I didn’t have near as much trouble accessing my emotions at Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Upper Austria. Thatcher expressed that even just the sight of the giant stone walls would have been enough to crush your hope and dash any thoughts of escape.
How are the kids coping?Thatcher took it all in stride. He’s a bit of a history buff like his dad and though it’s not something he is really passionate about at this point, he was very attentive and interested. Finn and Pepper seemed completely innocent, carefree and unscathed; though sweetly sensitive to the sacredness of the ground we stood on. They picked pocketfuls of tiny flowers they found in the grass and placed them anywhere they thought deserved a little reverence. Levi is my sensitive soul. He’s struggled with this side of history. He couldn’t finish the Diary of Anne Frank, he just feels so deeply. And that’s completely understandable and I really wrestled with taking such a tender heart to these sites. He gets scared! And I work hard to validate that and comfort him and protect him from things that he doesn’t need to see. But I felt so strongly that he couldn’t pass up this opportunity to fulfill a life long dream of mine and for him to learn about the Holocaust [at] a concentration camp. We don’t want our kids to hurt but we taught them that is so important to let yourself feel. Feel scared and sad for these people. Let your heart break for them. I believe that is what develops into compassion for our fellow travelers through life. We had a really beautiful conversation where I asked him to imagine what it would be like if something awful and tragic happened to you and when you wanted to tell someone about it nobody would listen. What if nobody could sit with the pain and discomfort of your story to validate and honor your terrible experience? With that Levi was able to move on, honoring the men and women and children who suffered as victims of unbearable crimes here.
Leaving the concentration camp was a profound experience. I tried not to take for granted that those imprisoned here would have given anything to walk right through those heavy, open doors, past the SS quarters and out the gate.

– from @nomaderwhere_mama on instagram.