Himmler himself began the Camp of Dachau. Built to house 6000 by 42 32,000 were somehow living inside the electrified fences.
I suppose it’s not possible to enjoy your visit to a concentration camp but despite being crammed onto a bus with as many other tourists as possible on the journey to the camp the camp itself was much less touristy (somehow it was possible..) than Auschwitz. Guests are free to wander the ground with an audio guide, I signed up for the english tour and was led through the camp by a german tour guide who related the place’s bleak history.
I almost took pictures here, I don’t know if the reason I didn’t was some sad feeling of superiority over the mass of people with canons hanging from their necks or if, like I tell myself it just doesn’t seem right to or even possible to document ones journey through such a place. I did witness a someone taking a picture which has me thoroughly confused but I’ll leave that until last.
We heard all the sad stories here; also we heard a few inspiring ones.
There was a man imprisoned in the camp from Luxembourg for refusing to fight in the German army. Deciding to fight would mean his release but for four years (until liberation) he refused to fight against people that were not his enemies.
There was also a duke (heir to the Austrian throne, I think), given the most demeaning job the SS could think of: cleaning the camp outhouses. He continued his work and retained his dignity inspiring his fellow camp prisoners to not lose hope.
Besides being the first camp Dachau was the camp that all priests were sent to. What faith made no difference, (although the pope paid for better treatment of the bishops? Doesn’t seem very Christian to me) the only thing that mattered was if you somehow pissed off a nazi (not really a hard thing to do).
In reality they were treated the same as the other prisoners and forced to build the camps new crematorium ( the first model becoming to small a short time after it’s construction.)
At the end of the tour our guide gave us the option of walking through the never used gas chamber and the much used crematorium. The thought of walking through that building was so repulsive I almost decided to wait outside. Then I asked myself: how can I refuse to look at this building? Every evil commuted in Dachau led to these rooms and it’s not right to just… Not go in. To not acknowledge what this is, where I am. After traveling through Germany and experiencing the way Germans accept and convey their history, remorseful yet facing it.
It was only some rooms. These are only buildings. But, if you look there is much more that can be seen.
This is not the right time to position yourself in front of the ovens and, albeit unsmiling, take a selfie.
I can’t understand what you would need that photo for. To remember thy you were there? Would you forget? To prove to your friends/family that you were there? Because the lighting was perfect?
Lucky for this chick I’m working on a “love all others” philosophy directed at strangers to try and improve my sarcastic and judgmental ways. Let you guys know how that works out.
Next up i headed into Munich to check into The Tent. as cool as it sounds. it’s like an entire summer camp campground squashed into one field. I had the best luck with the first person i talked to; the sweetest and self assured young traveler from Massachusetts. Turns out we both wear Birkenstocks, like yoga and hippie slanted music festivals. I’ve realized that somehow the world just puts things in exactly the right place sometimes (like hippie pants with elephant pattern and pockets) and its kind of freaky. oh yes, the love of chocolate a very important trait in a new friend.
We went to Tollwood, a free festival that was happening in olympic park.
As a vegetarian i’m revelling in Germany’s Bio craze. There were places with an equal amount of meat-free menu options! not to mention organic ice cream. We drank the organic beer which, okay, was a bit dissapointiong, while listening to the Beatniks. Imagine three guys, a sound thats a mix between arctic monkeys, the black keys and daft punk. imagine your joy when they say they’re going to add some disco and play their hit song “the guy in the pornographic T-shirt”. You don’t need to imagine any other words because thats the entire song right there.
People dancing barefoot, drinking beer, the sound of some kind of electric swing emanating from the giant concert tent providing a base line over every second of quiet. The topper: Apfel Kuhen. Literally deep-fried apple with cinnamon sugar topping. Bonus: it’s fruit so it’s healthy right?