Alone at Auschwitz

Every now and then I think back to the day Rob and I walked through Auschwitz in Poland.  I will never forget the feeling as we drove into the dreaded town.  At one point the road is parallel with several sets of railroad tracks, many of them leading directly into the former concentration camp.  I had read countless stories of people that had lived and died in that place.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself walking through it myself. 

Strange as it may sound, we had Maddie and Whitney with us, who were 4 and 2 at the time.  We were traveling with a mission team to Slovakia, so one of the members that lived in Slovakia agreed to occupy the girls while we toured the museum side of the grounds.

Project1 At one point, we were able to walk around with the girls through the barracks.   They had no idea where we were or what we were doing.  I am certain they are not scarred from the experience.  I had to go change Whitney's diaper, and when I came back, our group had moved on. I was alone.  In Auschwitz.  Not a soul to be seen.  I dare say it was one of the eeriest moments of my entire life. 

Barracks surrounded me on either side.  The tree branches were bare against the blue winter sky, and I could hear birds softly chirping.  Beyond that, I could hear whispers and screams and shouts of the innocent victims suffering and dying in ages past around me.  I know that sounds creepy, and very Ghost-Hunter-ish.  I'm not talking about ghosts.  I'm talking about memories that are so real that they are alive in the air and etched into every inch of that place.  It was a moment God knew about before I was born, and one he had prepared me for my whole life. 

I am forever changed because of those few moments alone at Auschwitz.

Today I am reminded on this Veteran's Day of the men and women that died to set those people free.  I am so honored to live in a country that believes in freedom and values life so much that we are willing to lay our lives down so others can know what it is to be free.  I am thankful for our nation, and every nation on earth that lives to set others free. 

4 thoughts on “Alone at Auschwitz

  • November 11, 2008 at 10:36 am
    Permalink

    I had a very similar experience at Birkenau. Auschwitz was more crowded with visitors, but when my friend and I took the bus to Birkenau and walked around, there were barely any other people there. At one point, I was alone in a baracks and a door started banging open and shut in the wind. I could sense all the prisoners who had walked through that door and I was overwhelmed with sadness. I have never experienced any feeling like that before.
    Thanks for sharing your experience and for reminding us all to remember.

    Reply
  • November 11, 2008 at 4:10 pm
    Permalink

    My dear friend Dora used to tell me stories about the prison camps in Poland. She survived by looking for people who were weaker than herself and ready to give up. She concentrated on helping others not to lose faith and to hold on to Christ. What a lesson for us all. She talked a bunch of her friends into getting on a train when they did not know where it was going. They were just told they would have to volunteer to go. The train took them to Switzerland where someone had purchased their freedom. They were already out when the soldiers stormed the camps. She cried when she told me of friends who would not go because of fear and did not survive. Dora was my neighbor and surrigate grandma for my kids when they were small.

    Reply
  • November 15, 2008 at 7:17 pm
    Permalink

    Wow, I can’t imagine the feeling you had at that place, but reading your words gave me chills.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: