Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial -Crematorium
We left Munich on a bright and sunny morning for the short drive to Dachau. I'm not sure what I was expecting the small city to look like but I certainly wasn't expecting a modern suburb that looked like it could have been any one of our own hometowns.
I guess when you spend your whole life hearing the history about what went on in a place like Dachau you develop some pretty deep-seated preconceived notions about what visiting the place itself might be like. I was expecting a place frozen in time, reflective of the inhuman atrocities it saw for 12 years, a reminder to never forget.
And that is very much what the camp memorial itself is. It's respectfully and tastefully preserved as a memorial and burial ground. The museum is filled with photos, video, personal tales of suffering and survival, examples of racist propaganda and fear-mongering; an attempt to unearth the how and why of what lead up to that disgraceful time in history in an effort to educate every single person who walks through the gate.
Spending the afternoon alone, wandering through the camp while listening to the audio guide is an experience I will not forget. To find myself in the very same physical space, looking at the same buildings, the same trees even, as those innocent people imprisoned and murdered such a short time ago; to stand in the same rooms that were at one time filled with the bodies of innocent victims, people no different than any other person on the planet; to see the gas chambers and ovens...
And the world just outside the barbed wire, in that town, just continued for years, ignorant (somewhat) of what was happening just a few meters away.
Instead of going on and on about it, I'll leave it at that.