Friday, May 25, 2007

Some German History

Finally made it to the local castle with Grandma-Nana. The outdoor part was under construction so we didn’t walk around. When we got there the door was locked, but there was a buzzer next to it. I managed to, in German, tell the person who answered that we wanted to see the museum… and understand when they said they’d be there in a minute. It was only when the guy started a rather lengthy explanation as to how much admission was that I had to confess my lack of German language skills.

Somewhere I have a bunch of photos of the castle from our windows, but here’s one from up behind the house...

The museum was good. Small, but they have lots of stuff. One floor is devoted to items related to the history of this region (dishes, farming equipment, apparel, furniture, etc.), the other floor is a bunch of stuff about the Third Reich. The curator (or whatever he was) came looking for us while we were in this section and showed us some interesting things. One of the ways the Nazi’s got money was that they issued sets of buttons every year, and you could buy them. And, apparently, many people did, as you were considered kind of out-of-the-loop if you didn’t have the most current set of buttons. There were lots of them and some of them were very pretty.

…and here’s a view of our house from the castle...

He also showed us a set of little Army men from that time and, sure enough, there was a little Hitler doll there. Oh, and he talked about this hospital that was only open to the “real” Aryans for care… you’d think it would be a status symbol or something to have gone there in that time but he said it was actually very risky to go there for treatment, as they frequently discovered some sort of ethnic “wrong” in the patients’ backgrounds. And boy oh boy, you’d be in big trouble then.

I find it hard to even look at displays pertaining to Hitler and the atrocities committed against the Jews. I have an aversion to all kinds of torture and things like that. (Who doesn’t, right?) Maybe this is common, but even though it’s easy to look at things like that intellectually and say, “Yikes, that’s horrible!” this feels like more of a visceral reaction. Like when Liz and I went to the dungeons in some of the castles she took me to, I felt physically sick and was having trouble breathing (not in dramatic fashion… I probably didn’t even mention it). Same when I saw, “Schindler’s List” and “American History X.” (Both very powerful movies.) I actually had to take a sanity break and go sit outside for a while to get back to feeling normal.

Anyway, all of that will explain, perhaps, why I have no plans to go see any of the concentration camps during our stay in Germany. I don’t think my psyche could handle being in one of those places in person. I did okay at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin, but in a place where untold thousands of people were put to death? I think I’ll pass.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I hear you on the actual disgusting reactions...I'm reading a book right now and I'm thinking of stopping soley based on the little children being captured into slavery. It wouldn't have bothered me QUITE as much pre-kids but now...blah. Makes me sooooo sick.