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When to visit Dachau during our Germany trip?

When to visit Dachau during our Germany trip?

Jul 9th, 2006, 10:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 844
When to visit Dachau during our Germany trip?

We are in the early stages of planning our second trip to Germany. Dachau is personally a sensitive subject and we cannot decide when to visit. I think we will come away from there with a very heavy feeling. Should it be one of the first things we see and have the images in our mind through the rest of the trip, or wait until the end and have it as one of the final reminders of the trip?

Maybe someone has a suggestion on a light evening activity after Dachau that would help transition the mood.
ltr is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 903
I would do it at the beginning of your trip to get it over with.

We first visited Dachau in 1970 while I was in the US Army in Germany. They were filming a documentary while we were there. My wife did not want to go into the HQ building and just watched the filming. She was upset at being there.

We visited again in 2001 with friends that wanted to see it. Not much had changed.

There are no original barrracks there anymore. There is one reconstructed barrack. The HQ building is original and is now a museum. The crematory is still there. Be sure to go behind the HQ building to see cells for "special" inmates.

Interesting story: A friend of mine in the Army spoke German and could never get anyone in the town of Dachau in 1970 to give him directions to the camp. He finally found a US Army post and they told him.

Another item: German license plates indicate your town of registration. S=Stuttgart, etc. In the 70s people with Dachau registrations were being hassled at the borders so many Dachau residents registered their cars in nearby Munich to avoid a Dachau plate. I think it was DH and a number. Feelings were still very heated at that time.

All in all....interesting to visit and see this part of history, but not a real upper.
traveldawg is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 181
We have made two visits to Dachau and I am not sure it matters when you go. You leave with a heavy heart as well you should. There is just the most awful feeling of desolation. For us it was a pilgrimage to those who suffered in that camp.
Raydotman is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 03:26 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 570
I agree with those who say "it doesn't matter when you go" because you will be forever changed FOR THE BETTER. It's perhaps the most sobering experience I've ever had. It's haunting and energizing. We must keep working to rid the world of genocide.
mkdiebold is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 04:38 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts. I am going to try to plan it at the start, but not concern myself if we wait until the end of the trip. I agree that we will be change for the better.
ltr is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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When I was working in Munich in late seventies I invited my two Polish uncles, who both spent several years there during WWII. One of them ( a catholic priest) had a misfortune to be transfered from there to Auschwitz as an experimental rabbit (=they made medical experiments on him, infecting him with all sorts of stuff - he was lucky to survive. The one who was in Dachau only thought it was the most horrible place on earth, the other thought Dachau was quite bearable comparing to Auschwitz. I worked in Munich again five years ago, when both my uncles were dead, and went to Dachau alone. It seemed a lot less "alive" without their live memories, but no less heavy. I think it is a must experience, especially if you take into account that this was a "semi civilized treatment" camp comparing to Auschwitz and other extermination camps.
But I would not wish anyone to keep it as the last, may be dominating, impression of Germany.
Anciana is offline  

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