2.06.2006

Germany III: Sachsenhousen


Since Blogger only seems to like one photo per post, I've decided to sum up my German recollections in one photo or less (per recollection).

This shot sums up our trip to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp more than any other photograph. Noah, whom I called Noaher, took a longer path than the rest of the group as we walked through this part of the camp. He appears isolated between two white voids, the first is the snow and above him is the sky.

The setting and his contemplative posture reflects how I felt that day. The terror that occurred at Sachsenhousen made me feel isolated. At the same time, I felt compelled to think hard about what it meant to be there.

I thought about how many people did not approve of a YU trip to Germany. Many people wouldn't even buy a German car…As I walked through the camp, I came to the realization that the best way to stick it to the Nazi's is to go to Germany and live as a Jew.

At first, I thought it would be hard to travel by train on German soil because of what our ancestors had to endure on German trains. But when the group davened on the train, out loud and in the open, I felt a kind of awe. Here was a group of young, Jewish students, praying out in the open in Germany. What would a Holocaust victim have said?

These thoughts reached a crescendo the day after our visit to the concentration camp. We went on a Thursday, so the next night was Shabbat. We went from the depths of tragedy to the joy of all that it means to be a Jew in just a few short hours. We openly prayed, sang and danced on the same ground where our grand and great grandparents feared for their lives.

This juxtaposition, of tragic history and hopeful present (of snowshoeing and remembering) epitomized my experience in Germany. We traveled to learn about the country's terrible past, but with an eye to its future. This made the moment in between, the present, all the more meaningful.
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3 comments:

Josh Yehaskel said...

GREAT GREAT POST!

Anonymous said...

no, it sux. and he takes way too long to put in a new one. if you commit to blogging, u gotta live up to that commitment. people are relyin on you for entertainment, buddy.

Grange said...

Sorry to hear you didnt like the post, anonymous. I'm also sorry to see you don't feel comfortable enough to air your greivences in person. I hope to live up to your expectations in the future. Then you might feel more comfortable.