February 11, 2009

When things don't make sense

Our Pa stayed with us for a few days on his way between places.
He wanted to visit the Jewish and Holocaust Museum, so I took him on Monday.
I keep thinking that my feelings will some how work themselves out into proper, organised feelings that make sense.

They haven't.

So there are my thoughts in no particular order and without a logical flow. I'm still confused. And a little overwhelmed.

I didn't want to go. I wished with all my heart that I could get out of it. I was afraid I wouldn't cope. But I love my Pa and I didn't want to let him down. So I went.
The Museum is very tastefully done. Even though I was sometimes disgusted and saddened, I never felt like I couldn't cope.

We took a tour. It was taken by an actual Holocaust survivor who had been in Altzwitch.
It is easy to think that that is just a period in history, way over the other side of the world, that I can keep out of my mind. But when a lady is standing in front of me who experienced it all, you can't ignore that.

I was taken back by the absolute bitterness and hatred that I heard in her voice for the German people. I feel like I should be able to excuse it and that it is understandable because of the awful things she experienced.
But I felt like I wanted to offer possible explanations (like why a neighbour turned them in) but she would not have any pity. I wonder if that hatred only makes it worse.

The saddest room was a small one filled with photos of children who had been killed.

When we left the guard told my Pa and I that he wouldn't ever visit it because it was in the past and best left there, and he didn't want to have to deal with the emotions it would bring.
I was ashamed that I had felt that way too.

1 comment:

Katie said...

When we were in Berlin just over a year ago, we went to one of the concentration camps just outside the city, Sachsenhausen. While it was a hard experience going there, it was so worthwhile for my own understanding of what happened.
In the city proper, there is an entire block taken up with the Memorial to All the Murdered Jews of Europe, along with a thousand other reminders of what happened.
It's hard to see these things, and even harder to understand, especially why ordinary people did such awful things (though ordinary people also became heroes), but it's important that we do see them, and try to understand so that we can prevent these things ever happening again.