• July 24, 2016

Walking through the Auschwitz-Birkeneau concentration camps was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

Today I walked where they walked. I walked along the streets and peered through the windows of the barracks, so that I could imagine what it must have been like to be herded like cattle through the camps. I endured long walks under the hot summer sun and imagined what it must have been like to stand for hours as soldiers conducted their roll calls. I counted all the buildings that prisoners had built with their bare hands, as they were being starved and tortured.

Today I saw what it looked like when a society chooses logic and efficiency before choosing the human being. When people are treated like they are less than who they are, it makes sense to increase security and forcefully take away their rights. It makes sense to starve and torture them so that they would be less capable to think freely. It makes sense to take away their dignity and mutilate their bodies for the advancement of science.

The system worked. And the cost was more than one million people.

A lot of people walk away from this concentration camp turned museum saying, “Never again can we let this happen.” They say it with conviction.

And yet, atrocities like this are still happening today. After all, our society is one that supports abortion and euthanasia. Our world is one in which Christians are persecuted for their faith and American men are shot because of the colour of their skin.

For the rest of my pilgrimage, I’d like to pray for those who carry hatred in their hearts that they may be freed from the burden they carry. I’d also like to pray that the world is reminded of the true value of human life in all of its forms.