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Scroll to bottom to navigate to different departments

Wright resident visits site of one of the world's greatest horrors

Click here to see Hattie's photos from Auschwitz.

By David Myers
Editor

Editor’s Note: The following is the second in a two-part series on Diocesan Addictions Counselor Hattie Stein’s recent trip to Russia and Poland. Part I, which highlighted her experience in Russia, ran in the Jan. 25 issue.
In the heart of Poland stands one of the most horrifying monuments to inhumanity that exists today, and it’s one that Wright resident Hattie Stein, an addictions counselor for Catholic Social Service’s Rural Family and Behavioral Services program, recently visited.
“It’s really hard to wrap your mind around what happened at Auschwitz,” she said.

In late 2008, Stein was one of 25 people from the United States invited to visit addiction treatment centers in St. Petersburg, Russia and Warsaw, Poland.  At the end of her four days in St. Petersburg, she spent an additional four days in Poland.
“The thing that amazed me about Poland is the history,” she said, “just how many people have occupied Poland: the Swedes, Russia, Finland, and Germany of course.”
In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, precipitating the start of World War II. The result was the total destruction of Warsaw, but not before hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews, and many others, were forced into the “Warsaw Ghetto,” and later into death camps such as Auschwitz, located three hours by train from Krakow.
“They were promised that they were going to a new land; that’s how they got them on the train.”
Stein said that the rails that brought her and the other counselors to the camp were the same ones on which traveled trains filled with prisoners destined for Auschwitz some 70 years ago.
“When they first got off the train, they were dirty and hungry; the only water they had to drink came from when they would be showered down. Some were told to go into rooms that had pipes. Gas crystals were released and in 20 minutes all would be dead.
“We saw the ovens, the crude, inhumane bathrooms. There was no privacy, no nothing. It was extremely cold. Cattle had more protection and better facilities than these people had.
“We went into one room where a doctor did experiments on women and children. There are no words to describe that kind of destruction, that kind of evil -- no words that make it as destructive as it was.”
Stein said that one glassed-in room was filled with human hair.
“They shipped hair back to Germany to make clothing. There was another huge room that was full of suitcases. They wrote their names on their suitcases because they were going to a new land. It wasn’t just Jewish people; there were Polish people, Germans who didn’t abide, Latvians. It’s so overwhelming.”
Unlike Warsaw, the city of Krakow, the birthplace of Pope John Paul II, survived the war relatively unscathed. Stein said that there was an understanding that Krakow would not be part of the war.
“In Krakow they still have their medieval buildings,” she said. “It looked like Robin Hood could appear from atop one of the buildings. They say it is the city of churches; they have 147 churches in Krakow, most of which are Catholic. Poland is 80 percent Catholic, 70 percent of whom are practicing. Pope John Paul II is everywhere: statues, billboards, large placards; his presence there is amazing.”
Down the street from their hotel stands the 1,000-year-old St. Andrew’s Church. Stein is a member of St. Andrew’s Parish in Wright, which is celebrating its centennial. It seemed coincidental, she said.
“In the United States, if a church is 150 years old, that’s old. The steps going into the church were made out of stone, but in the middle where you walk, it was worn down from all the people. Right next to St. Andrew’s was a cloistered convent of nuns. The guide commented that once they go in there, they cannot leave, even when Pope John Paul II came to Krakow -- where his home is, where he said his first Mass, where he went to school -- they couldn’t even leave the convent to see John Paul.”
Whereas in Russia Stein felt a sense of oppression, she said that in Poland, “there is freedom to be themselves; it is actually more like home.” Together, the group of American counselors enjoyed a Chopin concert presented by a professor from the University of Warsaw.
“We also went shopping in the ‘old town’ and my, what a delight. There were horse drawn carriages everywhere, and quaint shops with everything you could possible want.”
While overseas, Stein was able to keep in communication with the people back home through an Internet blog that has been published on the Catholic Social Service website: www.catholicsocialservice.org (click on the message board).
Stein’s final submission reads: “Thank you to all that participated on the trip with me, for you will never know how heartwarming it was to be that far away and to hear from family and friends. God truly has blessed me with great family and friends.”

Past Issues

May 5, 2019

April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday

April 7, 2019

March 24, 2019

March 10, 2019

Feb. 24, 2019

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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