We plan on visiting three sites today: the Memorial de l’Alsace-Moselle , the Natzwieler-Struthof Concentration Camp, and finally one of the site of the Maginot Line before going to Nancy.
The Memorial de l’Alsace-Moselle is staggering. We go the base but as it’s also a museum and we decide not to go in. Instead we move onto where the actual Natzwieler-Struthof Concentration Camp actually is.
First is the museum having depictions of every Nazi Concentration and Extermination camp. We unfortunately now know the difference between the two.
We gaze at the visitors guide. There above ours is an entry of someone from 3800 21st Ave, Vancouver. His entry “My father died here in May 1944”.
This particular camp housed Jews, gypsies, ex-deportees, resistance fighters and prisoners, i.e. criminals. We read that 53,000 were here, 22,000 worked to death – literally, in this camp digging for red granite. Before the Americans arrived to liberate, 5,000 were shipped to other death camps and this part of hell was found abandoned.
We wander through this hollowed ground, through the huts, seeing pictures of the dead, the paintings, the bunks and we walk away wondering how human beings could be so cruel to one another for ANY reason. There is even a video of a toddler being taken from its mother – she tries to grab him and the guard pushes her away, kicking her in the back. This is one of the camps where there were medical experiments performed.
We decide to skip France’s major embarrassment, the Maginot Line and head for Nancy.
Only a few days ago we felt lucky that we have had no rain on this trip but here it comes and we make it to Nancy, actually just outside in a small town called Ludres. Linda’s whacked-out so she takes a nap whilst Mark surveys this funny little town looking for supplies.
It’s Saturday night and Mark has found a local restaurant that looks good – Le Country. It’s great – we’ve learned enough to get by ordering and the food is both good and generous. The live music starts and it is a group of four playing popular music, even a Michael Jackson piece. We return to the hotel, walking in the rain.