Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 6: April 20, 2012: Zbilitowska Gura

Day 6: April 20, 2012

The cruelty of men has never been exaggerated in my mind. Since childhood I've understood how humans will stop at nothing to obtain the power they desire, introduced to me through Disney classics like Aladdin's Jafar or the General in Pocahontas. Men will stop at nothing to engulf a nation and instill his will upon it. This is no secret. But over the course of this trip I've altered entirely. Not to say that this is no longer a truth, but my perception has changed irreparably. There is beauty in the ugly- the dilapidated- the ruins. Today we visited the sight of a vicious massacre of Jews in the forest of Zbilitowska Gura. Lined up and shot in an instant. Hundreds. Their bodies thrown carelessly in a ditch. The children were saved from the bullets since the Nazis didn't want to waste them on those who were too small and weak to fight back and instead were killed in brutal, unmentionable ways. A real horror show the likes of which is hard to grasp. And we cried together: all of us. At the blue fence of a garden dedicated to all the children who died there; the ground strewn with colorful kites and flowers and candles.

As we walked back we were all engulfed in this haze of disbelief- thrust from our planet into a world where the Cruel can take everything away from us. But at the opening to the forest, we saw something to bring us back to earth: children playing. Riding bikes, playing with a ball and carrying a doll. This place that stands as a graveyard for the innocent is enchanted with a remarkable beauty that can't be ignored. 
Growth. It's everywhere. 
Change. It's constant. 
All the pain we experience will eventually transform into something different, something that can make the world feel better to live in. We just need to search for the beauty past the ugly.

Peace. Love. Sloths. -Jennie

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