Normally we only write one blog entry a week on our ‘Long Way Home’ but this week we crossed from Italy across Austria, a quick stop in Switzerland and on to Germany. The skies were dark and broody as we crossed the Alps and by the time we reached our chosen destination Garmish, the heavens had opened and the rain was coming down in buckets.
So we thought we would move on and come back later, but where to? The forecast for the next day was not much better, so after some discussion we decided we should, as we were so near visit Dachau. So this post is about that alone, it just does not deserve to be placed with flippant things, it affected us too much for that.
We found a campsite nearby and parked up in the pounding rain, we woke very early the next morning and set off for our visit. There is no charge for entry to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. However, you do have to pay for parking which at €5 was very fair for the motorhome.
We have visited many places during our 16 months on the road and have seen some harrowing stories, such as Guernica painting in Madrid summing up the civil war there. Dachau was something more primeval, dark, sad, and uplifting all at the same time.
It was the one of the Nazis first concentration camps and its longest serving from 1933 right up to its liberation on April 1945. They took all kinds of people and treated them like vermin and exterminated many, not just Jews though thousands went through the gates. Also Roma, dissenters, political opponents, foreigners Poles, Russians, Italians, French, Priests and clergy that preached against Nazism.
It explains and bears witness to the evil that man can do to man, at this place the SS trained most of the commandants for all their extermination camps in the Reich. It struck us that it is notable that good people can be indoctrinated to evil. In this age of total communication we all should be aware that it can happen again. I will leave you with the words of Martin Niemöller a German Lutheran pastor imprisoned in Dachau and then some more pictures of the site.
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
We feel that everyone should if they can visit this memorial, especially children to forget would be a second crime.