I know, I know… after all that hassle I ended up back where I started, but I figure until I absolutely HAVE to start using the private blog I’m going to just continue to use this one. It’s much easy for me to use, and much easier for you to access! So, until further notice.. I’ll be here. :)
AND, I’ll be writing more often! I’ve actually had a burning desire to write since Friday night, but I really needed to process the lecture I listened to before I could write about it as it really affected me. This past Friday evening the Hubster and I had the opportunity to go listen to Dr. Eva Olsson, a holocaust survivor. For those of you that know me, this was a big deal. I graduated with a degree in History, and in less than 6 months I’ll be a high school history teacher. History is kind of my thing, but holocaust studies are definitely my passion. I’ve seen all the films, read the books, but nothing, nothing could compare with hearing a first-hand account of this woman’s experience at Auschwitz.
Dr. Olsson has actually been coming to speak at Hippie U for a number of years, but this was the first year that I have ever been able to go. Every other time she came I had class, a meeting, or some other engagement that I couldn’t miss. So, when I learned she was coming again, I decided that since this is my very last year in Senior’s city (and she herself is now 84 I believe) that not hell or high water would keep me from missing her lecture again. And I was not disappointed.
I have always been very deeply affected by the holocaust. The more that I study it the less I can wrap my head around how it happened–specifically how people can do that to one another. I thought I had an understanding of just how real it was until I heard her speak and I just… I have no words. I cried as she spoke of losing her family as she arrived at Auschwitz: having her mother beside her at one instant, and then turning around again to find her missing–without having an opportunity to say goodbye.
What touched me most was her seemingly unbreakable spirit. As she spoke of the tragedies that had occurred in her life (including losing every member of her family except a sister, who no longer speaks to her) she stood firm in her faith that we can make a difference for the future. When asked what she would say if she met a Nazi official today, she simply responded that she would say nothing, as there was nothing to say. Although she could not and would not forgive them on behalf of the millions that died by their hands, she had forgiven them for what they had done to her.
She is a beaken of strength, courage and hope.
The picture above is a photograph taken of her first (and only) visit back to the places where her family perished. The following is an exerpt from the article that accompanied it:
Olsson has devoted her life to delivering presentations and conveying a message of hope to schools, churches and community centres throughout North America. She has learned to keep her emotions in check, but when she talks about Auschwitz, she can’t stop the tears from coming.
“At the gas chamber . . . I did not see an empty room. I saw my mother, my five nieces, my sister, my grandfather,” she said. “They killed six million Jews, and five million others. Behind each one of those numbers, there was a face, there was a name, there was a loved one.”