The European Union Studies program took a trip to Strasbourg to see the Council of Europe and the EU parliament at Strasbourg. Before visiting those places however, our first stop was to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. I had never been to a concentration camp before so I had no idea about what to expect when I got to a place where such atrocities were committed.
When I arrived at the camp, I planned to see everything that I could in order to get a sense of it. I saw rooms where horrible experiments were performed and tiny beds where prisoners had to bunch up at night. However, reconciling the atrocities committed in that camp with the serene area around the camp was difficult. It felt like so much time had passed since the war.
I finally managed to feel a little bit of the weight of the camp when I was walking uphill to return to the museum. The walk was long and tiring. As I ascended the camp, I realized that I was approaching a noose at the top of the camp. The thought that prisoners, having been on the brink of starvation, would have to make this walk to their execution made me pause.
As time goes on and we become further removed from the Holocaust, I fear that the newer generations could fail to understand the scope of the horrors that were committed. Hopefully our generation will take on the role of mentors that previous generations did for us.