Europe: Dachau Concentration Camp ((warning))

I was waiting until after the holidays to share my very last European post, simply because the holidays make people depressed enough as it is.

If reading about the Holocaust is going to adversely affect you, if you're struggling already, skip this post.  

So one of the days that we were in Munich, we took a train and then a bus to Dachau.  My husband has an avid fascination with WWII, but I am not as well versed with the nitty-gritties, because it makes me hate humanity more.  Assuming you are as unaware as I am was, here's a break down on Dachau:

  • It was the first Nazi concentration camp and became the prototype for the rest.
  • It opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, who was one of the upper-echelon Nazis and, to quote Wiki, "one of the people most directly responsible for the Holocaust."  This bastard had something to prove and later was over all the concentration and extermination camps.  Towards the end of the war, he tried to have secret peace talks with the Allies.  He committed suicide while in British custody.
  • The camp was initially started to hold political prisoners (those who opposed the Nazi party), became a labor camp and swelled to include Jews, criminals and "foreign nationals".
  • Over 25,000 people died at this camp.
  • At liberation, 1/3 of the camp's population was ill.
  • After liberation, it was used to hold SS officers, then unsettled Germans from Czechoslovakia, then as a military base for the US.  It was closed in 1960 and later turned into a memorial.
Depressed yet?  No?  Here are some photos.


"Work sets one free."



Smoking forbidden.









Where they would stand for hours.
Bunkbeds.





The buildings were razed. 
Religious buildings down this path.
Bridge to the crematorium.


If you crossed a certain point, you'd get shot.  Some people used it to commit suicide.
Path to the crematorium.  Was it always this pretty?




"Showers".  In my research, I found two things:  this may have been added in the 1950s and this word is no longer popular in German due to its association (at least according to my resource).






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11 comments

  1. Such a terrible time, but so important to remember.

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  2. I think one of the most surreal moments of my entire life occurred standing under the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign at Auschwitz. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was standing where I was. That sign (and the one at Dachau) exist as one of the cruelest ironies in history... The signs reading "work sets you free" gave people hope. The Nazis had no intention of letting anyone go.

    I've been to five camps: Auschwitz, Birkenau, Majdanek, Treblinka, and Plaszow. You do not step in such places without walking out a different person.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  3. very powerful - your photos are beautiful, tho haunting. that swastika artwork (sculpture?) is particularly.... something.

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  4. So deeply disturbing, but such an important thing to remember. Thank you for sharing your words and pictures.

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  5. What humans did and still do to one another is terrifying. The fact that these horrors are not brushed under the rug or forgotten about fives me hope that one day we'll stop doing such horrendous things to one another. Sadly I am not sure this will happen in my lifetime.

    Ya'll had such an epic trip, the photos as always are fab if heavy going. Hopefully some day I can make some of the awesome trips you guys made and see as much of Germany as you have!

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  6. This literally gave me the shivers. I stayed in Germany for a month as a 9th-grader, and we were supposed to visit Dachau, but the day of the trip it rained. The person I was staying with said the place was horrific enough without going in the rain so we didn't go... I was sorry at the time, but I'll tell you what, just looking at your photos is quite enough. I can transpose into them the B/W photos of what the soldiers found when they liberated the place quite easily. It is hard to grasp the evil that dwelled there.

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  7. This literally gave me the shivers. I stayed in Germany for a month as a 9th-grader, and we were supposed to visit Dachau, but the day of the trip it rained. The person I was staying with said the place was horrific enough without going in the rain so we didn't go... I was sorry at the time, but I'll tell you what, just looking at your photos is quite enough. I can transpose into them the B/W photos of what the soldiers found when they liberated the place quite easily. It is hard to grasp the evil that dwelled there.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this. It's harrowing what human beings do to each other.

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