On Wednesday the group traveled to Salzburg to start our one of our “Short trips” that the Minerts have planned within our program trip. Our trip was amazing, but our first stop was a little sobering. We went to the Mauthausen concentration camp that has been preserved for viewing from WWII. We watched a video with interviews from people who lived through it and it was absolutely terrible. Seeing those images and videos of the completely worn-down and emaciated bodies is heart wrenching. I wondered what kind of pure hatred someone would have to have to inflict this kind of suffering on one person, let alone tens of thousands. The things the Nazis did to these people are, to me, simply unimaginable.
There were some carvings on cell walls from prisoners staying in the camp. One person wrote, “If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness.” I felt almost sick to hear the way the devil could tear all hope and faith from some of these people. If this broke my heart, I cannot fathom the sorrow Heavenly Father faced as he watched these people suffer! And to think that the Savior suffered for not only the pains of each prisoner individually, but also for the sins of those who inflicted these atrocities on those people, is just mind blowing. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus LOVES these people and I know that if they understood that he has suffered everything they have, they would not continue to believe for a second that he had forsaken them.
This experience was really humbling and carved a place in my heart for love and sympathy for these people. But it also increased my love and gratitude for my Savior 100 fold. He really is the most incredible being that ever lived and words cannot express how indebted we are to him! Even the people who were forced to suffer through Nazi Germany.
On our way down an enormous stone staircase, that prisoners had been force to carry stones up day after day, my friend made the comment that she, “would never feel bad for myself again.” I really feel the same way and hope that I can remember these sufferers when I am feeling run down and remember that no matter how bad life seems, I live an incredibly privileged life.
Here are some pictures. You can tell by all the bright colors what a cheery place this must have been.