Friday, October 26, 2012

Natzweiler-Struthof

Strutoff Concentration Camp, Alsace

So a while back when we were in Alsace, Kim and I visited a concentration camp in which my grandpa was held prisoner during WW2. Thankfully, he escaped.
I am not sure what to write, how horrible the war was, how we need to stop things like this happening in the future or how atrocious it is that they make you pay to visit a concentration camp! I write this from Germany, in a small Bavarian town, about to eat brotwurst, sauerkraut and potatoes. This is my first time in Germany, and to be completley honest I didn't think I'd like it this much. I thought to myself that the people would all be hard, angry, not funny and that Natzis would still walk the streets. Not really, but predujice and spending 10 months in France with older people has painted a distorted picture of Germans.
My mother is currently doing a one woman show retracing her fathers journey through war, concentration camp, survival and finally in escape. During the writing process she interviewed immigrants in Australia who moved there after the war. French, Polish, Italians and a German, all who fought in the war. I think something we fail to remember in most war situations is that often both sides fighting don't actually want to be there. My mother sat with this old German man as he said he was just following orders as a young man.
Going to the concentration camp was horrible experience, seeing buildings that were made with the sole purpose of humiliating, torturing and killing people. We sat back and said "good thing times have changed', but has it? People still get tortured, people still fight wars, people are still racist and young men and women are still recruited to fight because its an honorable thing to do. I am not trying to make points, I have not truly lived through a war. I was able to hold my Grandpa and tell him his long beard was itchy, I am able to rest my head on a bed, with a full stomach, without fear of bombs, guns or my families safety. Just something to think about next "day of remembrance" I guess.
-morgan

Strutoff Concentration Camp, Alsace Strutoff Concentration Camp, Alsace

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