When you visit Dachau, you are thrust into another world. A disturbing world that just gets more uncomfortable as you go on. You see the yard where prisoners gather, the barracks where they slept. You walk the walk of freedom down to the old crematorium.
After you visit the old crematorium, you head over to the newer crematorium.
The new crematorium was set up to be a death chamber. In fact, we were told, it was the first one of its kind – the design that was used at other camps. But it was not never used for that purpose. The crematoriums were too busy as the war went on with the “normal” deaths – shootings of prisoners, starvation victims, etc.
As you enter the building, you pass by these.
These are the slots where poisonous gas would have been dropped into the death chamber to kill everyone in the room.
Then you go in and you see all the efforts made to ensure that the prisoners wouldn’t revolt at the last minute.
You have chambers where prisoners are gathered and told they are about to take a shower. They are fumigated for disease and then told to strip down before going into the “shower” room.
And then they would see this door.
And then enter the death chamber.
I think this room is the more terrifying and disturbing room I have ever been in. You can almost hear the screams of victims from other rooms like this. You feel people scratching at the walls in a desperate attempt to escape. When you go here, you can’t help but be silent, just like everyone who passes through this room. You and everyone else knows what this room would have been used for. This is a room that every person on the planet should walk through at least once in their lives. When you do, you understand the horror that can happen.
After the death room, the bodies are stacked up in another room, and then sent on to the crematorium.
It’s a whole process – so ordered, controlled and deadly. So sad and disturbing that it boggles the mind.
When you visit Dachau, you don’t come away happy like so many other destinations. Instead, you come away very disturbed and uncomfortable. It’s something you can’t forget, nor should you.