On the grounds of what once was a Jewish cemetery, on the southern outskirts of Kraków there is an open field. This is Płaszów Nazi German Labor and Concentration Camp, former domain of the Austrian SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Leopold Goth.
Here is the front of his house. From its back balcony Göth took pot shots at his Jewish slaves.
Standing in front of this old house, on a rainy summer’s day in 2011, I felt the “banality of evil” and was touched by the echo of great pain.
Not far from the house is open field with this sign at it’s entrance.
As I walked about I felt the restlessness of the dead whose eternal rest had been disturbed when the concentration camp had been built. I felt how the earth had absorbed the pain and evil bound in this place. At a distance of almost 70 years I felt how the earth had healed itself bringing forth a field of memory dressed in lush warm shades of European green.
Throughout the grounds are memorial signs honoring the suffering of those who had labored here and either been killed by Göth and the Nazi machine or saved by Oskar Schindler.
As I listened to the rain fall, I heard the rushing wind in the trees. I remembered a long time ago chance meeting with an old woman at Yad VaShem in Jerusalem. She had shared that she takes her daily walk in the forest around Yad VaShem so that she can hear the souls of the six million murdered ones as they bear witness to their pain in the rustling sound of the leaves.
Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei rabbaw (Amen)
B’allmaw dee v’raw chir’utei
v’yamlich malchutei ….
(May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (Amen.)
in the world that He created as He willed…)
all photos for this blog post are by Isa David-Ben-Rafael and are owned by IsraeLightly.