When I think of Germany, I think of engineering, efficiency, soccer, beer, and sausage. But I also always think of World War II and the holocaust.
Several weeks ago, we took a day trip to the memorial site of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Despite this trip taking place several weeks ago, I still remember it very clearly because of how much an impact it had on me. Going through school, I learned a lot about world war II history and the holocaust, and these are things that just stick with you. Visiting the site where these events actually happened makes an unforgettable experience.
Walking into Sachsenhausen, you see large, white walls with gravel paths, and lengthy one-story buildings arranged in a semicircular pattern. While many buildings are no longer standing, there are a few that remain that serve as a sobering reminder of the events that took place. The remaining buildings are museums that now contain many stories of the people persecuted, the officers that ran the camp, and the events that took place there.
Later on in the trip, our professor for the German Culture class shared with us how Germany’s history affects its people today. She pointed out that the German people are often more reserved when it comes to national pride (Except when it comes to soccer), because of the stain that World War II has left. It is one thing that can make Germans ashamed to call themselves Germans.
Germany is a beautiful country, with hard working and smart people. Despite its fast-moving modern culture, the people are still affected by its grim history.