This I Believe

Sara - new city, New York
Entered on November 28, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

I had always been an optimist. That is, up until I was gagged in the gas clambers, and until I inhaled the air of antique ashes. For the first time in person, I had to opportunity to witness human immorality and the immense hatred the Jewish people have experienced. After observing past ruins of anti-Semitism personally, my childlike naïve layer unfolded permanently. My innocent spirit traded places with established reason. Because of unremitting colossal revulsion and dismissal by civilizations, I believe the Jewish people need a homeland to exist.

As soon as my group entered Poland, we were instantaneously taken back a century. A time when Jewish civilization flourished and millions of Jews congregated in synagogues throughout Poland. I kept in mind the obvious as I entered the dismal reality of what happened subsequently, a period when six million Jews would be gassed and burned.

We became our journey in the concentration camp Majdanek. Majdanek is located just 2.5 miles from Lublin and on a major highway. Man watched as their neighbors were burned and remained silent.

After having comparable experiences in Sobibor and Auschwitz, the uncertainties became apparent for me at Treblinka. The most serene of the Polish death camps, Treblinka, appears as a cross between a campground and a memorial. I sat calmly and wrote for a while in my journal, analyzing the atrocities committed against the Jewish people in not merely the Holocaust but also in the Eastern European pogroms, the crusades, and even as far back as the exile to Babylon when the Roman empire was at its personal height. Distraught that my people have not been accepted in virtually any society, I thought of the time when the Jewish people had a king, one holy temple, and a small empire. Remembering that I was flying to Israel that night, I finally breathed the only sigh of liberation that week. Even though the Jewish people must have a homeland to exist, as long as we have a place self governed by ourselves, I believe we will prosper.