Walking through the now torn down concentration camp, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to stand in this same spot just decades ago. Only a few buildings remain as memorial in a museum like state. Placards on the walls filled with stories of the horrors that went on. The gas chambers and crematorium nothing but hallowed rooms with a vile past; chills run up my spine as I bring myself to look around after reading the detailed information hung in the corners of each room.
While looking at one particular photograph taken of the camp during the Holocaust, the only thing that looked the same now as they did in the picture where the trees. They lined the barracks where hundreds of people stayed as they waited a salvation that would not come for many. Looking back at the photograph there were hundreds, of people marching along this main road during a roll call. It was a time when the prisoners could meet with friends from other barracks and share stories of their camp experience; or, as they liked to call it “spirit of the camp road”.
The thin, frail and weak looking men were all cloaked with the same dirty and disease ridden striped uniforms. The evidence of their torment during their stay at the camp marked in their sunken in dark eyes, and even more distinct in the contrast of the healthy soldiers that stood beside them. I imagine the how loud it would have been, soldiers yelling commands and the firing of their rifles, prisoners sharing stories with one another as quickly as possible before being once again torn away from one another, and the sick and ill weeping as they await an inevitable end.
Looking back now at the camp, standing in the same place as the people in the photographs, it is silent. No one spoke as they did their best to take in the past of the camp, and the things they could not imagine. The only sound was the faint whispers of the trees, and as I stared up at them I could not help but think, oh what these trees have seen.