Day 14: Auschwitz – Mike’s Reaction

by Zack on August 16, 2010

Today instead of feeling inspired by the emotional impact of Auschwitz and go full steam ahead with the project, I felt almost completely drained and somewhat hopeless. A bit of pessimism sunk into my heart and I thought am I really doing anything that will help anyone?

It is one of the eeriest places you will ever see and the quiet, soft breeze only makes it more haunting. It is unlike other historical sites you may visit, like the Roman Ruins or the Parthenon or even the Great Wall, because Auschwitz’s remnants aren’t from so long ago. It was only 65 years ago when all these buildings were in use.

One strange feeling I got from being there was a dislike for Germany on a whole. I am a very liberal and open-minded person and grew up in Cambridge, MA, one of the most liberal cities in America, but it was something about knowing that a large part of a nation did such sinister acts. They were so meticulous and ruthless that is hard to let those thoughts not shape an opinion about an entire country. I now slightly understand why some Jews, like my mother, have no interest in visiting Germany ever. When I told her I was visiting Berlin, she said that she never had any interest in going there. At that time I didn’t understand what the big deal was and now I do.

It is the thought that people can discriminate against a group easier than individuals, because there are no faces to put to those thoughts of yours. I come away knowing that most of Germany had nothing to do with it. I also understand better more how prejudices are formed.

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