, of getting your child/baby ripped out of your arms and not knowing if/when you will ever see them again...That alone tears me up...



But it was when we saw the medical room where doctors "experimented" on people that I really lost it...The unfortunate people happened to be pregnant woman, twins, those who were disabled or had physical abnormalities and those who had DOWN SYNDROME....At the time I obviously found it horrifying but now the thought of my Pip being subject to something so inhumane, simply because of who she is, rocks me to the core...Makes me question humanity because I simply can not understand how one human can do this to another... 





The little Jewish lady who lost her parents, told us the Holocaust in a way, is becoming a "forgotten" past because a lot of concentration camps in Europe have been swept away- Gone- Forgotten- Like this whole crazy, horrific, thing never happened...But it did and as disturbing as it is to look at these pictures, to walk where this tragedy unfolded, it is important...It shouldn't be a forgotten thing..


While I realize not a lot of people will get the opportunity or have the desire to go to a concentration camp, I was so moved by the spirit left behind I needed to share this with you all...I needed to do my part in "not forgetting"...


And as devastating as it was to see the disturbing things it was beautiful to see the strength and faith these people had...



You are not forgotten...

10 comments:

  1. Beautifully done. Very difficult subject. I'm a Christian with enough Jewish ancestry to have qualified me for those camps, had I been in that place at that time. And now I'm a mother to a beautiful little girl with DS, and the thought of what those monsters would have done to her is far more disturbing than I can bear. I don't know how those camps were allowed to have been created, where were the people to question this and stop that madness? A horrible chapter in the history of the world.

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  2. Anonymous14.11.13

    thank you for remembering. for doing something that was hard. your heart is a good heart. trust it and keep writing.

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  3. Anonymous14.11.13

    You write beautifully, even when talking about a subject that is so heart wrenching. It has always been difficult hearing of the atrocities of the WWII and the concentration camps, but when you mentioned the medical room where individuals were experiemented on just because they were who they were hit hard. My daughter also has Down syndrome and I could not imagine anyone ripping her from my arms. And, I hope these camps, while difficult to see, are never lost. You can only imagine the individuals here in America that don't believe this ever occurred. -Stephanie

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  4. Anonymous14.11.13

    Thank you for sharing your experience. My daughter, who has Down Syndrome, is 18. We love her to the moon and back and more. It is beyone belief that this happened in our really not to distant history, when put into perspective. We visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, last July. We were there for four hours. I was so emotionally drained at the end. It captures who the people were, families like ours, working people, like us, children, babies, and the horrific deaths they all suffered in the concentration camps. We must never forget!

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  5. Anonymous14.11.13

    Thank you for posting this. I have an aunt (she has passed away now) who was in one of Hitler's concentration camps. She told horrifying stories of the things that happened there. Her stories changed me forever. I don't know that I would have the strength to visit a concentration camp knowing what my Aunty Ann suffered there. Very sobering. And I will never understand why there was so much cruelty. So unnecessary!

    Shari

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  6. I have had the opportunity to go to several concentration camps, and it never gets easier. Often, I find that there are simply not words to do the experience justice - you've done a great job. It terrifies me to think that there are people who still claim that the Holocaust never happened, and to think about the level of antisemitism and hate that still exists in today's world.

    Thank you for sharing this.

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  7. This is very important. Thank you.

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  8. I am currently reading Jodi Picoult's novel "The Storyteller". Your pictures are in my mind as I read it. How totally horrifying that time must have been for so many innocent people. Thank You for sharing. Jill

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  9. We too, visited a concentration camp, one of the lesser known ones, Natzweiler-Struthof, which now is just inside the French border and was the camp referred to in the book "The Reader". Anyone doubting that this horrific time in our history actually occurred need simply visit this place. After all these years you can still feel it in the air. Just standing there, not moving, without anyone explaining what happened and describing the atrocities, you can feel the pain that lives there still. My youngest son was 10 when we were there, unaware until that day's history lesson of what had happened there, and he could feel it. None of us will forget.

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  10. Anonymous27.1.15

    Thank you. I am Jewish and I have a daughter with a rare disorder. We cannot forget!

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