“May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933 -1945 because they resisted resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defence of peace and feedom and in respect for their fellow men.”
Today we visited Dachau Concentratiion camp on the outskirts of München. Dachau was the first concentration camp in Germany and was used as a model for all future sites. Initially Dachau was used only as a work camp for political prisoners however over time the camp became the place where tens of thousands of people lost there life.
Although a lot of the camp was destroyed the foundations of all the blocks still stand. The whole camp felt very quiet and airy as we walked around listening to the stories of the people that survived the camp through our audio tour.
As we walked through one of remaining prisoners living quarters it was hard to imagine what is must have been like to be stuck here. Dachau is deemed a ‘luxurious’ camp as it was the first built so it was hard to think about what it was like at other camps.
Since Dachau was repurposed throughout the war it suffered from tremedous over crowding with many people sleeping in each section of the bunk. As we stood in this room we heard the story of one surviour who told of how they were forced to ‘make the beds’ each morning to a strict standard. The each had a course sack which was a circular shape however each day they had to mould the sack into a perfect square otherwise strict punishments would take place. He said that he dreaded each morning most because of this chore as it was almost impossible to get correct.
Later on in our tour we saw the ‘showers.’ I have seen it in movies and heard stories but until you stand where so many have died it is impossible to explain the saddness you feel. We walked through the building like they would and heard about what happened and it was devasting. Dachau only had two buildings like this as many people where trained a short distance to a extermination camp but still tens of thousands of people died here in this very room.
This memorial stands in a garden built where many people were buried and ashes scattered, it reads ‘Do Not Forget.’ To be here was an experience I will never forget and I hope that no one allows for what happened here to be forgotten.