That morning of late August was gloomy, the sky was dark and you could smell the rain. There were only views of forests and empty fields through the window of the minivan that took me to the field of death.
Soon after arriving I could see it with my own eyes. It took me some time to realise where we were standing and suddenly I awakened to find myself in a nightmare that even the best novelist could ever even create. I was standing in front of that sign, the one that promised them freedom if they worked hard. I realised I was in Auschwitz.
The air was as thick as the space that divided the fields from the camp, the barracks, erected one next to the other, looked the same. The same bricks, the same windows, the same spooky lights. The same thick, metal doors that confined hundreds of tortured souls into a little space. I could feel sadness, I could hear cries, I could see desolation marked on the walls with invisible ink that only good souls can read. And I could also hear laughter of those who thought themselves invencible.
Then there is barrack 10. It’s locked, its windows are sealed. No one is allowed in, as if anyone could bear crossing that door. That barrack was Dr. Mengele’s playground, the only difference was that he used human beings as his toys, seeing himself as a god capable of controlling human life. And death. I could imagine those doors opening like the Pandora’s box, with thousands of crying souls escaping from it reaching the dark sky.
Once I recovered my breath and started walking through a courtyard, I discovered a little wooden house next to an iron construction consisting of three beams. The setting itself is already spooky, though knowing what used to happen… it’s so twisted. Prisoners had to form there for the SS officials to count them, maybe for hours, whilst some of their inmates were hanging in those beams. Just as a reminder of what it could happen to them.
Though my soul started shrinking when I steeped into the prison first, it broke when I entered that gloomy, dark chamber with fake shower heads on the ceiling and it finally smashed into pieces when I saw them two ovens. There are no words to describe it, other than the feeling of an incredible painful punch in my stomach that brought tears to my heart. I could have been there. And maybe you too.
I came out, silently, reflecting. Some other people were crying, some praying. No one left indifferent. It began to rain, like the sky was trying to caress and wash my soul.
There is a before and after this visit. In history and in anyone’s life, that’s why I recommend visiting Auschwitz no matter your origins or believes. Because “Those who don’t remember the history, are damned to repeat it”.