I’ve added this week’s Featured Story, ‘In Memory of the Children of the Ghetto‘ and I wanted to share some of the inspiration behind the story.
The Lodz ghetto was a very real, very brutal place. If you are interested in the history of the ghetto, I strongly suggest that you Google it as there are sites that can fill you in on the history of the place with far more skill and detail than I can. I love Lodz. I lived there for a number of years and we have family that still live there so we return as often as time and money allows. The station in the story is a very real memorial place. It is nestled in the centre of a functional city area and has been made into a very moving memorial museum. It steals up on you because you’re lulled by the pedestrian nature of the surrounding buildings. Suddenly the enormity of what happened here during WWII is so apparent because these atrocities were also exacted in a pedestrian background of wartime ‘normality’.
The branch track is abandoned now and the last time I visited, it was thick with summer flowers. I am always struck by the loneliness of railway tracks but these tracks seem more isolated, despite the yellow and white blooms between the wooden sleepers. It’s as if the thousands of names that are listed in the original transport rosters in the small museum are standing guard, unwilling to permit these tracks to reconnect with the modern city.
It is hard to explain the atmosphere of the place. I think there is a memory of the people who passed through on their way to the death camps that somehow scars the air. By far the most poignant of the many memorials that adorn the walls, is a black, rectangular plaque mounted on the side wall that simply says ‘In memory of the children of the ghetto‘. Out of respect, the black stone is polished to mirror-like standard and as you look at the words that are carved there and think about what it really means, what the reality of those words was for the children who lived in Lodz at that time, they are superimposed on your reflection as if acknowledging that they have stamped their indelible mark on you.
This is the place that has been trying to find its way into a story for a long while. It took a simple prompt to open the path.