Our first stop on our trip to Salzburg was Mauthausen.
Mauthausen was a concentration camp during the war. It was a place where people were sent to die. People were tortured and gassed there.
We went on an audio tour of the compound. It was the coldest I have ever been in my life. And I was wearing about three layers. I can't even imagine what the people did to stay warm during the war. I tried to stay outside for the whole tour but I just ended going in some of the buildings and looking outside at the different sights I was supposed to see.
It was all just so gruesome. But something that needs to be remembered. I asked myself why it needed to be remembered. Why did I personally need to see the gas chambers and the rooms where they ran their experiments on the prisioners? And I think it's important because those people who were killed derserved to be remembered. But I also think it's important because we see the face of true evil and we're able to stare it down and conquer it. We can't let our lives be consumed by hatred. It doesn't accomplish anything except for destruction; destruction of those we hate, and ourselves. What did the Nazis gain from concentration camps? Nothing.
So while it was hard for me to see pictures of the people there, the gas chambers, and stand in the bitter cold, it was worth it. It was worth it to see the triumph of the human spirit to know that there were some people who survived Mauthausen and lived to tell us and teach us about it.