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If you haven't read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, I highly recommend it.

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Comments in purple are copied from signs that were at Ravensbruck. Comments in black are my own thoughts and observations.

The Nazi headquarters at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. nazi


This is what you see upon entering the walled prison camp. The buildings are the industrial complex - where the prisoners were forced to work. The empty space is where there used to be prisoner barracks.
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Here is a collage of the industrial complex. It's bleak. The concrete roller was used by the women prisoners who were assigned to tamp down the earth for making roads. Corrie ten Boom had this duty. utility
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Music and song

The SS always forced the prisoners to sing German songs as they marched out to their work details. Despite this, many prisoners continued to take pleasure in singing. Hundreds of songs and poems describing life in Ravensbruck were produced in the women's camp. Several choirs were established, and groups of singers would secretly perform for their fellow prisoners in the huts or the camp infirmary. Folk and popular songs, labour movement songs and battle songs, chants, hymns and self-penned pieces were sung in all languages. The prisoners sang for entertainment or to preserve and transmit their culture. Only in a few exceptional cases did the SS tolerate musical instrument in the camp. The owners of these instruments would have to perform for the SS as well.

Lyrics and melody, Ludmila Peskarova, March 1945
The Czech music teacher Ludmila Peskarova wrote more than 100 lyrics in Ravensbruck from October 1945 to April 1945. She noted two pieces on a slip of paper; the lower piece, "Nemesis jiz do azuru pise" ("Nemesis writes a song in azure blue"), was inspired by Allied planes and refers to the Greek goddess of divine retribution.


Before she was arrested, Colestine Hubner was a well-known singer in Vienna's wine taverns. She was allowed to take her guitar with her into the camp, but she was forced to sing and play for the SS during its "Viennese evenings". At these events, she and fellow Austrian prisoner Hermine Freiberger would sometimes perform as the duo "Tini und Mimi". song

Here is Colestine's guitar.
*********************************************************************************** Cultural activities in the camp
Numerous works of art were produced in Ravensbrück despite the strict bans and adverse conditions in the camp. Prisoners made drawings and wrote songs, poems or prayers. They made religious objects or talismans, small pieces of jewelry, tiny sculptures and good-luck charms from remnants of fabric or waste pieces of cable, bread or old newspapers – in short, from any material they could get hold of.

Such works of art were often made as presents for fellow prisoners, but they were also used to barter for food or pieces of clothing. In their drawings and poems, prisoners often dealt with their everyday life, described the atmosphere in the camp or commented on it in a sardonic tone.

The artworks made in the camp are testimonies to the prisoners’ imagination, inventiveness and their will to preserve their human dignity.

Russian girl sleeping next to the hut – drawing by Aat Breur, between 1943 and 1945.

Aat Breur was able to acquire paper and pencils from her work at the camp’s bookbinding workshop and at Siemens. She secretly made drawings for herself and her fellow prisoners. This drawing shows an exhausted girl with a number tattooed on her arm, an indication that she was previously imprisoned in Auschwitz.


I remember from the book The Hiding Place that Betsie ten Boom was not well enough to do heavy labor. She was assigned sewing and knitting instead. I thought of her when I saw these socks knitted by a prisoner at Ravensbruck.

From "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom:
      Best of all, as a result of her hospitalization, she (Betsie) was given a permanent assignment to the "knitting brigade," the women we had seen the very first day seated about the tables in the center room. This work was reserved for the weakest prisoners, and now overflowed into the dormitories as well.
      Those working in the sleeping rooms received far less supervision than those at the tables, and Betsie found herself with most of the day in which to minister to those around her. She was a lightning knitter who completed her quota of socks long before noon. She kept our Bible with her and spent hours each day reading aloud from it, moving from platform to platform...
      ...Betsie and I ministered the Word of God to all in the room. We sat by deathbeds that became doorways to heaven. We watched women who had lost everything grow rich in hope. The knitters of Barracks 28 became the praying heart of the vast diseased body that was Ravensbruck, interceding for all in the camp - guards, under Betsie's prodding, as well as prisoners. We prayed beyond the concrete walls for the healing of Germany, of Europe, of the world - as Mama had once done from the prison of a crippled body.

*********************************************************************************** From "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom:
      The heavy iron doors swung open; at the heels of a woman guard we marched through. We climbed the little hill: now I could see the lake, frozen from shore to shore. The pines and the distant church steeple sparkled in the winter sun like an old-fashioned Christmas card.
      I could not believe it. Perhaps we were only going to the Siemens factory; tonight we would march back to camp. But at the top of the hill we turned left, toward the center of the small town. I could feel my feet swelling in the tight new shoes, but I bit my lip and made myself stride along. I imagined the guard turning around, pointing a scornful finger: "Edema! Send her back to camp!"
      At the small train station the guard turned and left us without a backward glance. Apparently we were all traveling as far as Berlin, then each pursuing her separate route home. There was a long wait on the cold iron benches.
      The feeling of unreality persisted. Only one thing seemed familiar, the hungry hollow in my stomach.

Here is the view that met Corrie as she left Ravensbruck. Indeed, it is like an old-fashioned Christmas card! lake
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