“Build Bridges Instead of Walls” (Berlin, Germany)

I went to a concentration camp yesterday and have never felt so ill in my life.

The air was still and silent and stale.

There are ghosts here.

Old metal gates read, “work for your freedom,” but that “freedom” was ultimately intended (from the very beginning) to mean “freedom through death and crossing over.”

I couldn’t sleep as I tossed and turned with images of the camp stuck in my brain. No matter what I do, I can’t shake the images.

I felt frozen-chilled, while having hot sweats the entire night as I pictured the atrocities that happened here….

Now there are only ghosts.

Now there is only a number they tell you. A death toll. But when you have one friend that dies, you can put a face to that number. When you have 6 MILLION PEOPLE THAT DIED, we have no way for our brains to calculate or know the meaning or scale of this number. They have a few photos of prisoners on display, but still, you can’t comprehend the number. The scary thing was that they were ONLY A NUMBER. Their names were lost, and an inmate number was tattooed on their skin. You CAN’T comprehend the number of PEOPLE that died.

Both of my dad’s parents got out of Europe in the nick of time. My grandma scrubbed the streets at Nazi gunpoint in Vienna and barely made it out. She was sponsored by her American pen-pal friend to board the last boat coming to the states. THE LAST BOAT. I was THIS close to not having my dad, my cousins, my brother and sister, but YET it has seemingly not effected my life at all up until now. Until now, I had no comprehension of the damage that was done and STILL have no way of comprehending it.

The fact that these were HUMANS persecuting OTHER HUMANS!!! They decided that LIVING-BREATHING-SPEAKING-INTELLIGENT HUMANS were subhumans, “rats,” worthy of medical experimentation, slavery, and mass murder. And everyone followed along.

I guess it was easy to fall into the trap of listening, but not thinking for yourself. I guess it’s always easy to listen and not ask questions. Many people didn’t see the harm they were doing, or CARE. They were “just doing their job.” No one wanted to get involved. There were rumors, but no one sought out the truth. A lot of “good people” did a whole lot of NOTHING.

The fact is, THIS IS STILL HAPPENING. People – HUMANS are still being labeled and persecuted.

“History can never repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

This whole experience has honestly has made me start hating the idea of countries. I hate that we all decide “our country is the greatest and we deserve more and more and more…. the world is OURS.”

Why can’t we all just live in peace? Why can’t we just get along? Why can’t we do our own thing and let other people do theirs? Who cares about your religion, my religion? Who cares if he wants to kiss boys or if I wanna kiss girls?! It’s not about the color of our skin, but the beauty in our souls. Let’s just let YOU be YOU and ME be ME.


We are all somehow connected to the “magic” and the “mystery” that IS LIFE.

It’s time we started building bridges instead of walls.


Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato

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