Germany Concentration Camp

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Jul 13th, 2018, 10:09 AM
  #1
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Germany Concentration Camp

Hello Everyone, Id like to take my 11 yo to see a concentration camp in Germany. I thought he maybe learning about it next year in school. I found some in different cities, are they all pretty much the same as far as educational info and set up/ tours. Do you recommend any specific one over the other.
We will be staying in Frankfurt and taking 1-2 day trip.
Please Let me know, Thanks so much.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 11:56 AM
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don't think will find any such camps - at least major ones - near Frankfurt - go to Munich perhaps and Dachau. Not sure 11-yr-olds may be ready for them anyway -pretty grim.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 12:42 PM
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Reading about the camps, even seeing video, is different from actually being there. If took me (an adult) several days to recover from visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, where I could practically feel evil seeping out of the ground. I would be inclined to wait until s/he is older. In any case, it looks like you only have a couple of choices in Germany: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...ntration-camps
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Jul 13th, 2018, 01:15 PM
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OK, you're serious? Go to Dachau and into that room that has the giant wall blowups of people being punished by hanging by their wrists and then look around: you are in the room where the picture was taken.

Frankly, I think there are better ideas for an eleven-year-old but to each their very own.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 01:27 PM
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We would have, and have had, zero concern bringing an 11 year old to such a place. Our eight year old got more out of the Hiroshima Peace Park than the rest of us. Since then he and the other two have seen some awful places, including Auschwitz.

Good for you for considering such a trip.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 01:49 PM
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You know what your 11 year old is ready to see. You can take him/her there and see as much or as little as s/he wishes. When we visited Dachau there were no original barracks, only the foundations plus one reconstructed barracks, so the grounds looked oddly sterile -- a weird dichotomy. Yes, I did find it oppressive to say the least.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by xcountry View Post
We would have, and have had, zero concern bringing an 11 year old to such a place. Our eight year old got more out of the Hiroshima Peace Park than the rest of us. Since then he and the other two have seen some awful places, including Auschwitz.
Dachau advises that parts of it aren't suitable for children below 12, Buchenwald/Mittelbau Dora also suggests not to take children at this age. Bergen-Belsen explicitly advises that the exhibition is not suited for children below 14. And Auschwitz doesn't recommend visiting for the same age either.

So your bold statement is directly opposed to the suggestions of the institutions you were visiting.

Last edited by Lubitsch; Jul 13th, 2018 at 02:01 PM.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 01:59 PM
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But Auschwitz-Birkenau is much more graphically whatever than Dachau so yes it depends and on what you have them see - and how you explain it to them. No set rule there but you kind of have to be older to fully appreciate I think.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 02:07 PM
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Dachau says:

“There is no special exhibition for children at the Dachau Memorial Site, and some of the content may not be appropriate for children under 12. It is therefore recommended that children visit the Memorial Site only when accompanied by their parents. All of the programs offered by the Education Department are for visitors over the age of 14.”

It says some content may not be appropriate, not all. The child will be with his mother. What was your point?
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Jul 13th, 2018, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by xcountry View Post
Dachau says:

“There is no special exhibition for children at the Dachau Memorial Site, and some of the content may not be appropriate for children under 12. It is therefore recommended that children visit the Memorial Site only when accompanied by their parents. All of the programs offered by the Education Department are for visitors over the age of 14.”

It says some content may not be appropriate, not all. The child will be with his mother. What was your point?
You picked of all the four institution the one with the softest wording. Auschwitz says: Visits to the Museum by children under the age of 14 are not recommended. Buchenwald says: We recommend that you do not visit the former crematorium and the exhibitions with children under 12 years of age. While Bergen-Belsen can't decide which is why the English version reads: Children under 14 years of age should only visit the Memorial in the company of an adult. While the German version flatly states that it is not suitable for children below 14.

To put it simply and bluntly, these institutions would all strongly advise against taking an eleven year old child to them. Stop pretending as if your opinion is common sense. OP should have doubts about taking his child there. Your wholehearted recommendation strikes me as irresponsible.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 02:25 PM
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And you have turned not recommended into "would all strongly advise". And my wholehearted recommendation was actually "good for you for considering such a trip". I didn't say you must go. Only the OP knows their child.

Too put it simply and bluntly your posts strike me as irresponsible.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 02:46 PM
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And a 'good' parent should have more than zero concern in taking kids as young as 8 there - now IMO that is being irresponsbile to the hilt (have you been to Dachau?). Parents should have some concerns and think twice about parts the camps themselves suggest may be inapproriate. Yes don't throw baby out with bath water but use discretion now but having 'zero concern' for bringing 8-year olds to such a palce...well (though again kids' maturity levels can vary greatly so in your case yes but others maybe no.

How old was your kid when visiting Birkenau?

Anyway I would not make a long train ride to Munich then S-Bahn + bus just to see Dachau.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 04:42 PM
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As xcountry notes, it really depends on the child and the parent's approach to that child, and the site, and frankly, the very fact that the OP asked this question shows that she is sensitive to the issues. Any suggested age criteria can at best be approximate -- some children are more mature than others; some parents provide a more appropriate emotional space for that experience than others; some parents more appropriately titrate the child's experience to his or her capacity to grow and learn (rather than shrink from, or be overwhelmed by) the experience.

I don't think there is an easy answer to this question -- and I must admit that I don't think flatly saying "no" is a particularly helpful or thoughtful answer.. I do commend the OP for asking and wish her and her son the best.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 05:31 PM
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I was 14 when I went to Bergen-Belsen with my high school class.
The excursion had been prepared in class, and we learned more of the "facts and figures" before we went.
Growing up in Germany, it obviously was no news in general.

It did not prepare me to see a pile of bones and flesh which had been 10 or more kids my age.
It did not prepare me to see photographies of children being used like lab rats in experiments.
And displayed marks of diseases they had been exposed to by the "doctors".

I would suggest you use whatever memorial site's website to familiarize yourself with the specific location.
So you can offer guidance, context and information when your child feels emotionally overwhelmed.
Don't expect anything to be softened down to accommodate smaller children.

Personally, I would never ever take an 11 year old child to a concentration camp memorial site.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 05:48 PM
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Cowboy, well stated and excellent advice. I found visiting a concentration camp memorial as a well-informed adult difficult enough. I would not consider taking an 11 year old child even if that child was familiar with the history. It is not the best introduction to Nazi atrocities.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 06:23 PM
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Wowww Thank you so much for all the information.
The reason I was considering it, is because my son had briefly learned about it in school and has been asking questions all year.
I was born in Germany and my family are part German. I think learning about this part of the German History has given him conflicting feelings.
He is very mature for his age, and has been called an old soul by a lot of people.
He is very smart and thinks a lot about things and always has a ton of questions we sometimes can't answer. I thought he could learn about the historical part of the camps, and we could ask any questions we had.
However, I must admit I did not know it was as graphic as described above.
He is mature, but also very sensitive.
After all your comments, I think I will hold off on this experience until he is older.
Thanks again for ALL your guidance ... Very Helpful.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 06:24 PM
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had no idea ... i thought we are just viewing the facilities and hearing about the history. Thank you for letting me know.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 06:24 PM
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Thank you, for letting me know, I will wait.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 06:44 PM
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Again, I'm inclined to trust your knowledge of your son and your ability to manage the visit. You could, of course, step into particular rooms / exhibits before he does, and then make a decision about what to visit. It doesn't have to be an all-or-none experience, although If you do go, I would encourage you to make the conversation very clear so he feels involved in, and perhaps even a part of, any decisions to skip particular spaces. Again, I'm sure you'll make the choice that is right for you and your soon, and again, I commend you for raising the issue ...

And I also commend those who have spoken so honestly, and powerfully, about their own experiences -- whether as witness or parent.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 07:05 PM
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One doesn’t have to visit the camps to learn about what happened as well as the how and why. There is plenty of material available concerning the Holocaust. Perhaps pursuing such alternatives would provide your son with additional formation without exposing him to the worst of the horrors at such a young age.
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