#9 Bergen-Belsen

This evening I’ve returned home feeling upset and slightly hopeless even.

Today we visited the concentration camp and memorial in Lohheide (Northern Germany) called Bergen-Belsen. At least 50,000 died here in unfathomable ways. 

Amongst the 50,000 were children, mothers, fathers and grandparents. All of whom had hopes and dreams until their lives were destroyed. They were either kept on prisoner of war camps, or concentration camps. Many prisoners had been horrifically transported from one camp to be faced with another ordeal.

One of which prisoners, being Anne Frank. An excerpt of her diary entry described how she was led to believe nothing could be worse than Auschwitz where she had just been. 

Upon arrival at Bergen-Belsen she was deceived by hearing beautiful birds singing and spotted trees, completely unaware it was another camp and where she would later die.

It was strange when I walked around the cemetery. There were trees everywhere, the sun looked beautiful and there were birds tweeting. How could a place with such history seem so peaceful.

After walking around the museum and seeing collections of prisoners possessions, reading detailed accounts of happenings at the camp and mass graves my heart felt really heavy. 

I felt as though I couldn’t read or see anymore, but then I realised how that would be really ignorant of me. As learning about these historical events is really important. 

These feelings are the same I felt after visiting the Killing Fields in Cambodia where at least 1million Cambodians were massacred under the Khmer Rouge. It’s also how I feel after watching the news and hearing about what’s going on in many places of the world.

But what can I do? I can’t change anything. I admire those who are humanitarians and activists who are fighting for changes. I wish there was a button that could be pressed which would eradicate hatred and all things dark. 

These places leave me feeling incomprehensible, and I try and take what I can.

I’m reminded by how unbelievably lucky most are and how much we take for granted.

 A lot of us are rich, rich with health, rich with family and friends, rich with a roof over our heads, a job and more than enough foods and fancies. However it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget. 

Although I can’t do anything to change the evil that exists in the world, a small thing I can  do is be as kind as possible, grateful and continue to spread as much love. And to try to not complain about the most trivial of things, because things are actually really, really good.

I genuinely believe there is more good in the world than bad, unfortunately with media intercepting every moment with negativity, we’re led to believe the world is more awful than not. 

I guess all I can do is try, try my best to be as good as a person as possible, in all the little ways. Tonight I’m left feeling more grateful than ever.

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. 

-An inspiring Mother Teresa quote that my mum always reminds me of.


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