The Sound of Silence garden...

Even the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site has a garden. We had been here before, back in the early '90s and knew what to expect. But it's still a chilling and compelling place to visit.

It is a memorial site and museum. Solemn, sad, and unfortunately, a necessary reminder. The grounds of the camp itself are mostly barren, the barracks are gone, only their footprints remain -- except for two reconstructed barracks. They're intended to show what living conditions were like at the beginning, when only political prisoners were sent to this work camp -- built for a few thousand. By the end of the war, there were as many as 30,000 there. More than 200,000 went through the camp during its years of operation. Most that died here, died because of the living conditions -- overworked, abused, over crowded, malnourished and starvation and typhus. At the time of liberation the death rate had peaked at 200 per day. This included not only Jews, but Russian soldiers, Catholic clergy, common criminals, political prisoners (which could have been anyone), French, Czechs, Poles and more.

There was a crematory to handle the dead. There is a gas chamber "shower" here as part of the crematory, though it was never used. Out behind the crematory, in a path through the woods was this garden. We were the only people in this part of the garden at the time. We didn't want to linger here too long, partly because of the mosquitoes we encountered, partly cause it was too sad.

Being ruled by fear of others drives you to do unethical things -- like burning the holy books & symbols of faiths not your own, or dictating where another faith or people can and cannot worship. Which all just leads to more of the same and worse. Sound familiar?
Slab reads, "Pistol Range for Execution."
Slab reads, "Execution Range with blood ditch."
Slab reads, "Grave of many thousands unkown."
Slab reads, "Ashes were stored here."

Comments

  1. Roma [gypsies] and gays were also executed at these camps. Somber topic, somber images and you handled the topic very well.

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  3. So incredibly sad - I don't think I would have been able to visit - so horrid to think what people can do to others. Absolutely necessary for people to see tho - the more things change, the more things remain the same.

    On a much lighter note, I see that Oprah is having the entire cast of The Sound of Music soon - I'm certain you & your family won't want to miss it!

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  4. allanbecker,
    There was plenty of interpretive signage explaining the different groups that were targeted, and imprisoned in this camp and others. It's as though they wanted to reinforce that it was not just Jews in concentration camps, as if that made it better somehow. Either way, it's a memorial and intended to remember ALL who passed through its gates.

    Barbarapc,
    I'll have to keep an eye out for the Oprah Sound of Music Reunion. My daughter will get a kick out of it. She only knows Julie Andrews otherwise through the "Princess Diaries" movies.

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