I want to keep today’s blog post short because no depth of my vocabulary could consciously express my thoughts of what I learned today. Today we visited Dachau.
All of the stories and history lessons that I have heard before today, could not have prepared me for all of the direct hurt that I felt today after being there and walking through the prison. We first met with our tour guide outside of the information building and then walked to the infamous gates. The gate that states “Arbeit macht frei”, an interesting fact that we learned was that the gate was actually stolen by an unidentified group in 2014 and was found in a junk yard in Norway. Till this day, there is no connection to how or why the gate was stolen. However, since it was returned, it now is displayed in the museum, while a replica hangs in place. Directly after entering the gate, you are faced directly in front of the main grounds, where the guards would take roll calls multiple times a day for a population, at the height of operation, of upwards to 100,000 prisoners. After viewing the grounds from an aerial view, we headed to the memorium grounds. Here, also lay the cremation chambers. Walking through the chambers, I was very heavy hearted, my mind kept on imagining back to what could have happened during the time and how a second cremation house had to be constructed because they could not keep up with all of the dead bodies. But then again, my own thoughts do not even cover a small part of what actually happened. We walked further to a replica of the cabin that inmates lived in and one the way, we saw religious memorials dedicated to various religions of the prisoners. During that walk, it was very eerie, because the warm breezy weather of the day made the concentration camp seem peaceful. It was the complete opposite of the despicable atrocities that were committed there. We later learned that this was a propoganda tecnhnique that the Nazis used to desguice what was actually happending to the public. After visiting the living quarters, we were given time to visit the museum. Through the mesum, there were smaller gallery exhibits which highlighted smaller stories within the establishment of the prison and the war.
Concluding thoughts about the visit today highlights the importance of “We Never Forget”. The cruelty and monstrosities that were committed during that time period set a precedent to stand up for what is right and build a more educated society that sees that this should never happen again, but also respects the stories and survivors of these times.