“Sobibor. In retrospect, there is so much behind this word that I will never be able to express.
In Sobibór there was no museum, no exhibition, which should show us pictures. There was only us and the remains. It was up to us to get an idea.
We were already in the middle of it when we got off the bus, you could see the ramp. You saw the place where thousands of people got out and thought they would take a break and drive to a concentration camp, but they did not know that they would never come back. They were told to drop their valuables in the barracks so nothing would be lost. They go on, husband and wife separated. The women are get their hair shaved off for “hygienic” reasons. The men arrive directly in the barracks, where they had to undress. “Put everything down so you can find it later,” they hear that sentence, nothing more than a lie, just empty words.
They enter the alleged way to the “shower cabins”, which turned out as gas chamber. Unlike other camps, they are not gasified with carbon monoxide or Zyklon B, but with exhaust fumes, which does not matter to me anymore. The only thing I can think of is that they ran blindly to death. Maybe they were even grateful to the Nazis for taking a shower. As we walked the path where possibly the “Himmelfahrtsstraße” was, the way to the gas chambers, I could not feel anything. It was not like I felt empty, not even for that I was able to. We arrived at the gas chamber, where only one chimney was left, but that was not what I noticed. What made breathing difficult for me. It was the sea of stones in the background. A white sea of stones, the mass grave. For the second time this week I am aware of the mass. I know numbers, they were mentioned in the movie, they are known from books, texts. But I was never aware of the mass.
The distance was gone. We kept going, the ceremony for the 74th anniversary of the prisoner uprising began. I could not concentrate on the words, I only saw the stones. Quite a lot of white stones. Are these perhaps so many stones, how many people were murdered here? Suddenly I heard that the Dutch and German groups should step forward to read out the names of the Jews from their hometown. The Dutch started giving so many names. I did not started to see the mass as a mass, if you look closely, not every stone has the same shape too.
I should start with an introductory sentence, at the beginning I thought it was just a sentence, but when it was my turn, I found it hard. I was afraid to speak. Not because I could say something wrong, no it was something else. I do not know what. But Jessi was standing on my left, she had just read the names of her relatives. She stood in the place where her great-grandparents were murdered. She did it. When she gave me the microphone, she even smiled at me.That gave me courage and I smiled back.
It was just about being there for each other. We have not known each other for very long, but I feel a certain amount of fellowship, which strengthens me enormously. Alone, I would not have made it through the day.
Live and tell. Even if it is hard to find back in your everyday life, you have to and then tell others. Even if we only tell it to a few, we have reached a lot.”