We have spent the past two days at the concentration camp of Auschwitz.  A person can only prepare for something so intense and saddening to an extent.  I thought I had prepared.  I read books, participated in discussions, and carried Elie Wiesel’s words in my heart in attempts to prepare for what was to come.  When we arrived and were given the tour of the camp, I finally realized that to experience it in person and to finally be able to put a face to the atrocities that happened there, is so overwhelming and shocking there is really almost no way to describe it.  It is the feeling that you feel deep down inside that is different.  When I go home and share all of my pictures and adventures with my friends and family, I don’t think I will ever be able to describe what I saw and what I felt and how special it was.  It really made the experience all the more real and I truly feel a change in myself.  All the Readership Ambassadors now share something so profound and I think that that is the key that makes us strong and will eventually lead us to be great leaders who will speak up for the voices lost in the camp.  Elie Wiesel said that the key to change is voice.  When we come back to speak of our experience, I only hope I can spark inspiration and resistance in my listeners as Elie Wiesel did in me. 

-Kelsey Wilson


Humanity. Seeing the sites of Auschwitz and Birkenau made me begin to contemplate the existence of humanity.   Walking through the exhibits we saw simple things in life: hair, glasses, pots and pans, suitcases, pictures, all this and more took on a greater meaning in my life. These items of everyday life that we all take for face value meant so much to the people imprisoned in the concentration camps.  Every day items were taken away from those entering the camps; their humanity was lost.

Seeing these two sites made the Holocaust all too real.  The words of Elie Wiesel’s book Night jumped from the pages and were brought to life.   We were able to see the nightmare that he and many others faced on a daily basis. Excerpts from Night came rushing through my head as we walked around Birkenau.

Seeing these camps, the items, and hearing the stories of survival and death placed everything in my life into perspective.  It made me appreciate the simple things in life even more.  I have a new appreciation for everything and everyone in my life.  Seeing the camps where so many lives were changed made me want to take action in my own life to make a change. 

Growth has occurred. It’s a beautiful thing. We’re headed to the mountain town of Zakopane today.   I’m excited to reflect even more and take in the beauty that nature has created. 

As I wind down this blog, I would like to encourage you to take action against injustice in your own life.  Do not “stand idly by.”



These days here in Poland have been amazing, not only are we getting to experience the culture of this city that is Krakow, but also the everyday view of life here. Meals aren’t the overly elaborated contraption that some tourist order to “experience” polish food but actually we are getting the fare that any polish person might have any given day and that is an experience of its own.

The places we have gone and visited have so much meaning not only to this country but to the world that it is sometimes hard to comprehend the past realities that have gone on in such beautiful places. From city to city it seams that there are stories as long and old as time that could fill hundreds of books and already do. Poland is not just about Auschwitz and those concentration camps, it’s not just about the holocaust and the destruction of lives, Poland is about a historic country as old as any in Europe and with tales of conquest and defeats. Poland is a country of people who live in a changing country with problems and joys that Americans have no notion of, but here this group is to soak up as much of this as we can to bring back to our own university in the hopes of betterment.

Beyond that our little group has gone from loosely knitted to almost inseparable in some cases, and it is all because of the fact that here we are force to depend on each other for support and comfort now that we are not in our comfort zones anymore. Through these days that we share we have learned about our moods, thoughts and changing minds. In one way or another we have all been change and we continue to change even when we ourselves don’t see it you can be sure that others in our group do and will remember.

—Marisela Rodriguez

So far I’ve had a wonderful time here in Poland.  Krakow seems to be a great city; Krakow is nothing I expected.  Watching the city and going to the salt mines has reminded me that the world out side of the U.S. runs.  I knew it did, but I never thought about it.  Does that make sense?   I love Krakow, it reminds me of Mexico.  Seriously, it does.  It smells like Mexico and it reminds me of the city of Chiuhuahua.  The food has also been great; I thought I was going to taste very weird food, but it was nothing too unusual.  Besides I am not very picky when it comes to food, as long as it’s not bitter its fine with me.  The trip to Auschwitz was an experience I will never forget; going there is life changing.  It was a trip I was dreading to go to, but I’m glad I did.   I feel that all of us are responsible for making a change for the good in the world.  I thank Elie Wiesel for the experience, and God for letting me live.   I am glad I am here.

Diana Hernandez


WOW! I think that word can be used to describe this entire trip. All the things I have saw here (good or bad) brought the word wow to my mind. This trip has really helped me realize that I not only need to remember the things that have happened in the Holocaust but just things from the past in general. Our past makes us who we are. Our past makes us stronger. I am so fortunate to have been given this opportunity because I have seen so many amazing things like the Cathedral, beautiful architecture, a Castle, and if I may consider it amazing; Auschwitz. I hope that from this experience my words will encourage others to do great things and most importantly to go and see the world because there is more to it than just the things in the U.S. I know for a fact that this will not be my last time to travel outside of America since I have had this experience. With that I will end with a quote that has stuck with me this entire trip “ …I do not pray for freedom of falling because we all fall, but freedom from a loss of faith.”

Love, Angela Baker

                         Poland we are finally here!

Published in: on March 20, 2008 at 11:16 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. My parents visited Auschwitz last December. The image that struck my mother was the piles of shoes and suitcases. It is easy to connect Auschwitz with people by viewing the piles of shoes and suitcases.

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