Hi Mo and Aaron here again. Today we visited an all women's concentration camp today called Ravensbrück. There, we took our own self guided tour around the camp which was different from our previous experiences. We paired off and went on our way to learning about life in and around the camp.
One of the first things we took a look at today were the barracks and houses of the SS officers of the camp. There were quite a lot of barracks for the women because all of the main officers of the camp, other than the commanding officers of the SS, were women. This camp in particular was used as a training facility for other SS guards and thus had much more officer housing than we had previously seen. The houses for the commanding SS officers and their families were set up on top of a hill overlooking the whole camp. Inside, they felt like a summer cottage one would have near a lake just like the one which boarders the camp.
Once inside the main gates of the camp, there was just a snow covered path with a sea of black stones surrounding it. All of the barracks for the prisoners had been destroyed either when the camp was disbanded or when the Soviet Army came and used the camp for a period of time after the end of the war. In place of where the barracks used to stand were indents in the ground showing the previous locations of the buildings. It gave us an idea of where they were but in no way gave us a true feeling of how the camp looked during the war. Near where the barracks used to stand was an L-shaped building which was the camps prison. Inside, a new exhibit payed tribute to each country whose citizens had been murdered. These former prison cells now stood as an artistic and beautiful testament to the crimes committed there. Many displayed the flags of their nations or a unique representation of their nation. Oftentimes, the cells were designed by survivors of the war, giving an intense insight into the national pride of these men and women.
In the very back of the camp were the warehouses which many of the prisoners worked in. What was so different about Ravensbrück than in any other camp was the emptiness of this warehouse. Remnants of radiators, bathtubs and sinks were shoved into corners and the original walls and floors still stood. The building stood tribute to the lives lost, as less of a museum and more of a constant memory of the past.
Tomorrow we have a tour of the Jewish Museum of Berlin and our last full day in Germany.