Tears are in my eyes as I type this post. I just watched a special on National Geographic, Hitler's G.I. Death Camp. The story, as told by these survivors struck me especially hard. On top of Berga being a death camp, it was also a labor camp, and when the Germans realized how close American soldiers were, they forced these prisoners on a death march. I've watched my share of WWII documentaries, some with Jewish death camp survivors, but nothing has effected me quite like seeing Americans suffer the same cruelties. What does this say about me as a person? Do I value innocent American lives more than innocent lives of peoples of different nationalities? I like to think that I view all humans, regardless of their nationality/race/gender as children of God who deserve to be treated as such. I know that American soldiers were treated abominably in the labor camps in the Pacific islands during this same time period. I have read the memoir of my great uncle who survived one such camp in the Philippines. Maybe because I was unaware that such torture occurred to Americans in Europe as well. When I think about it I feel silly for not realizing that by the end, the Nazis were placing any enemy in a camp to further their war effort. As I listened to these survivors tell their story I was amazed at the courage and dedication it took to come out of such a horrific experience. These men, who served our country, who fought for freedom and justice, demonstrate true heroism.
Sorry for such a somber post. I normally try to keep this blog about things that inspire and uplift. While I am inspired by the courage of the survivors, I am deeply saddened by the reminder of how much we have still to learn from history. I also didn't include the haunting photographs from the documentary to keep this post from being completely depressing. Thanks for letting me share with you.