Dachau Travel Blog

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"Arbeit macht frei"

In the year 2005 my High-School choose the best ten students, who master the German language and reward them with a language course in Munich. I had the luck to be part of them. During this time we got the chance to visit Dachau.  I read and heard a lot about Dachau, but really standing on this ground of evil exceed all my expectations. It was a day full of emotions, teariness about those who had to die, felling sorry for those who survived all the cruelness, and a huge anger of those who did not knew the word mercy. I still can see myself standing there, shaken to the core and asking the world; “Why?”, “How can a human being do this to another?”, “How could the whole world watch all this barbarity happen without to act?!”

Opened on 22 March 1933, the Dachau concentration camp was the first regular concentration camp established by the coalition government of National Socialist (Nazi) NSDAP party and the catholic Zentrum party (dissolved at 6 July 1933). It was located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 miles) northwest of Munich in southern Germany.

Dachau served as a prototype and model for the other Nazi concentration camps that followed.

In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were housed in Dachau of which nearly one-third were Jews. 25,613 prisoners are believed to have died in the camp and almost another 10,000 in its subcamps, primarily from disease, malnutrition and suicide. In early 1945, there was a typhus epidemic in the camp followed by an evacuation, in which large numbers of the weaker prisoners died.

Together with the much larger Auschwitz, Dachau has come to symbolize the Nazi concentration camps to many people.

Hundreds of prisoners were stacked into triple bunks in each barracks
Konzentrationslager (KZ) Dachau holds a significant place in public memory because it was the second camp to be liberated by British or American forces. Therefore, it was one of the first places in which the West was exposed to the reality of Nazi brutality through firsthand journalist accounts and through newsreels.

Liberation of the camp

On 29 April 1945 the watchtowers of the Dachau camp remained occupied and a white flag was hoisted. Red Cross representative Maurer persuaded SS-Sturmscharführer Heinrich Wicker, an officer in the SS-Totenkopfverbände, to accompany him to the main gate of the complex to surrender the camp formally.

Prisoner Bathroom
Late in the afternoon of 29 April 1945 KZ Dachau was surrendered to the American Army by SS-Sturmscharführer Heinrich Wicker.

The Holocaust

One of the foundations of Hitler's and the NSDAP's social policies was the concept of racial hygiene. It was based on the ideas of Arthur de Gobineau, eugenics, and social Darwinism. Applied to human beings, "survival of the fittest" was interpreted as requiring racial purity and killing off "life unworthy of life." The first victims were crippled and retarded children in a program dubbed Action T4.

After a public outcry, Hitler made a show of ending this program, but the killings in fact continued.

Between 1939 and 1945, the SS, assisted by collaborationist governments and recruits from occupied countries, systematically killed somewhere between 11 and 14 million people, including about 6 million Jews, in concentration camps, ghettos and mass executions, or through less systematic methods elsewhere. Besides being gassed to death, many also died as a result of starvation and disease while working as slave labourers (sometimes benefiting private German companies in the process, because of the low cost of such labour). Along with Jews, non-Jewish Poles (over 3 million casualties), alleged communists or political opposition, members of resistance groups, Catholic and Protestant opponents, homosexuals, Roma, the physically handicapped and mentally retarded, Soviet prisoners of war (possibly as many as 3 million), Jehovah's Witnesses, anti-Nazi clergy, trade unionists, and psychiatric patients were killed.

One of the biggest centres of mass-killing was the extermination camp complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Hitler never visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the killing in precise terms.

Hitler had a really stunning career. Some describe him as a genius in a negative way. I would agree with this, you have to be a genius if you can wash the brains of a whole nation. I will never understand how can in someone grow such a huge anger of people, just because they are different.

”When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.”  (Charles Evans Hughes)

Outside of Hitler's birthplace in Braunau am Inn, Austria is a stone marker engraved with the following message:





Loosely translated, it reads: "For Peace, Freedom and Democracy - Never Again Fascism - Remember the Millions Dead"

It was really an experience for life to see this place. Why I am writing about Dachau is not just because I have been there, it is more because I think it is important to remember what happened in our past, even more to spend a thought of all those who had to die in such a cruel way.

“We can cart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.” (Adlai E. Stevenson)

I dedicate this blog to the victims of Dachau.
"Those who survived will never forget those who didn´t.
Boundary fence

For those who would like to see more about Dachau:



All the photos are googled, I could not make my own on this day I somehow thought it would be disrespectful…

eglp says:
Great blog on a terrible subject :(
Posted on: Jul 31, 2008
missandrea81 says:
Very powerful blog. Very well written. I've been there myself and couldn't get myself to take picture either.
Thanks for this blog.
Posted on: Jul 18, 2008
arlene0725 says:
The photo of Hitler here is kind of 'haunting.' It necessary for me to visit the Concentration Camp. After reading and seeing documents about this place, nothing can beat the actual effect on a person. I even watched 'Judgement at Nuremburg' when I got home to NYC.
Posted on: May 14, 2008
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Arbeit macht frei
"Arbeit macht frei"
Hundreds of prisoners were stacked…
Hundreds of prisoners were stacke…
Prisoner Bathroom
Prisoner Bathroom
Boundary fence
Boundary fence
Jewish Memorial
Jewish Memorial
The crematorium
The crematorium
New crematorium built to facilitat…
New crematorium built to facilita…
Memorial at the camp
Memorial at the camp
Never again written in several l…
"Never again" written in several …
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