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Commonplace Book

During the early nineties, I traveled to Poland with my parents to visit the rural village where my dad grew up and where he eventually lost his family and his home. As part of the trip, we visited a concentration camp. While every aspect of this tour was moving and upsetting, I was most shocked by what I saw outside the fences that surrounded the camp.
I saw homes. On hills. The concentration camp was in a valley and in each direction I could see more and more houses built on the raised dirt that completely surrounded the killing factory where I stood. These neighbors would have constantly seen and smelled the plumes of smoke.
As I stood at the center of camp I wondered if things would’ve been any different if the whole world was watching. Not just knowing. Watching.
Nearly two decades after that trip with my parents, I am staring at this computer screen and I realize that I am living on those hills.

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