Today we hired a guide to give us a tour of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, in the nearby town of Dachau. We met our guide, Adam, at the train station, and took a regional train to the Dachau train station. From there we took a short bus ride to the site.
I visited Auschwitz in Poland in 2006, and had read that Dachau wasn't as grim
There is information on the web and in books about Dachau, but I will share some of the things that stuck with me today.
-When Dachau was liberated at the end of April of 1945, there were 19 children.
- It was Germany's first permanent camp, opening in 1933, and ending with liberation in 1945.
- All of the barracks that houses prisoners were destroyed. Instead, concrete was laid down to show where the barracks were.
- Around 32,000 people were killed at the camp, and it also had over 100 sub-camps, including ones in Munich and Nuremberg.
- Only one prisoner escaped in the 12 years.
- This was the "model" camp, being that it was the first. Many SS were trained here and then sent to other camps
- The camp memorial now has a lot of religious memorials that were dedicated.
- The prisoners didn't arrive by train from the camp. They arrived at the train station (the one we took), and had to march through the town to the camp. Townspeople were told not to watch the marches, but of course, many did.
- Adam said a lot of older, German people don't like to talk about the war and the camps. It's a sensitive subject, and one in which they feel a lot of shame.
- The crematoriums were held "outside" the camp, meant they were also hidden from those who visited the camp for propaganda reasons.
- Medical experiments conducted at Dachau included seeing how long prisoners could be in cold water, to test hypothermia. From these experiments, the Germans would create different uniform clothing for soldiers who landed in water.
I could go on and on. Adam owns his own company with one other person, and he was excellent. He knew so much and talked with us the whole time. He was also great about answering our questions
I took photos mostly of Adam interacting with the others, because I found these more interesting. I didn't take any of the crematorium or inside, because why? Who needs to see that? I also wanted to punch the couple who I saw taking a smiling selfie in front of the building.
After the tour, we bough some Jack and Coke at the train station, and had a drink in our hotel lobby. We took a rest, and decided to go to the Augustiner Keller, which is the third largest beer garden in Europe, which holds about 5,000 people. We took a cab, which didn't make the cab driver happy, as it wasn't a far drive, and he knew he wouldn't make much money. I gave him a decent tip, and then he stopped grumbling. It was a nice evening, so we sat outside and had our steins of beer. I liked that the food was of decent quality and that it was relatively calm there. Some of the beer gardens can get pretty rowdy.
Tomorrow morning, it's off to Heidelberg, where Bob and Maude met in the service. It's also one of the few towns in Germany that wasn't destroyed by the war.
Tschuss for now!
Sunday, April 02, 2017
Munich, Bavaria, Germany