Birkenau Block 25. Call me Lavinia but I have no longer a name, numbers instead. I live, if this can be called life, in block 25 in Birkenau. My block mates are numbers like me… We are going to die, we know. We are packed in this block, waiting, or no longer waiting, resigned, weak. It’s dark here, narrow windows, we can hardly breathe but I can still see the moon, a big moon, lightning the dark. There is something comforting in that light.
Now I am beyond the ground I am a tree, I am moon, I keep the distance from all this cruelty and sadness. I am free.
The house is silent. The wind on my branches just seems a breath of clouds on an extinguishing fire. I’m alone again.
A cycle has been completed: my destiny of seed that has sprouted, the design of my ancestors.
Lavinia is now earth and humus. Her spirit dancing in the evening wind (translated from the Italian version of The Inhabited Woman by Gioconda Belli)
I did not know how to start a post about Birkenau and I decided to let a woman talk. Why a woman?
Waiting room for the gas
Block 25 was known as “waiting room for the gas” and it was a female block. When visiting Birkenau I gave a quick glance to the block, to be honest I gave a quick glance to everything, I felt a certain burden. The most horrible and incredible feeling was perceiving a rather “normal” aspect of that place when you are outside.
There was even a beautiful sunset to highlight the “normal” aspect. And then I took the picture of the ruins of the crematory, If I hadn’t written what it was, nobody would have understood and it would have been “a beautiful landscape with moon”.
I was hit by my own picture, then the wind came and it reminded me of The Inhabited Woman and the orange tree
All of a sudden the shapeless prisoners acquired Lavinia’s shape and I realized that I was watching the very same moon that women in block 25 saw.
And then I started singing in my mind La vita è bella. If you haven’t seen the movie by Roberto Benigni yet, now it is time to see it
Already published on the Local Guides Connect platform. The article is not part of the themes of Associazione Progetto Re-Cycle. It is our contribution to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. All picures A.Grana