A day at Dachau

Day 7 (Wednesday)

Where prisoners' quarters used to be

After breakfast Wednesday morning, we went to Dachau concentration camp. Obviously this was not a “fun” part of the trip, but rather very sobering. I remembered the words of the professor that had visited our class during the spring to talk about the Holocaust; he had talked about how everyone was so interested in the Holocaust, but few people realize that similar evils continue in the world today. So as I viewed the empty space where prisoner’s horrendous living quarters once stood, I thought about other current wars in addition to the horrible acts during WWII. I did cross the bridge that separates the gas chambers form the rest of the camp, but I did not feel the need to stay very long. I have read, seen, and heard plenty about the Holocaust, and while I believe it is important to understand what happened I did not think I gained anything by staying for anything more than a quick glance. I was also bothered by the disrespect many of the German students showed for the camp by behaving as if they were in line for an amusement park. 

The gorgeous Swiss countryside

After we left the concentration camp the bus took us back to Munich. We only had a few minutes to grab our bags from the hostel and make it to the train station, so Steph and I sprinted the few blocks to the Wombat, go the key to the luggage room that all our bags were in, and began lining them out in the hall. As soon as everyone had their bag, we went back to the train station only to realize that there had been no hurry at all. This was very nice, as it gave us some time to eat one last meal in Germany and sit on the platform waiting, enjoying our last moments in Munich together. It was here that I got my second significant souvenir, a large decorative stein with an imprint of Munich and a couple other German cities.

When we finally arrived in Switzerland, I was amazed at the view. The beauty of the Alps was a sharp contrast to the bleak and dreary concentration camp – it was hard to believe such beauty and such horror could coexist only 250 miles away from each other. Even from the train the mountains looked magnificent, and I could not stop taking pictures out the train window; everything we saw looked like something off a postcard. I knew immediately I was going to love our stay in Switzerland.