I Visited The First Nazi Concentration Camp And This Is What I’ve Learned

Day 188/365: You have to visit this place at least once

Prisoners of Dachau were so poorly fed, they turned into walking skeletons. Nazi doctors performed terrible experiments on them to test for the ultimate human strengths and weaknesses. This is one of the monuments dedicated to the prisoners who went to atrocious times while inside the camp.

From the Munich Hauptbahnhof or main train station, the S2 train takes you to a little small village called Dachau, some 15 kilometres to the North of the city centre. The place is quite popular as a great suburb for people who work in Munich, but want to save on rent and utilities, as prices are almost 40% lower than in the bustling city.

But there’s one place in this quiet city that people from all over the world flock to visit. The first Nazi concentration camp is somewhere in the Northern part of the little village, at its outskirts. It was raining when our train stopped at the station, but luckily the 10-minutes bus ride to the gates of the camp was enough for the rain to stop, and for long enough for me to take a tour.

The main entrance to the Dachau concentration camp

The camp is simply eerie and extremely unpleasant. Somehow, it’s unnaturally quiet, given the fact that so many defenceless people were brutally killed here. I’m amazed visitors can’t hear their screamings still.

Besides the gas chambers, which fortunately were never used here, but stood as a model for the much more tragic Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland, there were a lot of medical experiments that Nazi doctors did here. This is what I found on one of the information boards:

“The infirmary was continually extended in the course of the war. Located in barracks A and B were the administration office, the operating rooms, casualty ward and the death chamber. From 1942, the SS conducted cruel medical experiments on the prisoners in the blocks 1, 3 and 5. These included malaria, phlegmon, altitude and hypothermia experiments. Despite the infirmary being well-equipped, the medical care of the prisoners was catastrophic. There was an appalling lack of medicines and dressing material. Those prisoners who themselves were doctors were permitted in 1943 to take care of their ill companions. For all those prisoners who could not be brought back to health quickly, the infirmary was a place of death”
Shaving kit of one of the prisoners in Dachau

I walked along the path of the prisoners, from the small platform where they were usually brought in by train, to the barracks where they used to sleep about 50 prisoners in one tiny room, to the many working grounds and ultimately, for many of them, the cremation rooms.

It’s simply stunning to me such things took place only about 75 years ago. I can’t believe in a nation as great as Germany is today, people were so terribly troubled back in the days that they considered mass extinction to be the only solution to their imaginary problems.

“Work is liberating/Work sets you free” was the famous message the SS wrote on the gates of all of their camps, in solid iron. It’s crazy to think people can be so cruel. As they say, people are the absolute harshest of animals…
I think that as shocking as an experience like this is, it should be lived by every one of us.

Especially corrupt politicians and people who think they can govern the way they want, regardless of what the people who put them in power want or need. It’s a painful lesson that history is stained with forever, and it should forever remain in the minds and souls of everybody. Simply because a forgotten past is a past that can be repeated.

This picture moved me later when I saw it. Two equal people, yet so differently put 75 years ago in the same place. Now simply visiting a camp that was a place of great pain and sorrow back in the day.

Thank you for your time!

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