June 29, 2014

Dachau Concentration Camp

The Fam and I visited Dachau Concentration Camp today. Our original plans were a drive to Karlovy Vary, but the rainy weather changed our minds. I'm so glad it did, because we had quite an experience on our new adventure.

Today we immersed ourselves in history, led by an amazing guide who actually had family that served during WWII. Dachau is well known for being the first concentration camp formed in Germany. It was the basis for all the other camps that spread across Europe during WWII. Ironically, though it was open for 12 years, the camp had one of the best survival rates and was not known as an extermination camp (unlike the infamous Auschwitz in Poland). Still, nearly 42,000 perished here.

The prisoners at Dachau were widely varied and included not just a Jewish population, but also Russians, Italians, German politicians and "traitors", Catholic priests, Jehovah's witnesses, and many, many more.

We were very impressed with our guided tour (at a cost of only 3 euros each), and I highly recommend it if you visit yourself.  An audio guide was also offered, but the human experience couldn't be topped. I liked being able to ask questions and engage in lively discussion.

Here are some of my cell phone images from today. I captured many more with my DSLR, which I plan to sort through soon. Feel free to comment below and share your experience at this memorial, or any of the other camps you may have visited around Europe.

Main gate entrance to the camp
The main yard
Sculpture by Nandor Glid. It symbolizes and
commemorates those prisoners which commmited
suicide by throwing themselves against the electric fence
"Never Again"

Marking system for prisoners. Different groups were
color-coded with different triangles

Ovens in the crematorium
Jewish memorial, "Grave of Thousands Unknown"
"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 respect for their fellow men"

Until next time, my friends.

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  1. It must have been tense to be there. I can feel the energy just from photos. the real experience must have given chills.

    1. We've been twice now, and both times were so moving. I'm planning a visit to Auschwitz this month, and I expect it to be even more chilling. You really can feel all the pain and sorrow in the air at places like these.