Tag 8: Dachau

Today (May 15th) we spent the morning visiting Dachau and was obviously a heavy day. Dachau was the first concentration camp and only a working camp, but there was a gas chamber on the grounds. It was initially intended for Hitler’s political opponents, but by the time the camp shut down in 1945, there were at least 25,000 prisoners.

We took a tour of the camp and had an amazing tour guide. She was able to provide a lot of information about the camp and show the reality behind what occurred. We started by looking at an overview of the camp and then walking in through the door that read “Arbeit Macht Frei”, which means, “work sets you free.” From there, we entered the court yard and it was huge. That moment was when everything hit me. It is one thing to learn about the Holocaust through text books, movies, or museums, but standing in the middle of the camp is another experience. It makes you think a lot, knowing what these people went through 80 years ago in the exact spot you are standing in.

There were tall guard towers and an electric fence surrounding the area, with a deep ditch before the fence. We moved on to the crematory and gas chamber, then the living quarters, and ended at the main building which is now a museum.

I learned a lot and there were many thoughts running through my mind the whole time. The grounds were very peaceful and quiet and the camp was almost beautiful. I cannot explain well what I was feeling, but before we left, I read a sign that I think helps. It read in the 4 languages of the allies, “May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933-1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defense of peace and freedom and in respect for their fellow men.”

I forgot to take pictures because I was learning so much, but this was the only one I took myself

Leave a Reply