My interest in the Holocaust was sparked in 8th grade on Long Island New York. I was in a history class in which we had a special guest speaker. An elderly woman who survived the concentration camps! I remember seeing her number tattooed on her arm and hearing her horrific recollections of her life during that dark period of time. While I was in the Cold Spring Harbor High School library listening to her, I remember looking around at my Jewish friends and thinking how could one person lead nations and people to hate a race in a short amount of time. My heart was then drawn to this subject of the Holocaust. I have read a lot on this subject and each time I do I am saddened, horrified, dumbfounded and compelled to read and study more. I don’t know why this part of history pulls at me so hard. Maybe I am trying to understand history to be able to recognize it repeating itself, or, just trying to understand cultures and lives that were so quickly destroyed on every side of the battle.
My desire to visit a concentration camp became reality when we were in Germany. It was one of the things on my “places to visit” list while we are in Europe. We visited the Dachau concentration camp. It was incredibly cold and grey! Our whole family visited the exhibits and then Aaron took Tristan, Jack and Sophie back to a gift shop/cafeteria, while AJ, Austin and I watched a short film, toured the barracks and the crematorium. It was a humbling, sad and sobering experience. The boys were a little uncomfortable during the film, but I wanted them to witness what took place on the grounds we were visiting. It was and continues to be hallow ground.
Dachau was the first concentration camp to be built and used as a prototype for other camps. I could spend post after post sharing the stories and information I learned and know about Dachau, but I do not want to. I only wish to share all the photos I took and I know they do not effect all five senses, but I hope it causes a stirring of the heart. It did for me this day as I was able to touch, feel and listen to this historical site.
Not many years ago the original railroad tracks were excavated. We were able to walk on them and visualize those prisoners getting off the cattle cars and seeing their new reality that awaited them. It was right along this path to the entrance of the camp.
This is one of the rooms where dead bodies were stored to go into the crematorium. It was right next to the room with the chimneys.