By Erin Regier
Today was a day that I was both looking forward to and dreading. Today we visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Located right outside of Weimar, Germany, this camp is nestled into a gorgeous dense forest on Ettersberg (Etter Mountain) According to the informational video we watched before touring the camp, over 56,000 people died in this camp. It was unreal to me that such a beautiful setting could hold such an ugly past.
For the duration of our tour of the camp it was overcast, drizzling rain and quite chilly. Although it was not great weather for being outdoors, it somehow seemed fitting. As I walked through the area that used to hold the barracks and holding cells, I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be prisoner in this camp during the winter. Here I was, shivering in my snow boots, fleece lined leggings and ski coat (not to mention a full meal in my belly!) and I was miserably wet and cold. The prisoners held here had nothing- just ill-fitting shoes and clothes and an empty stomach. Yet still they were expected to put in a 10 hour workday or face certain death. I can’t fully comprehend how terrible that must have been.
Although it was an unsettling and difficult place to visit, I feel like this was an important and moving experience for the entire choir.
Tonight we gave a concert in the oldest church in Weimar, the Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche St. Peter und Paul. This church was built in 1200s and has such a rich history. During one of the breaks in the concert, Open Road (the men’s a capella group) sang a song that I found especially meaningful for today. The lyrics are taken from an inscription found scratched into the walls of a hiding place of Jews during the holocaust and are as follows:
“I believe in the sun,
even when it is not shining.
I believe in love,
even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God,
even when He is silent.”
After a rather emotionally draining day, these words bring me hope!