Makiladoras, Words Mean Nothing, Scarlet Adorns The Snow @ Reaktywacja, Białystok POL 07 March 2006
At 8.00 am we have breakfast and arrive with Michał at the garage around 9.00. We have 3 hours to spend. Our original plan was to visit the old town of Lublin but the garage is located next to Majdanek, so we decide to do a deathcamptour instead… The remarkable thing is the totally open location of this camp. No walls, or hidden in some woods or valley. Just next to a very busy highway and right outside the city. Their is no way you can not notice it. And as far as the eye can see, there is watchtowers, and in the meantime some high modern looking apartment buildings are overlooking the camp as well… So we overcome the icy roads, and enter the camp. What’s striking is the complete lack of tourists or other people. It seems we are the only visitors there except for the reception folks in the museum. The profound silence plus the fact that everything is covered with snow makes this a rather intense experience. First thing we see in the camp is the gigantic Monument of Struggle and Martyrdom. We follow the road to the gaschambers, disinfection buildings, and a row of sinister looking buildings which appear to be stockrooms and workplaces like horse barns where clothes, shoes and hair were stored. Inside every building there is tourist exhibits, but unfortunately a lot of them are closed at the moment. The camp is divided in 6 fields, each surrounded by a barbed wire fence and each field had two rows of barracks on each side of an open space which had a gallows for hanging prisoners. The only barrack buildings that are still standing are on Field III. The plans for the camp provided for the eventual construction of barracks for 250,000 prisoners, the establishment of industrial plants, and the construction of additional gas chambers and a more efficient crematorium; but by the time the camp was liberated, only 20 percent of these plans had been put into effect. After the liberation by the Russians in 1944, the remaining barracks were still used by the Russian secret police to imprison Polish citizens and partisans in order to transport them to the Gulags (concentration camps). After Field III, we walk the former “Black Path”, the road to the crematorium, and enter a gigantic circular Mausoleum. Under the dome is a huge circular urn, shaped like a saucer, which contains the ashes of some of the victims at Majdanek. Just behind the Mausoleum is a small stone which commemorates the deaths of around 16,000 Jews on that spot on November 3, 1943, an event that was code-named by the Nazis with the cynical word “Erntefest” which means Harvest Festival in English. The camp inmates called this day “bloody Wednesday.” This was the largest mass execution carried out at any of the concentration camps in the history of the Holocaust. The victims were the last remnants of the Jewish population in the Lublin district. When we walk back on the Black Path to the Museum, we see a touristbus arriving. It looks like a schoolclass with young passengers, some covered Israeli flags and surrounded by bodyguards. A very curious scene… We return to Michał’s place with an extremely cheap yet new window and get on our way to Szczytno on 14.00. Unfortunately our tourmaster stays home coz he has some obligations. We’ll probably meet again in Łódź. The other 2 bands are guiding us in a Mercedes taxivan with driver. They’re with 15 people. This seems usual in Poland and fucking cheap. 1 euro for 4 km’s including everything. We drive straight to the venue and arrive at 18.00. We get warm food from Adam the organizer and around 20.00 SCARLET starts to play in front of a good crowd. Outside it is freezing and this is gonna be the coldest night of the tour so far. I hear the Mercedes taxivan running and see the driver inside trying to enjoy himself. He stays inside the van with running engine the entire evening… hahaha! During WORDS MEAN NOTHING I do distro and try to get into the toilet but it’s flooded all the time. Fortunately tonight we’re not stopped by the cops and we can complete the set. Outside the barowner is lighting a comfy campfire. We crash at Greg’s place but not before we first visit the nightshop. Well, it’s more like a nightmall because it’s huge and we buy some nice vegetarian and vegan foods. Eat more warm food at night and get plenty of sleep.