Day 13: Dachau Concentration Camp

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June 16th 2013
Published: July 12th 2013
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Sign in the frontSign in the frontSign in the front

Translation: Works set you free
Due to the sensitive nature of Dachau Concentration Camp I will be separating it from my other blogs.

We travelled from Austria into Germany. Our first stop of the day was Dachau Concentration camp. I knew a lot about WW 2 and the concentration camps but had never been to one. On the way there Kate told us about Germany, its history, the concentration camps and WW 2 in general. Dachau was the first concentration camp and initially used to hold Hitler's political prisoners. Eventually it held all the other victims of the Nazis.

I was interested in going there but looking forward to it is not the right way to put it. We got there and Kate walked us to the front gate and let us go as we pleased and just told us to be back in time for the bus. The first thing I noticed was the sign on the door Arbeit Macht Frei which means Works makes you free. I walked around alone through the grounds because I wasn't really in the mood for company. It is a strange feeling walking around a place where so much suffering occurred. I saw the crematoria where they disposed of the bodies and it was a very eerie feeling being in that room. I got out of the room as soon as I had a picture.

I wandered to look at various memorials and plaques dedicated to the victims. I walked through some of the churches on the grounds and sat down to pray. The night before Kate told us to go easy on the drinking because there could be former prisoners at the camp that day. In a courtyard of one of the churches I actually saw an old woman in a wheelchair and I actually wondered if she was one of those former prisoners. She just sat there smiling slightly and I didn't have the courage to ask her.

I spent a little more time wandering around the grounds before ending at the museum. There was a map in there of all the concentrations camps and I was thinking each one of those housed untold human suffering. I had enough of that point and walked out of the camp and back towards the bus. I sat down with everyone else who had finished and ate the lunch I had packed earlier. We have a fair number of loud people and the silence from most people was strange. The silence continued on the bus as we headed out.

So in conclusion visiting a concentration camp is educational and rewarding but it will be an emotionally draining day.


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