The worldwide Augustana College experience

Weimar, Buchenwald, and a Host Family

I finally have some time to blog after a long internet drought. Germany has been great. I love the country itself. My uncle was great to meet in the airport. My apprehension was gone after meeting him. We’ve gone on a couple weekend trips, on to prague, one to Weimar.

Weimar is the prettiest city we’ve visited so far. I went through a couple runs through a very large park. It is by far the most gorgeous park I have ever seen. Poplars everywhere. Nature everywhere. My friend Michelle and I even found a huge mansion that seemed to be abandoned over 20 years ago. Unforunately we didn’t run with our cameras on-hand, but it would have made for great pictures.

That same day we visited the site of Buchenwald concentration camp. Most of the original buildings had been removed, but the gates and a few of the barracks still remained. Driving into it we saw the train station that the political dissenters were brought in on. Eventually these trains were full of Russian POWs, and there is an entirely separate story in Buchenwald about that. We watched a film about the history of the camp and then were given a long tour of the place by a tour guide (alles auf deutsch, naturlich). It was a moving experience, but I’d rather not reveal too much detail about such a horrible place. One thing I will quickly explain though is the about the Russian POWs during WWII. Apparently, for whatever reason they SS deemed fit, the Russians, one by one, were made to enter a facility which from the outside and inside looked like a medical facility for a routine checkup. They enter the first room where loud music is playing. They sit there and wait to be called and two sets of doors are opened. These lead into a larger room with a small, closet type room in the corner. On their way through they see a couple exam rooms to thier left and medical charts on the walls. They are made to enter the closet like room and wait, standing up. Then when they line up the write way, an SS guard shoots the Russian in the back of the head through a slit in the wall. The entire medical facility facade is held up as to prevent any warning of their impending fate. The closet room is completely cleaned after each one, as to avoid giving anything away. Absolutely unbelievable. This intricacy with which the Nazis carried this out is utterly repulsive. The trip to Buchenwald was certainly eye-opening.

Moving on to more positive things, I’ve finally moved in with my host family. The mother, Enis or Inis (I really have no idea how it’s spelled), is particularly nice. She talked to me for almost 2 hours straight the first night. Dinner was delicious. It was some baked noodle dish I think she called “macaroni ala marme.” I know, a French sounding dish in Germany is a little odd, but nonetheless, my taste buds didn’t care. My room is great, although the matress could be a little better. It seems well worn by the dip in the middle. Other than that, I’m doing great and loving Germany. Bis Spaeter!

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