Dachau (May 14, 2017)

Today we visited Dachau, one of the concentration camps from WWII.  The beautiful weather was in contrast to the somber mood.  I went in not really knowing what to expect.  We had an amazing tour guide who was very knowledgeable and passionate about teaching the history of the location.  When you first get to Dachau, you are met by a metal gate with the ironic phrase “work sets you free” written across the top.  Once inside, I was surprised by how large and empty the camp was.  We were taken through the camp and saw all of the different facilities and rooms the prisoners had to stay in.  Overtime, the conditions got worse and worse, and eventually death tolls reached 300 per day.  Dachau was the “best” concentration camp.  It had the highest likelihood for survival and served as an example for the other camps.  The people there were used for forced labor in companies all over the country such as BMW.  There were also places there for political prisoners.  Some of the rooms were so small, you couldn’t sit or lay down.  They were basically vertical coffins.  One story that affected me the most was about the American soldiers who were my age that liberated the camp.  When they got there, they were met with a train car full of bodies.  Visiting Dachau had a big effect on me.  As we were waiting for everybody to come back, I was sitting and watching a storm roll in and I reminded myself not to let history repeat itself.

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