Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Seventy years on
I was struck, though, by how neat and tidy it was, by the row of young poplar trees in front of the buildings, how well-maintained it all seemed. Perhaps it's a mark of respect by the Germans, who to their credit keep this shameful part of their history open to everyone, for free - or perhaps it was always like that, a kind of orderly balance to the nightmarish things that went on there. It's true that there was a kind of disconnect that went on, men doing hideous things and then going home to their wives and children, living normal family lives.
So visiting Auschwitz, and Budapest's House of Terror, and Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, which I have, and so many other similar places in Cambodia, Africa, Russia and elsewhere, which I haven't, is necessary. Travel shouldn't just be about good times, it should always be about learning, and understanding, and remembering. That's why they say it broadens the mind - and, if nothing else, the Holocaust came about because of narrow, blinkered thinking.