„Looking back, I can say that in Ravensbrueck it was all about Irena for me. Our contemporary witness made such a big impression on me, on all of us. Her presence there left the strongest memory and I will carry it with me for a long time, because she showed me that the victims of this war were and are real people. That there are untold stories we have not yet heard and some which we will never get to hear. Her friendly, loving nature and her history made me understand what forgiveness means, and how happy we can be that in our lives we are only confronted by small difficulties.
In the run-up before the project, I had never envisaged that we would have such a close relationship to the contemporary witness who was then still unknown to us. It was very personal with Irena, and it made us see her story and Germany’s history as a whole and made us understand it better. Her report showed me that even language is not so important if you really want to communicate. When she talked, we felt her emotions and understood her, even though we don’t speak Swedish and her words had not been translated yet.
And it has nothing to do with the fact whether you are German or not. I grew up on the other side of history in Greece, and had not known anything about the history of the second world war from a German perspective. What I had not understood before Ravensbrueck is that this history concerns me as a foreigner as much as it does Germans. Beforehand I had only had very abstract knowledge of what happened to people during WWII, but in Ravensbrueck that terror seemed to be somehow still alive. It became clear to me that it was not so long ago that all these terrors were done to people.
It was also a very special week because we given the chance to meet other apprentices, work with them and get a bit closer to them during this experience. During and outside of our project work, we talked and enjoyed each other’s company. The time that we spent together on this is of great importance to me.
All-in-all this week has given us so much which I cannot describe well in words. I would recommend participation in this to anyone and would always take part again myself.“