Treblinka Blog Entry by Nancy O’donnell

Today was challenging! There was a complete disconnect for me-

As you roll into Treblinka, there is a beautiful forest and the area seems peaceful. Yet, if you know anything about the past, it is a place of ugly, hateful destruction of men, women, and children. You realize they were placed after the evidence of what happened here was destroyed. The Nazis didn’t want to leave evidence.

Knowing numbers is one thing, seeing the massive amounts of stones representing the communities whose Jewish population was destroyed was overwhelming. To know that the entire Jewish communities across Europe were lost is heartbreaking.  

Treblinka : Poetry-Here I Am

Here I Am

But should I be here

As I travel the path

I’m surrounded by a beautiful forest

Yet, the sense around me is that 

there’s something not quite right

The forest-it’s too young, too new

It doesn’t truly know the horror it covers

As I travel the path,

The path so many were forced to run

Under threat of violence

Violence often received

The bugs attacked over and over

Was it to warn us away from this place of death?

Was it to protect the remains of those who had fallen?

As I travel the path,

I see large stones representing the countries across Europe whose Jewish population was decimated


As I travel the path further,

There are more stones, smaller stones, 

So, so many stones

As far as the eye can see

More stones and

More stones and

More stones

Each representing communities in which the Jewish population was annihilated

As I travel this path at Treblinka,

I question-

Should I be here?

Do the spirits that surround this place want us here?

I ponder and

I ponder and

I ponder

And I pray they understand it is with reverence and respect that I travel this path

I knew the facts in my head,

But now I have seen the truth with my eyes  

And while my heart is now broken for the hundreds of thousands who were murdered here

My mouth must go and share this truth

To teach my students 

To inform my community members

And I pray the lessons and experiences I share help those who hear to take on the responsibility 

To know

To remember

To ensure it never again becomes a reality

Here I Am

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