Monday, 23 May 2016

Dachau Concentration Camp

During March I visited Dachau concentration camp which is 16km from Munich, it is free to visit and if you have a car then you pay for parking.

It first opened in March 1933 as a concentration camp for political prisoners, this camp became a model for all the other concentration camps, it was open for 12 years and 200,000 people came through its gate. It was liberated in late April 1945 by the Americans, but before that happened it evolved into a death camp with many thousands of people who died of malnutrition, overwork, disease or executed.

The museum/memorial which is quite big is full of information about how the prisoners ended up in Dachau, their life in the camp, if they survived and how people died. This was brought to life by personal things of the people who were in this camp and firsthand accounts. As you can imagine it was pretty grim and down right horrible reading what the people were subjected too.

You are able to see the sleeping areas and toilet areas, the bunk beds are piled up, the grounds are quite extensive and you can imagine many people working the grounds too.

For me the most difficult part was seeing the actual area where people were gassed and then cremated. It was very emotional to stand in the room and think about the horror of what had happened here.

I think it is important to visit and read about what happened in these camps throughout Europe, it is very hard going but some things should not be forgotten.

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