19 February 2013

Traces of History

This Sunday my sister and I decided that we needed to get away from the desk for a few hours to breath some fresh air. Forest and fields are not far, but we were in the mood for a change of scenery, so we decided to try something new. We had planned for some month to visit a near memorial place. It has  been built as a reminder of a Second World War labor camp for Hungarian Jewish women. They were forced to work there to produce weapons for the German army. Though we live very near we never visited it before, because we knew that nothing more but a memorial plaque has remained. All the buildings are long gone and only an empty field reminds you of the former camp. But though there is really nothing left to make you aware of the former significance of the place, to know about it was enough to feel sad. Places like this have this strange aura of history and it made us feel quite uneasy.

So we decided to take a walk in the nearby woods to get away from the distressing place. Little did we know, we were about to discover something really interesting. After we had walked for about 10 minutes we noticed a small and old abandoned bunker at the roadside. We were really excited and explored the (sadly empty) inside. 

The bunker alone was quite impressive but after that we decided to leave the forest track and just go cross-country through the woods. And after a while we came across another old building between the trees. And the further we walked, the more buildings we found. The whole forest was filled with them. It was really exciting. We were all alone in the silent woods with these old and decaying buildings. We guessed that they were also remains of the war, but wondered why we had never heard about these ruins in the woods. After all, we were only about 8 kilometers away from home.

 We discovered about 20 buildings and some really large old bunkers that were embedded in the earth. Some of the bunkers had completely crumbled away over the years, some had been sealed by city authorities (I guess) but at the end we finally discovered one whose doors were open.

I have to admit, it was a bit scary to see this dark open door in the middle of the quiet woods with the huge empty dark hole behind it. But we had the dog with us and because she remained calm we knew that it was probably empty. It was a very speculiar feeling to be inside this old bunker. There were even bullet holes in the doors (strangely enough they went from the inside out ...) 

 We spent about two and a half hours in the woods exploring the old buildings. It was exciting, adventurous and a bit scary. When we came home we immediately googled the place (of course...) and found out that the buildings are part of a very large blasting explosive factory from the II Word War. Overall there had been more than 600 buildings in the woods and now there are about 60 of them still left. 

Next Sunday we want to go back and explore some more. After all, it is not everyday that you can find remains of the war outside a museum.

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