For most of my life, Germany has been a mythical place – a place that existed only in stories from family that were always prefaced with a form of warning reminiscent of Dante; that in this place there would be only death. Traveling with Germany Close Up has been a timely reminder in my personal journey of how we incorporate history into our identities.
At a young age, I internalized a story I heard from my father that shaped my identity irrevocably: a story of his journey to the extermination camp of Auschwitz in 2004. In his experience at the camp, at a time when he was not so much older than I am now, his life was fundamentally changed and as a result mine was as well. Upon arriving at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Orianienburg outside of Berlin with my wife and our new friends from GCU, I was surprised that I felt no overwhelming spiritual awakening or earth shattering revelation of my role in the world.
As I continue to grapple with the questions I am now left to figure out, I am grateful for the support of my wife and community through whom I am better able to understand myself, my identity and the history of this place.