Ready to Face the Past

Has it really been four months since we found out we were selected to go to Poland?  I remember when I first heard the news.  I was so stunned that, when they announced we were going, I just sat there, not quite taking in what was said.  When it finally started sinking in, I hopped out of my chair and screamed!  However, I still don’t think the reality of it has sunken in completely.  I feel excited to go, but I think that until I’m on that plane and in Poland, the fact that I’m going to be there won’t have made it all the way through my mind. 

With eagerness, I’m looking forward to being there.  I feel more ready than ever to open my eyes and see Krakow around me.  I want to see the people, to understand their culture, their history, their likes and dislikes.  I want to hear the Polish language being spoken on the streets, and I want to try my hand at a few words (even at the risk of unintentionally saying something stupid!).  I want to bravely try every possible Polish dish that I can, even if it looks questionable!

Mixed with this eagerness and excitement, however, is a fear.  Not only am I afraid, in a way, to feel like an out-of-place American (which is inevitable)… I am afraid of Auschwitz.  How many times have I read about that place?  I’ve been researching the concentration/extermination camp of Auschwitz over the last few weeks (it was the topic assigned to my partner and I), and I am truthfully afraid to see it.  Don’t get me wrong… I want to see it.  It’s just that now that I’ve done a little more research into it, and have read books like Night, I’m afraid of what I know I’ll see there.  I’m afraid to see the remnants of one of the greatest places of human suffering in the world.  Just reading about the place makes me feel a torment of emotions, from anger to a deep melancholy.  How am I going to be able to look and see the truth of what one man can do to another?  Well, even though I’m afraid, I know I will look upon Auschwitz… and when I do, I hope that I can take what I learn there and never forget it.  It’s so important that we never forget.

~Janelle Gross

Published in: on February 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I understand what you’re saying when you mention that it hasn’t sunk in yet. Everyone is really pumped and it’s not that I’m not excited it’s that it still isn’t a reality to me yet. My gosh-as soon as you and I step off that plane we’re gonna flip out!

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