Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. I visited more than ten years ago, in 2003, to this place that brought me to tears just standing on the empty rail line, where a small bouquet of flower was laid by a visitor reflected the grievous mood felt by all those around me.
Of course, I’ve read all about it in text books when learning about the War World II history. I thought I was prepared for my visit, by having researched into the facts and stories behind Auschwitz-Birkenau; yet, nothing compared to facing the actual place where the captured were crammed in like pigs, chained like cattles and burned as if their lives were worth nothing.
From the gates that ironically marked ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ through the museum that displayed portraits of Jews in their stripped ‘uniform’ to the crematorium and chambers where many of them perished, the entire experience was not only an in-depth history lesson, it was also a lesson in humanity – or the lack of it – and knowing what human beings can inflict on each other when one nut case wields power and runs with it.
What Auschwitz now signifies, is the idea of ‘Never Again’. Unfortunately, while the world remembers Auschwitz, it hasn’t learned from its lessons. The world is still continuously at war, humans are still inflicting pain and suffering onto each other and the innocent are still dying just because a few nuts have power.
On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, not only will I remember the history lessons, I will also spare a thought for its victims and their families and hope the world will one day embrace the ideal and stop fighting: Never Again.
Oh and yes, you should visit Auschwitz. It’ll make you want to be a better human.