Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Concentration camps and Córdoba

I am doing that thing again where I write two blog posts at the same time because I became too busy to keep on top of things. I am going to rewind back to 3 weeks ago when we visited our first concentration camp…. I will say that before coming to Argentina I knew pretty much nothing about it. I definitely should have done more research…because I had no idea that they had concentration camps here. In the entire country, there were about 500 camps. It’s unbelievable. During this trip we toured two and saw the third from the outside…having been to Auschwitz with my family, I thought I would be prepared for the bone-chilling feeling one gets from entering such a horrific place. However, I am convinced nothing can prepare anyone for that.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s Argentina was under a military dictatorship and all those that disagreed were kidnapped and sent to a camp. Two of the camps didn’t remind me of Auschwitz at all…because they were in the CENTER of the cities (Buenos Aires and Córdoba). Literally, the prisoners could hear children walking to school and cars passing by. It is truly terrible… even worse was the one in Córdoba because it is ACROSS from the Cathedral. That was heartbreaking to witness. The Cathedral is a stone’s throw away.

The third camp reminded me slightly of Auschwitz because it was isolated…but not in the middle of nowhere. It is 30 minutes outside of the city of Córdoba. I think the part that killed me the most was the fact that from a distance, the camp looks beautiful. I felt terribly guilty feeling that way knowing what happened there. It reminded me of Tuscany, Cyprus trees lining the driveway, red buildings with a view of the mountains in the back. It was hard to be there. I don’t really feel like posting the depth of the emotions we all experienced being there, but it was a necessary part of my experience here. I learned a lot about the dictatorship in my Political Violence class and I can now say I am not longer in the dark about Argentina’s history.

Our trip to Córdoba was incredible! It was a long trip; a 10-hour bus ride there and another 10-hour bus ride back. The bus was incredible though, it had “semi-bed seats” and I slept like a baby. We did a walking tour around the old part of the city and it reminded me a lot of Europe. The following day, before our trip to the third concentration camp, we went to visit Che Guevara’s childhood home! That was really cool. The trip all around was phenomenal and was definitely one of my favorite experiences in Argentina. I would definitely go again J

El Olimpo: 1st Concentration Camp

El Paseo de Buen Pastor- Córdoba

With Che Guevara

La Perla - Second Concentration Camp

The group at the soccer stadium in Córdoba

In front of the Cathedral

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