|Aerial view of the castle|
I have spent the last four hours trying to find something to say that will do this any kind of justice, unfortunately I am struggling…. How do you possibly begin to describe it? 400 years of a castle shrouded in rich history, so I’ve decided to, rather than try and explain the undoubtedly remarkable history, to tell you about my experience there.
|Curry wurst mit pommes und mayo|
|Wewelsburger mit pommes und mayo|
Glen and I have seen the castle many times from the autobahn and the last time we drove past I said to my husband that I would like to go and see what it was all about. To be honest whilst most of the museum was all in German it didn’t disappoint me, I realise it was a little boring for my husband, he couldn’t understand very much at all and to be honest I think he was expecting lots of Nazi, swastika, stuff… After all it was Himmler’s SS Reich Leaders school. We wondered around the first of the two museums, looking a bits of old pots, coins, paintings and fossils…. Climbing flights of stairs, to see what relics the next floor contained. Peering in display cases to see what ancient things came next in the history of Paderborn and the castle, surprisingly, or not, the bit in that part of the museum we were looking forward to most was the ‘hexenkeller’ the witches dungeon, well isn’t that bit we all look forward to most? I am assuming it’s got something to do with the morbidity of it, the anticipation of climbing down all those steep steps, so you can go down into the dark dungeon, walk into one of the cells and shut the barred door behind you, and jokingly turn around and scream, ‘LET ME OUT, LET ME OUT,’ in reality we didn’t do this, mostly because it didn’t have a barred door! And it was very small, Glen would have had to go down on his knees…… A little painful and cold I would imagine.
|Side view of the castle|
Next we went for lunch, German historical building requires that we stick with the German theme, and opted for a typical German meal, Glen had Currywurst mit Pommes und mayo, I had a Wewelsburger mit pommes und mayo, I still have no idea what meat was used to make this burger, I can tell you that it had a rather unusual salad in it, carrots, peppers, which have been repeating on me all afternoon, sweet corn, kraut and lettuce, to top it off we had a very German cup of coffee (thick and chewy). I toyed with the idea of an ice cream the weather was lovely and warm, but we decided to give it a miss, I was stuffed after my burger, leaving most of the fries, having a ice cream would have been pure greed.
|Uniform worn by those in the concentration camp|
After lunch we went round to the Megalomania and Terror of the SS museum, now this is where my morbid fascination comes into play. When I was about 12 years old, my parents took me to the
where we visited the Eagles Nest, we climbed from the bottom all the way to the
top of the mountain, and we bought the books about Hitler and his henchmen. I
found it incredibly difficult at that age to fathom, how somewhere so beautiful
could be tainted with something so positively evil. Since then I have had this
NEED if you like to try and understand, but ultimately words like ‘Ayran’ and
Nazi, just infuriate me. As we walked around the first level, it was covered in
SS leaders photo’s and the one thing that struck me was how ‘normal’ most of
these men looked, I will admit I did mention to my husband at one point, after
looking at one photo, that I wouldn’t want to be stuck down a dark alley with
him, but in most cases, they were handsome young men. Looks can be deceiving,
these men were in the SS, the men responsible for the deaths of between 11 and
17 million people. A bit further along they went on to explain that inmates
were forced to work and rebuild the castle. Of the estimated 3,900 inmates,
1,285 were either murdered by the SS or died due to poor diet and starvation or
sickness. I have been reading, and it says that the SS hid the genocide from
the local authorities, because “normal” legal order still existed, this legal
system did not allow murder and it was still a punishable offence. If the SS
were hiding the killing of the people in the concentration camps, this implies
to me they knew what they were doing was wrong, otherwise why hide?
I could be here for hours and hours, explaining everything I saw and learnt today, but I fear I may go off on a tangent about Nazism, and the racist views etc. and that is not what I want to do. Instead I am going to add a link for those of you, who are interested.