MY POINT OF VIEW

My opinion in a world with freedom of speech

Category: Weekly Topics

Sachsenhausen ~ post three

This will be my last post about Sachsenhausen. And I will focus on showing you some pictures this time, explaining a bit more on some of them.

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No, the rocks above 
are not for playing. The prisoners were forced to walk back and forth on these to try out new shoes. They tested out the shoe soles, and how much they could bear. Sometimes they had to carry heavy bags on their backs to put on more weight. And hours would pass as they walked like this.

DSC_1236_“In memory of the victims of Sachsenhausen concentration camp”

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This is the Norwegian Memorial 
place, where my class put roses. “The Norwegian government honors the 2500 Norwegians who had to suffer through the terror at Sachsenhausen between 1940 and 1945 because of resisting the Nazi occupants. Many of them lost their lives after the inhuman treatment in this camp. We will honor you forever.”

Monika

 

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Sachsenhausen ~ part two

I want to share one of the first stories we were told at Sachsenhausen.

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Can you imagine moving this? 
I cannot. It is way too big, way too heavy. But while Sachsenhausen was used as a concentration camp, people were forced to. They used it while they worked, to fix the ground. Good choice of words to explain, I know, sorry.

Anyway, on days some of the Nazi guys just felt to be worse, they enjoyed playing with the poor people trapped inside the camps. We were told some of these stories, one of them was about the big thing on the picture. They were usually 12 men when they pulled this one around, just for “fun” they could be eight. Then four, and this is where the short story begins… when a Nazi decided one of the four men didn’t work as hard as the others. And he decided to make the man pull the whole thing all on his own.

The man, obviously, does not have enough strength to move it. So the Nazi says he doesn’t do as he is told. Then deals with the situation by killing the man. No questions asked. The man did not obey his orders, so he needs to be punished.

Even though I have been told stories like these through the years, I can still not understand how the Nazi could work in these camps, do so horrible things and then walk home to their families, their wives, their children… and just be a nice husband, father… It is probably something I will never get my head around.

Monika

Sachsenhausen ~ post one

Our trip to Berlin went well, although we did meet a few problems here and there. But this post is not about that; I want to tell about my experiences when visiting Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Which, as expected, was tough. I have got some things I want to mention, so I will probably make a few posts on this topic and add it as one of my “weekly topics”.

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Have you ever read 
“The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”? I have. And I think it is a great book. A truly nice story. What I never thought about though, is how surreal it is. At school this year I will write an assignment about the story in “Schindler’s List” and compare it to “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas“, because they are both about World War II, however; one is written out of what actually happened, while the other does not deal with all the facts.

In “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas we are introduced to two boys; one who is Jewish and one who is German. The son of a Nazi. The Jewish boy, Shmuel, lives in a concentration camp – Auschwitz. But in spite of that, he becomes friend with the German boy on the outside.

I never thought about it before, not until I started writing this assignment and reading about the criticism the book has received. Then I went to Sachsenhausen, and understood even better, why people criticize the book.

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The walls. The tall, thick 
walls and the wires on the top and down at the ground. I do not write this post to criticize the book; as I said, I think it is a great story. I was really moved by it when I read it; the movie as well. However, going to Sachsenhausen made me think. And with the book on my mind, I realized exactly how trapped these people were. We also had a guide with us, and all the stories he told … wow, I am surprised of how cruel mankind can be sometimes. Then again not surprised. Maybe angry is a better word.

Anyway, the walls were actually my first thought when entering. That is what split these innocent people away from the world. That hid all the bad things that were done to them; I am fully aware of the fact that things were not good on the outside either at this time, but still … all the stories we will never know, all the cruelness these people had to suffer through, and that died with them… I do not think we can ever imagine how bad it actually was in there. But over these next posts, I will try to tell some of the stories we were told when visiting one of the most important concentration camps.

  • Have you ever visited a concentration camp?

Monika

Inspiration ~ post three

I am heading out on a boat trip for a couple of days and do not know if I will have Internet or not, so I will publish the last of my inspiration posts now. The first day I was focusing on people believing in themselves. In the second post I had focus on you doing something for other people, strangers in particular. People you do not necessary have to do anything for.

As for today, I want to get your mind to the people closest to you. I do not think people in general are good enough to keep reminding their family and friends how much they mean to them. We end up taking each other for granted. Some people are good at this of course, and say “I love you” at a daily basis, or do small things to show it. Others on the other hand, are either “embarrassed” or shy, or simply do not know how to say it. There are many reasons, but I think it is a shame.

If we lived in a world where everyone was told “I love you” at least once a week – or even once a month – I think we would all feel more appreciated. And… Have a look at this video.


You never know what is coming. You never know when is your last chance to tell someone you love them. You never know when you will never get to speak to them again. And alright, if you do not feel comfortable uttering the words “I love you”, then at least make an effort to show it. Give them a hug. Or take them to the cinema. Or thank them for what they have done to you. Show them you are grateful for having them in your life.

I am not good enough telling my beloved that I love them. I think Norwegians (not everyone) may be a little less open about their feelings like this, because we are often described as more “cold” than others. Sometimes I believe this is true. But then I see someone hugging, holding hands or saying those words. Those three words that can really make someone’s day. And that… It makes my day.

  • When did you last say “I love you”?

Monika

Inspiration ~ post two

I decided to make this week my second of my weekly topic weeks. And this week the topic is as simple as inspiration. We all need inspiration every now and then, whether it is to get us started on working out, quit smoking, do something nice for people or just live. Some may go through life always being inspired to reach for something new, but some simply need some help along the way. I know I do – and that is why I want this to be a week where I might be able to inspire you.

I just saw a video on Facebook that I would like to share with you. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.


This might not be the biggest things to do, but I still feel the world would have been a better place if everyone did something like this, just a small gesture every day. It brightens the day of the person you help. And it even brighten your own day. At least that is how it usually feels for me.

It does not require a lot to do something nice for someone. It does not necessary take up a lot time. But it sure makes the day for people.

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A pretty random picture, but it is an example of what I am talking about. However I do not say you should go out and buy tires for everyone, you do not need to buy them anything unless you actually want. Just look at the video above; just giving the teddy bear back to a toddler will make someone’s day. Not only the toddler, but also its parents.

So today I want to challenge you – and even myself; tomorrow or any other day in the future where the opportunity is there; do something nice for someone. Smile to a stranger. Give a homeless a coffee. Pick up the teddy bear the toddler lost and hand it back. Help an old lady cross  the road. Talk and be polite to the person working at the store. See someone missing a coin to pay for their groceries? Give them a coin. Make their day. And make your day.

Today I want to know;

  • When was the last time you did something nice for a stranger – or someone close to you?

Monika

Inspiration ~ post one

I am not going to write a lot today. I just wanted to show everyone some inspiration. This is about a year old now, but I still think it is just as important today as it was last year.

So take some minutes of your day and watch this – and seriously; never, ever give up! I am not talking just about working out here – as long as you have something you want to achieve, then go for it. You can do it, it is all about how much you do to reach it. You might have problems along the way, but the day you have finally reached your goal, it will be worth it.

Fur farming ~ post four

In my fourth and last post in the first weekly topic, I want to reflect upon what we can do to help the fur animals. There actually are things we could do to make this industry come to an end. It does not have to continue like this forever and ever.

Have you ever thought of the fact that when you buy something in the store, they will have to order more? And they ordering more means the industry has to continue. And have you ever given this any thought; when the industry gets orders it believes its products are good, and therefore decides to improve them? Cosmetic testing for instance; they always keep on trying to make their products better to avoid getting much competition from other companies. So when we keep on buying their stuff the situation of the animals in the industries only get worse and worse.

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I do not buy fur or leather. It is very easy. If I see a nice belt and then realize it is made of leather, I simply walk away. Because I know, that even though I might find the belt very nice, I would not be happy wearing it later on, knowing it is the product of an animal. An animal that has been suffering.

Many think the animal is already dead and it is better to buy it, rather than it being thrown away. And of course, in one way this is true. That way the fights of this particular animal will not go to waste. But what they do not think about is what I write above; the fact that it also makes the industry go on.

As consumers we have power. If the industry sees we do not want its products, it has to come up with something else. It actually is as easy as that.

  • Do you buy fur or leather?

Monika

Fur farming ~ post three

An industry only to pleasure us. An industry made out of the eager of the human beings… The humanity can make so many things happen; just look at the way the whole world is suddenly able to connect over invisible lines – or how we can “fly the air like birds” (Martin Luther King Jr.). Still we let the fur farming continue; still we let hundreds of animals suffer every day just to give us fur. Fur. I do not even get it. Yes, it may be soft and may feel good against the skin, but so does a living animal. A warm animal. An animal with a beating heart, living in its right conditions.

I will never be able to understand how someone can be this cruel to a living being. I could never get myself into killing anyone; being paid for it would not matter. Seeing an animal suffer day in and day out, biting itself or its kids… I could not bare it. I probably would have ended up getting them to the vet before giving them away.

Pelsindustri_eng“Doesn’t that hurt a lot?” – “Nah, I don’t feel anything”

This “comic strip” has, in my eyes, an underlining point regarding the answer given. He says he does not feel anything. I do not think it is only about threshold of pain physically; I think the writer has thought more of people working in this industry not being able to have normal feelings. You do not have a normal way of thinking, or a well functioning heart if you can make yourself live well knowing you are working with this.

I think a lot of people don’t give any thought into what is behind the fur coat they buy. When they finally are able to buy the expensive, though beautiful coat in the store, they probably forget the defenseless, innocent animals being in captivity for a long time before put to death – only to become this clothing. All they give thought to is the coat, which is actually made of the fur of many animals, later cut and/or coloured. Even though nothing reminds of the animals anymore (apart from the texture) it has still been an animal with its own threshold of pain, feelings and a life as us. This is probably why it is also forgotten – or they do not want to think of it.

  • Do you support fur farming?

Monika

Fur farming ~ post two

Last November I attended the Norwegian animal organization NOAH’s torchlight parade against fur farming. 2012 was the 9th year in row where they arranged this, and this is also the biggest anti-fur farming demonstration in the Nordic countries. I was never in doubt on participating, so I did.

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The first we met, were nice representatives from NOAH, who sold cakes and coffee, buttons and torches; all very cheap. Following there was a little waiting before the clock turned six, and Marlén Næss Eriksen had an opening appeal. In her appeal she spoke about the fur farming industry and told that 2012 was the year us and the fur animals had waited for in a decade. She said the Parliament in 2002 said that unless the condition of the animals had improved over the next ten years, big changes would happen; filling our hearts with hope.

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We then filled the streets of the town, people with torches and screams of empty cages right away. Yells saying a life in a cage is a life in torture. People along the streets stopped to hear us, many took pictures. And I felt a really nice and relieving feeling of being able to participate in something like this, to fight for one of my “heart cases” in front of everyone. With a hope that now, together, we could maybe finally achieve something. Together we could show the fur animals our support and hopefully be heard.

When we arrived back afterwards, the arrangement continued with appeals by youth representing the Norwegian political youth parties SU, Rødt, GU and UV. In Oslo there were several famous people speaking, like Unni Lindell (writer), Mia Gundersen and Lise Myhre.

The police estimated about 200-250 were in the parade in my city, and all over the country almost 6000 people stood up for the animals this evening (about 12 % of the country).

  • Have you ever participated in anything like this?

Monika

Fur farming ~ post one

As you may, or may not have seen, I have come up with a new page called Weekly Topics. If you look at this page you will find a description of what this means and you will also find the topic for this week. Exactly, fur farming.

In this first post, I will introduce you to the industry, and especially focus on how it is in Norway as this is what I know the most of. I will stay neutral this time, and will go more into my own feelings on this topic later this week. All pictures are taken by the Norwegian animal protection care last year – look here for more, shocking, pictures.

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About 800 000 foxes and minks are held and killed in Norwegian fur farms every year, only to become fur. In the farms the animals suffer in small netting cages and the farms can hold from some hundred up to more than 100 000 animals. The animals are born in captivity and will usually live until they are 6-7 months old and are put to death.

The size of each cage depends on which animal it holds, but is never big enough to give the animal enough space to behave “normally”, regarding e.g. food hunting and sexual demeanour.

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Being in captivity stops them from doing what is in their nature. The animals react in different ways; some circle around the cage, others jump forward and backwards in patterns, “dig” on the cage or just lay in a corner.

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Many of the animals get hurt in captivity. It is not unusual that they get abnormality behaviour like biting on their own body, and in the worst cases they can even bite off own body parts because of frustration. It is not uncommon that they kill their own puppies.

The foxes are put to death using electricity. They get a metal probe shoved into their rectum, and a metal stick in their mouth or have their snout held towards a metal plate. Then the electricity is turned on. The minks are usually put into a gas chamber with CO2. They can also be put to death using electricity shocks or being hit unconscious before they get their neck cracked.

  • Do you know anything about the situation on fur farming in your country?

Monika