After visiting Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp when I was in Berlin, I was surprisingly emotional. It was hard to see a concentration camp, hard to imagine the travesty of what had happened, hard to understand how human beings could do such things to other humans, hard to comprehend that it had happened less than 70 years ago. I knew there was another concentration camp in Munich but I didn’t think I would go – seeing one was enough. But, of course, I changed my mind once I was in Munich and I decided to go to Dachau.
Dachau was the first camp built until Hitler’s rule and it was held captive thousands upon thousands of people from 1933 until 1945. At it’s peak, it held more than 70,000 people (I believe it was built to house 3,000).
I had never been inside a the remains of a gas chamber before. It was so sickening to stand in a room where you knew thousands of people had died a slow, painful death. Outside the door, there is a sign, marking the room “showers”:
The hardest part of the day, for me, was seeing so many pictures inside the museum, pictures of the people who were so close to death, who looked so sick. It was horrible. As well, there was an exhibition on about seven women who came to Dachau pregnant and how they (miraculously) survived along with their children. The US Troops freed the camp at the end of the war and filmed footage which was equally hard to watch as all of the people were so incredibly sick. Despite it being difficult to see such horrible things, it was a day I will remember forever and it (like so many other things here) made me so grateful for everything I have.