Today we headed to Dachau, a suburb of Munich and home to the infamous concentration camp of World War II. On the bus to the concentration camp, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had learned a a lot about concentration camps in history classes throughout grade school, but this was my first opportunity to experience it in person. We met with the tour guide who was extremely knowledgeable and great throughout the whole tour. The tour started once we walked through the gate into the camp. It felt strange knowing the history of what had occurred decades ago, exactly where we were standing. Knowing we could freely enter and leave when we wanted was a solemn reminder that the people imprisoned would’ve given anything to walk out that gate. Once inside, there was an eerie calm over the whole camp. The grounds were much bigger than I expected. The tour brought us through the living quarters, the execution grounds, the old administration building, and the gas chambers. The guide told us horrific figures and statistics of what happened inside the walls at each stop. There was a solemn mood over the whole group and everyone was pretty much silent. There was so much to take in and so much to process about the tragic events that had occurred right where we stood.
The tour ended and we were left with some free time to explore the camp on our own. I spent a long time exploring the building where special inmates were kept and where certain prisoners were placed in solitary confinement. I then walked around to the middle of the grounds, taking it all in one last time before we left. I went over and read the sign one more time and exited through the same gate we came in. I’ll never forget the feeling of being inside Dachau.
We got back to the hotel late in the afternoon, which provided much needed time to work on our presentations. After about 3 hours of work, a bunch of us were hungry. Jeremy, Alan, Jess, and I went to a pizza and pasta place on Maximilianstraße. We got back and worked on our projects and blogs more until about 11:30pm. I went to bed around 12:30, which was the earliest night in a while.