Friday, April 2, 2010

Breendonk Concentraion Camp

We spent the morning at Breendonk, a well preserved concentration camp from WWII, located only 15 minutes from us here in Belgium.

On this cold day, it was rather difficult to imagine anyone surviving the atrocities suffered there. The camp was relatively small compared to other concentration and execution camps,
 though it’s significance and suffering was no less.
The hallways were dark, damp and cold. Posters and photos described the difficulties, struggles, and suffering which occurred here, from lice infestations and starvation, to torture, daily beatings, harrassment, and executions. 

Bunk beds...with hay filled sacks for a mattress.
A torture chamber with tools still resting on the table.

The toilets- quite a public and humiliating situation. The prisoners were given a chance once a day to go to the bathroom, on demand, for 1 minute.

The execution yard where several hundred lost their lives.
The shower room, where 400 people had to bath together in a total of 1 hour, once a week.

My heart sank for those who suffered or died here.
After a solemn visit, I can only hope that such atrocities will never occur again and future generations guarantee to protect human rights.

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