“The poetry of Earth is never dead.” a Quote from On the Grasshopper and Cricket by John Keats. This quote sums up my personal experience at the Majdanek concentration camp. When I first found out we were going to the camp my head immediately went to my first experience with World War ll. In fourth grade, my class and I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry which is about this one girl and her family who lived through the war and her experience with that whole situation. After reading this, one of my other teachers showed us some videos and went deeper into the concept of the camps. I had a hard time getting over the fact that this was real and how traumatizing the event was. I was not very happy to go back to learning about his, but I realized this is something everyone should probably see in their life, no matter how terrible it was.
Fast forward to April 2nd, 2019, we woke up early and hopped on a 3-hour bus ride to the camp. On the trip there, I was watching a YA, romcom movie to get me in a happy mood. When we got there, we were immediately hungry, so we got some sandwiches from a bakery to then head to, yet another bus to the camp.
Upon first seeing this camp, it was much different then you’d expect. I was expecting brown plains with rows and rows of black buildings, and barbed wire everywhere. Instead, there were green plains with only a couple of buildings and one large sculpture in front of the whole thing.
Walking inside Majdanek concentration camp, I was feeling more confident in my ability to learn what has already happened and appreciate of few of the good things that went down here. We learned some teachers helped some kids use their imaginations to create drawings and artworks. There were some cases where people found love. They had rings, but they’d buried them so the Nazis wouldn’t confiscate them. More recently, people started digging for these rings and other possessions and returned them to the known owners.
Although the whole concept of a concentration camp is merely horrible, I found it unreal how they got away with torturing people for such a long time. There were multiple times, in the earlier stages of the Holocaust, where higher government officials could’ve prevented this much damage from happening. Even Germans who chose to be a part of the army and work for these camps could’ve not taken the job. Now I know that the situation was different for different people, but if not as many people took these jobs than it would’ve been harder for the Germans to take the Holocaust to the extreme measures they did.
We went through a couple of chambers and places where people slept, but that was harder for me to grasp, so I’m just going to skip talking about that. Now, finally back to the quote in the beginning. Everywhere you looked, there was something green. In this historically, horrible place, nature shines through it all and will always come back. Right next to the gas chambers, two crows were flying around and playing with each other, and in this vast expanse where there used to be buildings, upon buildings full of sadness, there is now green, as far as the eye can see, birds chirping, and even a few trees. To end this post, visiting a concentration camp was a great experience that I do not regret, but I don’t think I will ever go back to another one if my life.