We have had a busy enjoyable day out today, which had been a great end to a very very long week. My eldest has rekindled his interest in World War II over the last few weeks. This was his project of learning in the spring and early summer and we had many visits out during those months. Most of the books he is borrowing from the library are now about this, his own books about this are being reread, all his daily drawings depict scenes he has been reading about, his made up Lego models are of vehicles from this time. So I am back to looking for interesting places for us to visit to support his interest and learning.
So today we made a long journey to this place. I had to be organised and make a picnic the night before, as we needed to set off early, at a time when we are usually just waking up! It was a very cold morning at home so I packed for every type of weather, the boot was full of clothes. I am glad I did as when we arrived it was a beautiful hot sunny day, so the first thing we did on arriving was to find the toilets and get changed.
The museum itself is on the site of a prisoner of war camp. Each of the old huts has a theme, the Blitz, U Boats, Women's role during the war, etc. Each hut is like a small museum. There is a lot of written word in most of the huts, little of which got read by any of us today. The snippets that I did manage to read I did share. If you read all the information in every hut I think you would be overloaded.
Like all information from this period some of it makes for difficult reading and viewing. It always leaves me feeling, why? How can humans do this to each other? In particular anything to do with the concentration camps. I visited Auschwitz and Birkenau some years ago, even with all the reading I had done and pictures I had seen nothing can prepare you for seeing it for real. At the end of the hut which contained pictures, very sensitively put into a small side room, of the concentration camps there was a chapel. As I walked through I felt compelled to sit down and pause. I needed to sit quietly and gather my thoughts, to make sense of what I had been reading in all of the huts.
In an ideal world we would have no wars, but I am realistic this world is not for idealists. What I can do is help my children to understand why war is not the way to resolve conflict and that peaceful solutions can and should be sort. I hope I can do this, one small step at a time.