I’m just passing through

An Hour in Germany’s First Concentration Camp

Children playing in front of mangled body art

Children playing in front of mangled body art

Our pitstop between Prague and Munich was far more somber than our other stops. We had an hour and a half to roam Dachau, the first concentration camp in Germany. Standing in the crematorium where thousands of bodies were incinerated impressed on me the enormity of the situation. As big and horrible as I cognitively knew it was, I don’t think I could fully wrap my head around the terrors of the holocaust.

 

It was so systematic yet senseless.

What really got me was seeing the propganda section in the Dachau museum. The Nazis staged media events where they coerced prisoners into telling journalists how much they love their reeducation. An American journalist reported on how the US should have similar programs.

The way the media was used as an instrument to further the Nazi’s cause made me want to cry.

I feel like I’ve been seeing some really heavy things lately. Everywhere I go in Europe I can feel and see the impact of war. The US hasn’t seen much fighting on our own soil. This is the first time I’m seeing first hand the travesties I read about in history books.

All the sad stories just confirm for me how much I want to work for a nonprofit or socially responsible business. We are only here for such a short time. What’s the point if we aren’t trying to change the world for the better?

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2 comments

  1. EDITED VERSION–SORRY FOR THE ERRORS–PLEASE DELETE THE EARLIER ATTEMPT.

    Ashley, how are you. Thank you for this post. That must be a fascinating, yet horrifying experience. Having visited a goodly number of U.S. Civil War battlefields and cemeteries, I know this can be a deeply moving time.

    Although your piece does not speak with a religious tone, I think your question really comes down to “Why Does God Permit So Much Suffering in the World Today?”

    You should get extra credit for raising this seemingly imponderable question. In fact, you will never be alone in asking this one. Remember a few years or so ago, Pope Benedict XVI went to visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. He explained that, while there, he was constantly praying, “Where were you, God?” Even popes have no clue as to the answer.

    But, those of the Protestant flavor are no better off. When a new Archbishop of Canterbury, was asked this question, he replied, ‘I have spent much time agonizing over this.’ I’m unable to quote this exactly, since I read his words in a British newspaper on a plane more than thirty years ago.

    Recently I had a rather fascinating experience. I was talking to a lady who identified herself as a Catholic teacher. We read together Revelation/Apocalypse 21:3, 4, in the last book of the Bible. These verses promise to mankind, in the words of our Creator, that “he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning, nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” Her reply was, “That’s a beautiful promise,” and then she added the following, “but how can God promise such grand things when he cannot solve the problems that exist in the world today?”

    This caused me to share with her an illustration that highlighted the fact that GOD IS NOT THE PRESENT RULER OF THE WORLD. In fact, according to the first letter of John, chapter five, verse 19 (1 John 5:19), “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” Because of the Devil’s rulership style, our world is in extreme distress and will continue to be so until our Creator intervenes in he affairs of humankind, as He did in the days of Noah.

    Truly, we should be looking forward to that day. Regards and best wishes.

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