Going to Auschwitz

Since secondary school Ive always been attracted to content about the horrific projects of Holocaust under the WW2. Id say I’m a person not good at looking away and during the years Ive tried to figure out what this is about; why I almost like to get that horrible feeling the pictures, videos, figures and histories provokes in me. As in many others, I guess, it generates reflection and questions. Personally, I like to try to imagine how it was. Somehow it makes me feel supportive, in my unavoidably insignificant role as yet another reader of history.

As a former pupil (and teacher) of Norwegian schools, Ive learned a lot about WW2 as it occupies the majority of the history classes about the 20th century there. Ive often talked to people from other countries, especially countries outside of Europe, and its interesting how different we are taught about Holocaust (and other important historic happenings). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the denying/ doubting ones. In fact, I do believe the reality was much more cruel than written stories and photographs can ever tell us. That goes for the actual number of Jews (and other targeted) murdered as well.

If you’re interested in more background information, I find these two videos good. The first was made of a British TV company in 1945 as an awareness film against the claims about ‘over-exaggerations of the scope of Holocaust’. It was one of the first longer clips to be published following the WW2, due to the belief that ‘the gruesome pictures could be a warning for future generations’.

The second video is a 10 minute long documentary made in 2011, and provides a brief rationale for the background of Holocaust as well as details about how Jews were systematically targeted, treated and murdered.

For Holocaust to never be forgotten, I agree that the educational effect is the most important we got 70 years after WW2. However while writing this I can not help from thinking about all the current wars and recent homicides the world sees/ have seen, knowing new ones will come too. In my view it is the proportions of cruelty -somehow absurdly protected by a massive international denial- during the WW2 that allowed a relatively few men to go through with Holocaust. It will probably always represent something  impossible to ever fully understand to human kind.

When my friend Ross two weeks ago told me he was going to Auschwitz to develop an art project he has thought of for a while, I instantly felt for going too. Ive never been to Auschwitz, but always thought Id go, one day. After talking to my friend I decided to come along. If not now, in this way, when? So, Ill go there, not only to take part of his interesting project and experience a once in a life time situation observing how he works on something like this, but also for the purpose of studying tourism in the area.

photo cred: flickr.com

photo cred: flickr.com

Conveniently the module I’m doing right now is called culture & heritage, and parts of it has to do with the management of tourism to areas with history of tragic incidents, death, war etc., popularly called dark tourism, but also grief tourism. I keep realising how this concept of tourism fascinates me. Firstly in order to comprehend the forces behind tourists’ will and desire to spend some of their spare time visiting places that make them feel sad, or at least that provokes difficult feelings. Secondly to learn more about the management of tourism to places like this and the way the message of heritage is brought out together with the purpose of education.

Im excited, and in my research upon departure Im googling a lot. If you find this topic intersting, read this http://pages.123-reg.co.uk/pstone1-995478/dark-tourism.org/id5.html

Ill post some more articles I come over later when I understand more, but first this short video from youtube that just made me cry.

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