Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dachau - "Arbeit Macht Frei"

Up early this morning (6:45) for our journey to Dachau. We arrived early and avoided a lot of the crowds that appeared later in the day.  An emotional experience to say the least but also difficult to comprehend the steps we were taking were also taken by many who died within those gates. Dachau was the first concentration camp created by Himmler and was then the model for all future camps created. Almost everything that happened in the concentration camp system as a whole happened at some level at Dachau.  We noticed almost every category of victim was represented there.  Over 200,000 prisoners went through the gates and approximately 30,000 died.

The pictures do not seem to do justice, the experience will be more memorable. The group took lots of pictures and seemed to really take everything in that they could. Among the exhibits was the medical experiments and this was a mosquito net that they used to infect prisoners with malaria to see its effects on humans. 

The organization that has maintained this site has done a tremendous job to preserve it and make it a learning experience. 

A chess set hand carved by a prisoner. Some made pieces out of bread so they could entertain themselves. 

Our morning was spent fully at the camp and then we progressed back to Munich. We had lunch at an Easter Market and then some of the group went on the Munich Bike Tour. They saw the sites of Munich on bikes. They said it was great.

As you can see there is a "selfie" thing going on. Lukas has some sort of competition going on and taking pics of yourself in as many places is happening. Thought this one was particularly talented as he was on a bike!!  

I took another group on a walking tour of Munich to see other sites that we found historical. First stop was The Hofbräuhaus which was one of the beer halls used by the Nazi Party to declare policies and hold functions. On February 24, 1920, Adolf Hitler proclaimed the 25 point program of the National Socialist program in front of around 2000 people at the Hofbräuhaus. Lunch consisted of pork knuckle - famous dish. Ended up giving my left overs to an elderly gentlemen Josef whom enjoyed our company. 

We also visited the Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshall's Hall) where Hitler's Beer Hall Pustch ended. Got a little turned around on the streets of Munich but ended up finding it. We met up with the other group and headed on a bus tour of Munich and supper. Treat was another walk trough a train station to get ice cream. Great day and for a good portion of history and fun. 

Tomorrow we need to brush up on our Sound of Music trivia as we head to Salzburg to see Eagle's Nest - where Hitler's home address was during his reign. 

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