April 18, 2013
“Polish assholes” in Auschwitz
Finally, we got to the March of the Living. A group of young Jews from several cities in Poland who decided to take part in this enormous and powerful way of remembering the ones who perished in the Shoah. We were accompanied by several non-Jewish people, life partners and friends who felt the need to share that experience with us.
It is obvious how powerful standing next to the gas chamber can be and what kind of emotions can it bring. We walked speechlessly, which does not happen too often, and took out the flags of some Jewish organizations we are part of and the red and white flag of Poland. It was not even five minutes later when some English speaking person passing us by said to his friend: “It is kind of awkward to see a Polish flag here”. We did not react to that statement however shocking for us Polish Jews it was; maybe we felt a bit embarrassed because of our gentile friends standing next to us.
We decided to use the one hour before the beginning of the March to walk around Auschwitz. At the meeting point it turned out that unfortunately not everyone seemed to understand what this march is about. At least not how we felt about it. Our Polish friend, life partner of one of Jews from our group, was walking between the barracks with Polish flags with her long blond hair falling on her leather jacket. As she was passing by some girls in their twenties, wearing blue coats and waving and Israeli flag she just heard: “Oh hello you Polish asshole!” She did not react, just moved forward.
Organizers divided the area in zones and each group was to walk from a certain starting point. We gathered in the F zone, the one that we believed to be for people supposed to walk at end of the March, the zone for the Polish and Austrian people. The red and white was separated from the blue and white with a fence and a buffer zone. However, the gate separating us from the people already marching opened earlier and we were able to walk with everybody. It was kind of a relief.
And there we were, Polish assholes, Polish gentile assholes, Polish Jewish assholes who decided to take part in something big, something worthy of doing. Something that must be done. We took the Polish flag up and marched with everyone. When we got to Birkenau it was the blond girl wearing leather jacket who was telling us about that camp and showing the barracks. Her knowledge seemed much bigger than ours. Thank you for going there with us you Polish asshole.