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A Change in Pace


On a more serious note, this past weekend was spent in the quaint town of Weimar where the program visited a nearby concentration camp. Named ‘Buchenwald’, this was a smaller labor camp.When initially arriving, I was unaware of the layout and a sense of anticipation built up within me as we went through the visitors center and watched the documentary. Even whilst walking past the old barracks and gas station I did not know when we would enter. Upon seeing the entrance, I immediately noticed the stopped time of 3:15 on top of the clock. This was the exact time when American Allied forces liberated the camp. Symbolically, I viewed the clock as a counter for the hours of terror released on the camp. The stop time is synonymous to stopping the timer of the killing machine. Passing through and only seeing the lots of the razed prison barracks gave an ominous feeling. As I was able to look off to the peaceful rolling hills in the distance but had them juxtaposed to the grey sea that stood in front of me. A coldness swept through me as I realized that I was standing in the same place where,  a mere 75 years ago, SS guards had been beating and leading helpless Jews to a systematic death.

Later, I moved to the crematorium. Upon entering the actual oven room I felt disgusted throughout my eyes, stomach, and throat. It was hard for me to look at the ovens where so many had been destroyed. I did not want to believe the volumes of death that had occurred in the room and had to swallow the truth. The morgue beneath was perhaps the hardest moment to bear. It was a damp, poorly lit basement, where bodies had just been stacked like animal carcasses, waiting to be turned to ash.

Lastly, I ended with walking in the woods behind the camp. There I found a forest where Soviet soldiers were buried. The graves were all unmarked and only designated my a simple wooden post. These posts had blended and become a part of the forest. Walking back to the entrance, I took one last look behind me and this feeling of sorrow was invoked with me. It was unlike any other sadness as I had felt before. A bleak and remorseful reverberated through me and I wished that I was able to apologize to not only the Jewish people, but to all of humanity for what happened.

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