(Photos shot Sep. 24, 2011)
The concentration camp grounds, once fraught with so much horror and despair, is now a memorial park. Very few of the original buildings survive to this day. Once past the museum only a few guard towers and the crematorium serve as a reminder of the brutal past.
Once we left the museum we headed off to our right into the cemetery. There are a few stones, but most are unmarked.
Once past the small cemetery we came to this fenced off area.
It is the top of the ramp down to the crematorium. One of the original guard towers looms over the scene. By mid 1944 the crematorium was so overloaded with work this ramp had to be built to speed the bodies on to their end.
This is the stairway down to the crematorium. On the right are a few of the original fence posts with electrical insulators, part of the electrified fence system.
Next to the crematorium a small monument has been placed. Each of the 4 sides has an inscription in a different language.
The crematorium building is so plain as to be nondescript. The smokestack is rather tall dwarfing the building below. I walked inside to see the oven. As the light was fading I put my camera lens on f4, its widest opening, put the lens on 24mm, its widest angle, and braced myself against the wall for this photo.
Two rooms away was a body slab, cold and hard. It got no photo. The building was somber, and uncomfortable. It was as if the ghosts who still guard this place of destruction were perturbed by an intrusion of the living.
Just a few stairs above the crematorium is the Jewish Memorial and a marker on the wall behind it. Here are 3 views.
The building in the background of the 2nd view is the Chapel of Jesus in the Dungeon.
The memorial stone, begins with the word Yad. Yad has multiple meanings. In temple it is the pointer used to point out the word being read from the Torah, The Five Books of Moses. It also means hand and can imply finger. There are multiple layers of interpretation here. I wondered if it might imply the finger of God, then I wondered if the souls chilled by this place of terror could ever be warmed by the fingers of God, even after a thousand years. Yad can also be meant as memorial. It is probably used this way to memorialize the dead, and so point back at the living to remind them of what happened near this stone.
From the crematorium you look across the Valley of Death and see these sights.
The triangle shaped mound is the “Pyramid of Ashes”. Interred underneath are the remains, the ashes and bones of some of the victims of the crematorium behind.
A few steps above the Valley of Death is the Square of Nations. 18 large stones lay there flat on the ground in two columns lining the Square. They start by memorializing two unnamed U.S. airmen. With increasing numbers they memorialize victims of the camp ending with the Soviet stone to 26,430 lost souls shown below.
On the wall at the head of the Square is a plaque to the U.S. 93rd Infantry and the U.S. 3rd Army, the liberators of the camp.
Looking back toward the Valley of Death the crematorium is partly surrounded by trees in the distance. The Soviet marker is last on the right.
Above the valley and the square on the same level as the rest of the camp are the Jewish Chapel and the Chapel of Jesus in the Dungeon.
The exterior of the Jewish Chapel is not very noteworthy. Without a map I might have missed it. The inside, however, is quite impressive in its simplicity. The word as near as I can tell translates along the lines of remember. If any of my readers can give a more literal translation I will pass it along.
This is the skylight of the Jewish Chapel.
Finally here is an interior shot of the Chapel of Jesus in the Dungeon. The exterior of the Chapel is built onto one of the remaining guard towers. On either side of the chapel are plaques and stained glass windows memorializing the numbers of dead from each European country killed at Flossenburg. These plaques and windows match the numbers on the stones in the Square of Nations. A few of the plaques can be seen at far right or far left of the photo.