In this residential area which is still an active community and town, we entered a building which was once a barrack which is now a museum. We were introduced to the children's drawings which depicted daily life in the ghetto. This artwork again brought to the forefront the paradox that existed during the Holocaust.
Shalmi pointed out a piece of artwork in which a woman wearing a fur coat is picking potato peels out of a garbage pile, a surreal scene: a woman wearing a fur coat is scavenging for potato peels. Pavel guided us through the museum, including the model of the camp including where he stayed. He accompanied us from there to the Danish Synagogue, a hidden synagogue in the Danish area of the ghetto, which was just discovered a few years ago by a local resident.
From there we went to the what is known as the Magdeburg barracks, where the work of artists, composers and musicians is displayed.
These works were created during the final days of life before being deported to the East, Shalmi points out the irony of this situation: the legacy that these people leave behind is in the very cultural concept that the Nazis wanted to push the Jews out of....they are gone but this is still here; they chose to leave a legacy that they were part of culture, despite Nazi ideology that Jews were cultural viruses.
In anticipation, I woke up looking forward to meeting Pavel Stransky, an 89 year old Holocaust survivor. When Pavel told us his story of how he survived the Holocaust, I could not help but anticipate the suspense he made me feel wanting to know what happened next. In my opinion, I think Pavel is some kind of gift from God. Not only did he survive in the end, but he explained that there were many times he could have been the one sent to the gas chambers. Fortunately, Pavel kept getting saved. Some people could say he was lucky, but I feel Pavel was saved for a specific reason. It only makes sense to me that he was saved because of his intellect and loving heart. I was very impressed that Pavel is so happy and did not seem to have any regrets. He kept referring back to his wife, Vera. It was easy to tell he was madly in love with her by his facial expressions. When he got home he wondered if his wife was alive, and then he discovered she was at the hospital. This curiousity of her existence is what kept him alive. In conclusion, Pavel really caught my attention, and learning about what he had to go through really gave me a different view on life. I can't explain exactly because you can't get the same feeling if you have not met him. He basically taught me to appreciate every moment and everyone you love, because you could lose them at any given time.