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  • To enter Majdanek, one must travel through the "gate of hell". It was quite an experience. We first began in the information center where we watched a short film to learn the basics about the camp. Then we were directed along this long, winding path to a set of stairs. These stairs led us to "hell".

    Unfortunately for the Nazis but fortunately for us, Allied soldiers arrived before the Nazis could destroy the majority of the camp. As a result, visitors are able to view the camp almost exactly how it was when it was in operation so many years ago.

    Walking around the almost entirely intact camp, I thought back to Ida Fink’s words. She states, “But no. Today, digging around in the ruins of memory, I found it fresh and untouched by forgetfulness.”* I think that it is such a fantastic quotation because it describes exactly what we have been studying all semester! This specific quotation is so relevant to both Majdanek and what we studies because it focuses on exactly all of the different texts and books we have read so far and everything they represent. Ida Fink writes it so well as she describes what happens to lost memories; they do not in fact go away, they just go into hiding and when we want to recall them, they can be there very quickly and just as lucidly as they were in the moment.

    She describes what it was like to be in Majdanek perfectly. Being there in 2012 is almost exactly like it was being there during the war. It is perfectly preserved. Other than the exhibitions in the barracks and some of the other buildings, everything (except the crematoria which have been rebuilt) remains untouched.

    The rebuilt crematoria are located at the back of the camp. Walking indie the room with the ovens was eerie to say the least, something I don’t plan on experiencing again but something that I will definitely never forget. To the left of the crematoria is a huge mausoleum. It is a giant open-air structure that houses the ashes of many of the thousands that were killed and cremated in the camp. It was astounding to see so many ashes, so many bodies, so many souls, so many lives. They were all right there in front of me and all I could do was cry. So many lives cut short for no reason at all. It’s just not fair.

    *Ida Fink, “A Scrap of Time and Other Stories”, pg. 3
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