I don’t just travel for fun. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of fun while traveling. But traveling for me is about understanding cultures, trying to see life through other’s eyes, and learning from my experiences. I traveled through eastern Europe with this mindset.
As I traveled through Poland and Germany, I listened to an audiobook by Viktor E. Frankl. He talked about his experiences; the inhumane treatment by Nazi soldiers and how his fellow prisoners supported each other through those dark time. It was important for me to understand how less than a hundred years ago, so many rational humans could be convinced to treat other humans so inhumanly. It was this question that made me want to see and experience the Auschwitz Museum in Poland.
How did this happen and how can we prevent it from happening in the future?
My experience at the Auschwitz Museum will be forever imprinted on my heart and mind. My journey of understanding continued in Bavaria, Germany. After experiencing the horrific history of the concentration camps, I went to Nuremburg, the site of the court that built the evidence and prosecuted the first wave of Nazi commanders.
The museum there did an amazing job of helping me understand the evolution of the war, Hitler’s rise to power, and most importantly, how he was able to captivate the SS leaders. Nuremburg is not only the place that brought the Nazi commanders to justice, but also where Hitler, a few years before, would gather his commanders and supporters together and inspire them to do terrible deeds.
Because of these two experiences, I believe that the former Secretary-General of the United Nations said it best:
There cannot be real peace without justice.
— Kofi Annan