A Day at Dachau

One could say “there are no words to describe what you feel when you walk through a concentration camp”, but I’m going to attempt to describe just that. This site demands a post to itself, out of respect for the millions of lives lost, or otherwise changed forever by the horrors of concentration camps and the Nazi regime. Established in March 1933, Dachau Concentration Camp served as the model for all future camps. Though a labor camp, typically for political prisoners, many faced execution here. The gate at the front of the camp translates “work makes you free”. So few that entered ever saw freedom again.

Walking through the grounds creates both an eerie and serene feeling. If one did not know the torture, anguish, and death that dwelt here, they could see only the beauty of the campus. Barbed wire, a “moat”, a ditch, and a concrete wall separated prisoners from freedom. If they made this far, they were often shot on the spot, and their bodies fell into to the ditch awaiting “disposal”
Guard Tower
Walking through the crematorium, standing where many faced their death and where bodies were disposed of en masse, trying to imagine their thoughts caused a deeper realization of the terror experienced here. I stood in the room where prisoners stood, waiting for showers, only to be suffocated by poisonous gas. I walked through the cremation room, where hooks hung over the open ovens for quick transport for those hung, rather than gassed. Elation in thinking, “Finally, I’m going to get a shower in this awful place” to the hopelessness of being trapped in a room, gasping for clean air, possibly grasping any loved ones you have near, just to spend your final moments with those you hold most dear on earth – unimaginable
Above: Gas seeps in; Below: the water supply to clean up afterward
Fake shower head
Peephole on the outside of the gas chamber.
Memorial to the unknown prisoner
Old Gallows Stand
Bullet holes in the wall, where prisoners were shot as they attempted escape
Ashes were thrown into piles. Those that were discovered at the liberation of the camp were gathered and given a final resting place. These are just two of the memorials set up to the thousands who died here.
This beautiful building is the crematorium
An image of the camp road in the 1930s, new poplar tree saplings
I walked the same road, under the same trees, 80 years later.
“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 in respect for their fellow men.”

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