MOTHER NATURE – darkness & light

This isn’t the most spectacular rainbow picture, but it’s special to me.

It was taken just outside the front gates of the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp, just outside Berlin.

I’ve always had an interest in the history of World War II and the Holocaust. It’s so hard to imagine that such atrocities occurred only 65 years ago. 

I was five-months-pregnant when I toured the former work camp. It was a pretty horrendous April day – grey, cold, and pouring with rain. 

We made our way around the bare barracks that housed the Jewish prisoners, to the cells where the Germans who were brave enough to speak out against the Nazis – such as academics and clergy men – were locked away. Then we stood in sombre silence at the remnants of the old ovens, where thousands of men and women were disposed of in the most inhuman way imagineable. 

When I asked the tour guide what the young Germans of today thought about the Holocaust, she looked genuinely sad. 

She said it was an unbelievably dark period of their history, and that the younger generations struggled to understand how it had even happened. But they didn’t want to brush over the atrocities. Instead, they felt a moral obligation to keep reminding the world about the part Germany played. The wanted to people to see the old work camps, and hear about what happened there, in the hope that, if we don’t forget, we won’t repeat.

The weather matched our moods as we left that day – dark, and heavy.

Then, just as we were lining up to get back on the coach, the black clouds thinned, a patch of sunshine broke through, and this gorgeous rainbow appeared. 

It was surreal – like something was trying to reassure us that, despite the darkness that had overwhelmed that site in the past, light and hope would always, eventually, prevail. Or maybe it was just a random rainbow. 

Either way, it was a fitting and humbling farewell to our tour. 

See more Gallery entries over at Sticky Fingers

7 Comments

  1. Headhuntress - January 19, 2011

    Oh, that picture is truly beautiful. The rainbow sits beautiful against a stark reminder of a truly horrible time in history. I travelled to Germany on school exchanges and whenever the war was mentioned, the children we were pen friends with always apologised profusely.

    Thank you for sharing your words and picture, it’s a time that I am interested in too. It is a huge burden for Germany to bear and they are doing it the best way that they can.

  2. Helen - January 19, 2011

    Educating people about what happened there is the best way the country could handle something that happened not that long ago and ended so many lives in a shocking manner. We should never forget and not let it happen again.

  3. Sarah - January 20, 2011

    Very moving indeed. I studied European modern history, with a focus on Nazism, and often felt physically sick in learning the horrors and trying to understand how so many people could be manipulated into thinking it was okay to commit such atrocities.

    Let’s hope the rainbow is a sign that history will never be repeated.

  4. Herding Cats - January 20, 2011

    What a moving post and such a beautiful rainbow!

  5. Mom on a Wire - January 20, 2011

    An excellent post and a beautiful picture! I don’t think rainbows are ever random!

  6. Babes about Town - January 21, 2011

    Really powerful, gave me goose bumps.

  7. JallieDaddy - January 29, 2011

    Wow – fantastic story, & great photo to go with it. Gave me goosebumps as well

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