Dachau Concentration Camp
Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
289Trip End Jan 25, 2009
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Today I spent most of the day touring Dachau's Concentration Camp, 45 minutes from Munich.
I was quite fortunate today. I was ready to pay 19 euro for an organised tour but given that this tour was cancelled (the tour guide was sick), the people that had met for the tour organised themselves to get to the camp. I grouped up with 2 guys from Nedlands (brother and sister), Perth and another couple from New York City. In Munich, you can get a cheap travel pass for 11 euro if you have up to 5 people travelling together. It was relatively easy getting to Dachau... S Bahn number 2 to Dachau and then the number 726 bus to the actual camp sight.
Dachau is infamous for having been the location of the first Nazi concentration camp. The camp was established uder the supervision of the hideous Heinrich Himmler in 1933 and served as the model after which many other such prisons were subsequently built. Those incarcerated in Dachau were primarily political prisoners, which constituted anyone who resisted the absolute suppression of freedom that the National Socialist regime was imposing on the population after Hitler's election as Chancellor in January 1933. The camp was a slave labor camp and not a death camp like Auschwity or Treblinka in Poland where many millions of Jews were systematically put to death beginning in 1942. When the camp was liberated in 1945, there were over 67000 registered prisoners of which 22000 were Jews. Barracks (no longer there) built for 200 prisoners had up to 600 living in them under inhuman conditions. Most deaths occurred through starvation, exhaustion and disease. Gas chambers were built, but reportedly never put to use. The camp is huge and we spent 4 hours touring the very informative museum, the grounds, and crematorium. I think this did it justice. It was an eery, depressing experience (especially standing under the gas 'showers') but one in which I am so fortunate to have completed in my life.