11 mars, 2016
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Irena’s experience was clearly very traumatic and I think what she told us affected us deeply. She first told us about how she got to our country, it was the Red Cross who saved her. Great white buses arrived at the camp and picked up her dying body. Now, Irena decided what level her talk was going to be on. It was very sensitive right from the start, and we all sat quietly and listened with great respect.
Her journey through life has been tough and full of traumatic experiences and horrible things occurring time and time again. One of the things I remember the strongest is when she talked about her mother, who was left alone with her child since her husband was called in to fight in the war. One day when they sat at home innocently, German soldiers came and knocked roughly on the door. When Irena’s mother opened the door she was attacked and tied to bed, raped repeatedly. It must’ve been a horrible experience for the twelve-year old Irena, who couldn’t do anything to stop the Nazis.
At this point, a lot of questions ran through our minds. How could the nazis be so heartless and inhumane towards the people of not only Poland, but all the countries that they oppressed? And how did Irena manage to go through it all and still stand here today? Her strength and willpower shines through the room.
One thing that really shook me was when she told us about the time when she almost was beaten to death. Why for, you might ask? Simply because she turned around when she stood in a line. She was only fourteen and was lost in thought. The female German guard yelled at her and threw a punch directly at her head. Irena was thrown off guard and without thinking, Irena called the guard “a monkey”. By not being able to understand polish, the guard asked the other prisoners what she had said. The female guard told Irena to come into the guard’s´ office later that day. At the office, she was severely beaten and almost killed by that same guard. Her right chin and her forehead became torn and bled violently. Her teeth were knocked out. The guard still gives her nightmares today.
Irena often mentioned throughout her speech how important it is to care about each other, to be loveful towards one another. The Nazi movement and their success was a result of inhumane behaviour and mindless actions. People forgot our world´s most important lesson: all are equal.
/Nicholas Winslow, SA15