Monday, 17 November 2014

Stutthof Concentration Camp

Me at a cafe with hot chocolate and an oreo cookie pie mmm so good

Me with Jadwiga at her home (super awesome church member)

On the Gdansk main tourist street in front of the "Green Gate" (Zielona Brama)

Cool-looking boat on the Motława River in Gdansk

A coblestone alleyway in the Old Town (Stare Miasto)

Me, my companion Sister Wood and Elder Kimball with Autumn leaves

Me and Siostra Wood at Concentration Camp

At Stutthof Concentration Camp

A memorial at the museum/concentration camp grounds

A dog at Sopot beach that decided to be our friend (ok so maybe Elder Kimball wouldn't consider him a 'friend')

Last pday we (the district in Gdansk) went to the beach at Sopot (one of the tricities here)

On our way to Stutthof- just hanging out on railway tracks as you do

My companion Sister Wood and I on the bus back to Gdansk
So on pday last week we went to the beach at Sopot and it was really chilly! But it was super pretty too, and I brought along my guitar and we just sat on the (very cold) sand and enjoyed nature and music :) At one point, an enthusiastic dog came up to us as we were eating and tried to eat my companion's food hahaha she got a pretty funny photo of it.

Today for pday we went out to a place called Sztutowo (or Stutthof in German). It's about half-way from here in Gdańsk to Kalingrad (a russian country/state/i'm not sure? above Poland) and took just over an hour to get to by bus. I'd heard about a concentration camp being near Gdansk and I'd wanted to visit it for a while, but we didn't get the chance to go last transfer. So yesterday we all decided that we'd go there today as a district, and I'm so glad we did. It was a very solemn occasion and it was of great interest to me after having been to World War 2 museums in Germany last year and the Sydney Jewish Museum earlier this year. It's certainly a different experience, from hearing/reading about all the atrocities that happened, and then actually being in the place where much of it took place. The first thing we did when we got there was watch an introductory film (I think we were the first ones to arrive, so the theatre was empty). It spoke about the history of the camp, and showed footage from a trial that happened after the camp's liberation, with many of the workers and commanders of the camp- who, as I remember, most or all of them plead non-guilty. We then walked around different buildings that had exhibitions within- quotes from prisoners, personal belongings, artworks and homemade toys, a large pile of men's, women's and children's shoes confiscated upon entry of the camp. We saw the different areas they slept, worked, ate, and were killed, including crematoriums and "surgeries". There was a large memorial (the museum itself is a memorial already) to all the victims of this heinous crime at the back/side of the museum. I can really only say when I study or learn about the terrible things that happened during this time, I can't help but think how this was all possible? How is it, that so many people could do so much evil? I must say that I have no real answer.
Near the end of the museum, there's a room that mentions the different legal trials that took place after the war, and many of these perpertrators got small jail sentences or even some were let off. It's not hard to think of how unjust and wicked this all was. I do know that there is a higher being, who knows all things, and has prepared a life for us after this mortal earth. All the pains and injustices of this world, will be no more after this life on earth is done. Jesus Christ has suffered for us all, that we may live again, and all will be accountable for his or her own sins. People will have the chance to live with their families once again, and never more to be seperated. I really can't fathom how it's possible for such horrific things to happen. I don't know why so many people had to suffer. I know that God does not wish for any of His children to suffer. But I do know that God is real and knows us all. The afflictions we go through on this earth, are not eternal. There is a lifer after this, and good will always prevail over evil.

This past week, my companion and I have continued to grow closer to each other, as we've continued to persevere in hastening the Lord's work. We had some interesting conversations with contacting people on the street, and I really can say that I've felt the Holy Ghost work through me to say the right things at the right time. Polish is still taking me some time to learn, but the Holy Ghost is always there for me and I couldn't be more thankful :) I'm so grateful for the members here, who are such great examples to me. I'm so grateful for the amazing experiences we've had with meeting new people, being strengthened by people that I've known for a while, and learning from my own personal studies of the scriptures and in talking to my fellow missionaries. I know that Heavenly Father knows all of His children, and has no greater desire than to see them succeed and reach eternal happiness. I'm so grateful for the comfort that comes from my knowledge of God's great Plan of Salvation. I would not trade the experiences I've been having on my mission for anything in the world. I am so grateful for the support I have from a loving family. You keep me going when the times are tough. I hope you can feel my love for all of you!! (say hi to Stevie and Madison and Kate and Mandy!!)
With love,
Siostra Grgich

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