Thursday, August 7, 2014

Europe 2014 - Dachau, Germany

On our way from Eisenach to our room in Bavaria, we stopped in Dachau, Germany (just about 10 miles north of Munich) to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp.

Dachau is important because it was the first concentration camp built in Germany.
The camp was originally built to hold 6,000 prisoners, but when it was liberated in 1945, there were approximately 40,000 prisoners inside.
This is from the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site's web page:

On March 22, 1933, a few weeks after Adolf Hitler had been appointed Reich Chancellor, a concentration camp for political prisoners was set up in Dachau. This camp served as a model for all later concentration camps and as a "school of violence" for the SS men under whose command it stood. In the twelve years of its existence over 200.000 persons from all over Europe were imprisoned here and in the numerous subsidary camps. 41.500 were murdered. On April 29 1945, American troops liberated the survivors.

Ever since I was young and happened to catch glimpses of the Holocaust on a television program, I have been curious about the plight of the Jews during World War II.
Curious seems like a poor choice of a word - but there really are no words.

This stop was surreal.
To be walking on the road that the prisoners in this camp walked and to see barracks where they slept and lived - to see rooms where they were interrogated and tortured and to visit the crematorium where they were disposed of when they died...just no words.

This is an original watch tower and section of exterior wall.

The road and gated entrance (called the Jourhouse) to the concentration camp.
Prisoners walked these very same bricks from the main train station in town.

Work Makes You Free

Inside the Maintenance Building

Outside the Maintenance Building - the Roll Call Square

Grounds where the barracks once stood.

Inside a remaining barrack.

A ditch and barbed wire electrical fencing that surrounded the camp.
This bridge was added to the Memorial site to allow visitors access to the Crematorium.

The quote roughly translates to "Remember us who died here".
 Ovens that ran day and night, but in the end, weren't enough capacity to handle all of the dead.
Brausebad translates to "shower room".
There remains controversy as to whether this room was actually used as a gas chamber or not.

On  29 April, 1945, US troops liberated Dachau Concentration Camp.
THIS PAGE and so many like it are worth reading to understand the overwhelming reaction of the US soldiers who came to liberate this camp.
I think that in our world today we are desensitized to death and horror and the evil that man is capable of...
We see it in the movies and on the internet and the 24 hour a day news.
I doubt that many of the young American men who came here on that day in August had ever seen with their own eyes the sort of hell that existed in this camp.

Nachte Halt:  Unterammergau, Bavaria, Germany

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