So I suspect I'm not alone when it comes to the images that pop into my head when I hear or see the word Dachau. It is synonymous for me with concentration camp, work camp, death, and the horrors of the Holocaust. This dreadful place lies a short train ride from Munich and is something that I needed to return to and I wanted my girls to experience.
We stepped off the train in the town of Dachau where we then had to wait for a bus to the camp. It was a drizzly sort of day which I guess was fitting for our visit. Across the street was a café, a post office around the corner, and it appeared the same as any other small town. I just couldn't come to terms with how it would be for anyone to say, "I'm from Dachau." The last time, 18 years ago, when Dean and I visited, I don't remember seeing the town but we arrived by car. I'm not sure if the train-bus option existed then or not.
Anyway, we made our way to the camp. There is a new information center there where we picked up the audio tour which helped guide us through the memorial, the museum, and the buildings. The museum was new as well and was quite well done. If you aren't familiar with Dachau, it's history, and what is there, check out this virtual tour. I did read through that the night before going as I knew the kids wouldn't have made it through me reading everything there was to read in the museum.
Suffice it to say it was an extraordinarily moving experience. While I didn't take a ton of pictures, here is some of what we saw.
First you enter through the gates. They are a replica of the original ones as the orignals were stolen. They have written on them "Arbeit Macht Frei", work makes you free, something that was certainly not true for those who were robbed of their individuality, belongings, and dignity upon passing through those gates.
The rest of my photos I posted in a slide show below. You will see parts of the monument erected as a memorial, the Jewish memorial that was built on the grounds, the stones that were placed inside the memorial in memory, the crematorium, and an area by the crematorium, that is marked with remembrance of the thousands of unknown who died in this area where ashes were buried and shooting squads senselessly terminated lives.