Something we can’t fully understand…

The trip to Sachsenhausen was… sobering, to say the least. We’ve all learned about WWII and what happened in history class, but learning about something and actually being in the place that it happened are two entirely different things. I think it’s easy to say something is horrible when you’re so far removed from the actual events, both physically and in time. Even though it wasn’t that long ago, it can be easy to forget just how recent it was, especially for our generation. We learned about the atrocities that the Nazis committed, and of course it was sad to learn about, but it never really seemed like much more than memorizing facts. Actually witnessing the places where these horrible things were done made those facts into something much more emotional. On the audio tour, a survivor was quoted as saying that whenever people asked if it was really that bad, he would respond to the effect that it was a thousand times worse. And even with my newfound understanding, I still think those words ring true. Even with the camps and buildings and sites being preserved, I don’t think it will ever be possible to truly understand all of the horribleness that happened unless you were there to witness it. And that makes it all the more important that we learn and understand what we can, limited as it may be, so that no one else will be able to fully understand in the way that those who were persecuted there were.

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