Etty Hillesum was a Dutch Jew born on January 15, 1914.

On September 7, 1943, following a deportation order, she boarded a train bound for Poland. The journey was to last three days. Before finally leaving the Netherlands she threw a postcard from the train. It was found and mailed by some farmers. It read, “We left the camp singing.” Etty and the others arrived in Auschwitz on September 10, 1943. That same day her mother and father were gassed. The Red Cross reported Etty herself was gassed on November 30, 1943.

The following journal is a journal entry reflecting on interior freedom.

How small our circumstances become when we look at life as a whole.

“This morning I cycled along the Station Quay enjoying the broad sweep of the sky at the edge of the city and breathing unrationed air. And everywhere signs barring Jews from the paths and the open country. But above the one narrow path still left to us stretches the sky, intact. They can’t do anything to us, they really can’t. They can harass us, they can rob us of our material goods, of our freedom of movement, but we ourselves forfeit our greatest assets by our misguided compliance. By our feelings of being persecuted, humiliated, and oppressed. By our own hatred. By our swagger, which hides our fear. We may of course be sad and depressed by what has been done to us; that is only human and understandable. However: our greatest injury is one we inflict upon ourselves. I find life beautiful, and I feel free. The sky within me is as wide as the one stretching above my head. I believe in God and I believe in man, and I say so without embarrassment. Life is hard, but that is not a bad thing. If one starts by taking one’s own importance seriously, the rest follows. It is not morbid individualism to work on oneself. True peace will come only when every individual finds peace within himself; when we have all vanquished and transformed our hatred for our fellow human beings of whatever race – even into love one day, although perhaps that is asking too much. It is, however, the only solution. I am a happy person and I hold life dear indeed, in this year of Our Lord 1942, the umpteenth year of the war.”
— Etty Hillesum

No real words come to me here as I read that passage and listen and reflect on the darkness of man, and yet - the power of love. I don't know really, maybe just take a moment of reflection for yourself and see where you end up.

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