Saturday, March 9, 2013

Where It All Happened- Ashley Scully

Monday March 4, 2013

We are leaving in 5 days for Poland! I am excited and nervous for this life-changing journey. My name is Ashley Scully and I am a senior at Iona College, majoring in International Studies and minoring in Peace and Justice Studies. I am going to Poland because last spring, I interned at the Museum of Jewish Heritage- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust Battery Park, NY. It was a wonderful experience and as a result, I wish to continue my education in Holocaust studies. I always had an interest in the Holocaust since the first day I learned about it in middle school. Back then, our textbooks grazed over the Holocaust by discussing very briefly who, what, when, and how. As a student, I had so many questions like WHY did this happen? I wanted to know more because it was scary and incomprehensible that the world let this happen. It was not until my internship at the museum that FINALLY my questions were answered. Working with artifacts, hearing testimonies from survivors, and educating other students about the Holocaust further ignited my ambition to go to Poland and have a full experience--feel, touch, sight--of what happened.
As a Peace and Justice Studies minor, I look forward to visiting the camps in Auschwitz. I will bare witness to the biggest human rights violations in the world. Instead of reading and viewing pictures of the Holocaust, I will be standing on the ground, where it all happened. This journey will be life changing for me because I know I will be one step closer to understanding what career I would like to pursue when I graduate from Iona. I always had a passion for human rights and this trip will not be the end to my Holocaust education, but the beginning.
I carry two quotes close to my heart as I mentally prepare myself for this trip: “remember, never forget” and “there is hope for your future.” These quotes can be found in the Museum of Jewish Heritage. They are interconnected because it is important to remember and never forget the Holocaust- the 6 million innocent Jews who perished, and the critical moments when the world could have stepped in sooner to save all those lives. By educating ourselves about the Holocaust and by remembering those who passed away will bring hope for our future. It is evident in recent genocides such as the Darfur genocide that the world has not learned from its past. Therefore, educating people about the Holocaust is essential. Education is the key to prevention.
Eight students, including myself, chose to spend our spring break studying Memory and Reconciliation: The Churches and the Holocaust. We are taking a step forward in our generation to educate ourselves about the atrocities that took place in Auschwitz. Educating ourselves and then sharing our experiences with others back home will give hope to our future.
My goals for this trip are to further expand my knowledge on Holocaust studies, bare witness to the biggest human rights violations that took place, and create memories that I will share with my children so they can pass down to their children and continue the education, continue giving hope to future generations.


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