Preface: This is not a post about movies, music, or anything of that matter. This past Saturday I walked through the infamous Auschwitz, a place I had heard so much about through literature and schooling. I felt it pertinent to reiterate this on my own blog (I also posted this on my study-abroad group’s blog website).
The morning of October 7th was a picture-perfect setting for the time and space it occupied. The clouds of grey beamed with lights of darkness, and the cool chills of the brisk, moist Polish air paved way for an eeriness that transcended its location’s horrors.
On this morning, my study-abroad comrades and I ventured an hour away; from Krakow to Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz 2: Birkenau. Yes, after years and years of hearing and learning about the Shoah through textbook and literature, I stood where unimaginable atrocities ensued.
What am I to say to that? What am I to say to that, as I comfortably sit writing, recognizing I was able to enter and leave (what about “recognizing I was able to enter and leave”?) Auschwitz? This question definitely packs an ironic punch to one’s heart. It helps formulate another question:
“Why did the Shoah happen?” or “How could God let such a tragedy occur?”
After a week of preparation and then actually walking through Auschwitz, there is only one answer that reigns true: we as the human race simply do not know. Last week, OC professor Dr. Charles Rix put it best: “There is no why.”
The “why” of this question turns more so into a “what” type of interrogative:
“Now that the Shoah is 72 years past us, what do we do about it?”
This “what” has an answer: we must bear witness. The human race, especially Christians, must never let the Shoah escape its cognitive grasp. We are a flawed people, and undoubted moments of ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’ make puppetry of humanity’s imperfection. These times seem to open the door for sadists and overall inhumane humankind.
Thus, let us lock that door forever by bearing witness to the tragedies that have come from that entrance. In World War II, the “Neu Ramp” (the name for the landing platform at Birkenau, which signified an ending of life; with its tracks leading to the front door of its infamous gas chambers.
In a post-Shoah life, we can enter the boundaries of Birkenau and see the ruins of an inhumane attempt of extermination. By bearing witness to these atrocities, we can lay down tracks that lead to a brighter and more inclusive way of life.