Thursday, July 25, 2013
Wannsee and Sachsenhausen July 25-26
I will post photos once I have internet that I can sit and use for a while. Internet is very expensive here
Yesterday my friend Walter Domke joined us for the day. We went to the Wannsee Mansion where the meeting took place deciding on the Final Solution. Although I had been there before, it was entirely different as Walter added his perspective and our amazing guide Christophe did as well. It is such a beautiful setting it is so hard to visualize such a place was the place of such evil talk.
The conference was rather more like a Wednesday afternoon staff meeting. It was not particularly significant, in fact not all of the participants invited attended. Hitler was not there´, he sent Reinhard Heinrich to oversee it. The minutes are there, and the talk so -boring- that it has been recalled THE BANALITY OF EVIL. for indeed it was banal and so evil to be discussing the extermination of millions of European Jews.
We then went on a unscheduled tour of Sachesenhausen camp. Many of us, including Maude, had never been there. It was small in comparison to the other camps but yet overwhelming in its vast space of emptiness. Some barracks still stand and the separate torture rooms are visible as well. The hanging square is there, as well as many other structures. The camp was primarily a place where Russian prisoners of war were tortured and killed, as well as Jews. It was the first entrance for the group into the Bloodlands of the Nazi regime.
Walter also told me about a disturbing memory he has abut an old woman who he rented a room from in Berlin. she told him how when she was a teenager she and her friend would look for rich Jews and when they got deported- sh
we also visited Track 17 Gruenwald station. Although I had been there before, it still affected me in such a profound way. It s still a working station. and many people often take the stairs to track 17 unaware that it is a memorial to the Jews being deported. I wrote a poem on the bus after visiting the site.
Suffocating-in the open air
Numbers- equal and round
100, 1000, 500...
Trains routinely pass by-
An audible reminder of today
While the ghosts crowd the platform
Blindness is abruptly broken
In this place of purgatory
A blonde woman on a bicycle
(a good place to ride)
A dog along side
(a good place to run)
A taxi patiently waiting
for a fare amid the vacant masses
Can they not hear the palpable silence?
Can they not see them waiting on the platform?
for a train for a taxi