Guest Post. Megha Gupta

I am pleased to present a guest post from Indian writer and blogger, Megha Gupta.

Here is her own short bio.

Hello, I am Megha. I come from India and I’ve been living in the Netherlands since last four years. I am 31 – not too old, energetic and optimistic. Reading, writing and Travelling are my top three likes. So far, I’ve travelled across 23 countries and I aim to reach the 50 mark by the time I am 35 years old. By profession, I am risk Consultant but by heart I am a writer. I’ve been writing (old style) since last seven years but have only published a blog this year. My blog (link at the bottom) is my collection of experiences and opinions about life & things & places & people.
In this post, I share my experience of visiting Auschwitz. Even if you haven’t heard of Auschwitz, I’m sure you would see it (& know it), through my eyes as you read this.

And this is her unedited guest post.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO VISIT AUSCHWITZ?

If you haven’t heard of Auschwitz, Imagine a slaughter house (not for animals, but for humans). Imagine a place where millions of Jews were confined for years, tortured to death by hard labour, thirst, extreme hunger and suffocation. The reason for death being- neither Crime nor War but the belief in a superior race. Imagine how humans could be responsible for more than a million deaths in a place this small. (in the name of saving humanity from other humans – Jews). Auschwitz is not old history but very much a part of recent century. Nazi Germany master minded this extermination camp (and many others) during world war ii with the sole aim of systematically eradicating the race of Jews.
So last year, when I planned my visit to Auschwitz, it was not unusual for people to ask why I would choose to go there? Wouldn’t it be depressing? In my defence, not visiting this place, merely excuses us from reality, hoping we forget it someday. There is No history book that can convey the happenings of this place to a degree that it instils your memory.
Somewhere inside Auschwitz, I found this quote that sums up the reason why people need to see this place.

I cannot deny the fact that this place is downright melancholy. You would be standing in the site of holocaust witnessing Exhibits of the dead (millions) piled on top of one another. It has a room full of belongings that were stripped off from the inmates before they entered the camp. A room full of gas canisters that were used to suffocate them to death. A room full of human hair that were shaved off from their dead bodies before being burned by the Nazis.
A guide will take you around the camp and tell you how a typical day looked like for these prisoners. You will see the laboratory that was used to experiment on prisoners, inducing them with deadly diseases. You will see the kitchen that has some paintings that the prisoners drew to keep themselves hopeful. You will also see the punishment cells, gas chambers, the shooting wall and a room fitted with body sized ovens. If this does not melt your heart, a thousand photo frames mounted in a large corridor showing the victims, their age and survival span in the camp, definitely would.
By the end of this visit, you are loaded emotionally. Some cry, some hold back tears. Some ponder how humans could be capable of this act. How could some still hope to live in this situation. How strong were the people who survived the camp? Does the trauma impact their free lives later on?
This wasn’t over for me yet. I was feeling restless. A visit to Auschwitz raised some very fundamental questions about human nature, survival and our relative mental strengths. I slept on these questions for days following. Later, I learned about an Auschwitz survivor, a psychologist – Viktor Frankl. Viktor was one of the fortunate ones to have survived this place. He says, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any how “. For Viktor, the why was a hope to finish his book about logotherapy. He wrote this book after he was released from the camp. What was supposed to be psychology theory, turned out to be a truly personal account of his survival in Auschwitz detailing how the camp impacted the inmates psychologically, why some survived while others didn’t.

His book “Man’s search for meaning” was published in 1946 and became an instant bestseller. I read it a month after my visit and regard this as a closure to my quest for Auschwitz.
P.S – The photo at the top, shows the gate of Auschwitz inscripted as ARBEIT MACHT FREI” meaning work makes you free.
Paradoxically, It was death that made these inmates free.

Here is a link to Megha’s blog.
https://myhandwrites.com/

Please visit her blog to see what else she is writing about, and welcome this new blogger to our great community.

49 thoughts on “Guest Post. Megha Gupta

    1. Send me your post text as an email, (not a word document attachment) to petejohnson50@yahoo.com
      Less than 3,000 words please, and only 3 images if you want to use any.
      Add a short personal bio, so people know about you as a blogger.
      Send a full link to your site, and any other links separately.
      If you want a photo of yourself included on the bio, send that separately too.
      I don’t edit content, and everything is shared on Twitter too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A very remarkable posting. Than you for this. After visiting our nearest former concentration- and extermination camp at Flossenbuerg (to most people unknown, while our Bavarian Government wants to cover up a lot of unknown people murdered “by work” in sub-camps, and a more thousand prisoners of war too) I have not been able to visit another such camp. I am too nervous that not all the murder cases have been solved. Auschwitz was long referred to as the “Polish camp” until the Polish government insisted that it had to be named as a extermination camp of Nazi Germany.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you too, Pete! I must confess that I didn’t know the film yet. Thanks for the hint, Pete!
        We have been bombarded here on public television for about five years with documentaries on the achievements of the Nazi empire. I do not quite understand what the purpose of this is. It would be better to shed light on the atrocities and their foundations.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to meet you Megha.
    It is part of the school curriculum to visit Auschwitz here in Poland, I would like to think tat even a virtual tour should be part of everyone’s learning experience. You sum up the feelings invoked very well.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This post led to a wee bit of research. I always thought Auschwitz was in Germany (a country I’ve visited). I didn’t know that it was located in a part of Poland occupied by the Germans during the war, and that it’s true name is Oświęcim. You learn something new every day! Thank you, Meghan!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thanks for the introduction to Megha’s blog. This post about Auschwitz was captivating, and almost unbelievable about man’s inhumanity towards man. I say almost because we are seeing the beginnings of such thinking once again in our current world affairs. History will repeat itself if we are not vigilant.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I liked your comment Peg. Especially because you realize how we are all moving in that direction without even realizing it. That’s one of the reasons actually, I was compelled to write this post.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for this heartbreaking post. I visited the Anne Frank Hause in Amsterdam and left with the same feeling. How can humans possibly be so mean? I agree, we must never forget these atrocities.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Thank you for introducing Megha Gupta to us, Pete. Lovely to meet you, Megha! 🙂
    I’m familiar with the works of Viktor Frankl and can wholeheartedly recommend his books too. A visit to Auschwitz or any other concentration camp is a deeply moving encounter with a past I personally never experienced. Yet, I’m deeply worried about the right extremist tendency evolving all over again.

    I had to smile when I read your bio, Megha. At your age, I was an avid traveller and counted countries visited. Living in Bonn, very close to an airport, I seized every opportunity to get away for a few days to see a new place.
    Today, with a planet suffering and a climate change that calls for action, I realise, I was all the time part of the problem, thus having given my favourite topic travelling a lot of consideration recently, I have decided to become a part of the solution and therefore – no more flights for pleasure. I think the change in attitude towards travelling is already taking place, do you feel a difference in the reactions of your blog or do your readers write, “lovely, I want to go there as well”?

    Best wishes
    Dina

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dear Dina, Nice to see you here. I have been in Bonn last year for a weekend and remember seeing the castle there. It was a beautiful place. Not using flights anymore is a really brave decision. I hope we all have the strength to do the same.
      The good thing about living in europe though is that you can reach by car to most places 🙂

      This year, travel would be very restricted anyhow. 🙂

      I am really glad you liked my post.

      Liked by 2 people

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.