Visiting Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I've always enjoyed learning about the Second World War. I've consumed various books, films and, TV shows over the years that try and make sense of one of history's cruelest chapters. I've visited memorials and museums, spoken to survivors and watched documentaries. But nothing and no one could prepare you for the feeling that hits you in the pit of your stomach as you walk through the gates of the Dachau Concentration Camp.

It first hit me when we arrived at the Dachau train station for our day trip, 20 minutes from Munich. The station was dirtier and more desolate than any I'd seen so far in Germany. Then, we got on the bus that would take us to the camp grounds. Looking back on that particular trip through quiet suburbia reminds me of something a Holocaust survivor recently told me: "People continued to live there before, during and after the war."

These atrocities truly did occur in plain sight. When we got to the camp, the nightmare 6 million Jews suffered through was sitting in front of us, inviting us to walk through. The museum was like a lot of the other Holocaust museums I had visited -- frightening but in a detached sort of way. The camp grounds however were a different story.

Walking through the camp in sub-zero temperature, surrounded by barbed wire and an eerie calmness was haunting. To read that the room I was standing in carried piles of corpses and the one just adjacent was where they destroyed the evidence of these murders was harrowing.

The best way I can describe Dachau is to tell you that it feels uncomfortable to stay there for too long. But I encourage you, please do. Nothing truly makes you realise the horrors of the Holocaust like standing on the very ground where they occurred and that knot in your stomach for a few hours is a small prize to pay for that experience.

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  1. The museums, memorials, and concentration camps left are so important. As you said, it's very harrowing and difficult, but it is essential we don't forget what occurred during the Holocaust. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    Shann Eileen |

  2. Wow! Great place, thanks for sharing.