Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Think



I spent hours today in the library at the Holocaust Museum, looking at pictures of old Jewish Europe, streets scenes in pre-war Krakow, specifically. Oh the beards! Oh the hats! Wow. We Polish Jews were short and wide, almost Hobbit-like in appearance.

I was careful to avoid looking at any image of the Holocaust itself, steering a wide circle around the pics labeled "Jews being rounded up," "The move into the ghetto," "SS officers shoot Jews" and especially the pics of the camps. I've seen plenty of them, who hasn't?

Think of what it must have been like, at the end of WWII, to see for the first time the photos taken by those who liberated the concentration camps. My mother told me that they knew it was bad, but had no idea just HOW bad it was until they saw those pictures. There's a way in which she never recovered from the shock of learning the awful truth.

Poland was "THE country of the Holocaust" or so said the really nice photo archivist at the museum today. If I go to Krakow I need to be prepared to deal with the energy. Today I looked at images of the living world of Jewish Poland before the war. I'm thinking maybe I'll have to face some of the liberation photos again before I go, learn how to manage my reactions in a healthy way.

I've got my work cut out for me.

17 comments:

The Bug said...

This is spooky - I was just wondering where Reya is. Sorry that it took me until 3:00 to miss you.

This IS hard work - especially when you consider that this is your family. Take your time.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks!! The library at the museum is very cool, not at all the vibe in the museum proper. But I have had enough for one day. I left when I realized I wasn't actually breathing anymore.

Pam said...

I wonder if your ancestors are waiting for you to change the words "if I go to Krakow" to "when". I think you are nibbling at the edges of a wonderful affirmitive action Reya, and even small bites at the feast are exhausting at this stage.I think you are being guided! Keep going!xx

Reya Mellicker said...

WHEN I go to Krakow. When.

steven said...

reya "i think i've got my work cut out of me". i'm used to "i think i've got my work cut out for me". it's such a subtle yet well-lit signpost into your inner world.
i think you're such an open conduit, there's such flow in your sense of your own being that your words are significant. if i were there i'd ask you what you believe your work is. because then we'd have a better sense of what has been taken away that perhaps needs through this - from a goy's perspective - reya's supplication. there's a process at work here and i am so amazed that you are able to allow it to unfold and that you are sesnitive to your own intuitive wisdom by not letting it enfold you. well not yet! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Steven. Thank you. I know in my heart of hearts that there are gifts for me in Krakow. There is joy and life force and soul return and plain old fun.

But along with that there will be some challenges. Thinking today that being glib and trying to completely avoid any contact with that energy is a naive concept, but also the idea of diving into the Holocaust is unnecessarily punitive. I'm preparing. It's great work!

Thank you!

Kerry said...

I think you are taking it at just the right speed. You are so wise. Wow. The library is your best friend now, perhaps, in preparing yourself for such a trip.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Kerry! It's so overwhelming.

Linda Sue said...

Darling girl- be careful- I don't know how you arm yourself other than telling yourself that you may go to "your land" to connect with the nature of it, the heart of it, the love of it- the horror, the sadness that penetrates generations beyond generations- that gaping wound in the universe - I don't know...
I accidentally watched a program last night about the ss officer's scrap books- mostly of picnics and gaiety of the officer's lives- families- and then ,without warning, it shifted to the OTHER scrap book- I have been weeping AGAIN -all day... I hope that you have some tricks up your sleeve- letting go tricks- healing tricks- That sort of Reya thing that you do so well. I envy your trip, I really do, but when I think about it - I don't think I am strong enough- not like YOU!

Pauline said...

I think the only way to weather such negative energy is to be fully conscious of your positive inner energy. You may be whisked up and whirled around and even dashed to the ground but remember, all that comes from outside. It can't get in unless you let it. Am looking forward to hearing about your trip - you see things with more than your two outer eyes.

Reya Mellicker said...

Linda Sue you have no idea how helpful your comment is, how spot on.

You "accidentally" watched the program? Thank you for that accident of friendship, thanks for the wisdom.

Pauline I don't think there's any way to hide from the energy of the Holocaust in Kracow. What I must learn, if I want to go, is how to manage the energy and still have fun. I have no idea if that's even possible. Thinking hard, praying, petitioning for answers.

Tess Kincaid said...

I need to experience this myself some day, as a tribute.

Jo said...

Just as those who are sensitive to certain drugs require smaller doses, and those who are sensitive to flavors need far less spices in their food, you must be certain to ascertain the level of exposure to the soul-splitting experience of revisiting the Holocaust.

You see more and feel more than most, but are also wiser than most, so your preparation will, I'm sure enable you to achieve the maximum satisfaction from trip.

Reya Mellicker said...

Who knows, Jo? I think I need some de-sensitizing, but whenever I think about that approach, the film A Clockwork Orange comes to mind. Hmmm ... maybe there's some other way.

glnroz said...

we all should have "some work" cut out for us. (to do in this direction),,,

glnroz said...

we all should have "some work" cut out for us. (to do in this direction),,,

Reya Mellicker said...

Really Glenn? Say more?