A re-post. Of all the blogs I lost on my old myspace, this was, by far, the most important.
Originally posted on July 18th, 2007
As many of you may or may not know, I have spent the last 2 and 1/2 weeks in Germany. For the record, I had an absolutely amazing time, and plan on posting blogs with plenty of pictures and stories concerning those times. There was one experience, however, which affected me much too deeply to clump it in with all the other stories and experiences.
I took so many pictures in Germany, it was hard to figure out which I should use for blogs, and which I should store for future remembrances.
In the end, I decided to tell the most important story first, and so it is that Dachau Concentration Camp gets its own blog...
A blog to be shared before all the others, that you all might take a small moment out of your day to reflect, and to mourn. To recognize and be thankful for all the freedoms we have today because so many people before us suffered unimaginable horrors.
My trip to Dachau Concentration Camp will haunt me for the rest of my life.
In memory of the thousands who died within the camp, as well as the thousands who died on their way there, this is Dachau, through my eyes.
This is the gate every single prisoner walked through to begin their imprisonment. The inscription on the door was a popular saying among the SS. It reads "Work sets you free" The same inscription mounts the entrance gate to Auschwitz concentration camp.
Roll call grounds were a big open space of hard, rocky ground, between the prisoners barracks and the Jourhaus. The roll-call area was bordered by the maintenance building; to mock the prisoners its roof carried the following inscription: "There is one path to freedom. Its milestones are obedience, diligence, honesty, orderliness, cleanliness, sobriety, truthfulness, sacrifice and love of the fatherland." The prisoners were forced to look at this saying at every roll call.
Life in Dachau
Each prisoner was given a badge according to their offense or heritage, homosexual prisoners were marked with a pink triangle. If a prisoner was both homosexual AND Jewish, he would receive a badge that consisted of a pink triangle with an upside-down yellow triangle behind it, the two triangles forming the Jewish star.
This photo came out extreemly eerie, as the uniform in the locker deplicts a homosexual prisoner, and Tina is reflected in the window. A German boi reflects...
Cruelty and Murder
There were a total of 34 barracks buildings when Dachau was operational. Today, all that remains are 2 reconstructed barracks, and 32 numbered foundations.
Old photo of the barrack grounds, notice the road going through the middle of the barracks and the trees lining that road.
The same view of the tree-lined road as it stands today, with nothing more than numbered foundations behind it.
A numbered foundation of an old barracks building
Bunks: Toward the end of Dachau..s operation, the camp was so crowded that they often forced up to 5 grown men to sleep in one tiny bunk
Tina in front of a locker
Murder in the camp
In the course of the war, the Dachau concentration camp increasingly became a site of mass murder: From October 1941 many thousands of Soviet prisoners of war were brought to Dachau and shot. Other prisoners, condemned for execution on Gestapo oders, were transported to Dachau and executed.
A large number of prisoners were abused by SS doctors for medical experiments; an unknown number of prisoners suffered agonizing deaths in the course of atmospheric pressure, hypothermia, malaria and many other experiments.
Beginning in January 1942, more than 3,000 prisoners were sent to the mental home at Hartheim Castle near Linz on the so-called invalid transports and murdered with poison gas.
Besides the 30,000 recorded dead, thousands of prisoners who were not registered lost their life at the Dachau concentration. They died of starvation, disease, exhaustion, degradation, from blows, and by torture. They were shot, hung and killed by injections and other experiments. reference
The original, built in 1940
The crematoriums in "barracks X" otherwise known as the death chamber, build in 1942/1943
Barracks X, "The Final Solution"
The gas chamber was to be the final solution for prisoners at Dachau. It is widely beleived that the gas chamber (constructed in 1942/1943) was never put to use, but was instead, used as a model for other death camps, such as Auschwitz. There are, however, prisoner accounts which state that small, select groups of prisoners were , in fact, escorted to the "bathhouse" and executed with gas.
Prisoners never questioned the construction of Barracks X, as they were told that the new facility was an additional bath house for the increasing population of Dachau. The gas chamber is a series of 3 rooms. You enter the building from the left, and soon find yourself in a small, tidy waiting room, where SS soldiers were to explain to you the process for using the new "bubble showers"
A small door in the middle of the wall leads to the next room, which is the preperation room. Here, you were to remove all your clothing and await your turn for the "bubble bath"
The next room is the actual gas chamber. You would enter the gas chamber through another small door with the inscription "BRAUSEBAD" (bubble shower). The first thing you see when you enter the gas chamber are the numberous shower heads in the ceiling. Shower heads that will never spout running water. Shower heads with no other purpose other than to fool prisoners into herding themselves to death quietly.
GAS CHAMBER DIAGRAM AND EXPLINATION
Inside the chamber, errily enough, most of the pictures taken of me in the actual gas chamber came out blurry. Appropriate, all things considered.
Tina in the chamber
On the other side of the gas chamber there is another door. It is much bigger than the first two, as it leads into a large storage room which is connected to the cremetorium. After the mass murder in the gas chamber, prisoners were to be dragged out through that door, and thrown in one mass lump to await their cremation and anonymous burial.
Outside of "Barracks X" , there is a path that leads you through the tree line, to sites of mass execution, thousands of unknown graves, and memorials that leave you aching and raw.
Tina, kneeling over an execution mound with a blood ditch beneath her. The point of this picture was to demonstrate what thousands of men had to face every day. A prisoner was forced to kneel over the ditch, with his hands behind his back, so an SS officer could stand behind him, point a gun at his head, and pull the trigger. The prisoners were forced to kneel with their heads down so that they would fall forward, into the blood ditch. Convenient. Of all the photos I took at Dachau, I beleive this one haunts me the most.
A boi mourns
On April 26, 1945, as American forces approached, there were 67,665 registered prisoners in Dachau and its subcamps; more than half of this number were in the main camp. Of these, 43,350 were categorized as political prisoners, while 22,100 were Jews, with the remainder falling into various other categories. Starting that day, the Germans forced more than 7,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, on a death march from Dachau to Tegernsee far to the south. During the death march, the Germans shot anyone who could no longer continue; many also died of hunger, cold, or exhaustion. On April 29, 1945, American forces liberated Dachau. As they neared the camp, they found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies brought to Dachau, all in an advanced state of decomposition. In early May 1945, American forces liberated the prisoners who had been sent on the death march. reference
Memorial Sculpture at Dachau
Memorial plaque for U.S. Troops, who gave thousands back their freedom.
6 million people died during the Holocaust... all we have left are the shells of their prisons, and their ashes. Millions of unidentified ashes, that will forever serve as a reminder... NEVER AGAIN.
This photo blog was made in memory of those who lost their lives in Dachau, and those who survived, to share their stories with us, that we might never know their torment.