My Unforgettable Visit to Auschwitz with BBYO Passport

July 8, 2024
Jonah Stein

Leewood, Kansas, United States

Class of 2026

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Today, I had the honor of visiting Auschwitz. This was such a surreal experience to end my time in Europe. I have been preparing for this experience for all of my Jewish life, and being at the place where so many of my ancestors perished was beyond words. For everyone who has a chance to visit and see the atrocities firsthand, you must. For anyone who has the chance to speak to a survivor, you must. For anyone who can't, I hope this post serves as a little insight into the truth about what happened at this horrible place.

The Holocaust was the dehumanization and murder of 6 million Jews and many others. They were stripped of everything they owned, from jewelry and valuables to luggage and clothes, to their gold teeth, and even their hair. The Nazis not only killed the Jews, but they also made money off each and every one by selling everything they could to turn a profit. The prisoners were fed the bare minimum, given only 180 calories a day to survive and work long hours just to avoid being punished or killed.

As the Jews stepped off the train after days packed in cattle cars, they were forced into a line and inspected. They would be chosen to go left or right, some to work in hell and some straight to death by gas chamber. Officers had the unfathomable job of choosing who would live and who would die.

This place is said to be the single deadliest in history, and you can feel it in the air. This is where 1.1 million people were murdered, 1 million of them Jews. There is a solemnness to the place, like there is no air, and it was truly one of the darkest days of my life.

As a proud Jew, nearly 80 years after the Holocaust, I went with a group of friends and teens from across the country to honor our past and prepare for the future. We have spent the past two weeks touring all over Europe, and I felt like I needed to share this post to show what the Nazis did in the past and to show that the Jewish people are stronger than ever and will forever remember the Shoah. Never forget. Anyone who is too ignorant to learn the truth about the past is bound to repeat it in the future.

Jonah is an Aleph from Nordaunian AZA #0022 in Kansas City

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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