Tuesday, April 17, 2007

150407 - Dachau

Dachau, one of the first Nazi concentration camps and that served as the model for all others during the Holocaust. From the time you alighted the bus, you could almost feel the barrenness the prisoners that time felt slapped right across your face- a hard realisation that you would have to forget civilisation.

There was nothing much - just granites, and then more granites. The memorial site tried to let the visitors relive the moments of the prisoners right from the entrance. The morbid gate to the camp reads "Arbeit macht frei", meaning "Through work you will be free".... A blatant lie... "Annihilation through labour" - probably the only way to freedom is death. You can imagine how hopeless the situation was, especially when it's 12 long years of not knowing when you will see the daylights of tomorrow or what torture you will go through again. Inside you see the sites that the barracks were originally built. Only the groundworks remain. And some other refurnished buildings, into museum. The only things that stood vigil to the past atrocities that occurred in the camp are the trees that stood beside the barracks ground. The death chambers, gas chambers and crematorium were also open to the public, showing the notorious rooms that the atrocities were committed.

In the memorial site, you will get to see the whole truth of the deception the Nazis put up to the outside world, the lives the prisoners had, the insanity of the Nazis, their preposterous mindsets, their merciless, almost inhuman, persecution of fellow humans. But worst of all, you will simply feel hollowed out at the end of the trip.

After this and the Dokumentationszentrum trip in Nuernberg, I realised the Germans have indeed come a long way. You cannot but respect the people's strong resilience and determination to make things work, to make their country work for the future generations to come. Losing both world wars, taking up the full brunt of the charges, facing the music of the atrocities of the Holocaust to the entire world, Cold war splits.... And still standing proud and strong. You cannot imagine the superpower of today had gone through so much, whether they deserved it or not in the course of their history is another question....

No comments: