Auschwitz Challenge

STAGE 11 - auschwitz


Dear pilgrim:

We came to the end of this experience. Arriving at Auschwitz death camp was for thousands of people the last part of their life journey. Today we join these people who were ripped out of their lives without mercy nor compassion, but we also join the camps and situations that currently are camps of destruction.

We come to the end of this experience, but the sadness we feel as we pass through the door that says "The work liberates" (Arbeit match frei) will not stop our life but, on the contrary, will give us the strength to continue fighting and working to liberate our world from hopelessness, lies, quiet complicity, insensitivity... so that tolerance, dialogue, agreement, universal fraternity become increasingly evident on our streets.

As we walk among the barracks, the furnaces, the streets that fell on thousands of people in one of the most horrible events in human history, I invite you to think of the hundreds of details of affection, affection, dedication, forgiveness... that were also given here. We cannot grant evil all space, we cannot be blinded by horror and blind to the good that was also given here. The words written by Etty, the confident prayers, the caresses, the good wishes that came out of here are as real as the murders. Why, at times, do we let the fog darken the beautiful?

I don't know if Etty was a naive dreamer or smoked the herbs she found or if she needed a few sessions of psychiatry. What I'm sure of is that he found a WHAT TO LIVE FOR AND WHO TO KEEP FIGHTING FOR. He got to work, set to serve and put the "poor little thing on me" aside. His life, thanks to the help of Spier, his friends, reading, writing and, above all, the God with whom he built an uninterrupted dialogue, made full sense regardless of the context in which his existence unfolded.

Etty was killed on November 30, 1943, but in his diary he had already written that everything had already lived within her. And Etty is here now, good friend and partner of ours. Great Inspiration in our difficult times.



Words are not needed



 We listened for the last time to Unai and Uxía and we thank them for dedicating part of their free time to encouraging us to better understand this warlike conflict that frames the writings of Etty and other of their contemporaries.



Raquel Rivas Diez, Doctor in Psychology, professor in the Degree of Psychology at the International University of La Rioja (UNIR) and coordinator of the Challenge La Rioja Family, explains to us wondering how it is possible that a young woman who is confined  in a extermination camp where she sees how hundreds of people from her Jewish background are eliminated, and still can say in her writings "Life is beautiful despite everything."



You are before the last prayer proposal of the trip to Auschwitz. How many lives ended their journey here! How many trains arrived with the last station in the lives of many!

You finish a virtual and experiential journey.  Do not let this be one more prayer. The full meaning of our lives consists not on how long we have lived, but how we well we have lived.  We have discovered this experience on this trip: to live the everyday life with quality meaningful moments


character of the day

Once again, Raquel offers us a reflection of one of the authors she most admires: the psychologist and promoter of logotherapy Viktor Frankl. He survived the holocaust and tried to draw a great lesson: it is easier to survive critical moments if you have a purpose, and a reason to survive.

06. Your concentration camp

Today is the last day of looking face to face to "your concentration camp." Perhaps a relief will come to you as it is the last stage, but perhaps a certain commitment may also arise: I don't want to forget this "concentration camp".

If the first interior movement occurs within you, we invite you to serenely say goodbye to it.   If the second movement occurs, perhaps you can take an object, a word, a song to serve as a memorial. That is to say, “make it official” to your commitment and memory of that social or personal situation in order to remain sensitive to that wound, learn from it and be willing to be a balm.

 07. HELP US!

All  this “challenge” experience has been carried out thanks to the support of Etty Hillesum’s foundation. Therefore, a monetary donation for some of his projects is suggested  to thank them for their effort and their practical way to introduce us to this wonderful woman, and some of the people who lived with her. Within the foundation projects we can find:

  • Socio-educational support to families and children in the El codito square (Bogotá- Colombia)

  • Attention to families of people who have been deprived of their freedom (Prison Pastoral Care of the Calahorra and La Calzada- Logroño diocese)

  • Help to sick people going through non-desired loneliness in Hospital of Valvanera, in Logroño. Spain.

If you want to give a hand both to the Etty Hillesum Foundation and to the Digital Evangelization Proyect “Challenge-La Rioja” , we explain the different ways to give us a donation.

Bank transfer from Spain

Beneficiary: Diócesis de Calahorra y La Calzada-Logroño

Account number : ES65 2085 5651 3803 3107 2484

Subjet : Peregrinación Virtual Etty + pilgrim’s name y last name (it is not the name of the person who makes the bank transfer but the pilgrim’s name,  if they are different)

If you want the donation to be taken into account in your taxes, add in the subject:   Name and last name of the person who makes the donation + id number+ province

Bizum option

It is possible to make a money transfer through the BIZUM platform which helps to donate money using your mobile phone.  You have to click on the ONG logo, and search either : “Diócesis de Calahorra y la Calzada-Logroño” or introduce the code: 00765 

Do not forget to write the subject : Peregrinacion Virtual Etty + Pilgrim’s name and last name


Beneficiary: Diócesis de Calahorra y La Calzada-Logroño

Account Number: ES65 2085 5651 3803 3107 2484

Address: AV.G.V.REY JUAN CARLOS I, 9, 26002, Logroño, La Rioja, España

Telephone: 941270059

Subject: Peregrinación Virtual Etty + pilgrim’s name and last name (Name of the person who is doing the pilgrimage)

BANk: Ibercaja



Thanks beforehand.

 08. Great enigma of Auschwitz Challenge

In each of the stages we have been offering you some clues so that today, at the end of the itinerary, you can solve who is the mysterious character of this Auschwitz Challenge.


Today's clue is: Worker number 173 on the list


your personal driver wants to know if you have made good use of what you have experienced today. Therefore, here is a short questionnaire to be able to purchase your ticket to your place of origin.



We have reached the end of this experience and the Challenge organization asks me to take you to the airport in the taxi. The truth is, after these weeks together, I'm going to miss you. When you are not in my taxi tomorrow I will remember you and I will surely pray for you and yours. And I will ask the Lord of Life that everything learned in this trip helps you to live deeply, with passion, without excuses ...

A war, an illness, an unfair job, friendship or love situation will never have the last word because life continues to be beautiful despite everything. The sun continues to be and illuminate, although there are clouds. And I know, it is not easy ... and I know that sometimes you have suffered a lot ... but as a good taxi driver that I am - a little talkative, yes - I will listen to you with affection, but I will encourage you to continue living.

And if one day you send me a WhatsApp and tell me that after these days you see the black color a little grayer, that the tears you cry are less bitter, that it is easier for you to get up from your chair to lend a hand, that you pray with more depth and, at the same time, you look without fear at the reality that surrounds you ... that day I will be excited because I will know that I have shared my taxi with a person who values ​​life.

My dear friend, my dear friend, who is no longer just a pilgrim, Etty gave us the challenge of being balm for the wounds of the world and, I have to admit, that being by your side during these days my heart is happier. So thank you! You've been a bit of Etty to me.

Sorry for the times that you have not been a good driver or that you have talked too much. And if Fernando gives you an evaluation form, remember, always give me the highest score, okay? And the thing is that I want my contract to be renewed because each pilgrimage makes me understand that we are "homo viator", people on the way.

By the way, your luggage now weighs less ... and smells much better. What has happened in these days?

Receive a huge hug from your favorite driver.