Im Herbst war es wieder soweit. Die Rückbegegnung unseres historischen Seminars. Diesmal kamen die polnischen Schüler nach Deutschland in die Bildungsstätte von Flecken Zechlin.
08. Oktober 2005
Flecken Zechlin liegt etwa 20 km entfernt von Wittstock und wir waren drei Wittstockerinnen, die etwas zu früh vor Ort waren. Uns wurde gesagt, dass es gegen 8 Uhr Mittag geben würde, aber wir hatten eigentlich angenommen, dass wenigstens die anderen Teilnehmer aus Deutschland früher erscheinen würden. Aber wir lagen falsch und so spielten wir ein wenig Billard und bezogen unser Zimmer. Wir hatten über eine Stunde Zeit, uns zu überlegen, wie wir unsere Zeit dort verbringen könnten…
Als schließlich alle angekommen waren, verhielten wir uns zunächst noch recht schüchtern. Wir schütteln uns die Hände mit den polnischen Mädchen und den deutschen Jungs und wussten nicht so richtig, was wir mit den polnischen Jungs anfangen sollten, denn sie waren bei der letzten Begegnung nicht dabei gewesen… Nach dem Abendbrot trafen wir uns im Konferenzraum, wo wir uns einander vorstellten, indem wir unsere Namen nannten, weil wir 4 neue Teilnehmer hatten. Danach spielten wir noch ein paar Kenenlernspielchen und gingen dann zu Bett, da besonders die polnische Gruppe recht erschöpft war.
09. Oktober 2005
Am nächsten Tag, es war ein Sonntag, spielten wir erneut ein paar Spiele um uns noch etwas besser kennenzulernen und nach dem Mittag starteten wir eine “Flecken Ralley”. Wir teilten uns in vier Gruppen auf und jede Gruppe erhielt einen Zettel auf dem stand, was zu tun war. Es gab auch einige Fragen, die wir beantworten mussten. Das hört sich noch nicht besonders kompliziert an, oder? Aber was ihr noch nicht wisst, ist das, dass der Text eine Mischung aus Deutsch und Polnisch war. So waren wir gezwungen zusammenzuarbeiten, so dass jeder verstand, was als nächstes zu tun war…
Am Nachmittag entschieden wir uns, ein wenig Kanu zu fahren. Nach einer Weile entschieden Steffi, Anne und ich im See schwimmen zu gehen – das letzte Mal in diesem Jahr. Es war ziemlich kalt, aber nach einer gewissen Zeit hörte es immerhin auf, weh zu tun. ^^’ Anne ist nicht viel geschwommen, aber Steffi und ich wollten zu den anderen schwimmen, die in ihren Kanus saßen. Dort angekommen entdeckten wir, dass zwei der deutschen Jungs ins Wasser gefallen waren. Ihre Jeans und Turnschuhe waren total durchnässt und Philipp hat sogar seine Brille dabei verloren. oÔ Am Abend spielten wir dann alle Tischtennis, Tischfußball und Billard mit den polnischen Jungs, welche entdeckten, dass sie Billard eigentlich ziemlich gern mochten.
10. Oktober 2005
Am Montag fuhren wir mit dem Bus nach Fürstenberg. In der Nähe von Fürstenberg gibt es ein ehemaliges Konzentrationslager für Frauen, dass “Ravensbrück” genannt wird. Ich war dort bereits zwei Mal, aber es war wieder interessant und ich sah ein paar neue Bereiche im Lager. Zuerst erhielten wir eine Einführung in der Hauptausstellung des Museums und danach machten wir uns auf den Weg zur Aufseherinnenausstellung. We wurden in Gruppen geteilt und jeder Gruppe wurde ein Raum zugeteilt, in dem sie arbeiten sollte. Ich durfte mit zwei der polnischen Jungs in einem Raum über die im Lager begangenen Verbrechen arbeiten.
So gab es zum Beispiel die “Mordaktion 14/13”, bei der ca. 1600 Gefangene durch Injektionen oder in Gaskammern getötet wurden. Dann gab es da noch die so genannten “Versuchskaninchen” an denen so genannte “Ärzte” Versuche durchführten. Sie legten ihnen Holz und andere Dinge in offene Wunden, schnitten teile von Knochen heraus und so weiter. Die meisten dieser Versuchskaninchen wurden danach umgebracht, doch einige überlebten und waren in der Lage der Welt zu zeigen, was diese Ärzte ihnen angetan hatten.
Nach dem Mittag folgte die Auswertung und jede Gruppe musste ihre gesammelten Informationen vorstellen. Unsere Gruppe entschied sich, diese Auswertung auf Englisch zu machen, doch es war auch gestattet, sie auf Deutsch bzw. Polnisch zu machen, denn Ewa übersetzte in diesen Fällen für den anderen Teil der Gruppe. :)
Als wir mit der Auswertung fertig waren, fuhren wir zurück nach Fürstenberg. Dort sollten wir nun ein paar Interviews mit Einheimischen führen. Unsere Gruppe hatte das Glück zwei Leute zu finden, die gewillt waren, mit uns zu sprechen. Doch auch wir hatten einen shclechten Start. Als wir zwei ältere Damen fragten, meinten diese, dass sie unsere Arbeit absolut wunderbar finden würden und dass sie froh sind, zu sehen, dass deutsche und polnische Schüler zusammenarbeiten würden, doch trotzdem wollten sie nicht mit uns über das Thema “Ravensbrück” sprechen… :-S
Dann trafen wir einen Mann, der zunächst meinte, er hätte nicht viel Zeit, doch dann redete er und redete und erzählte uns recht viel. Nicht, was er gesehen hatte, aber was er über die Zeit gehört hatte, als Ravensbrück noch Konzentrationslager war und wie es war, wenn die Gefangenen in die Stadt zum arbeiten kamen.
Später trafen wir auch eine ältere Dame, die uns erzählte, dass sie damals als Kind in Fürstenberg gelebt hatte. Sie erzählte, dass man nicht wusste, worum es sich bei “Ravensbrück” handelte, dass man glaubte, es handle sich dabei um ein einfachen Gefängnis. Erst als die Russen kamen, hätten sie erfahren, was es wirklich war, denn die Russen zwangen die Einwohner in Ravensbrück zu arbeiten, die Toten zu bestatten etc. Sie erzählte weiter, dass niemandem gestattet war, über Ravensbrück zu reden bis es zur Befreiung kam, denn anderenfalls bestand die Gefahr, selbst gefangen genommen zu werden…
Andere Gruppen erzählten uns, dass ein paar leute, die sie interviewt hatten, sogar glaubten, es bestünde kein Bedarf mehr, Ravensbrück als Museum zu erhalten und man es einfach schließen sollte. Andere widerum dachten, es wäre gut, so wie es momentan ist, doch man sollte nicht noch mehr extra Ausstellungen machen…
11. Oktober 2005
Der Text muss noch weiter übersetzt werden…[/german]
[english]08th October 2005
This was the second part of our historical seminar. This time it took place in Germany – exactly in “Flecken Zechlin”, which is a village about 20 km far away from Wittstock. We were 3 girls from Wittstock and we were much too early. We were told that there was going to be dinner around 8 pm, but we actually assumed that at least those from Germany would be there earlier. But we were wrong and so we played a little pool and moved into our rooms. We had more than an hour to think about how to spent our time there…
When everybody had arrived we’d been quite shy. Shaking hands with the Polish girls and German guys and not sure what to do with the Polish boys, who were new to this seminar… After dinner, we were meeting in the conference room, were we just intrudused each other, telling our names and everything. For we had four new participants this time. Afterwards we played some games, to get to know each other better and went to bed early, because especially the Polish group was really exhausted.
09th October 2005
The next day, on Sunday, we were again playing some games to get to know each other a bit better and after lunch we staarted our “Flecken Ralley”. We were divided into four groups and every group got a sheet of paper telling them were to go. There were also some questions we had to answer. This doesn’t sound complicated yet, does it? But actually The writing was a mixture of Polish and German words. So we had to work together, so that everybody would understand what to do next…
In the afternoon we decided to do a little canoeing. After some time Steffi, Anne and I decided to go swimming in the lake – for the last time of the year. It was quite cold, but after a certain time it stopped hurting. ^^’ Anne didn’t swimm to much, but Steffi and I wanted to swimm to the others who were sitting in their canoes. There we discovered, that two of the German guys had been falling into the water. They were all wet (wearing jeans and trainers etc.) and Philipp even lost his glasses. oÔ In the evening we all played table tennis, table football and pool with the Polish boys, who were about to discover, that they liked pool quite a lot.
10th October 2005
On Monday we went to Fürstenberg by bus. Near Fürstenberg there is a former concentration camp for women called “Ravensbrück”. I’ve already been there twice, but it was again quite interesting and I saw new parts of the camp. First we got an introduction in the main exhibition of the museum and afterwards we were visiting the exhibition about the female staff of the camp. We were divided into groups and every group got a room to work in. I’ve been working together with two of the Polish boys in a room about the crimes commited in the camp.
There was for example the “Murder Campaign 14/13”. About 1600 prisoners were killed by injections and gas chambers. And there were the so called “Versuchskaninchen” – guinea pigs – on which so called “docters” did experiments. They put wood or other things into open wounds, cut out parts of the bones etc. Most of these “Versuchskaninchen” were killed afterwards, but some survived and were able to show what the docters did to them in the camp…
After lunch break we did our evaluation and every group had to present the information they found in the exhibition. Our group did the evaluation in English, but we were also allowed to do it in German or Polish, because Ewa was there to translate all the time. :)
When we’d finished the evaluation we went back to Fürstenberg by bus. There we were supposed to do some interviews with inhabitants. Our group was quite lucky to find two people willing to talk. But we had a bad start too. When we asked two old ladies they told us that they absolutely appreciated our work and that they were happy to see German and Polish students working together, but they didn’t want to talk to us anyway… :-S We then met a man who at first told us, that he didn’t have too much time, but then he talked and talked and told us quite a lot. Not what he saw, but what he had heard about the times when Ravensbrück was a concentration camp and when prisoners came to Fürstenberg to work here.
Later on we also met and old lady who had been a child and living in Fürstenberg during this time. And she told us, that they didn’t know what Ravensbrück was, that they thought it as and ordinary prison. That they just got to know what it was, when the Russian army came, because they made the people from Fürstenberg work in Ravensbrück, inhuming the dead ones etc. She told us, that nobody was allowed to talk about Ravensbrück till the liberation, because then you would have been in danger to be imprisoned yourself…
Other groups told us, that some of the people they interviewed even thought, that there was no need for keeping Ravensbrück as a museum. That you should close it etc. Others thought that it was good the way it is now but that there should ot be no extra exhibitions anymore…
11th October 2005
On Tuesday we were working on wallpapers for our little exhibition. We spit up into the groups we had have for the interviews and used the information we were given to greate a poster about what the people in Fürstenberg thought about Ravensbrück in the past, what they think about it today and what we think about their opinion. The whole wallpaper was German/Polish. Actually we could have made it German/English/Polish, because we always had to translate into English to explain to each other, what we just wrote down. *lol*
In the early afternoon we compared our expieriences we made during the interviews in Poland and those we did in Fürstenberg. We all came to the conclusion, that the Polish people have no problem to talk, they’re eager to pass on their knowledge while the people in Germany didn’t want to talk at all. And if they did, they hardly talked about private expieriences but about general things. But I think it’s because the German people are still ashamed of what happened and the older generation still feels kinda guilty while the Polish people were the victims…
In the evening we made a Polish evening, means the Polish group had to think about what to do this evening. We played some games, but mostly liked the “Mafia”-Game. During this game the whole group was sitting in a circle. Afterwards everbody got a little sheet of paper which told him or her if he or she was one of the Mafia,  a doctor, a detective  or just a normal citizen [the rest]. We played the game German/Polish and Ewa did the work of the story teller. The game is quite easy. During the night – when everybody has closed his eyes – the two mafia choose a person who’s going to be “killed” and the two doctors choose whom to heal. Nobody knows who’s who. Only the detective knows who the two guys from the mafia are, but he’s not allowed to give direct hints…
Another game they introduced was “secret best friend”. Everybody got a little sheet of paper where the name of another participant was written down. And till the end of the seminar you were supposed to make little gifts and make them feel comfortable and everything.
12th October 2005
This was the day we went to Berlin. There we got a historical City Tour. It was my first City Tour in Berlin ever and it was very interesting and we visited several memorials…
We were on top of the “Siegessäule” [triumphal column] which was built as a memorial for the three “Einigungskriege” [wars for Germany’s union] from 1864 till 1871 against Denmark, Austria and France. After these three victories the German Reich was founded 1871. The column constisted of 3 parts – one for each vistory – and was built near the German Reichtag. But Hitler changed it’s place when he was buolding the “Ost-West-Achse” [long street drom east to west] though Berlin and put the column on the street. He also added a fourth part. One can assume that he already expected a victory against Poland before the attack in 1939…
After having lunch at an Indian Restaurant, we visited the “Otto Weidt Museum“. Otto Weidt was a German man who had a factory were blind people [some of them Jewish] were working. When these people were supposed to be sent to concentration camps he managed to help them a few times telling the government that he needed his workers. To make sure that nobody would sent his workers away he had to produce things important for the war and so he changed his production a bit. This worked at the beginning but after a certain time the national socialists decided that there were also enough other people who could do the work and so Otto Weidt started to help his staff to look for places were to hide, especially the family of the young girl who had been his secretary and with whom he’d falling in love. But they were betrayed and the girls and her family were sent to a concentration camp. But even then Otto Weidt managed to help at least his love to escape.
There is a german movie showing a similar attempt to help. It’s called “Schindler’s Liste”.
Well, after having some freetime, moving into our rooms at the youth hostel and having some dinner we went to the German Reichtag. Unfortunately we were not allowed to get up to the dome, becuase they were cleaning it. From there you’re able to look straight into the room were the politicians [Bundestag] are normaly having their meetings.
13th October 2005
The next day we visited the new Holocaust memorial. A guide told us about the way of its development and afterwards we visited the exhibition underground. This memorial is different to others, because it is not, like the former concentration camps a remain of this time. It is also different in the way it was built, cause it is actually a field of blocks of steal. These blocks remind the visitors on gravestones and are as well a sign for the high number of victims.
The exhibition shows on the one hand the development of the holocaust in general and on the other hand the the karma of different Jewish families in Europe. So you can also see how families were destoyed. There was one room with quotes from letters and diary entries written by Jewish people. This was quite impressive and touching to me, for it showed how they felt, how they realized that their end was close and everything.
Actually the exhibition is so big, that you can’t read everything without staying a whole day and risking some head ache. And because we were all quite tired, we got freetime after lunch till we went back to Flecken Zechlin.
Back there we had a short evaluation and were then invited to take part in a little night hike. We did but actually it turned out to be very very short and the program which was planed and organized be another smeinar group was all German. I tried to help some of our Polish friends, but it’s quite hrad to translate funny plays and sketches, because it’s loosing all it’s wit…
So we ended up playing again table tennis and pool.
14th October 2005 / 15th October 2005
We were working the whole day on posters and wallpapers for our little exhibition. For example we finished our wallpaper about “Hermine Braunsteiner” one of the female staff who had worked in Ravensbrück and Majdanek.
And there was of course the German evening we had to think about. We used this time to play again the “Mafia”-Game, to solve the mystery of everybodies “secret best friend” and to have a look at all the pictures we made with the digital cameras.
Afterwards I started again playing and watching pool. Actually I didn’t do anything else during that night. At around 3 am there were only 3 of the Polish boys, one of the Polish girls and I left and we decided that it doesn’t matter if we go on playing or go to bed and sleep for only 3 more hours. So we played till 6 o’clock and afterwards started to wash, pack our cases and have breakfast. Everybody came in time, except the German boys. So I went upstairs – eager to do something instead of falling asleep – and two out of three of them sleeping. [They had stayed awake till about 2.30 / 3 am… ]
Saying good bye was quite hard this time, a lot harder than in Poland, because this time it was all simply perfect. We didn’t have any “she-goats” complaining and grousing all the time. Anne, Steffi, Michael [one of our “teamers” looking after us] and I were the only ones who didn’t leave Flecken Zechlin with this bus. And while Michael finished his packing when the bus was gone we girls sat quite depressed in the entry hall.
When I was back home – Michael had taken us to Wittstock – I had to tell a lot to my parents and to show them my pictures and of course to sleep. In the eveing I wrote an email to all participants (except Steffi and Anne) asking if they had a good journey back home and if they liked their stay here and everything. The internet can be really great. :)