Sunday, January 24, 2010

One the Road Again

From Vienna we slowly made our way to Munich...with a few stops on the way.
There was an excursion to Mauthausen concentration camp. I opted out of this for several reasons and I feel this is an appropriate platform to explain why I stayed on the bus that day.

A concentration camp is the last place in the world I want to be a tourist. Getting a guided tour of a place where such horrific acts just does not sit well with me. But I do believe that learning about and remembering the holocaust and the victims in extremely important for people to do. Personally I do not feel the need to be in the physical space of the camp to appreciate it. At one point in my life I was very interested in the holocaust and the stories of the people who were sent there. I  read several books, watched many documentaries and reflected on those events for a long and depressing time. I have also known a handful of survivors and they have told me their stories personally. I do not believe that the preservation of memory is site specific. But do believe that the preservation of these sites is extremely important for future generations and those who did not read books and speak with the survivors firsthand. In fact I would go so far as to encourage people to go see them, learn and never forget. It is important to pay respect to those who perished, but I feel that I can pay respect in a different way. I hope that makes sense.

On a happier note...

We also visited the quaint Austrian town of Salzburg. Home to Mozart, Mozart Balls the Sound of Music...not much else apparently. It was a big salt producer at one time and the name Salzburg literally means salt castle and it has to a vast network of salt caves. I did not manage to take any post worthy photos of Salzburg from this trip so I will cheat and post some of the first time I was there...when it was greener. The picture of me looking extremely excited in front of Mozart's house is from the Jan Term.

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