Monday, May 7, 2012
After visiting Munich, we went to Dachau concentration camp. Dachau was the first concentration camp opened in Germany. It is estimated that Dachau was home to more than 200,000 prisoners during its time. It was a very eye-opening experience. The camp really speaks for itself a lot of the way, but I would just add quoting from one of the liberators of the camp that "however uncomfortable it may be for myself to be here, or how much I may rather be someplace else, just multiply that by numbers unimaginable and then try to fathom what it was like for those who were captive here". It was beyond horrible. The pictures below really don't tell even half the story. We were able to get English audio guides which worked out really well as we were able to listen to them as we walked around the camp. Below are a few pictures...
Getting our bearings on how to use the guides
Getting ready to walk around the camp
This is an overview of the setup of the camp - click the picture to make it bigger and see it better
Dachau was liberated on my birthday in 1945 (obviously before I was born!! :)
The camp from the air
This is where the train track ran - you can still see remnants of the unloading platform. To think how many people got off here - just to enter untold horrors within
This is where the SS Headquarters for the camp were (this is directly across from the prisoner's portion of the camp).
Does this building look familiar?
A plaque on the wall just before entering the camp
"Work Brings Freedom"
One of the first lies and also the first indoctrinations of Nazi propaganda the prisoners received upon arrival
With the gate behind us, we enter the main "roll call" area (big open space) with barracks to the left and what is now a museum (in original camp buildings used for many different purposes) full of Dachau information (and lots more) to the right.
Guard towers still stand
What it looked like then
We pause to listen
"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 men."
We had no idea just how many concentration camps there were!! Each of the little dots represent one. The big bars are the larger main camps.
This explains the symbols on the maps above
We did a quick walk through of the museum. Much of it had things that we didn't care for the younger ones to see, so we just discussed it as a family and quickly moved on.
This was very interesting.
It's amazing how easy it is for people to believe what's false.
Dachau camp schedule
In one of the Barracks - the living conditions, as everything else, were terrible
The toilets in the washroom
What it looked like then
We walked along where the barracks used to stand
The cement rectangles with rocks show where the barracks stood.
At the end of where the barracks stood are some different memorials to the people who died here
The crematorium - so, so sad
Death chamber - they would bring the bodies here to be burned
The door to the "shower" gas chamber has the sign "Brausebad" which means "shower bath, device that releases water into a bath for cleansing purposes".
The gas chamber
The waiting room. This is where the people would be told how to use the supposed showers, but it was really just a waiting room for death. It is believed that somewhere around 25,613 prisoners died in this camp as well as another 10,000 in its subcamps.
It was almost strange to see the camp from the outside as we were leaving town. It makes you wonder what the people on the outside were thinking during the time it was in operation.
I believe it's important that we remember what happened here. We were talking as a family that if it happened once, it could happen again. We must be careful to fight for freedom, stand for what is right, and defend those who can't defend themselves. Also, it is important to learn from the past and remember the height of atrocities that can be carried out when a people follow themselves and man-centered philosophy instead of God and His word.