Today while we were visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau we had a ceremony. At the end of this ceremony we light six candles to commemorate the 6 million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. Each candle represented one experience that has moved us on this trip.
Here are the short responses that we wrote about these places and
Hannah Vigran – Warsaw Ghetto
We light this candle in honor of the 450,000 Jews who were forced to live in the brutal conditions of the Warsaw ghetto.
They are supposed to protect us and keep us safe from the outside world
To shield us from pain, hunger, and cold
Nine feet high and all encompassing
Don’t protect those inside
But rather those on outside from the subhuman creatures within
May the time they spent enclosed inside Be not forgotten
As we stare at the last few remaining slivers of wall
Caroline Shor – Lupuchowo
We light this candle to remember the victims of the Lupuchowo forest who lived in Tykochin.
The forest is a place of picnics and play
The forest is a place of beauty and beginnings
The forest is a place of happiness and hope
The forest is a place that I want to be
But not this forest
This forest is a place of pits a peril
This forest is a place of blood and bullets
This forest is a place death and destruction
I don’t want to be in this forest anymore
Sydney Zwick- Treblinka
We light this candle for those exterminated in Treblinka. Those who were packed into cattle cars like animals. Those who fought and bit each other for a sip of water to save their dying children. Those who were sent to death immediately, indiscriminately. We remember.
Eli Zawatsky – Gas Chambers of Majdanek
We light this candle to honor and alleviate the anguish of the gas chambers of Majdanek. The horror of these tools of execution was palpable. We have bared whiteness to the blue stained and nail scratched walls. We remember.
Marissa Witt – Pile of ashes
That pile. Those people. It is so hard to see humans because it only looks like dirt. That was Hitler’s goal. To make the Jews look like absolutely nothing. To make the Jews bodies look like playground mulch. But we must learn the stories. We must remember their names. Because we are not dirt. We are bones and blood. We have hearts and a mind. And we shall always remember.
Josh Young – March of the Living/Auschwitz-Birkenau
We light this final candle for this March, for the 10,000+ brothers and sisters who celebrate the survival of Judaism. Additionally, this candle represents the 1.1 million souls who perished in this place of terror. They may have suffered through unimaginable conditions, but they resisted. WE REMEMBER.