Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A sobering trip to Dachau

I've always been a bit of a history buff, and actually have a qualification to reflect this, majoring in Ancient Rome. Most of my travels are a result of me wanting to see some piece of architecture or artefact of some particular relevance to my historical fascinations.

I am also a bit of a Nazi Germany fanatic. I'd call myself an enthusiast but I think that would bring about the wrong sort of connotation. I'm not enthusiastic about what they did leading up to and during World War II but I am intrigued by how they rose to power, what they did with their power and the aftermath of their short time in power. This is what lead me to visiting Dachau, a beautiful little town just outside Munich in Germany, which has become somewhat of a tourist attraction for reasons beyond their control. The citizens of Dachau aren't overly please with their town being an attraction. Having spoken to some locals this is because those who come to Dachau don't come to spend more at their cafes or shops. We come to visit the very first concentration camp that Hitler and the Nazi party ever built, and used for extermination purposes during the Final Solution.

Dachau is a lovely place. The concentration camp is not. This place breaths the hatred of men. This place echoes the cries of those who came, and also those who never left. Visiting the concentration camp was one of those things I had to do, for my own education. I also find that the more I visit icons symbolising pain, suffering and hatred, the more it puts my own life into perspective.