STORIES ABOUT GENOCIDES Poland Edition

This year I had a chance to visit three amazing countries, learn about their culture, food and history. Poland, Armenia and my homeland Bosnia and Herzegovina. Guess what’s common for all three of them? Except all of them have delicious food, kind people and beautiful landscapes, they also share the common word – genocide. Let the story begin with Poland. It was one of the most enlighting trips of my life. Well, who am I kidding?! Each trip enlights you in a specific way. My behaviour and perception are changing continuously acquiring knowledge from all those countries. For instance, after the trip to Armenia my perception of genocide has changed a lot! So, I’m going to talk about genocides. What inspired me to do so is the reality which all of us are facing at the moment. I wouldn’t cope with definitions of genocide, but I feel the pain of Syrian refugees. Who are they? Where are they? They are people! People who have no place to stay. Can you imagine yourself in a situation where someone is kicking you out of your home? You have to leave out your dog, your cat. You have to leave out your photos, your favourite books, cd collections, table and a chair. View from the window. Neighbours, maybe even your family. And escape! Escape so far, where you don’t know the language, people are not welcoming you with both hands, nor they are willing to help you as they could. But, you repeat yourself that your future is over there, right after the border. The truth is, you have no idea which kind of future expect you after the border.

Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw

After arriving at the airport of Warsaw, first thing I saw was the tallest building in
Poland, conceive as “the gift form Soviet people to the Polish nation”. Right next to it, there are huge and tall buildings with the name of the city at the top. Polish people told me that the Poland is the country of the future and the idea was to show to the people around the world that the tallest Palace with Stalinst architecture can be confronted with futuristic design and beauty. I could talk a lot about my experience there, strange food (but yummy!) with mix of fruits and meat, but what inspired me to write this paper wasn’t that pleasant as all other adventures that happened. Thus, I’m going to write about our visit to the “United States Holocaust Museum”, that happened the second day of our trip, so my stay over there was under the kind of dark sheet fulfilling my mind with terrible and sad pictures, videos and stories I lived inside.

Before World War II, Warsaw was a major centre of Jewish life and culture in Poland. What happened over there is easy to explain. The difficult part is to understand why. It is scientifically proven, by positive psychology, that neuro pathways are created up to twenties. Maybe my pathway has been built on positive thoughts, happiness, kindness and love. So, I can’t. I can’t understand why and I’ll never be able to.

The term “genocide” did not exist prior to 1944. It is a very specific term, referring to violent crimes committed against a group with the intent to destroy the existence of the group. So, what happened in Warsaw that there was a need to define such a terror, which no other word could describe? The Holocaust, which was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

Unfortunately, there were people thinking that the Jewish are not belonging to this world and all of them should be killed and removed from this “beautiful earth”. Warsaw suffered heavy air attacks and artillery bombardment. Ghetto was created. German civilian authorities required Warsaw’s Jews to identify themselves by wearing white armbands with a blue Star of David. They closed Jewish schools, confiscated Jewish-owned property, and conscripted Jewish men into forced labour.

United States Holocaust Museum, WarsawWhen you enter the museum, you can feel this. You feel how much people suffered and you feel that many of them are looking at you, obliging you to talk about it. We have to talk about it! Everyone have to know this! You know why? Not to happen again! But then, walking inside of that museum I was thinking. This happened in Armenia 100 years ago! And no one is talking about it. This happened in my country only 20 years ago and no one is talking about it. People of Syria are in danger and we can do something about it, we can help, share, talk and understand! I decided to do all of that. As I said before, my positive neuro path does not allow me to perceive pessimism, so our future is going to be bright. We have to talk and learn about our mistakes ensuring that they won’t happen again. My next story is going to be about Armenia, that beautiful “maschutka” (funny small busses) land with sad and terrifying history.

More information about Holocaust in Poland available at:

http://www.ushmm.org/learn/holocaust-encyclopedia

More information on how to help to Syrian refugees at:

https://worldhelp.net/gift/european-migrant-relief/

http://www.syriarefugees.com/

Mirheta Omerovic

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