Remembering Dachau

i’ve been daydreaming about what to do in a couple months when i have a super long (6+ hours) layover in Munich (which i’m hoping to actually either cut out**, cut down, or extend to an overnight, but that’s beside the point). being so close to where i went to grad school, i’ve been there three times already and really love the city, and i have a couple friends that live there. but it got me thinking about my two visits to Dachau. i’m not going to much into detail, but suffice it to say it’s something you will never forget.

just seeing the Arbeit Macht Frei gate is enough to fill you with dread.

what sticks out, though, was my second visit. the first time, i didn’t get to tour the crematorium because it closes a bit earlier than the rest of the memorial. however, when my cousin came*, i made it a point to go to the crematorium early. and it was an absolutely harrowing experience.

so much so that my cousin and i broke out into (completely inappropriate, but it was a gut response and i still feel terrible to this day) hysterical laughter in the furnace room, after being in the room with the (gas) showerheads. although neither were used for mass killings at dachau, it’s so hard to come to grips with what happened in those rooms — the very ones i’m standing in … the even further atrocities in similar rooms at the extermination camps … that these are the very same furnaces you saw and read about in history books in school … furnaces where this happened:

1945 (photo via Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H26996 / CC-BY-SA)


* on a much (much) lighter note, my cousin flew from Los Angeles to Stuttgart (LAX-ATL-STR on DL) in march of 2007 for $415 including tax. what a steal! proof from the confirmation email she forwarded me:

Fare Details: LAX DL X/ATL DL STR Q60.00M103.00TLXPV9/WNIJ 
ROE1.00 XT US 30.20 XA 5.00 AY 7.50 DE 4.62 RA 16.30 XF
13.50 LAX4.5ATL4.5ATL4.5 

Fare:        326.00 USD
Tax:          77.12 XT
Tax:           5.00 YC
Tax:           7.00 XY
Total:       415.12 USD

** and of course the day after i write this, i manage to cut out my layover in Munich which is just fine with me, more time in Athens! (so now SFO-EWR-LHR-ATH).


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