Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, 30th August 2016:

Some time has passed before we are on the road again, heading for Lüneburg to discuss an exhibition at the St. Nicolai Church. We have the praying woman and the bowing man with us, and on the way we pass Bergen-Belsen. We stop there on the return trip. Just before you arrive at the memorial, is the prisoner-of-war cemetery. The thunder of artillery shatters the quiet! There is a large military training ground - one of the largest in Europe - on the southern plain of the Lüneburg Heath.

As we approach the memorial itself, we discover the central square is called Anne-Frank-Platz, and we reflect back on our trip to Amsterdam.
We visit the exhibition first, which is located in a concrete building. A chaste architecture lends room to the exhibits and their significance.
Much here is similar to other big concentration camp memorials - Dachau or Sachsenhausen, for example.

At the end of the building, large windows open onto the grounds. It seems unaffected and innocent.

I look into a small screening room; a documentary is running on the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. I cannot bear it - and must go.
Out into nature, into the fresh air.

Almost nothing is left of the barracks and the buildings of the concentration camp. In effect there are only the sites of the mass graves, memorial monuments, a remembrance church, the remains of some foundations, and a lot of information panels.

I remember. When Bergen-Belsen was liberated, there was so much disease and pestilence, that everything had to be torn down and burnt.
The terrain is now a natural park. I find it difficult, despite the model reconstructions and the pictures, despite having seen many similar places, to imagine what it once looked like, and what burden this piece of earth had to endure and still has to bear today...

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