Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dachau

Got up early this morning to shower and eat breakfast. We ate at the hostel, which wasn't free but halfway decent. After breakfast we had to pack up and check out of the hostel. We were able to store our luggage for free which was cool. Then we headed to the train station to depart for a tour of the Dachau concentration camp. Dachau is actually the town the camp is in, which was about 45 minutes of travel between the train and short bus ride.

Dachau was the first concentration camp built under Hitler. It was constructed in 1933, and designed to hold 6,000 prisoners. At the peak of its twelve year operation, Dachau held 76,000 prisoners. Overcrowd much? When most people (including me) think of concentration camps, they think of gas chambers, torture, and death. It wasn't until the final three years of operation when concentration camps like Dachau became places of mass death, rampant disease, and chaos. Initially, the intention of concentration camps was to portray an image of order, cleanliness, and discipline. Ok, enough with the history lesson. I remembered a lot from the tour..

It was an incredible place. I felt the blood rush from my face when walking through the gas chamber and incinerator room. The gas chamber itself had fake shower heads in the ceiling to fool entrants into thinking they were simply about to be disinfected rather than gassed to death. I asked how they chose who was gassed. The tour guide said usually the sick or too injured to work were gassed. In Auschwitz (concentration camp in Poland) however, anyone under 16 or over 45 was gassed immediately. I don't even know what to say about that.

All of the original barracks had been destroyed, but memorial foundations were put in their place. I really can't say enough to illustrate the experience. I would definitely recommend visiting Dachau if you are ever in Munich.

After the tour, we came back to walk around Munich some more. We just ate at the Augustiner Brewery, which brews the most famous beer in Bavaria. The train for Rome leaves in a few hours. We are going to have some more beer here before walking back to the hostel to pick up our luggage. Then it's off to the train station to catch our train to Rome. I'm really excited from all the hype I have heard from someone who went a few months ago (I have high expectations Laurie!).

The train ride is twelve hours so I should get lots of sleep. Looking forward to that.

Talk to you from Roma!

One final Auf Widersehen! (fyi, I spelled that from memory this time. yesssss!)

Kevin

p.s. My shins are killing me from the hike up the mountain yesterday to see the Neuschwanstein Castle!!

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2 comments:

Karen said...

I've noticed a trend...was your real intent for this trip to travel around tasting local beers?

Maggie said...

I'm seeing another trend... it revolves around showers... One thing we know for sure, is that Kevin will shower every chance he gets ;)