Some time ago a friend said that “doesn’t matter what he would say, there’s no way to describe a concentration camp”. After being in Oranienburg, 40 minutes from Berlin, I can say that I have the same statement on mind.
Walking around the old brewry transformed in a death industry by the Nazi in 1936 I could feel the fear that those people might have felt. Even the train which leaded me from Berlin to the camp had this feeling of death. “It may be the same route the prisioners did in the past”, a friend said. And it really was.
The cold wind of a winter afternoon and the sun shining in the horizon made the visit even harder – the atmosphere is heavy and each building has a different smell which takes us to that time when the atrocities happened ‘so easily’.
In one of the buildings a tour guide was talking about his perspectives about the holocaust and the Nazism. For me it was more important than History classes or many other stories and movies about the issue. He was talking about his fear of ideologies, the lack of rationalism when people are guided by emotions – and what is the result of this kind of policies and blindness.
As my Brazilian friend said, nothing would describe it and I’m convinced that it’s also part of the experience. Maybe if we could explain the whole dimension of being in those sites recognizing the horror, we would just reduce history – and I don’t want to do that.
I still don’t understand what happened, how millions of people would be in places such as Sachsenhausen.
Although I know that it is important to spread to everybody what I’ve seen in order to avoid such events in the future. It reminded me of the article “Education after Auschwitz”, written by Theodor Adornoin the 1970s. For him, the main role of the educational system after the 2nd World War is create a world which crimes such as the Holocaust would never happen again. And the only way to make it true is talking about it, revisiting the pain and learning something from it.
Sachsenhausen is an attempt to show us how bad can the mankind be, but also lead us to care about the future, being aware about atrocities: what must never happen again.