We have been to Auschwitz. Why would someone go to Auschwitz? It is a historical place – ‘the Auschwitz lie’ or ‘a flyspeck in German history’ or ‘a memorial for industrial mass murder’?

We were 20 young and older people from the prayer house in Leipzig and the association Gate to Zion.

What will wait for us? – How will we – each one of us – overcome the challenge to deal so closely with the darkest chapter of German history? It has been a blessing to be with Christians together at this place – our believe in Jesus is the connecting basis – we knew we were in a sustainable fellowship.

We entered the camp Auschwitz I, that has been the main camp with all its terrible places in the awareness that more than 70 years ago people had to live in horrifying dread and terror and were killed. Thanks to the great organisation we were guided by Jacek, an expert Polish guide, who told us a lot about the day to day life in this concentration camp.

I would like to point out to one of the rooms we visited. We entered an empty room and thought that this room is under construction. Then we noticed white A4 sheets hanging at the same height. These were children drawings of the daily life in the camp that have been found after the liberation of Auschwitz.

The memory of this dark part of history was frighteningly alive by the glass vitrines showing collected utensils that have been taken by the inmates already at their arrival: suitcases, shoes and prayer shawls. We went on to the second camp, Auschwitz Birkenau, were about 200.000 people were forced to labour at the nearby chemical industry for the German Reich. The chimneys reaching to the horizon show the planned barracks. 

With these railway cars prisoners were taken directly to camp II in the later years. At the outer border of the camp huge gas chambers were build, in which 2,000 people were murdered simultaneously. To cover up this outrageous injustice these places of horror were blown up before the liberation.

Near the entrance of the second entrance of camp II, we find this bronze lion at an almost normal residence house. When we take a closer look at his mane, we see central Jewish symbols like a shofar, a menorah, Thora scrolls, but also a kiln and people that fall into the abyss – the Holocaust. Rick and his wife Dafna are living and working in this house. We also find the artwork of Rick in this house. This artwork connects the Holocaust in a moving comparison with the suffering and dying Jesus on the cross with the deadly, suffering Jewish prisoners. After a joint introduction each one of our group had a time of silence to let this artwork work on him. The image of the prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane is extraordinary. The overflowing cup in the hand of Jesus is the picture of His unrepeatable indescribable suffering and thus of the unrepeatable indescribable suffering of the people of Israel. Jesus emptied this cup to the last drop as well as the Jewish people did. This horrible and sinister part of history, that is deeply connected to the German people, must never be repeated. At the end, the cup is empty, both have risen from their grave and Jesus is holding the survivor.