I am breaking my own rules here and make a post with more than one picture. I was so impressed and moved by this visit at memorial of the concentration camp in Buchenwald, and, in the same time, I think it’s important people post and talk more about this, so here I am making this post.
I didn’t focus on them pictures to be “artistic”, because I find it inappropriate. Here is a link to the Wiki-page, for more infos about the KZ Buchenwald. I have to say that there were a lot of visitors, families with children too, and a lot of young people, which I find it very good. I think everyone should consider it their obligation to go to such a place, one time in their life. They should make it mandatory teaching it in history class, as there are a lot of countries, even in Europe, where this part of history is not talked about. And I think it should be done not to shame someone or to hold them accountable until the end of humanity, but in order to prevent such stuff from happening again. Because it still happened again, since 1945, even in Europe, and it’s still happening in the world, as we speak, even if not in this form and in those dimensions. Yet, people are killed, tortured, put through all sorts of miseries, chased away from their homes and taken all of what they own, only because they are different and/or in the name of some stupid ideology or/and religion.
Original pole and barbed wire. Behind it, wonderful forest, flowers, and nature. On this side, people were murdered systematically.
In Buchenwald were kept prisoners, along Jews, from Germany and Eastern-Europe, all sorts of minorities, from homosexuals to Jehovah’s Witness, Sinti and Roma, but also criminals, mentally-ill and physical-disabled, republican fighters from Spain (see the civil war there). Then, they brought there POWs, Americans, Australians, Canadians, and even from New Zealand and Jamaica.
At the entry gate: JEDEM DAS SEINE, which translates “”everyone gets what he deserves”.” (Here’s more about it)
What shocked and impressed me, always, is the perversity of those who did all this stuff. How they tried to hide what they did, how they were trying to give it all a face of “decency”, when it was only murder at industrial scale. They even had a canteen, where they were selling to the prisoners stuff made by inmates, in order to get the little money the prisoners were sent by their relatives from home.
The entry, seen from the place where the roll call was made. In the right-wing of the building are the cells where many were kept, tortured and questioned. Just as many died because of the beatings and other stuff they were put through, like standing for days in dark, only on water and bread and not being allowed to sit or lay.
The outside fence with one of the watch towers. To the right, a corner of the canteen I mentioned about. Inside it’s now an exhibition of pictures taken in those times in the KZ, by SS people, by American soldiers and even by a prisoner who managed to steal a camera and snap some images (Georges Angeli – hats off to the guy)
The former KZ is now just a huge empty place, as they tore down the barracks, but I think that exactly this huge emptiness, the ground covered in pebble, the desolate aspect makes the message even more powerful – the emptiness left by the millions who were murdered, and not only here.
The place where the barracks used to be are marked by paving stones and by a vertical stone where the number of the respective barrack is engraved
In the building in the background is held a permanent exhibition about the WW2 and the history of the KZ, but it is being renovated at the moment, so we couldn’t visit it. The museum is huge, on 3 floors.
Some ruins are still kept.
The latrine for the “Kleiner Lager” – the place where the sick ones were kept.
From a drawing made by an inmate, one could see that the latrines were in open air. They would have these long logs over these ditches and people would sit on the logs, one near the other, and do their business. Guess the ways of getting humiliated never ended.
In the very back there was a lager for children and teenagers. The building doesn’t exist anymore, but these are some rests of the stuff from it.
On the place of the “little camp” – “kleiner Lager” – is now this monument. The nature around it is splendid, the woods, one can hear the birds, it’s just fantastically beautiful. We were wondering if the people there, back then, would have been able to at least feel a bit of … joy, when the spring was coming and they would see nature literally “exploding”. My guess is that they were so busy trying to survive, they wouldn’t even notice what was beyond that fence.
On the ground are listed all the concentration camps.
Inside the memorial, this tree. I liked the idea, of the tree growing towards the skies, even if it’s roots and trunk are kept prisoners behind that metal “fence”.
Part of the original fence.
The ruins of the prisoners’ kitchen and view toward the crematorium and another watch tower.
The crematorium. A part of it used to be a horse stall, which was used for executions, back then.
I didn’t take any pictures inside the crematorium, for reasons, I think, everyone can imagine. In the basement of the crematorium they used to deposit the corpses which then they brought upstairs with the help of an elevator. On the walls there were hooks where they would hang there prisoners to death.
Another exibition, of drawing made by inmates, back then and after the liberation. Also, art dedicated to their suffering. Part of it, some shoes of the inmates.
As I said, I think people should go and see these places. Maybe there wouldn’t be so many Holocaust deniers anymore, maybe not so many fans of the Nazis, maybe… One can only hope.