And nothing was wasted. Everyone who was headed to the concentration camps was tricked into believing that they were being relocated to the likes of Disneyland. They were asked to carry only valuables with them. Once imprisoned, their luggage was sorted and found its way back to Germany. Jewellery, currency, gold tooth, shoes, glasses, walking sticks. Even human skin was recycled to make purses, human corpse to manufacture soap and human hair to weave rugs.
There is a huge area in the Auschwitz – Birkenau where these items are on display. To respect the departed in this mass genocide, you are requested to not take any pictures. It is a solemn, humbling experience. There was one place that shook me with horror and another where I broke down.
Imagine a 2,000 ft by 50 ft glass showcase. Fill it with female human hair from the head – some still tied in beautiful ribbons, in a pony or in a bun. This entire showcase was had blonde, brown, black, golden, brunette hair. They were once on beautiful, harmless, innocent women.
Now where I broke down was here. Look at your four fingers, imagine tiny baby shoe that small, and a few the size of your palm. Now imagine a glass showcase filled with these. These were once on tiny, little chubby babies, infants and kids, with blue eyes, runny noses, unkempt hair wearing sweet little half-pants with caps on their head. These kids were gasses to death.
While looking at the shoes, hugging the glass, I think I spotted a pair, strewn apart in the heap of countless shoes that once belonged to nameless kids. All I could manage was whispering ‘Sorry’. It is said that the survivors of the holocaust, when once liberated, were offered food and medical care. Some of them just wanted a hug first.