On our way to Munich we made a short visit to Dachau, a former concentration camp in Bavaria.
Opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, Dachau was one of the first Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany to hold political prisoners. Over 32,000 people died there, and those were just the documented deaths. The camp was finally liberated in 1945, but the evacuation was ordered by Himmler as he did not want the prisoners to ‘fall into the hands of the enemy alive.’
I decided to walk around the memorial site alone so I could take everything in. It was a sombre experience. I saw some of the cells that the prisoners were held – they were tiny with just a small barred window for them to see out of, and the few possessions, if any, that they had were very basic (they even carved their names into their plates and cups) which made me think of just how appreciative I am of the things I have and the experiences I have had. Most of the main exhibitions were in the former maintenance building, where you could read about the history of the camp, as well as watch films and view artifacts. I spent most of my time there reading all of the information stands. There were also the gas chambers – I didn’t visit those, the barracks and the chapel.
Once we had finished looking around, it was time to head back to reality and travel to our next stop on the tour; Munich.
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