It took me some time to write something about Poland. The truth is: I don’t really know how I can describe such a wonderful country with such a dark history. We spent one day in Warsaw and two days in beautiful Krakow. It’s such a charming city with so many friendly faces. There was even a bit of snow before we entered this really cute bookstore in the afternoon. In the evening we went for a classical concert in church. An interpretation of Chopin, Vivaldi, and many others filled our ears for a bit more than an hour.
The following day it was time to leave this beautiful city behind us. We took the bus for one hour and forty minutes and arrived in Oświęcim, Auschwitz. The moment you step through the ‘Arbeit macht frei’ gate, your whole body shivers and you can feel the horrors of the camp. We went with a tour guide and he walked us through the camp of Auschwitz 1 and four of the blocks. Then we went to Auschwitz 2, Birkenau. The tracks of the train and the remains of chimney two and three are still there; which would also be the image most people have from Auschwitz.
Our guide told us that walking and seeing every block of Auschwitz would take us one whole day. You just can’t believe how enormous the camp is and how much horror people went through. I’ve always been a talker; I like to express how I feel and how I see life. However, walking around these two camps left me speechless. The very few things I could manage to get out were expressions of disbelief.
The day before I bought the book “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris. This books tells you the story of Lale, a young Slovakian Jew, who was captured in Auschwitz but also who fell madly in love. During his time as Tätowierer he helped as many people as possible to get some food to survive for just another day. He knew he would only survive if his soulmate Gita would survive. Together they would start a new life, he was convinced by this and he told her many times. The man who tattooed so many numbers on the arms of Auschwitz prisoners shows us how love could grow this strong when all these horrible crimes went on. This is true love in the purest way.
I won’t tell you anything else because this is a story you have to read. Heather Morris did a tremendous job and I’m thankful for Lale sharing this with us. Taking us on his journey to find out what horrors were awaiting the prisoners of Auschwitz, the inhumanity, but also what true love is and what it can mean and do to you.
May we never forget and always remember that we’re all human beings living in this world together.