Dachau, Germany Day 75

***WARNING*** These photos and some of the descriptions are disturbing.
Today wasn’t a particularly fun day… I went to the concentration camp Dachau and it was one of the most eye opening things I’ve seen so far on this trip. You think you know about what happened here and in the other camps, but being in its presence is a whole different matter. I had so many images in my head of what horrors have happened here, but walking through the gas chamber and crematorium was so extremely disturbing that I can’t really put it in words. I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know about Hitler and the war and the origins of the camp. First of all, Dachau was the very first of all the camps, and it was the one that all of the others were modeled after. Initially Hitler was trying to gain power, so he was just locking up anyone who he thought was either against him or would get in his way. Journalists, lawyers, doctors, it didn’t matter who you were or what religion or race you were, if you were deemed a threat, you were locked up. It was later that the Jewish people were targeted once Hitler was in power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and no example is better than this one. We thought it was fitting that the day was rainy, dreary and miserable. It matched our sombre moods of being in this horrible place. As horrible as it is, it’s an important reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye when the wrong person gets into power.
I don’t really have that much more to say about it, I’ll just let the pictures and the website tell their story.
                     First I went to the open air market in Munich. So many yummy sights and smells!
Germany is one of the most flower friendly countries I’ve ever seen.
The crematorium.
The disinfecting chamber.
The waiting room where the prisoners waited for their “supposed” showers.
The disrobing room. Their clothing was then taken to the disinfecting chamber.
Gas chamber. There were fake shower spouts in there to keep up the illusion of it being a shower and not panic the people so they wouldn’t enter the room.
Death chamber 1.
The incinerators. Some people were also executed by hanging right in front of the ovens. This was the most horrifying of all of the rooms. Truly, truly awful.
Death Chamber 2.
In behind the crematorium there are many markers for the graves of many of the unknown people who were murdered here.
The entrance gates to the camp. There is still barbed wire surrounding.
This plaque says, “May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933-1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defence of peace and freedom and in respect for their fellow men.
Incredible and disturbing statue.
The prisoners were punished on this by having to kneel on the step and count as the SS officer would whip him. If he lost count, they would start again. I’m still sad 3 days later looking at these pictures.


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3 Responses to Dachau, Germany Day 75

  1. Anonymous June 21, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    I am very proud that both you and Melissa had the guts to visit a concentration camp. It is very hard to conceive that this could actually happen but we must never, ever forget that it did. Your generation and the next and the next after that must continue to be vigilant so that it can’t happen again. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t visited a camp yet but I will. I think it is very important.
    xo Mom

  2. Michele June 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Excellent post, Andrea, and thank you for the photographs. I understand how horrifying and emotionally exhausting your day was, as I had the same reaction visiting Auschwitz in Poland a few years ago. It seems like it should just be a movie set, just fake, you know what I mean? To think of what happened there, and to realize it could happen again—Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur—is truly nauseating. Humans are complex creatures, with good and evil lurking. Thank goodness Germany and Poland have kept the camps as museums—it’s necessary.

  3. Andrea June 29, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    @Mom, It was really hard to see, bu I totally agree, now that there are so few survivors left, we can’t forget that this can happen again and again if we aren’t vigilant…
    @Michele, I remember your post from Aushwiz, it made me want to visit. Now I think I can say I don’t need to go since I saw this one, that was probably enough.

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