Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day Sixteen Concentration Camp Visit

Shopping in Berlin!!

            Today was the day that I would finally have the privilege of visiting a concentration camp in memory of those who were killed during the Holocaust. The new area that we went to by train was fairly different from the other places we had previously visited in Berlin. This novel place was almost completely silent, made forlorn by the lingering clouds which threatened rain. Upon entering the actual site of the concentration camp, I studied my surroundings very carefully. There was a black pathway that leads to several different accounts of the period during the Holocaust. It was extremely saddening to read, and the atmosphere surrounding the area only accentuated the somber stories. After reading, I went to a large and open area that leads to three different places: A museum, a forested place, and a gate leading to an even more open stretch of land. I decided to go to the museum, which featured varied pieces of culture to paint a picture of the actions that occurred during the Holocaust. A few things I found to be the most noteworthy was the Nazi uniform featured in the front, as well as the striped uniform required for concentration camp prisoners to wear. After the exhibition, I sat down for some lunch with a friend. Afterwards my friend and I trekked into the forested area which was extremely serene, despite it being a memorial for the fallen. The feeling of the wooded area closely resembled that of fall. The place was chilling, but in such a peaceful manner that it was easy to appreciate each and every commemorative statue I passed.
After coming back to the entrance of the memorial area, I went to the gated pathway which opened up into a whole new place. As soon as I walked in, I knew that I had entered into what was once the main concentration camp. Land stretched far in front of me, supporting the long beige buildings that used to house countless innocent people. I went into one of the buildings and saw the basins used to clean themselves, as well as some urinals. Posted next to each viewing area was some information regarding the appliance. The guards would occasionally drown people in urinals or the bathing basins.
I left the building and walked around the wide expanse of land, enjoying the refreshing breeze that swept the flowers and overgrown grass. I came across a large statue with three figures on it. Although I did not have the audio tour to explain the significance of the monument, it seemed optimistic based off of the facial expressions of the people. I sat on a ledge across from it for a long time, chatting with my friend and thoroughly enjoying the weather that resembled my favorite season. After chatting, I went closer to the large statue of the three people and examined the small tokens left by visitors. Many of these tokens were rocks, but other people left sewn embroidery, two cent euros, and even handwritten notes. One of them expressed the person’s mourning for those who died during the Holocaust.
It was getting close to the time designated to leave the concentration camp, and my friend and I made our way to meet with the group to leave for our next destination: the mall! A completely different setting, I know, but I had wanted to go shopping in Berlin for a very long time. My friend and I skipped the hostel stop (after a quick nap along the way) to go to a notoriously inexpensive store popular among people my age: Primark. There was a large festival occurring in front of the three-story building, so there were also tons of people inside. My friend and I checked out without having to wait for very long at all, and we were surprised by how quickly time had passed while in the massive store. We had spent three hours there! Upon returning to the hostel, I realized how hungry I was and had pizza with some other friends at the same place I went to a few nights prior. This time though, I had pasta! I enjoyed the pizza more, but the pasta was still yummy. I went back to the hostel and went to bed.