I purposely excluded our visit to Terezin (Theresienstadt) because it felt like an experience that deserved special attention. There are not many words that can elegantly or even adequately describe this place, and if you're like me, you've never even heard of Terezin.
I was not sure what to expect from the trip. What would it be like? How would it look? What would I see? More importantly, what had they excluded from the public eye? The following is my journal entry, written just after visiting Terezin:
"I was not sure what to expect from the Terezin prison and concentration camp. I did not know of the horrific atrocities and crimes against humanity that occurred here.
"I did not know of the efforts made by the Nazi regime to disguise the misery of the Jewish ghetto as a harmonious community. I did not know that the very second I set foot in the quarters of the former and deceased prisoners I would feel an overwhelming and eerie sense of coldness, as if the spirits of its past inhabitants still remained.
"I did not know of the bizarre dichotomy of the peaceful yellow flowers and chirping birds amid the gloom and depression of the suffering that took place here seventy years ago.
"I did not know of the rows upon rows of graves marking the entrance to Terezin, some headstones displaying names, others only numbers, some documenting lives only too short, others documenting only that they had lived -- and then died here.
"Why didn't I know this? Why don't more people know this? I am grateful I know this now."