Yesterday was a somber day. We took a group tour of Dachau, which was the first concentration camp set up by the Nazi’s and was a role model camp for all of the others. When we entered the camp I couldn’t believe my eyes. On the gate leading into the property the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” which means, “Work Sets You Free” was inscribed into the rod iron fence. I can’t imagine the feelings these people must have had as they walked through the gates and read this phrase. It was their last little glimmer of hope before all hell set in.
Once inside, we watched a documentary that had actual footage of what went on here- the conditions these prisoners faced, what they were subjected to, and the terror they were faced with everyday. Afterwards we walked through the camp. It’s so hard for me to wrap my head around what actually happened here but the videos and pictures don’t lie. People were degraded, beaten, starved, physically and mentally tortured, and finally murdered. And for what? For being a different race? Having different political views? It makes my stomach churn when I think about what went on here.
We even walked through the gas chamber which I didn’t realize the Nazi’s disguised as a large group shower with fake shower heads and all so that the prisoners would go in without resistance. We also saw the two crematoriums that were set up. You look at this and I think, how did we let things escalate this far? In the camp there are several memorials but one has the words, “Never again” inscribed in several different languages and I pray that is the truth. Never again should this be allowed to happen.