I have spent a wonderful week in Munich, Bavaria, Germany attending a business Launch for Forever Green, in Europe. This is a tale that would be wonderful to tell, should I do so, but in planning to attend it never crossed my mind for a nano-second that Munich is the city that gave birth to the Nazi party, and Dachau is the concentration camp that served as the model for all the concentration camps that followed.
I know the story of Dachau, but I only realised where I was upon noting that the town of Dachau is a stop along the S2 metro line. I won't ask you to imagine my surprise when I discovered this, but being so close I gave in to temptation and paid a visit to the site. I was certain it would be emotive for me as I had no idea of what to expect, so many years since it was closed.
Dachau is a fully functiong town, as it always has been. Imagine having your mail sent to you at an address in Dachau. I got off the train only to find that there was absolutely no mention of the concentration camp. There is no visitor's centre, no special buses to the camp, no acknowledgement that the camp even exists nearby.
In fact, the regular bus, number 726 passes the camp and the fare is 1.40 euros one way. Entrance to the camp is free, and it is sufficiently signposted and explained that a person can follow his own tour, which is what I did.
I will not go into any detail here about what went on there. I have borrowed the title from Dachau's own literature, which I found to be true. It really is a part of history that is so awful it would be more convenient to not remember. However, we must never forget because, in spite of being a thoroughly discredited philosphy, there is always the Neo-Nazis standing in the wing. If we forget we run the risk of it all happening again.
To visit Dachau and to pass through the gates with the inscription, "Arbeit Nacht Frei", (Freedom through work) is to descend into the pit of hell. I felt the sting of evil even before I reached the metro stop, and now my heart was pounding and I was muttering explictives over and over again.
We must remember that the police and customs, and other controlling bodies are a draw for people who have tendencies towards controlling other people. That is not to say that all personnel engaged in these types of work are control freaks, but it is likely there will be a number of people who will make this their life's work. When you add to the mix the top administration whose policy is total hatred, that lets loose the devil. For instance, in what they called "The Bunker" there were cells that were used to lock up SS men who failed to show the right spirit. They got beat up and then sent back in with the command, now get it right this time.
The common concept is that concentration camps were used only for Jews. They certainly got the worst of the hatred, but all manner of people were locked up, including other Germans who opposed the Nazis, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other undesireables. However, except for in the beginning before all the real sick stuff started, Dachau seems to have only dealt with men.
In following my way around the camp and reading the descriptions of what went on, I felt drained of my energy, and my body went into spasmodic shock from time to time. In what was described as the interrogation room I placed my hand against the wall and the negative energy that came to me was so powerful I came as close as one can to a full collapse, without collapsing.
As I toured the musuem the sound of voices in despair seemed to follow me. I didn't realise it until about halfway through, yet, as I stood still and listened the sound was not coming from a speaker. I rubbed my hand over the walls, and I closely held the whipping bench. I held on to the bunk beds that had held so many suffering and starving men. I paused at the eating tables and looked from the windows, and I felt such despair and hopelessness. All but two of the barracks have been destroyed. These are for demonstration purposes.
The site was formerly a massive factory complex, complete with high walls that completely encircled the property. I have no idea of how close the neighbours were in 1933, but today the neighbours are right up to the walls. As we walk towards the back of the property we would have come to The Planation, an herb garden that the commandant ran, with inmate work, that he cared very much about. Today, as a counterpoint to all the evil that still overlays this place, there are five religious organisations represented with welcoming space for adherents to rest, contemplate, and to pray.
There is also a single huge bell that chose three-fifteen to sound, just as I was next to it. The sound broke the absolute silence and frightened me out of my wits. I actually ran from it, so startled was I, but I was not alone in doing so. At lease it gave us a welcome laugh.
At the very end are located the cremortoriums, the memorials, and the shooting range where live targets were used. I made the mistake of passing into the disrobing assembly room where people prepared to enter the shower room. I then entered that room, and all I can say is that its a good thing I'm a sturdy person because that was where the people were gassed to death, and the next room was where all the bodies were dragged, preparatory to being thrown into the fire.
I apologize for including this, but so integral was this to what went on that it would have been a lie to leave it out. After experiencing this I needed a half hour to sit and build up the energy to walk out the gate that I had entered by.
We must remember that so much horror and evil was committed simply because they could. It seems to have been a matter of doing something even worse than the thing you did before. On a scale of horror of 1 to 100, with 100 being the worst of man's inhumanity to man, I place Dachau, and all the other camps I've read about, at 98.9. I simply am leaving room for what is likely to come. As I write this the story of Friday night in Paris is still very fresh in the news where 129 people were slaughtered while going about their business.
I have said before, the human race has become so unbalanced with more evil than good, there must be something coming soon that will correct it.
That will be such a shame because we are naturally living longer with much more quality of life. Trust mankind to make a mess of things just when life is getting better and longer.
Copyright (c) 2015 Eugene Carmichael