Tag Acht – Dachau


Hallo Alle! Today is another day of visiting cultural/historical sites in Bavaria, though not super cheerful. Today, we’re visiting Dachau, a labor camp set up during the Nazi Regime. It is essential to say that Dachau was NOT a death camp for Jews or other “undesirables”, but a labor camp mostly for political dissidents. Because of this, between 85-70% of its prisoners survived, an incredbily high number. However, at least 32,000 people (that we know of) still died at the camp, making it a grim site.

When I visited Europe five years ago, I actually visited Dachau right after leaving the airport. Because of this, I was not able to fully understand the historical context of the camp. Today’s visit, however, I was able to due to our tour guide. He gaves us a guided tour of the camp, answering some questions that I had from my last visit.

Conditions for all of the 206,000 prisoners were horrific. Beds expected to fit one person would fit up to seven people per bed, depending on the health of its occupants. Every one of the barracks was overcrowded and the singular bathroom was filthy and always had a long queue. Many of these barracks are now destroyed so today, you can see rows upon rows of empty field with only the base still left.

Unforunately, Dachau did ultilize gas chambers as an execution method, but interestingly, not for mass executions, more so for individual executions. In fact, Dachau only had one mass execution on campus, being of Russian PoWs. Once again, this speaks for what Dachau’s purpose was. Most of those who died at Dachau also died of stravation.

After the tour, we were given time to walk through the on-site mesuem, which went into more details about the conditions broken down into characteristics. Each group was assigned to wear different patches that designated their status, which often played a key role in survival. Our tour guide even showed us these patches, but the mueseum displays went into more detail, featuring prisoners from each group and their story; a great way to remember the victims. Once we met up, we had lunch in the cafeteria outside of the camp. While the food was good, it felt a bit weird, considering how many people had died of starvation only meters away. Before we left, we learned that every year, survivors of the camp meet up. Last year’s attendance was 7.

After a heavy start in the morning, we had an easier evening back in Augsburg. I went out with my roommate to a Mexican bar and restaurant called Sausalitos. There, I orderd a grilled pork burrito, which was delicious. All of the food in German tastes fresher, as many households and restaurants only use fresh ingredients, not using large freezers for storage. I know I’m going to miss this fresh food when I leave in a few days.

German Words used:

Hallo Alle = Hellp everyone!

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