I am not sure about you, but I have always had a fascination with history. Particularly history during the WWII era. Along with this fascination came a curiosity that made me want to visit a concentration camp in Germany. In my home state, of Washington, we have a popular fair, the Puyallup Fair, that was the holding/concentration camp for Japanese in 1942, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I am of Japanese descent and I heard many stories from the Japanese perspective throughout my child hood. My Grandma Yoshiko later married a man who was interned at that camp (known as Camp Harmony). However, the horrific history of the German run concentration camps under Adolf Hitler just hit me in a different way. My heart has always been drawn to visiting these camps – turned memorials – to honor the people who so brutally died at the hands of Hitler.
Shortly after we moved into our temporary residence in Germany, we found out that we were only 20 minutes away from the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp. This camp is located in the beautiful region of Bavaria in the city of Flossenbürg, Germany. The camp site borders the Czech Republic and was established in 1938 as a place for Jews and “asocial” criminals. However, Flossenbürg ended up housing many political and foreign prisoners of war. Of the many people executed here, was Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was known for his active resistance against Hitler.
My children, husband, and I spent much more time here than we expected. Not only was there so much to “see” but there was also so much to “feel.” Sure we know the “facts” as they are presented, but to dwell in that place was an entirely different experience. For our 10-year-old daughter, “H”, she was saddened by the somber feeling of death in the crematorium. She was so angry to know that so many senseless deaths had to occur due to the deception of the Nazi movement. My husband and I were touched when we were in the “Detention Courtyard” of the Detention Barrack. This is the barracks where the prominent prisoners were held – those representing prominence in the military, church, and politicians who objected National Socialism. It was there that Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, General Hans Oster, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, and many others were executed.
I highly recommend these books if you’d like to learn more about Bonhoeffer:
This was a very unique experience for us. To think that such terrible things happened in such a beautiful, peaceful, natural setting is hard to grasp. Today we thank God for the US Army liberating this camp on April 23, 1945. Though a somber trip, it was very thought provoking and gave us a new perspective on how to continue to stand strong for what we believe in – no matter the cost.
Below are some pictures I took at the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp.
Front of the concentration camp.
The church that Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer pastored.
The Jewish Temple on Flossenbürg.
The crematorium. The top right is our daughter near one of the cremation “ovens”. This was a very disturbing time for us on our trip here as there were mini-ovens for the babies and children. The bottom right is a box frame full of shoe bottoms.
Here are a few interesting artifacts we came across along the different museum parts of the camp.
Time for some reflection…
This quote on the wall had me nearly in tears. I could only imagine what this man has lived through.
A sweet note our daughter left after we toured the memorial. She was 10-years-old at the time.
I hope you have enjoyed traveling with us today to the Flossenbürg concentration camp.
Have you been able to travel with us as we explore Germany? You can see my other posts in my Exploring Germany Series.
My Exploring Germany series is a part of the iHomeschool Network Hopscotch.
Be sure to visit all the other wonderful bloggers participating in this event!