Concentration Camp

Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
Trip End May 15, 2010

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Thursday, April 1, 2010

The start of the concentration camps marked the end of civil and human rights. There was no need for a court; you could be thrown into jail for anything. Soon the jails could no longer accommodate all the people, the concentration camps were used as expanded jails or as places of torture. November 9th marked the day Jews feared for their life. Shops, houses and businesses were invaded and destroyed, collecting Jews at random. In March WWII broke out. More camps popped up to keep control of the newly invaded country under Germany's rule. All camps were designed to make people miserable, no photos or films were allowed. It was not just the Jewish but also foreign, prisoners of war, priests, and Jehovah's witnesses that were taken. They were used as slaves to make artillery for the war. The regime wanted people not to credit those on the inside and to intimidate those on outside about the camps. During WWII, concentration campers worried that the regime would destroy the camps at the last minute to cover what they were doing up up. Than, as bombs were going off, a secret internal organization helped tell Americans troops about the mass number of people to prevent the United States from mistaking them with German soldiers. The Americans saw how they were treated and tried to help.

 Those at Dachau had to give up property, human rights and dignity when they were brought in. Dachau is one of the only concentration camps that survived from the beginning of Hitler's regime till today.  The SS assigned each person a number, which determined their fate upon entering the camp. They were than taken to the bathroom disinfected, showered, heads shaven and given a uniform. Some people were not given food. The ones that were feed had stale bread and coffee for breakfast and watery soup for lunch. More people died from sickness than from starvation. There was a sick parade every night where the sick were beaten in front of everyone else.  In the last three months 300,000 people died. Than April 1, 1955 marked the end and the beginning of the liberation. Sadly more than 200,000 people died after the liberation.

All Jews were destined for destruction. They were always given the hardest work and the shittiest conditions to live it. Most died in the gas chambers in Oustwitz. The population grew so big in Dachau that a second gas chamber and cremation chamber had to be built. All that were too sick to work were sent to other concentration camps to die. The gas chamber is down a path away from the main part of the camp. It was designed to look like a shower room. Prisoners were told to strip down naked and enter the room. The gas chamber could kill 150 people in under a minute. The dead were than moved into the next room where the cremation ovens where. Toward the end of the war they ran out of coal to burn the bodies so the bodies petrified. Soon people on the outside started questioning what was going on. The concentration camps invited those curious in to see what was going on. However they hand selected the workers, and put them in almost like a museum type setting so that outsiders wouldn't really know how the prisoners were treated. When they finally realized they started pitying them and trying to feel them bread as they walked by. There were 8 mass graves with other 1,000 bodies in each. Many of the bunkers are no longer there, just empty framework.       

Seeing the camp was very emotional. The whole atmosphere was dark, gray and cold. We walked on the same path the prisoners were taken on. I saw all the bunk rooms where they lived as well as the gas chamber. Walking through the gas chamber where so many innocent people died to the adjoining cremation room. While walking around no one talked, the place echoed when you moved. It was very large and felt deserted. While walking around the atmosphere you couldn't help but get teary eyed.     

After leaving Dachau we headed toward Salzburg. We drove through the mountains. The temperature dropped and we saw snow. The drive had some of the most magnificent scenery that I've ever seen. With a backdrop of snow cover mountains, little farms and chapels dotting the snow dusted fields was magnificent. Then we would drive through villages with different color houses with foggy mountains in the backdrop.
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