September 8th // Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, Germany
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial
I have always been interested in the Holocaust. Interested meaning wanting to learn more about how humans could treat others so horribly. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around these devastating times. I have read countless books and watched many documentaries, but I still lack the understanding behind the Holocaust. My heart breaks every time I think about those directly affected and their loved ones who had and have to endure their pain. But since I was visiting Germany, I vowed to visit a camp, try to get more of an understanding in order to empathize better with those affected, and to give my condolences and prayers over the camp. Dachau was the closest camp to the flat we were staying at, so we chose to take the train and a bus over to the memorial site.
When I visit historical grounds, I try to image exactly what it was like years ago and the people who stood there. I basically play a little movie in my head to attempt and put myself more into the moment. This is exactly what I did when I stepped foot on the grounds. I could see the prisoners being forced into the walls they may never leave and the officers who were yelling and demanding control. I got the chills when we enter the building of the special prisoners who were more on the high-risk scale. Those included people who tried to murder Hitler, outspoken men, and more. You could read on posters of the men who were forced to stay in these small cells with little sunlight and the poor conditions of the cinderblock prison. This area was also used to torcher prisoners and even murder them buy faking a hanging scenario. Just disgusting. When I was in one cell, a breeze of cold air rushed past me and sent chills down my body. I break out in tears and couldn’t stop. I will never know what it’s like to be forced to live in a tiny cell with hardly any food, water, human interaction, and necessities for life, but I have never felt so devastated, cold, and heartbroken as I did in that cell.
We then moved onto the museum where we read posters and furthered our education of Dauch while seeing more of the camp. The rooms were so quiet even though they were packed with visitors. Everyone was experiencing what it was like to be in a concentration camp and nobody could say a word. At some points, I began to feel sick just thinking about how scared the people here must have felt as well as the torture they endured. Many people think I’m crazy for even visiting a place as horrific as this, but I see it as a history lesson. After reading books and watching documentaries, I wanted to go and see a camp in person. I feel that this experience has helped me realize how blessed I am and opened my eyes to how depressing this time was. I hope to empathize better with those affect by the Holocaust.
On our way back to Imogen’s, Fae and I jumped off the train and began walking to our bus stop where we then heard music and saw tons of people walking around. We decided to go check it out since we haven’t seen anything like this so far in Germany. It looked like a street fair with live bands, food, and shopping. The strange thing that we noticed, however, was that the streets were full of people, but it still seemed to be quiet. We could walk next to each other and have a normal conversation without yelling. Not something that usually happens in America. In the distance, we could see a group of people walking into what looked like a furniture store with music blasting from the inside. Furniture store party? We’re in! We pushed our way towards the front but got stuck behind very tall Germany men. We poked our heads to the left and right to catch glances of six young Germany men in tradition outfits slapping their body and jumping around. Everyone seemed to love this as they began clapping and yelling. We stayed for a few performances and then headed out and back towards our bus stop.
Watch this video below to get a full understanding of what I’m talking about!