Monday, August 04, 2008
With a respectful silence that wiped over the group when we first saw the entrance gate, we looked at one another for courage and stepped slowly into Dachau Concentration Camp. Though it is impossible to comprehend the magnitude of terror and saddness experienced during the Nazi period, I felt closer to understanding than any text book or lecture could ever bring me. "Work will set you free" claimed the entrance gate. It's beyond me to gain understanding of how parts of an entire country could have ideas like those so engraved in their minds that over time they began to make perfect sense. The part of the morning that was most appalling was walking into the crematorium. My chest froze and I lost breath when we entered the waiting room. I pictured the crowds of men and women whispering their eagerness to finally have the opportunity to take a decent shower. With toiled feet and dirt and blood stains like patchwork over their clothing, they anticipated their shower. Each subsequent room seemed darker and more gray. Then we entered the last room with several ovens lined along the center. My heart sank and I was so deeply touched that the cold, empty walls almost seemed to whisper as I imagined the thousands of undeserving bodies across Germany in the different concentration camps inhumanely piled on the now rusted metal slabs that slid into the ovens. It seemed that we had just witnessed the world's cruelest crime when we left the camp. The whole experience stirred thoughts about human and animal experimentation and what results of the medical experimentation are appropriate to be released if any, though nothing about the whole period could be in the slightest bit appropriate.