I’m not exactly sure what I should say about Auschwitz. To read about the Holocaust is one thing; visiting a memorial is another. But standing in the place in which over a million people suffered and died… It’s difficult to put that feeling into words.
I suppose it is a sort of melancholy sonder. The realization that every single one of those 1.1 million was a life just as complex as my own, only to be snuffed out as if they were nothing. I don’t know. That is the best description I can think of right now.
I could not bring myself to take photos of the camp, it just felt wrong. And frankly, photos would not do it justice anyway. Being witness to a room filled with 40,000 pairs of shoes is incomparable to viewing an image of the same room. Seeing a literal ton of human hair, shaved off upon entry to the camp to be used in textiles, cannot be conveyed meaningfully in a photograph.
I think that this tour is the one that affected me the most of all. And that seems to be the consensus within the larger group as well. It was a very quiet bus-ride back home to Dom Profesorski, everyone felt the heaviness of the atmosphere at Auschwitz; the pain that racism from an authority figure can dole out; the result of bystanderdom and fear under oppression.
— Andrew Clickard, a freshman mathematics and physics dual major, is studying abroad this winter for four weeks in Eastern and Central Europe, taking trips to the Schindler's Factory, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Auschwitz Concentration Camp. #HuskyAbroad #ProfessionalU