Today we visited our first prison camp. Even though we had been through the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, walking through the actual buildings made it so much more real. I don’t think that I will write much about it because it is a sad and tragic history that can be researched online if you so desire.
I will say that the centre is very well thought out and organized. The sign boards and pictures tell the stories vividly by using the actual prison as its backdrop. The maintenance facility is the memorial centre, the main yard is still set up as it was in the 40’s and there are two reconstructed “blocks” where the prisoners lived during their time of incarceration. At the far end of the compound there are five chapels of memorial – Jewish, Catholic, Carmelite Order of Nuns, Protestant Church of Reconciliation and the Russian Orthodox church.
The final building that we walked through was the gas chamber and crematorium. Suffice to say that too many people lost their lives, only because they were of the wrong race or religion. One of the saddest parts for me is the realization that many of these people made it all the way through the hardships of the war only to die on the final death march from the camp just days before it was liberated by the Americans.