I know it’s nearly Christmas and everyone is doing happy, festive, fun things.
I already knew a lot about what happened there: from history lessons at school, from books and from films, but seeing the physical spaces that bore witness to the shocking crimes against humanity, and hearing the gruesome details of the tortures while standing in those same spaces, numbed me as I tried to process it in my mind.
There was a guide who pointed out key buildings and locations – she was Polish and her own Grandparents had been arrested and deported to Auschwitz.
I wondered how she could cope with going there every day (her job for almost 17 years), but then I realised I already knew the answer: everyone must know; we must never forget.
I didn’t cry while I was there despite the deep sadness I felt. It is only with the luxury of time and distance (which the people who were killed there were so cruelly denied), that I can reflect back on my experience. It’s haunted me ever since.