I had in my right pocket a slip of paper with the name and address of a nice german woman from Dachau whom I had met on a tour in Greece. I thought I would perhaps go look for her after visiting the infamous concentration camp. Well, I didn't. I couldn't. I was in no mood to walk around or talk to any inhabitant of the city. I wanted to leave the place that had witnessed unimaginable horrors, as quick as possible.
[I am reminded of my visit to Dachau by the recent news regarding the theft of the iron inscription at the entrance of Auschwitz death camp: 'Arbeit macht frei' (Work sets you free or Work brings freedom).
The Dachau camp had a similar iron inscription at its entrance] .
The concentration camp was built by prisoners on the grounds of an abandoned gun powder factory outside the city in 1933. It was the first concentration camp and it served as a model for the other Nazi camps that followed. It had two main parts: barracks and a crematorium . Almost 30,000 prisoners are believed to have died in the camp and its subcamps.
No way people living in Dachau at that time didn't hear or see anything about the atrocities (slavery work, tortures, medical experiments, inhumane living conditions, extermination) that went on at the camp located east of their clean, peaceful town. More likely they ignored both the rumours and the visible facts.
Nowadays, europeans and germans in particular, claim in private conversations, that they feel they are being punished for what they 've done to the jews. Foreigners from third world countries, they say, have 'invaded' Europe, destroy its culture, traditions, landscapes - and the locals feel helpless about it.
Helpless? Well, they''ll probably come up with something (evil), they'll invent something nobody has ever thought of (like gas chambers), they'll find a (final) solution. History, I'm afraid, has the tendency of repeating itself.