Today was the most emotionally draining day of this trip. Today, we visited Dachau, the first concentration camp in Germany. Dachau served as a model for future concentration camps to follow. Our tour guide was phenomenal at teaching us about the horrors of the Holocaust in general and at Dachau specifically. He told us that Hitler never created or visited and concentration camps, but his right-hand man, Heinrich Himmler, was in charge of managing the concentration camps. After a brief history lesson, we entered into the camp through a gate that read “Arbeit macht frei” which means “Work will set you free.” Through the gate, there was a large empty space. This was used to line up prisoners for roll call, even in the most extreme weather. Next, we went into one of the bunkers where we saw where many lived in overcrowded bunk beds, with at least 3 or 4 to a bed. The bunker was preserved like a museum with pictures of the emaciated prisoners in each room. This was the only bunker that was still standing, as the rest were torn down for sanitary reasons leaving only the foundation marking each’s place. We walked past the bunkers and towards the gas chamber and crematorium. While walking through the gas chambers, I couldn’t breathe. I can’t even imagine how horrible it must have been before liberation in 1945. Everyone walked by themselves in silence as we toured Dachau, which was a shift from any other day where we would group up and joke around. I think this was because everyone was processing being at a concentration camp in their own way. Through the entire day, I had trouble understanding what caused people to be cruel enough to imprison others based on their race, religion, etc. Germany is dedicated to learn from its past. It is a requirement of all German students to go to a concentration camp- its apart of their curriculum. I wish other countries were this dedicated to learning from the past, so similar atrocities never happen again. Our tour guide told us that, on occasion, Hitler promised to “Make Germany Great Again,” similar to what our president’s campaign slogan was. Our tour guide was not making a joke, he was warning us to learn from the past. This concept stuck with me as we toured the concentration camp.
After returning to Augsburg, my company presentation group decided to meet to start our presentation and brainstorm questions to ask at the company visit tomorrow.
Dog Counter: I saw 6 dogs today.
Low of the Day:
Today was emotionally draining, however, it was an important day.
High of the Day:
Tonight, I went to Subway for dinner by myself. Problem was the worker only spoke German. Thankfully, I was able to use my limited German and the power of pointing and nodding to order exactly what I wanted. To celebrate, I added 2 cookies to my order and headed back to the hotel to enjoy my meal.