Day 8: Dachau (May 15)

As the trip to Dachau came closer, Dr. Feick reminded the group of important and heavy this experience will be. He also told us about the respect we must have while we were there. We took his words to heart and all acted accordingly while visiting the memorial.

I believe that it near impossible to put the entire experience into words because of the weight it all holds. Our tour guide gave us the history of Dachau and explained the atrocities that took place there, and it is very difficult for one to process it all at once. When I learned about the Holocaust in school, my teachers went into a great depth on the topic and told us how it truly was. Although this is true, one’s perspective changes entirely once one walks upon the same ground seen in a history class. Entering the buildings where these atrocities occurred, seeing the walls that witnessed the worst actions in human history is a different entity altogether. It is so hard to grasp because of how hard it hits you.

What makes it even more incomprehensible is the state of the memorial today. There is green scenery surrounding the area with flowers blooming and birds chirping. The thriving life today directly contrasts the torture and death that occurred 80 years ago. It is a stark reminder of how humans are capable of such horrible cruelty and destruction. It teaches people a lesson about how important it is to learn the history of the world and how we can avoid letting such terrible things ever happen again. I think it shows how we may think the world is better somedays, but there are still horrible atrocities happening in our world today. There is still great pain and suffering in the world, it reveals how much work we still have to do to make the world just. However impossible the task may be, it is vital that we try to make things better no matter what. Visiting Dachau was a reminder of how fragile life is and how strongly humans must work to make life better for all people.

I heard history that is incredibly difficult to process. I saw the crematoriums used to burn the dead. I was actually in a concentration camp where innocent people were enslaved, tortured, and brutally murdered. It is impossible to take all of that in in one day, I know I will be thinking about the visit to Dachau for a very long time. It is something that will always stay in the back of my mind because I know how truly vital it is to pass on the history of a place like Dachau, how important it is to make sure it never happens again. I believe that it is a place every single person should visit, no matter how heavy it is, or how much it hurts to walk within the walls of such a place. It teaches a lesson that is beyond vital, a lesson that I’ve realized needs to be taught forever. I have never been anywhere before where I felt like I needed to give more respect and truly process what I was experiencing. I am absolutely sure that I will draw from this experience forever because it truly does hold that much weight. It is beyond eye-opening, and it is different than learning about the holocaust in a textbook. Preserving the memory of the people who suffered and making sure their story is never forgotten is a top priority. I will come back many times to contemplate what I have seen and heard, and I am grateful that I was afforded to opportunity to learn about a topic that is so important. Once again, I would say that every person should visit a memorial like Dachau at least once in their lives.

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