While we were in Munich we went to Dachau, which is the first concentration camp set up by the Nazi’s prior to World War II. The entire site has been designated a memorial, however only a few of the actual buildings of the time remain, one of these now houses a museum. It is very hard to know what to think. One of the buildings that remains intact, has the ovens where the cremations took place. I found it impossible to stand in the same room without feeling very uncomfortable. When the Americans liberated the camp, they made the local towns people look at all the bodies waiting for the ovens and help with the burials. Prior to that many people tried to say they were ignorant of what was happening there. While I find that hard to believe, it is very easy for Americans to lay the blame and say “I wouldn’t have let that happen”. Several places that we have been on this trip have had connections with World War II and they present a much more balanced view than I received in history class because they know they are addressing the children of the people and at times the people themselves who participated in the situation. I am sure there were citizens in the town of Dachau who suspected something atrocious was happening in the camp but felt powerless to stop it, or at least were unwilling to risk their own families lives to try to stop it. Of course there were some people who supported everything that happened and that is another story entirely. I just think that it is easy for us Americans to judge because all of our relatives were automatically on the “correct” side. If they had been closer to the situation what kind of choice would they have made?

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  • I know exactly what you mean. I visited a camp when I was in Germany. There is no way to desribe the feeling. They walked us through the gas chamber and I felt like I was going to be sick!

  • I cannot imagine the way I’s feel at such a place. To know what happened — you feel remorse but so many “average” Germans were betrayed by their leaders.

  • Geez, I can’t even imagine visiting such a place, really don’t think I could handle it, at least not without carpeting the floors, so to speak:)

  • Scott Blish

    Sep 24th, 2007

    I think I know how you felt when visiting Dachau. Without going into a lot of detail about it, I’ll just say this…I never believed in ghosts until I visited Bergen-Belsen.

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