I visited this former school with my history head on; you know the one that thinks ‘oh this will be interesting, I’d like to find out what happened.’
It did not really work, I don’t know why; maybe it was just too recent, maybe the thousands of pictures which document the prisoners death or maybe …….I don’t know. What ever it was I did not find what I was looking for. The place is haunted and the pallor of human suffering lingers in the rooms.
I hid myself behind information screens, reading about the shambles that is the ‘reconciliation’ trials. Even these provided little release from the horror of what happened here. Some graffiti artist had shown his frustration and anger of those standing trial by scratching out the eyes of those standing accused. A very powerful reminder that many of the former regime still are alive, and some are even in power, the current prime minister being one.
I found the scale difficult to process. It was the case file of a young man from Newcastle that brought things into focus. I had began to lose sight of what had happened and was thinking of the scale of the slaughter. One finds it hard to empathise with massive numbers, so when I found the case file of John Dawson Dewhirst, who was originally from Newcastle I read the complete dossier. chilled I had had enough. I felt no desire to see any more. 2 hours were not enough to see the whole site of this former school, but it was enough for me.
I don’t think of myself as being particularly sentimental, but I have to admit to being disturbed by the whole experience. The ability for people to do such things, whilst I know exists, always (I hope remains so) shocks.
Qu: How come I so enjoy showing children around castles, and showing them the gloomy dungeons and yet would not go into rooms with similar instruments here?