Earlier in the fall, the HTRS high school and middle school had the opportunity to visit the Auschwitz exhibit in Kansas City. This trip was funded by the HTRS foundation. The kids got to go through the exhibit and learn about the travesty and heartache that took place during the Second World War. There were art and real-life artifacts from the Auschwitz Concentration Camp to help visitors depict the genuine devastation of this time in the world. While it is said that people should not keep material possessions, the objects kept from the concentration camp hold a certain power and significance for history. Without the artifacts preserved inside of the exhibit, we would only have half of an epic story with no evidence of the sorrow held within the shoes, combs, and religious relics stolen from people along with their humility and their hope. I had the amazing opportunity to write about my own experience at the museum and my interpretations of the meaning behind the exhibit. We are taught history all throughout our lives. They say that the events of the past are taught so that history cannot repeat itself; however, history is repeated every day. It is repeated when we, as a community, lack acceptance for others. During World War II minorities were punished, gay men were punished, and those with disabilities were punished. You cannot change the way you are born, so why is it that we continually punish these people for the things they cannot change? The action of hurting others in such a way that they are stripped of their humanity and their personality is just hateful. These men and women who tortured the minorities believed the minorities were lesser people of the world and seemed to see themselves as gods. As they chose the fates of the men, women, and children, they played with and took away peoples’ lives with no hesitation. Those who stood by and took no action are almost as villainous as those who killed innocent people. What is it that blinds people from acceptance; that blinds them from empathy or kindness? Religion, race, and sexuality are not logical blindfolds for forsaking kindness to others. This trip taught me that we cannot stop repeating history until we learn to accept and be kind to others.
By Hannah Koziol