Tuesday, January 27, 2015

on holocaust memorial day

auschwitz concentration camp

It's now six months since I visited Auschwitz. Today marks the day of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, 70 years later. Mankind has sadly learnt very little since. And I really don't have the words to describe how both physically and emotionally exhausting the six hours long tour through the hell that Auschwitz was. I can only say that it should be an obligatory visit for everyone. Followed by a long hard think about how we treat our fellow earthlings and our daily choices.

auschwitz concentration camp

I wrote this piece as a part of my storytelling course last autumn. It reflects my feelings and thoughts, at least in parts, from that day -

"On a scorchingly hot summer day we visit the concentration camp Auschwitz, Oświęcim, outside Krakow, Poland. Just reading the first information signs outside the entrance building I can’t stop my tears from falling. This is truly one hell on earth and yet it looks like a Hollywood movie set. From the ”Arbeit macht free”sign over the entrance gate to being completely exhausted both mentally and physically after this six hours long tour, this is a surreal day.

Under the hot sun, were green lawns, trees and birdsong blend with dirt roads, brick buildings with a history of unspeakable violence and pain, barbed wire and warning signs I experience one of the most important and heartbreaking days of my life. And I only visit the horror briefly, I didn’t live it over 50 years ago. Visiting a place that so blatantly show the darkest, most despicable nature of mankind tears keep trickling down my face behind my sunglasses.

The tour clearly shows that humans haven’t learnt much from such horror. We still lack so much compassion, treat some fellow humans as second class citizens. And most of all we treat fellow earthlings, other sentient beings as consumables. In the very same way as the nazis did the prisoners in Auschwitz.

We use and abuse animals as mere things for entertainment, experimentation, food and wearables. Just like women and girls in Auschwitz other sentient beings like cows and pigs are subject to rape, insemination and other cruelty. Babies torn from their mothers, sent to their deaths. No compassion, only the sense of entitlement. In laboratories and zoos earthlings are subjected to pain and suffering for the sake of human greed and entertainment. For millions of animals all over the world every day is concentration camp.

To quote Tolstoy – ”As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields”. 

Violence breeds violence. Love and compassion is always the answer."

And yes, of course I cry as I write this and look back at the pictures. The unspeakable cruelty and entitlement lives on in other shapes and situations, all over the world, every day. Still.

auschwitz concentration camp

auschwitz concentration camp

auschwitz concentration camp

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

We are appallingly slow learners aren't we?

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