Camp diary, 6.08.10. Trip to Sandbostel

Die Umgebung des Lagers ist alles andere als idyllisch. Das Land ist außergewöhnlich arm… mit seinen riesigen, von Heidekraut bewachsenen Flächen, seinen Mooren, dem Schilfrohr, hier und da unterbrochen von einigen Tannengehölzen und von vom Wind gebeugten, verkümmerten Birken. Es ist vor allem die Region des Torfs. (…) An den Ufern der Oste einige magere, von Schilf bedeckte Weiden, die über Dreiviertel des Jahres überflutet sind. Sehr feuchtes Seeklima. Neun von zwölf Monaten regnet es, oder aber der Himmel ist vom Nebel verhüllt. Im Rest des Jahres, im Sommer, ist die Sonne ziemlich warm, und der Wind wirbelt einen Staub aus Torf und Sand, auf der es fast unmöglich macht zu atmen. Man glaubt sich in der Sahara. Die Winter sind mehr feucht als streng. Ungesunde Landschaft. Rheumatismus, Atemwegserkrankungen und Tuberkulose finden in diesem Klima günstige Voraussetzungen.
A french inmate Gaston Aufrere(c)

<I’m sorry it is in german because by the translation you always miss somethingJ Just a short summary in English: atmosphere in Sandbostel can be described by using every adjective except idyllic. Being in Sandbostel you can imagine yourself in Sahara because the wind swirls a mix of peat and sand and it is really hard to breathe. The weather is unhealthy and the sea climate is humid that’s why the diseases can spread here very easily…>

Imagine yourself being under pressure in all the senses: physical, moral…No comments.

 So, today we made a 2 hours trip to Sandbostel. Sandbostel was a satellite camp of Hamburg Neuengamme we already know a lot about and was used as the transit point. But HN and SB were quite different. The point is that the inmates were brought to HN to serve as the free labour and working conditions were very hard. Sandbostel was used to keep the war prisoners that is why there were people representing 72 nations. As far as the Nazi ideology is concerned you can imagine that the attitude was really different. Those nations which were considered to be “dirty” like Jews or Gypsies were treated in another way than people coming for example from France or Great Britain. Especially the inmates from the Soviet Union suffered. SB was twice bigger then HN, but the first impression you get is an opposite because in Neuengamme the camp territory today includes not only the buildings itself but there are several exhibitions you may attend. There was a typhus epidemic in Sandboste that is why the SS were forced to burn some of the barracks and nowadays there are not a lot of original stuff (see the photos). So the living conditions were soft enough in comparison to HN. In practice this meant that the inmates had some free time when they could leave the camp for example for a library visit. In the exhibition we could see some paintings which impressed us a lot at least because of their “high quality”. On the barracks it was possible to see the traces of some religious paintings what wondered us a lot. The point was that the SS could ask the inmates (those who were talented of course) to do smth like this. So you may see that the conditions were really loyal. Actually the Nazi’s ideology had some connection to religion. For example as our dear camp leader Melanie told us the Nazis who tried to escape when the trials already started (in the mid 1940s) could find a refuge by the Catholic church that was afraid about the communists much more than about national socialists. We also watched some videos which were made when the allies came to liberate the inmates. Although they’re without sound the impression we got is difficult to describe because it was possible to see how it all looked in reality. Everything – the inmates, the conditions, even the Nazis. What is also worth mentioning is the reaction of the SS to all what was happening. You know they were smiling…no shame, no blame, no regrets… Afterwards we also visited the cemetery. There are not a lot of places where you can feel so calm…The surroundings are wonderful and the memorials look really great. See pictures.

In the evening we had a wonderful French dinner. I guess it was called Ratatoi. I am not quite sure how to write it correctly I hope Elsa will not be angry about me:)

It was delicious and LOST BREAD too 🙂 Afterwards it was a MUST ATTEND party and of course a lot of fun. So you may see that we had a lot of things to do and got a lot of impressions. As usual;)

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3 Kommentare - “Camp diary, 6.08.10. Trip to Sandbostel”

  1. Elsa Says:

    Ratatouille 😉

  2. margyto Says:

    Sandbostel

    And something more about our trip to Sandbostel 🙂
    After the breakfast we went to Sandbostel. The weather was nice, very sunny. And we were happy, some people sang in the bus. After more than one week together we are already great team and we joy our time together;)
    There were three things that I will always remember about Sandbostel. It is the only one concentrartion camp where we can see so many barracks from SS time. Only in Sandbostel we can touch the plates and another things that used the prisoners. We were really impressed because we touched something that belongs to prisoners and we fcan eel the relation with their destiny. It is not only a one old page in the history, we can see and touch this! The another thing that we will always remember are the films after the british army made the prisoners free. I wil never forgot that death bodies, the face of death-one of the biggest crimes in the human history.
    The prisoners in Sandbostel had time and posibilty to read books and draw. One of the most beautiful was the picture that drawed one woman porisoner. It was picture of Saint Maria, symbol of hope. And there were the picture from another prisoner who drawed Jesus who cares about health´. I believe that pictures, the art and the hope saved the life of many prisoners.
    After that we went to the cementery. The most of the people who died there were anonym. That cementery saves the memory of one tragedy, that nobody can discribe. People that lost in camp indentity, only with number people without chance in life.
    After that our group spoke about Sandbostel. It is something that touched everyboby, all members of the camp were very impressed. 🙂

  3. dashaapple Says:

    thank uu, Elsa!it sounds as if there are not so many letters;))


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