Day 8- a Dark Day in Dachau

Today we went to one of the concentration camps in Germany, Dachau.  I went in knowing a little about World War II and concentration camps in general, but nothing about this site specifically, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Driving into the concentration camp was a strange experience.  I had imagined it being in the middle of nowhere with nothing around it, but Dachau was tucked into the back of a community surrounded by other buildings.  It seemed very out of place.  Upon arrival, we were met by our guide for the day.  He was very good at explaining the history of this site as well as its importance in the concentration camp system.  Dachau was a labor camp that all the other concentration camps later got modeled around.  Dachau itself held a variety of prisoners from all over and from many different ethnicities. Walking into the camp was strange.  Upon entrance the sign to the camp had the infamous phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei”, which means work sets you free.  The entrance to the camp was a big open field surrounded by buildings.  This was the area where the prisoners were forced to stand and be counted daily.  The surrounding buildings held a variety of purposes, some of them where the “living” areas of the prisoners, others were areas of torture and testing.  We were shown some of the rooms where some of these horrible things took place.  In Dachau, most of the testing was done on low temperatures and high elevations.  The back of the camp had been converted to a religious site represented by a variety of faiths.  We ended our tour slightly out of the way from the main field where we saw the crematorium and gas chamber.  This area was especially troubling and our guide ended by urging us to remember this visit and to never let history repeat itself.  On the ride home a storm came through.  Most of us spent the ride quietly reflecting on what we had seen.SpinelloM26SpinelloM27SpinelloM28

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