Thursday, July 14, 2005

Day 17 - Dachau concentration camp

The morning started off with some errands to run before our day got started. We put our bags in the train station, got some groceries, returned the camera and tried to buy plane tickets back to London (still no luck). We barely caught the train to Dachau and when we arrived we found out that our English speaking tour was cancelled for the day. So we rented an audio headset instead and went at our own pace. Allison was disappointed that we didn't have a guide but in the end we were thankful we had the headset. There were alot of personal stories experiences given that we wouldn't have been able to hear from a guide.
The buildings that were remaining were the gas chambers, the creamatory, the guard posts, the wall surrouding the camp, the bunkers for the prisoners and the maintainance building. Two buildings were reconstructed to show the sleeping barracks and how they changed throughtout the years of the camp. We had a lot of disbelief as we walked through the camp realizing that this happened so recently. So barbaric. One thing i heard on this tour that made me think was that there were two victims in this camp. The prisoners and the soldiers. I found this to be interesting becasue i would never think of the soldiers being "victims" but the memorial described them as victims of an ideology. When you break it down to what it really is they were victims of brainwashing, pressure...sin. I thought it was interesting that the guide made this point and something i never really thought of. All in all over 140,000 people ( of the ones that they know) died in this camp. The guide talked about a typical day, the punishement they recieved, how much they were fed, clothed, roles prisoners had, etc.
(Allison's input...I couldn't believe how the people were actually treated...the fact that the Nazis used them to test all their ways of torturing done in the war. Some of the stories were unheard of!!!! Also, it made it a wee bit easier to walk through the gas chambers knowing that they are pretty sure that the ones at Dachau were never used. I don't know if this is 100% true, but it made it easier anyway)
Afterwards we took the train to some far off restaurant on a pretty lake which the tram lady suggested. Little did we know how expensive it was going to be, but a bowl of soup and a nice view made it worth it.... sort of. Back to the train station for our first night train to Berlin.


Sarah said...

it is soo nice to be able to keep up with you guys on your trip. and in general to feel connected again. we were just thinking we missed seeing you guys too.