Comments on the 2nd encounter in Oświęcim

 

It’s always nice to see old friends. The moment you first look at someone you can precisely tell how sincere they are, smile and let them know in response the feelings are mutual. That is the way things happened this time as well.       

Ukrainian Team at the Ukrainian Night

Each new project stage is first of all a blast of emotions. They all differ in strength but have a similar effect. They strike your heart and mind, empower you to enjoy life to the fullest and strive for new discoveries.

Whatever we saw and heard was great to discuss and reflect on. Timing and location were perfectly arranged by the organizers and volunteers of the youth center where we were staying. These people became a source of information and support at the right moments. I am sincerely thankful to you! Remember, you create your own mood. Don’t let little dismays knock you off your feet!      

Our program was very diverse: visits to the Jewish center, workshops etc. Obviously, the strongest emotions were provoked by the one dreadful site.

Late night. Streets in the sulky coolness. Buildings in the mist-wrap, you think you’d touch them with your hand. That is your welcome to Oświęcim. The town of thousands alive and millions dead.   

At first you might take it for a former concentration camp, yet, for the majority it’s just a tourist destination, a site to take a not so usual picture. We are used to our well-established consumerist culture which is why we pay little attention to what we do. We want to reveal the truth to the world but all we end up doing is a new instagram photo.

We know that back then people were executing orders, their belonging, moreover their rights, were taken away. Deprived of passports and faces, tattooed not for a fashion look, but for the ease of use. Yet now for some reason, people are worried about the copyright infringement and great spots for new unique photographs.

Whatever we saw at that giant site was a manifestation of order. Order above all. Frankly speaking I was amazed. Not to say that I was happy, but as an engineer I was impressed. Dozens of barracks in the field just like ships in a sea battle. Each detail well-thought, well-planned, no by-movements, no by-resources, some by-deaths.

It is surprising, now, 70 years after, in the ground, after the rain, spoons and forks that used to belong to ordinary people. With different thoughts and fates, of different height and weight. Just different, yet unique. The full life lived by cutlery, not people tortured. Sad.  

I tend to think that even though there is a belief that such places should be closed for visitors, we need them. People have to see themselves and understand what a human being is capable of, that we can go too far, cross all the lines of humanity, destroy the value of a human life just for an idea.  

It happened. It can happen again. This is the most important to remember.