|The March of Remembrance and Hope|
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My name is Wesley Mullins, and I was a participant in the inaugural "March of Remembrance and Hope" in May of 2001. Along with 13 other students from the University of Kentucky, I traveled to Poland, where our group met with 600 students from around the world to study the sites of The Holocaust and hear first-hand accounts of Jews who survived Hitler's "Final Solution." I am using this website to display my photos, add historical information and make personal reflections from the trip. I hope my work here will be beneficial to people who know little about the events of WWII or even those who just want to hear a firsthand account of the experience of visiting modern-day Poland.
I am not an expert on World War II or The Holocaust. Most of the information you will find on this webpage is secondhand. I am not publishing this page and am therefore not spending the extra time placing footnotes on every fact. If you have found this webpage because you are looking for information on the facts of The Holocaust, I do not suggest you use me or this website as a reference. You should use this website as a springboard into your own legitimate research in documented historical texts.
|History of World War II and The Holocaust
Some of you may be visiting this site with a very limited knowledge of The Holocaust. During WWII, the German empire expanded its borders by invading most of the countries in Europe. Hitler's desire was to establish a giant homeland for his German people and rid the world of those whom he felt would "corrupt" his vision. The popular belief through Germany (and much of the rest of the world) at the time was that Jews were second-class people. Germans believed that their forefathers had settled the lands of Eastern Europe and had flourished, only now to see Jews living on land that they felt belonged to them. In the mind of Hitler, the future Germany would be a land inhabited solely by people of Aryan decent.
Along with Jews, the Germans also identified other groups they felt were enemies of the future German nation. Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and anyone who was politically opposed to the Nazis faced punishment by death. But the vast percentage of the non-military victims of the German murders were Jews. When Germany gained control of a country, the Jews were forced to leave their homes, jobs, & belongings to be sent to "ghettos" in the large cities. Each day, trains and trucks would take Jews from the ghettos to camps built by the Germans. Some camps were forced labor camps and others only provided the service of death.
On my visit to Poland, our group visited four camps (Auschwitz, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, and Plashov) and the last remaining sections of the ghettos of Krakow and Warsaw. What follows on these pages will be what I experienced and felt during my trip as I walked through the remains of the worst mankind has to offer.
|Why I Made This Page
This trip was indeed the opportunity of a lifetime, and I recognize how fortunate I was to be allowed to participate. The goal of the organizers of the trip is to educate groups of students about The Holocaust so that they will pass on what they learned. This is my first step in fulfilling my duty of informing people of what I learned in Poland. I hope to be able to give this link to students or adults who want to know more about The Holocaust, and the pages I have created will help introduce the material covered in The March of Remembrance and Hope.
I would appreciate comments from anyone. Feel free to send me an email (link at bottom).
One Year Update
My webpage is almost a year old. Very few changes have been made in that time, and I expect even fewer changes in the future. This page was meant to be permanent account of what I learned on my trip and my thoughts and feelings about the subject. I would find it irresponsible to go back and change the words I wrote in the immediate aftermath of my trip, as I am a different person now.
I could not be happier with the responses I have received. The trip itself was an important event in my life, but the satisfaction I get in knowing that I may have informed or touched people with my account adds a certain degree of justification for The March of Remembrance and Hope and my work here.