Eitan Klieger

Experiencing Auschwitz after 10/7

A watchtower at Auschwitz. (courtesy)

Today I walked through Auschwitz. Our teen group went through the gates and saw the camp with our own eyes. We walked the same path that one million Jews had done before us.

We saw the places where Jews were crammed into barracks. We saw where they were hanged and shot and gassed and burned. We saw the aftermath — the tallitot, the glasses, the hair, and the shoes.

European Jewry was permanently crippled by the Shoah, and Auschwitz stands as a warning and a reminder.

While seeing these things would be extremely disturbing at any time, today they somehow more so. They felt like a direct parallel to today’s events. I could feel the chain connecting this directly to October 7. The well-planned and brutal murder of Jews. The belongings left behind by the victims — piles of shoes, glasses, and clothing which, except for their style, could have been taken right out of this concentration camp,

I felt numb as I walked through the camp. I expected to cry, but all I felt was shock. Some of the teens in our group had family murdered in the Shoah and we paid our respects to them. I opened the book of names and tried to read as many as I could. Instead of believing in a heaven or a hell, we hold memory and legacy as extremely important aspects of life. Even without having relatives killed in the Shoah, I wanted to pay my respects and make sure they will be remembered.

When someone goes to Auschwitz, they might think that something like the Shoah could never happen again. They might hope that the world would never stand by and let Jews be slaughtered again.

They would be wrong.

Once again, much of the world has been silent or denied the rapes and murders of Jews. Many others celebrated the brutal slaughter happening again.

On October 7th, we saw Jews hacked to pieces, mutilated, burned alive. Survivors of the Holocaust were killed or taken hostage. Not even babies were spared. Moments straight out of the Shoah were repeated — except this time it was broadcast to the world, met with thunderous cheers and encouraging chants.

The Nazis may have been defeated, but their ideas echo across history and up to the present day. Iranian-funded terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah have changed the flag, but carry on the Nazis’ one goal — to exterminate every Jew from the face of the earth. Around the world, supporters of these terror groups threaten the existence of Diaspora Jewry and inch things closer and closer to the conditions of 1930s Germany that made the Shoah possible.

When we say “never again,” we need to mean it. We need the world to listen.

Never again should the world stand by as Jews are massacred.

Never again should Jews be afraid to exist.

Never again will we allow these things to happen to us. If that makes us more unpopular in the world, it doesn’t matter. We’ve handled that before too.

About the Author
Eitan Klieger is a high school student in the United States and a triple citizen of the US, England, and Israel. He participates in Brandeis's 'Better to Learn' program, the RAC's L'taken, and NFTY, as well as secular programs like his high school's marching band and musical. Eitan grew up a member of both Reform and Conservative synagogues and has emerged as a "hybrid Jew", enjoying aspects of each movement.
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