Today we visited the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps and saw first hand the final solution of Hitler’s Nazi Experiment. Well over a million men, women and children were exterminated in the gas chambers of these two camps. One room contained two tons of human hair that was being processed into fabric for lining winter coats. Another room contained over 20,000 shoes of all shapes and sizes. Both were just a tiny fraction of what was collected from the corpses. We stood in the gas chamber, looked into the furnaces and peered into the ash pits where countless human beings – created in the image of God – were snuffed out and erased from human history. I have neither the words nor the emotional equipment to categorize my experience here.
Tonight we stay in Krakow. Prior to the final solution Poland had a Jewish population of over three million. Today there are fewer than a thousand. May God have mercy on us.
“We know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, that he can play Bach and Schubert, and go to his day’s work at Auschwitz in the morning.” -George Steiner