July 23rd 2023 by Sarah Albertson

This week has shown why studying history or at least knowing history is important. History should never be about dates or names of Kings/Queens/Leaders. History is a narrative of everyone’s story woven together throughout time. But it is world events caused by these leaders that guide this narrative. 

One story I learned this past week came from a friend on the trip. During our free time on Saturday, I went along with her to Pegin to visit the concentration camp where her grandmother was sent to in January 1945. Granted the camp was only built in 1944 by Soviet prisoners to house specifically 700 women. She was one of seven hundred women who were picked from Ravensbuch Concentration Camp to work in Pegin’s factory. On April 13, 1945, the US Army liberated the camp. As others have forgotten the story of the women held here, two men, Ringo and Jan, have been dedicated to making sure the world hears about the women being held in Pegin.  

Another friend’s story involved his “uncle” who was a child escaping the Nazis. He was a part of the Kinder Transport to England. He eventually made his way to the United States in 1947. The uncle was interviewed by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Thanks to the work of the Museum, his story is now a part of his “nephew’s” story. 

Another friend shared how her great-uncle told the Soviets how he was a doctor. Because of this, he received special privileges from the Soviets. These privileges allowed him to survive. He eventually immigrated to the United States in 1956. 

There are so many more stories from this past week. These stories are interwoven to create the Holocaust narrative. No story is the same. Each Holocaust survivor and victim left a legacy behind. They are remembered through their families. Even if the details are not clear on what actually happened to them, they are remembered and honored through many memorials around the world. 

As part of this trip, each member is creating their story to add to the narrative. 

“I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me?”

Will our individual legacy be as a bystander? Are we going to stand by and watch? Are we going to be remembered for seeing what is happening around us, and we do nothing to help?

“I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me?”

Will our individual legacy be as an instigator? Are we going to push forward the issues that need to be dealt with? Are we going to leave a legacy of change? Will we be the ones to change the future of this narrative? 

“I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me?”

Will our individual legacy be as an accomplice? Are we going to encourage and support what is wrong? Will we be a part of the problem? 

What legacy will we leave? How is the story of our lives adding to this narrative today?

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

Least we not forget the Holocaust history of those stories we do not know

Roma – Sinti Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin. 

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