My Experience at a Concentration Camp
Forever I have read about the horrors of the second world war; the prejudice which burnt the curtains of ignorance and thrust in front of the world the bigotry of not only one country, but of all of society. This large-scale genocide forced us to look closer into the past of racism, for not only the Jews were persecuted. However, no history textbook can prepare you for what you feel when you enter a concentration camp; no myth can make you feel as much as you do when you stand there and break from within.
We visited the Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin. I, an avid history frantic, could barely keep my excitement in. I was going to literally step into the world I had been learning for so long, and as the sights passed through my unseeing eyes, I felt I was going to explode. The minute I stepped out of the bus, I did blow, but it was not one I expected.
It was clearly pouring yet I didn’t even care when the cold rain touched my skin.
All my excitement faded away as my eyes scanned the surroundings. The camp was bleak and dull. Small houses littered the field while the majority of the land was covered in a stone path. But what killed me the most, was how dark this place was. Everything I saw was cast in shades of grey, yet everything I felt carried a strong sense of anger. I couldn’t even imagine the pain they went through, the years without love and hope, but something inside me hurt. In the rain, I had no choice but to see the truth. The camp was still filled with an air of horror. I could still see the way they lived, but I will never know how. Three hundred people were crammed into a place which could house only a hundred. Sickness and death were the way out. They told us that it was a work camp, not a death one, and the stone path was one where the prisoners walked every day for tens of hours. Sometimes, the more persecuted got shoes which were smaller than their size or got more rocks in their bag. But they weren’t allowed to stop. Even if their feet hurt or their back broke, they weren’t allowed to stop.
It hurt my heart and changed my mind. Concentration camps in textbooks and in real life differ so much; no child knows how much pain was in these camps, that after all, they were people in them.