Reflection by Samantha Larkin

It wasn’t until I witnessed one of the greatest atrocities in world history with people I had just met a handful of days ago, that I realized the power of a supportive community. With everyone’s simultaneous heartaches, everyone also needed a shoulder to lean on. Whether that be to have a meaningful discussion, go on a walk, or just cry it out, I noticed that everyone was more than willing to do so. Seeing the strength of the people who witnessed the remnants of the Holocaust along with me caused me to imagine the unquantifiable amount of resilience and bravery that victims of the Holocaust needed in order to survive on a day to day basis. Not only survivors, but people who also did not make it through.

Spending thirty seconds in Auschwitz absolutely broke me, and to think about the hundreds of thousands of people who endured the conditions shows me the pre-existing resilience within them. The presence of survivors assures me that within the storm of malnourished, dehumanized, and deprived people, their strength came from a community. Hearing Howard speak about his group of survivor friends also demonstrated the power and strength in a supportive community. I truly hope everyone facing something difficult, whether big or small, has a shoulder to lean on, and can be one too.

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