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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Remembrance: A lesson about life

A father and daughter reflect on the Holocaust as a Jewish and a Christian tragedy

Ileft the United States as a 15-year-old girl and returned a few weeks later, older for having seen what it would have been like to be a Jew during World War II. My father and I visited Auschwitz.

I had learned a little about the war in school and had seen the movie Schindler's List, so I thought our visit would be intriguing.

As we approached the camp, I recognized the entrance from the movie where frightened train passengers passed through the gate. Suddenly, the horrific information I had learned in school became real.

Our tour guide, a Holocaust survivor, led us to an exhibit hall filled with victims' belongings.

I'll never forget the image of the first hallway. Display cases on both sides were filled with huge mounds of hair shaved from the heads of those who were executed.

One case was filled with gold — wire-rim eyeglasses, wedding rings and crowns ripped from the mouths of people who had done no wrong.

Our guide took us to the gas chamber used to exterminate Jews and other minorities. I trembled imagining how each person must have felt when they realized that they had not walked into a shower, as they were told.

I was forever humbled by seeing a glimpse of what their lives must have been like.

Auschwitz reminded me of what life is all about. We must not let greed, jealousy and hatred to win over our lives.

And God taught us to love one another, as we are loved.


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