A visit to Natzweiler-Struthof
A memorial to the terror history of WWII
Last few days, I had an opportunity to spend my vacation in the region of Alsace in France and enjoy the beauty of its capital Strasburg and the neighbouring villages. Strasburg is a very important city in the history of France and Europe; a city occupying the border with Germany. It is also a city with a lot of institutions connected to the European Union. One of the visits was a visit to the memories of terror and horror.
The visit was to the only concentration camp connected to the World War II in France in Natzweiler-Struthof. It may not be as huge as the infamous camps in Auschwitz, but nearly 20,000 of the 52,000 people entered the camp didn’t come back. The torture mechanisms were horrible as in any camp. It was also the central site of the medical experiments carried by German doctors with a free supply of human guinea pigs. Reading the plaques, observing the pictures, and seeing the rooms/prisons/buildings (reconstructed in the manner of the camps) with innumerable testimonies of the survivors is a moving memorial — constant reminder regarding the evil. The most tragic part of the story is that this place is situated amidst breathtaking natural beauty.
Yes, the contradictions are always part of humanity; yet one of the most difficult pieces to discover.
When seeds of nationalism, popularism, and innumerable phobias grew into huge trees, we consider them as fruit yielding trees instead of as weeds. Even the scientific temper developed by humanity doesn’t help us in questioning the attitudes and we are too easily carried away by emotions or sentiments of some future heavens. In attempting to build that heaven for us, we are ready to do any evil against others.
Fantastic dreams of Hitler were connected to extreme evil against many…. and at times, it happened in the midst of extreme beauty of nature too….
Keep challenging our fantastic dreams regularly that it remains grounded and connected to the welfare of humanity…
If you are interested, you could check out some more of my articles,
How seemingly ordinary people commit horrendous evil acts?
What Eichmann and Standford Prison experiment tell us?