Journal
JWE 03 - 23 - 2010

Day 70 Today was Auschwitz day. No one that I've talked to has been looking forward to this day. I think its an experience that should be had by anyone fortunate enough to visit Poland, but we all kind of expected to be pretty upset by the end of it. It was intense, but I really wasn't as shook up as i thought i would be after walking out of there. At the same time, I donít think I said more than about five words the entire time we were on site (probably only to point out to a fellow student that the chemical they used to kill thousands of people in the gas chambers was called "giftgas"). That gave me the chills. It was a pretty humbling experience, and definitely made me both sad and angry at times, as I walked through this place where so much hatred and suffering took place. I actually teared up a little bit when we were walking through the inside of the gas chamber. Walking into the building, I remember looking up at the beautiful blue sky above me and wondering how many people walked into this very room for the last time under a similar sky. It made me wonder what that would be like and as much as I felt bad for those people, I felt worse for those whos' last sky was dark and dreary. I'm just glad to be able to walk out of a place like that when so many others before me only went in. The killing wall was also very depressing. It was eerie standing in front of the wall where people were shot down after they disrobed before going out to meet their deaths naked and cold. There was luggage from a one year old boy that was exterminated named Jacob and block eleven was the one that had the prison underneath it.. my number is eleven on this trip, so both of those were eerie. I'm sure that many of those people were just like me. None of them deserved that fate but thatís what fate handed them. It makes me appreciate the time Iíve spent on this earth without being oppressed the way they were and helps me to live gratefully with any more time Iím given. My night ended on the last sleeper train of the trip. It was bitter sweet but a lot of fun, as we have all come together as a group very well by this point. We had six people to one room that was slightly bigger than a closet. I slept on a really thin bed, sheetless with a square pillow and a rusty hook sticking out of the wall on my left side, as we traveled along probably the same railway tracks people were transported into Auschwitz on. Even with the less than advantageous room and sleeping conditions, todayís activities have left me feeling perfectly happy and content with my situation. I have nothing to complain about.

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