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|From: "Kate McMullin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 2002 03:32:09 +1000 (EST)
We were a little slow to get moving after the night before, and so missed the train we had been intending to catch to Munich. But it turns out they're every twenty minutes or so at that time of day, so it wasn't a problem. Found the hostel, all of about 3 mins walk from the main station. So convenient! Walked back to the station and signed up for another walking tour. This time one of Dachau concentration camp memorial. The whole site is now one huge memorial to the victims of the camp. It cost a bit, but it was worth it. Dachau is a suburb of Munich, about half an hour out of central Munich by public transport. Dachau concentration camp was the original concentration camp, which operated between 1933 and 1945. This was where the Nazis put all their political opponents, etc when they first came to power. It must be said that Dachau was never an 'extermination' camp, but rather caused the hundreds of thousands through starvation, hard labour, disease, medical experiments and torture. It was also part of the network of camps throughout Europe, so there was a constant shipping of people off to camps that were operating as part of 'the final solution'. The camp had 34 long bunker houses, each desiged to take around 600 people each. When liberation occurred in 1945, the US troops found 2000 people per bunker, squashed in in the most terrible conditions. We went through the crematorium (incinerator) building, and saw the gas chamber (disguised as a shower block). They are pretty sure that the gas chamber was never used other than for initial testing. In the grounds of the creamtorium there are many monuments and plaques in memory of those who died there. Everyone was silent as we went past them. Overall the experience was amazing, very moving, and extrememly horrifying. I'm not going to repeat the stories we were told, it's just too horrible. There were a few moments when I had to fight back the tears, at the stories of cruelty and torture, but also at the stories of bravery and courage. Back in town, and after a fantastic vegie pizza for dinner, we went for a walk into the city. We found a number of buskers plying their arts late into the night. The best was a string trio (2x violins and a cello): they performed Vivaldi's concerto for 2 violins, 4 seasons Spring and Winter, and Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (at an amazing tempo). They were so professional, although their sound missed a certain something, namely, a viola! That was a pleasant close to an emotionally tiring day. We also happened upon a 24hr intrnet cafe, with very cheap rates. Either 1 ($1.76) for 36mins, or buy a card for unlimited use in 24hrs for only 4! Brilliant! BTW, my arms are getting tanned. Scary concept...
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