Why I Went To Auschwitz by Ray Allen

This article is so good. I’m wondering what other CAF members think of Mr. Allen’s comments.

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I was there last year. And surprisingly felt a little detached. I think the horror of the place is simply too much to take on board and part of you switches off. It’s just too much to process.

I was reminded of the film Schindler’s List which was in black and white but ocassionaly showed one small girl in a red dress. I think it emphasised a personal tragedy with which we could empathise as opposed to being emotionally overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the horror.

Also, consider documentaries like Shoah.

It’s a good article. I personally found it moving to go to Auschwitz, but I didn’t find it overwhelming. Perhaps it was because I read a huge amount of both factual (like encyclopedias, history books etc) material on the Holocaust and fiction/ literature about the Holocaust at a young age, as well as discussing it with a couple of Jewish friends over the years, or perhaps it was because I am just a more detached personality type.

Also, not to take away from or minimize the Holocaust, but there are lots of places on earth that can give you that sobering thought about man’s inhumanity to man and “what would I do if…”. For example, at a restaurant in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem there was a huge lurid mural depicting and memorializing the Armenian Genocide. I had to explain what it was to several of the people I was eating with, who apparently never heard of the Armenian Genocide.

I get the impression there are a lot of people around who don’t bother to read or think about this stuff during their formative years and when they realize it occurred it can be a bit of a heavy revelation for them. I applaud the young man who wrote the article for striving to broaden his perspective and educate others.


He said he had learned a lot about the Holocaust on his own and that empathized with the victims because of their common humanity, and he shared that as much as he was able with others.


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