31 December 2010


My family has no roots in Poland, but that is irrelevant when you touch the ground of Warsaw. I feel beneath the feet as the land is buzzing, echoing all those steps and tumbles of those who were victims and instruments of the horror of war.

For a moment I ask myself why I should remember this past which is not mine and has no direct connection to myself, whether it would not be better to focus energy towards a future in which such monstrosities should not happen anymore, but the question crumbles and I walk further, stunned by the former ghetto area [whose boundaries are marked today on the sidewalk, as the picture shows], not understanding what I seek, sure that I will never be able to understand the depth of suffering and the scale of carnage that the monuments evoke.

One of these monuments marks the place of Umschlagplatz where, especially during the summer of 1942, the Nazis gathered about 300,000 Polish Jews to be deported by train directly to the death chambers of Treblinka.

Erected in 1988, the marble monument, which suggests a rectangular wagon, has a long wall on which are inscribed various Jewish surnames from A to Z. In it, a slit large enough to attract attention, but narrow enough not to allow the passage of anyone. I watched through it with a fearful prudence of someone who watches the hell, and what you see is a large tree planted exactly in its direction - unexpected refreshment for a difficult hope.

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