We are starting a mammoth journey this evening, which will see us travelling through FOUR countries; Romania, Moldova, Transnistria and Ukraine. It's gonna be a long one, seriously, its going be to at least fifteen hours long! So, when you are tucked up in your beds or chatting to your friends on Facebook chat or going downstairs for a chocolate bar and a lovely glass of milk, then think of us, on a bus, travelling through Eastern Europe and being bribed at the borders. Major sob.
We have a question: Who reading this blog, knew about the Holocaust taking place in Romania? Or the mass murder of roughly two million people in Ukraine that lasted until 1945? Until recently we didn't. That's the thing about learning about the Holocaust, you think you get it (in terms of chronology and events) and then you find something that confuses you all over again. We are not history teachers, we don't pretend to be, our examination of the Holocaust has been through our eyes, shaped by our views and beliefs, but we couldn't help but wonder how much information should we be giving, particularly when we come across a piece of information that we are sure people are unaware of?
Our number one aim is to use the Holocaust to inform people of the dangers of intolerance, dehumanisation, racism, bigotry (the list goes on, but we won't) we want people to examine their choices and to try and understand the part they play in the story of prejudice (which can start with a little boy being bullied because he is gay and can end with a little boy being herded into a gas chamber because he is Jewish).
So, the question again, how much information do we need to give? We are not entirely sure on that one to be honest, we just have a feeling that people need to know about the Holocaust in its entirety, for two main reasons; reason number one: for us all to believe that everyone was murdered in Auschwitz is not only historically erroneous but it is also disrespectful. It is disrespectful to the little girl who was taken along a path into a wood and shot with three hundred and ninety eight playmates from an orphanage, that we do not know her story. We must try and know as many stories as we can, it is imperative that we know that there was a little girl who was shot. These people lived and we cannot kill them twice by simply ignoring their stories when history gets a little complicated. Reason number two: for us to really learn from the Holocaust and to begin examining our own part in the story of prejudice we need to know what happened, what really happened. We must know that Mr. Beris witnessed the shooting of a father trying to fetch his child some water, we must know that thousands of people, just like you and us were put on trains in the height of summer without any water and were driven around until they were slowly cooked to death.
How can we try and improve humanity if we do not truly know the depths that it can plummet to?