Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tearful Must Experience

"Work Makes You Free" Gate to Dachau Concentration Camp

When you are in Germany there are tons of things to see and do - none more sobering than the obligatory Nazi concentration camp tour.  Dachau concentration camp, also a city outside of Munich (I didn't know) is an expansive, eerie, and emotional landscape.

The day we visited was appropriately grey and gloomy with misty rain cutting through the cold to make the atmosphere nearly tangible.  Dachau is a place that you visit because it is important to remember history the atrocities and the survivors as well as the dead.  I found myself watery eyed and taking the lightest steps with the heaviest heart.  To walk where so many struggled for their lives under horrific conditions is surreal.  To know the story and think that it only happened 70 years ago.  Growing up and learning about WWII and the Nazis in school as a child this seemed foreign  impossible, and centuries before my time.  Seeing with my own eyes a place of such immense terror like the Dachau concentration camp made the stories seem palpable and the reality hard to swallow.

Foundations of the living quarters 

I knew as soon as I walked through the gate into the absurdly quiet memorial that I would much prefer to see a castle, but knowing full well this is something that one must see.  Needless to say the ride home was a quiet and somber drive as we chewed through our emotional experiences.  It is important that these horrific places are preserved and remembered so that humanity can not repeat these tragic times.