Monday, 3 November 2014

Last View of the Missing Gate at Dachau Concentration Camp



It's not the usual holiday trip where one admires the views and the beauty spots. It's rather sombre, I couldn't consecutively share this post after my sun-worshipping and beer-drinking intercontinental jaunts. I needed a very good push to publish this. 

It came via a missing wrought-iron gate.


'ARBEIT MACHT FREI' or 'Work sets you free.', as seen at the main entrance of Dachau Concentration Camp, near Munich. Part of the original wrought-iron gate was stolen yesterday, 2 November 2014. I took this photo in late August this year.





Other concentration and death camps bore the same cynical slogan that was part of the Nazis' propaganda to 'humanise' forced labour which was part and parcel of their aim to torture, and eventually, to annihilate.

Some of you who have virtually come with me in some of my travels may be aware now that my childhood interest in modern European history and World War II has taken me to places I've only read and come across in history books and documentaries. From the secret bunkers of Berlin during the Cold War, to the Eagle's Nest and the former site of the Berghof, I use my limited holiday allowance to go beyond the book chapters and TV schedules.





Dachau is a medieval town near Munich, where the first concentration camp was set up by the Nazis in 1933. There were 32,000 documented deaths in the camp, and more undocumented.








A memorial to camp prisoners who took their own lives in act of defiance to the Nazis who were keeping them for forced labour until they can no longer hold out to the physical torture, or they were murdered when deemed useless for work.









The prisoners were colour-coded based on the Nazis' view of their ranking in society.


 


 


























We were told that if reports were accurate, victims were immediately shoved into the oven after being released from being hoisted up. Notice the pulleys up the ceiling.

The sign that leads to the crematorium reads: 'Think about how we died here.'



 



The crematorium


The gas chamber. Next door is the waiting room where the victims had no idea of the fate that awaited them.



The former site of the barracks






1 is not just a number. Many of the descendants who learned of their missing relatives' incarceration in a specific numbered barrack have at least a place to pay their respects for the departed.


The barracks as pictured above



Statue of an unknown prisoner inside the Dachau camp. It symbolises how each human being incarcerated and who died there from 1933 to 1945 was reduced to anonymity but nonetheless will not be forgotten. The prisoner stands at his most defiant: right leg forward, hands in his pocket, head held up. The inscription reads: 'To honor the dead, To warn the living.'





During one of the darkest periods in European history, lives and freedom were stolen inside this camp. Now, part of the memorial that witnessed the victims' struggle wasn't spared of being stolen. In our minds, we have shut the gate to that time, but it can't be helped that incidents such as this proves otherwise.








9 comments:

  1. Have always wanted to go to one of these. As a child I became very interested in what happened in these camps and why the people were taken there. I began to read everything I could on it, so one day I hope to go and see it with my own eyes. It's insane that there are some that don't believe any of it happened. My heart breaks reading about it and even watching the videos of some of the survivors talk about their experience. It's an important part of history and we must never forget about it ever or we run the risk of repeating it. I saw your comment...you can copy the look, I don't mind at all. The masks are fun to wear :)) I hope you keep warm doll, not fun having the windows opened, but the smell of paint isn't nice either. Have a sweet week xxx

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  2. Do you know it's such a dark spot on our history. I went to Theresienstadt, and saw the concentration camps there and it too was shocking, that people did this to others. Walking through there was an eerie silence throughout, so sad.
    Ax

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  3. I have visited a concentration camp once in Austria. It was a very sad experience and I would not choose to visit another one again. It's also sad to know that still at present times there are many many people that are suffering similar fates through slavery, human trafficking and so on.

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  4. I remember visiting the concentration camps in school. The experience still sticks with me today. There's not much to say other than, none of us could imagine what they went through living in that horrifying environment.

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  5. You wrote this post in a very sensitive way and although I am familiar with many of the facts about the concentration camps, I found this so informative. It must have been a moving experience. 'To honor the dead, to warn the living' is an important message on the statue.
    I'm just catching up after our holiday. We finally made it to Abu Dhabi and as we marvelled at the splendour of the Grand Mosque, I remembered your visit there!

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  6. Books and films about this period send a shiver down your spine, so I can't imagine how it felt or what the atmosphere was like actually being there in person. We talk about this being history but unfortunately this sort of uncivilised treatment is happening in some parts of the world today, albeit on a much lesser scale. Have a good weekend xx

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  7. It is so freeking sad what happened in those places..only because they were different..it s so touching yr post

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  8. I have read all your comments ladies. Thank you so much. I just went through days when I couldn't possibly comment one by one. But I always appreciate your dropping by. Thank you! xxx

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