Dzien Dobry from Polska!
We arrived this weekend and are finally at our destination for most of the summer. Before making our way here we spent a couple days in Krakow to learn a bit about Polish history and culture.
The first place we experienced was Auschwitz. We visited both camps (I did not know before this that there were more than one) and saw the barracks, prison, death wall, and the gas showers.
We saw the camp, that is now so full of beauty with flowers, trees, and sunshine. It was such a surreal experience. It was quite emotional to be mourning over so much death, destruction, and darkness in one place and then looking out a window to such peaceful scenery.
Learning about the Holocaust in school could not have prepared me in anyway to actually see where and the magnitude of people had died. Not by bodies, but by their few left possessions. We saw hundreds of glasses and baby shoes. I saw a room filled with 2 tons of women’s hair the Nazi’s then made into cloth to sell. I saw hundreds of suitcases with names on them. Each on representing a family, a life.
The worst part was learning about how methodical, logical, and calculating the Nazi’s were to “exterminate” people. They held conferences to find faster, easier, calmer ways of killing people. They would keep the prisoners as calm as possible by telling them they were getting showers. So naturally they had to split up by gender, and keep mothers with their children. Then the Nazi’s took them to the “showers” and had conversations about jobs and skills the people had, the Nazi’s would tell the people how needed they were at the camp and that they could be helpful to the community. All the while knowing they were sending them to their death. Sending people in with thoughts of excitement of being clean and hope of maybe starting a new life. Incredibly cruel.
This whole trip, while sad, heavy, and dark, was such an amazing trip. Sometimes it takes seeing things and touching things to understand the depth of an issue. I am very thankful for the experience to groan under the weight of such a history. To see how this affected Poland in a major way and formed a major part of its history.
The darkness in this country is everywhere. There is no light. There is no hope. Except for a select few. A few candles in the darkness trying to lead others and show them the way.
“The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again.” -George Santayana
Please pray for Poland and its darkness. Please Pray for Europe and that more light would come to this forgotten continent.
Much love. Much grace.