Kiddle Family - November 2012

Friday, 8 March 2013

February 17

Day 48

Our day started off by attending one of the nearby wards for church.   Sacrament meeting was up on the second floor.   It's interesting to go to another ward in a completely different country with a different language than what you speak.   I didn't understand a single word that was spoken, but it's nice that at least I recognize all the songs and the service has the exact same layout as it does back home.   Although neither Cam or I speak German, Cam still attempted to sing every song.

The destination for the day..... Dachau.
We headed to the train station and took a short train ride to Dachau, where we boarded a bus that took us to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial.   A couple weeks before we left on our trip, Cam and I had one night watched a movie called "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas".  I cried and cried when the movie ended and I remember turning to Cam and saying "I don't know if I can go to Dachau and walk around."   But Cam was insistent that we go and now that we've been there, I'm so glad that we did.   What happened in these places is horrible.  But, it's a part of our history and it's important to know it.   It was a very humbling experience to walk around the camp, see how big it was, see some of the original buildings and to hear of some of the experiences of the individuals that were forced to come here.  May none of us ever forget.

The entrance sign

Information plaque explaining about the arrival of prisoners

Every prisoner in Dachau walked through these gates.  "Arbeit Macht Frei" meant Freedom Through Work.

The entrance into the Dachau camp.  This camp was built to hold up to 6,000 prisoners.  When the war ended, there was almost 32,000.

Walking between the "bunkers" where "special" prisoners where held... usually those that were held in solitary confinement as punishment

Inside the bunkers

A room inside the bunkers.  Prisoners were held in solitary confinement in these rooms, sometimes in the dark, for days, weeks or even longer.   Some of these small rooms were divided up even smaller, making rooms that were barely big enough for a person, so small that a man could not even sit down.  Another form of punishment

A diagram of one of the bunker buildings.  That's a lot of individual rooms!

A memorial scupture

One of the watch towers on the perimeter of the camp.   Lots of barbed wire too.

The yard where roll calls were taken and each individual prisoner was counted.  Prisoners were expected to stand in rows at attention for hours sometimes.   Sometimes they would even have to drag the bodies of those that died in the sleeping areas out into the field so that they could be accounted for as well.

One of the buildings that the majority of prisoners were kept in.

Sleeping bunks

Rows and rows of buildings used to line these trees on both sides.   After the war ended, most of them were all torn down.

Many different memorials and churches have been erected here.   This one is a memorial to the Jewish that were killed in the camp.

The Jewish memorial

Another memorial (sorry, don't have details as most of it was in German)

What looked to be a convent and small church.  We took a small walk through.

I believe this was a memorial church for Germans that were killed in the camp.  The Dachau Concentration Camp held a lot of political prisoners.

On the path to the crematoriums

A statue in remembrance of the unknown prisoner

The larger, main crematorium building

So disturbing.  This was inside the "death chamber" where they kept dead bodies.  The top right picture shows that when the war ended, they made a lot of the members of the Dachau community to come and see the devastation and to learn what truly happened here.

The room where they kept bodies before they could cremate them.

These ran 24 hours a day.

The gas chamber.   Never used for mass killing, though they did use if for executing smaller groups.

The door into the gas chamber.   Anyone know what that says above?

The SS was nice enough to disinfect the old used clothes in these chambers  before giving them to new prisoners.

This was the original crematorium.  It couldn't keep up and so they built the larger crematorium beside it.

The path we walked along that had the grave markers and the execution areas

We ran out of time to look through the camp.   Another hour or so would have been nice.   The only other thing to mention is that inside one of the large bunker houses, they had it full of displays and descriptions.  Telling everything from how Hitler rose to power, how concentration camp came to be, what every day life was like in the camp and also what happened to those that freed at the end of the war.   They also had a documentary movie that we watched.

It was time to head back to Munich.   After a long day, we stopped and had dinner at one of the local "beer houses".   The food in Germany is very hearty and thankfully is a lot cheaper.   Dinner consisted of a couple different meats, potato dumplings, cabbage salad and a potato salad.  It was good.  We then headed back to the hotel.

1 comment:

  1. Such a somber post from your trip. There is a part of me that would be interested in seeing the concentration camps and a part of me that doesn't think I could handle all of the emotion that it would definitely bring up. Thanks for sharing these pictures!