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Poland (Auschwitz): The Holocaust

Today I visited the Holocaust's most notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jews, Sinti and Roma, Homosexuals, handicapped individuals, and political prisoners were killed, more than the causalities of the UK and US combined. Stepping foot on the soil where millions took their last breath created such a somber atmosphere. No one was talking when I arrived. People were quiet and attentive to all of the information being presented. No one showed any sign of jubilance. This was a place of remembrance. I had the privilege to meet with some of the staff and directors of the memorial/museum. After a long conversation about the history of this site and talking a little about my project, I asked one question:

“Could you imagine someone or a group of people throwing a celebration or wedding on these grounds?” They looked at me in shock.

“No of course not. Why would someone do something like that? Not even the racists would come to these grounds to disrespect it. Why do you ask?”

I replied, “In the US people still have weddings and celebrations on plantations, the very ground that my ancestors were beaten, raped, tortured, and forced to work until death. People still don Confederate flags on their shirts, cars, homes, and we still have hundreds of Confederate memorials throughout our country, despite them being the losing side of our civil war who fought to maintain slavery and white supremacy.”

They looked at me and laughed, not in a sense of belittling me, but in astonishment, that a country could allow such actions to happen that disrespected its own citizens. I didn't know whether to laugh with them or burst into tears. I was so shaken that I couldn't process the rest of the memorial. All I could think about was what it would take for people in the US to treat plantations and largely slavery as grave as they do the Holocaust.

Fun facts:

  1. The US has more Holocaust Memorials than Germany and Israel, and are the 3rd largest nationality, behind Poland and the UK, to visit Auschwitz.

  2. Congress allocates $5 million to Holocaust Survivors every year living within the US.

  3. Israel is the “largest recipient of U.S. Foreign Assistance since WWII.”

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