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In many settings all over the world, historic pasts are memorialized through different structures, works of art, and monuments. Some of these pasts are wonderful facades of triumph and hope, and others recall a dark past, which should not soon be forgot.
Dachau Concentration Camp memorializes lost hope, death, and terror. The first concentration camp in Germany, Dachau was a labor camp first used to hold anti-Nazi political prisoners. Opened in 1933, Dachau included nearly 100 sub-camps to push Nazi agenda, where prisoners lived in constant fear of brutality and punishment by death.
On a cold, drizzling, German Sunday we headed to the most unsettling place I’ve visited in my life. Walking through the gates with “Arbiet macht free” (work will set you free), knowing this was a lie told to millions of victims detained in these camps, stomach turning at the first footstep onto the haunted grounds.
Walking through the memorial and learning of the tragedies having taken place proved life altering. Learning of people who committed suicide from mental stress, who worked to death, or tortured and killed for essentially nothing is something I personally, as I’m sure do others, remember for the rest of their lives.
Traveling to these monuments and visiting the site of tragedies everyone should venture during their lifetime. Walking in the ghostly wake of the painful sufferings opens the eyes to the world around you in a different way than other travels might.
Make your travels fun, but also take the time to sober up. Have contrast in your life, it’s not all about the bright colors. It’s about seeing the stark difference between the tragedy, and the views. Take the scenic hike, but remember why you are able to do so.