The world beneath your feet: Day at Auschwitz

You feel the cold water splashing over your face. It drips down your neck as you slowly turn off the water. Staring at the old tile walls in front of you, you almost cannot believe it is already the end, and you are only 20.

Rubbing your eyes and feeling like the darkness you see. You send a pray up to a God you hope receives it.

Silently, like a machine, you take off your clothes. Carefully and slowly, making extra care as you fold your uniform. You are observing yourself doing this from what seems like an eagle-eyes perspective. Feeling completely unattached from yourself. Knowing this will be the last time you will ever feel cold water against your skin. And feeling okay with that.

Walking up the prison stairs, the door opens before you and the line of other intellects, Jews and Gypsies. Light floods in, and a cold wind slaps you across your naked body. Walking single fill over the sharp rocks, you precede.

But at least your still feel the earth beneath your feet.

You stand there exposed. Everything is heightened. You hear and see everything even though you wish you didn’t. You are present. Completely feeling the earth underneath your blistered feet, the weather across your bruised skin and the beating of your heart within your chest. It is so unreal. Shot after shot. The dropping of bodies to the earth. Your last seconds have finally come. What are you thinking about? 


The person next to you falls to the ground. Looking down at the blood that has been blasted on your arm, you finally know it is your turn. Breathing in, breathing out, you turn up and look at your executor straight in the eyes.

I try and block everything out. The people, the cameras, and the guide’s voice. I stand in that spot as everyone continues on without me. That spot, that place, which has ended so many stories. The Shotting Wall.

I am imaging those final walks, those final humanly connections, and those last moments they felt the world beneath thier feet. Imagining those final glances up at the sky, I hope that they saw a bird flutter past.

I hope there was a hint of peace in their hearts, or maybe a sliver of happiness as they thought back on their memories. The memories that the SS could have never taken away- the memories of times before Auschwitz. Before they were persecuted, judged and tortured for their race, religion or political beliefs.

I can almost hear those gun shots. The falling bodies. I can almost feel the thousands of last breaths taken on that single piece of earth. I can almost feel the hatred.

“The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again”


1 Comment

Filed under HistoryBeats

One response to “The world beneath your feet: Day at Auschwitz

  1. sbarenberg

    That wall… I have a picture too. Also, to the right- that little window you probably saw.(toward the ground).. smaller than your closet- kept a person in there-in the dark alone.

    I’m glad to have shared an experience like this with you now.

    Sorry this is intense. Just want to share what I have seen/learned. muchos besos!

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