Why Remembering is not Good Enough for Me
This weekend I remembered.
I walked in Kazmiriez, the jewish district of Krakow, past buildings that once were homes. Where the lives of whole families were cut short.
I visited the train station where they were shipped off like livestock to Auschwitz.
I walked through the gates of Aushwitz and Birkenau that housed 90,000 prisoners at a time
I passed the animal cart that transported 80 people at a time .
I walked past the wooden barraks that housed 200 peopl but were built originally to house 70 German horses.
I walked to the selecting building where the jews were lined upon arrival and selected by a doctor- 20 people for the labour camp for every 80 people sent to their death.
I walked the Road of Death that 1.5 million people walked before their execution in the gas chambers.
I read a quote by George Santanaya engraved on a plaque outside one of the hundreds of hideous barracks: "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." But is remembering the autricities commited against the jews enough?
Remembering is different than understanding. I can know something, but never understand how it happened. How humans could exterminate another race like rats. Understanding is recognizing the potential in every being for hatred. It is realizing that we more likely would have been an SS soldier than one of the few, courageous heroes standing up against such autracities.
So this remembrance day, I do not just remember. I seek to understand. Because there are autrocities prevalent in our society that we accept. There is hatred and intolerance that we foster for one another. There is prevalent radicalism that divides.
That is why this remembrance day I will remember and seek to understand.