Munich greeted us with cold and stormy weather, so it was fittingly with that backdrop that we took a day trip to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. After having studied the Holocaust in depth myself as a history major, teaching it to high school students for six years, seeing photos, watching movies, reading memoirs, I logically knew what to expect at Dachau, but I could not prepare for the emotional side of walking the grounds of a concentration camp. We spent about five hours there, covering every inch of ground and reading every line of the museum exhibits. We still felt like it deserved more attention, but how could enough attention ever be paid to something like this. Yet, still today, not enough attention is paid to other modern day genocides and tragedies as is paid to the Holocaust. People say, never again, and yet it seems to happen again and again, even today. Grand injustices take place, and most of us stay silent.
It was a heavy, haunting day that left me with a lump in my throat, not really knowing what to do with the experience.
The gate that prisoners walked through to enter the camp, which reads, "Work leads to freedom."
The main guard tower.
"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 man."
"Crematorium. Think about how we died here."
This room was used to store the corpses that were brought from the prisoner camp to be cremated.
Two or three bodies were placed in here at a time to be burned.
Gas chamber. This was supposedly never used for mass killings in Dachau (though it was used for individual prisoners).
The drop box where the guards would have placed the gas to enter the chamber.