Monday, June 10, 2013


Today was very surreal, I spent most of the day at Dachau concentration camp. It was a fascinating experience seeing how it started as a small camp in 1933 by the Nazis and then grew over the next 12 years to become one of the largest and most-feared camps in all of Germany. It answered my largest question of how they were able to put such horror next to such a large city. There also was absolutely no freedom of the press in Germany in the Third Reich, so if it wasn't in the state press, Germans wouldn't know about it. There were actual tours of Dachau during the 1930s with concerts, and the prisoners were said to be people who wouldn't work (the homeless and mentally ill) even though this was not the truth. Thinking of a lot of people i have met, this type of explanation would work on a lot of people, and most people wouldn't investigate further. I saw the death chambers, which consisted of ovens and a gas chamber. I spent a good two hours in the museum and still didn't see all of the exhibits, and at a few points I felt like crying it was so overwhelming (which I don't do). That alone took most of the day. By the end of the existence of Dachau there was the beginning of a resistance forming, which had been difficult for most of the chance of existence because the prisoners were from so many different groups, which kept them divided and conquered (United we stand, divided we fall). The museum is really well designed and does an excellent job at explaining the history of Dachau and ties it in with the larger picture of what was happening in Germany at the same time. Standing in Dachau it is impossible to fully understand the complete horror that took place under Nazi rule and how a country so completely devestated by the Treaty of Versailles could fall so low. The massive depression that hit Germany and the blaming of minorities on the whole country's problems were the two major factors that led to the Nazis coming to power. John Maynard Keynes predicted that the Treaty of Versailles was a terrible misstep, and he was so very right. One thing for me that is particularly uncomfortable is that we often think of the second world war as the epitome of a "just war" if such a thing is possible, yet we really took our time in going into the second world war, and we didn't go into the concentration camps until 1945. One would think there would have been bombing raids on Nazi Germany in 1939 if the purpose of the second world war was to free the Jews et al, but the truth is that we didn't do that, and it wasn't until we ran in and found how extensive and overcrowded the concentration camps were. I also thought of today in North Korea at their numerous concentration camps on their territory and in Russia that are operating today. We have done nothing to end this and the reasons (Putin) help a modern observer understand past mistakes better. But are only part of a complete understanding. 

Dachau made me think of right now in North Korea which is so similar.
After Dachau Concentration Camp we drove back into the city of Dachau and had our lunch. We came home, I packed since I leave in two days and dinner. The evening was spent catching up on two weeks of news and learning how there will be new Star Wars games.

1 comment:

McDare said...

I was wondering what local areas you might visit. Who went to Dachau with you? Did you take pictures or was it too depressing to want to memorialize? Thanks for the blogging post!