Upended but Sturdy
There has been so much written and said about Dachau Concentration Camp that it almost seems as if you can say no more, until you go there. You want to be profound. You want to say something worthwhile, yet whatever you write feels odd or off or trivial. In fact, we have erased several paragraphs that felt as if they were inappropriate or ignorant. Although it was allowed, we took no pictures during our visit. At the end of the day, we opted for personal reflection.
Although the museum was informative and the English audio tour well done, the striking part of this memorial was the physical space. Whether it was recreated or preserved, it was a solid visual reminder to us of what happens when mankind institutionalizes genocide. The structural organization we saw, and as was made very clear in the audio guide, that served as the model for the expansion of the planned systematic extermination of entire groups of people was chilling.
Our trips are mostly about having fun, but our focus is also on learning when we travel. A visit to central Europe provided a whole bunch of that. Once in a while that education is a bit sobering. This trip had a couple of times where the past felt very near. It was hard not to draw those moments together. What was going on in Hungary and what went on at Dachau were very different, but they also felt as if they were perhaps just an authoritarian turn from becoming more similar. It’s an uneasy feeling and makes the words at the main Dachau memorial so important for us to remember. “Never Again”.