This is testimony from a woman who heard and saw some of the 28,000 Jews who were marched to the gathering point in Lublin (now called the Umschlagplatz) from which they would be taken to be gassed at the death camp, Bełżec in 1942. It's part of a memorial created by my friends at Brama Grodzka in Lublin, Poland marking the likely path of that march.
This summer, during the Lubliner Reunion, a gathering of 200 descendants of Lublin Jews we walked along the path that many of those Jews likely took. I knew that my relatives had been among them. Probably my grandfather's sister Elka and her husband and children. Probably my cousins B. and G.'s father's first wife Cyla and his child Eljusz. My friend Tomek Pietrasiewicz, one of the Polish "Guardians of Memory," held the microphone for this woman, this witness, Wiesława Majczak, who told her story with passion and compassion. She talked about the horrible sounds she heard. About seeing the body of a girl her age—a Jewish girl—being trampled, and warned us that we must not let such things happen again. She was holding onto Tomek for support. Tomek, a non-Jew who devotes his life to preserving Jewish memory—the memory of those with names and those without them. As I watched her lean on him I thought of the many who were leaning on him at that moment, countless unseen souls, counting on him to tell their stories, and not to forget.