“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” – Elie Wiesel

By in Holocaust, Human Rights, Uncategorized

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This photo is of Okopowa Street in Warsaw, Poland where the oldest Jewish cemetery remains. The cemetery is 82 acres and contains the remains of approximately a quarter of a million people. Unfortunately, the Nazis burned the cemetery’s records, so no one really knows how many are actually buried here. When we first entered the cemetery, you don’t really notice it at first, but if you look closer you will see that the short walls in the entrance are Jewish tombstones. The tombstones in this cemetery were not taken by the Nazis to use for roads, as many were, but there are many that were removed and broken. This wall is made up of the broken pieces of tombstones.

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This image is of The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It is made up of 2,711 concrete blocks built on a sloping level. I found this very moving because you start out on level ground with you above the stones, but as you enter and go deeper, the stones seem to rise up around you until you are consumed by your surroundings making you feel lost, claustrophobic, and insignificant. You also can’t help but feel as you go deeper into the memorial that there is a graveyard fell to your surroundings

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“They put us on a train, and once again we embark on an endless, torturous trip to the unknown in a cattle car. The locomotive rattles down. Stopping for a moment, the brakes screech, and then the pace suddenly picks up again. You can hear the monotonous clanging of the wheels on the iron rails. Hungry and tired after our terrifying sleepless night in the gas chamber – showers, we lie scrunched together on the dirty floor of the cattle car. We are burning up with thirst. Our legs have turned to wood from lack of exercise. The hard boards press our limbs, which throb with pain. There is no air in the sealed wagon.”
Rachel Roth – Here There Is No Why

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“The whistle of the locomotive sounds, and the train slows down and comes to a sudden violent halt. We jump out of the opened cars and stretch our numb limbs. They line us up in rows of five and march us to a gate topped with a sign that reads “Arbeit Macht Frei” – Work makes You Free. We march through the gate into Dante’s Inferno, which now goes by the name Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birdenau, KLII Birkenau for short.”
Rachel Roth – Here There Is No Why