31.03.2011 - 31.03.2011
I spent the last weekend in Victoria, but I'm having a bit of writers block when it comes to describing it. My acceptance deadline is coming up, and I still need to chose between The University of Victoria and UBC. In the mean time I'll keep telling Europe stories. Only halfway there!
Our last day in Germany started off with a trip to Dachau. It was a much more somber occasion in contrast with the rest of the trip, but none the less it was something I was glad I got to see. After several nice days the weather darkened to match the mood at the former concentration camp.
What happened in WWll is a tragedy. It's one thing to read about the history in Social Studies; but to read a story and realize that you're sitting right where it took place is something else entirely. Everything felt so much more real: the square we walked through was the same one the prisoners were forced to stand in for roll call each morning. The small wooden beds were the same ones that previously had five people crammed onto them.
I find it so difficult to truly comprehend what happened there, and how strong the people must've been to live through it. Dachau was the first concentration camp established in Germany. While it was not technically a death camp like Auschwitz , prisoners were still worked to death, randomly shot, and many starved or died of illness. They were forced to where triangles, representing the reason for their imprisonment. Different colours were assigned to jews, homosexuals, gypsies, political enemies, criminals, and "asocials", to determine the harshness of their treatment. The crematorium, built to dispose of the numerous bodies, was one of the most eery places I've seen in my life time.
Memorial depicting the triangles (several colours are missing)
After our tour we were given time to explore, and read the memorial inside. I found it difficult to take pictures, but I hope that the few I got are able to capture the essence of Dachau, and help to spread the message that looms above the memorial: Never Again.