You don't seem to know, seem to care, what your heart is for

Sunday, April 25, 2010


what a devastatingly amazing memorial. Dachau was one of the first concentration camps started by the nazi's and the longest running camp, operating a total of twelve years. You walk through the main gate, with the infamous words "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work makes you free), into the main square used for roll call. It's huge. To the left are the remnants of barracks and to the right is what was once the building where they processed the prisoners, it is now the museum.

Though I was prepared for an overwhelming experience, I must honestly say it wasn't as bad as I expected. The museum is extremely informative and very interesting. I was actually fine until I reached the descriptions of the Nazi's methods of torture and the medical experiments they performed on the prisoners. The museum is moving in that it allows you to ponder the events, but it lacks the individual connections that really move one to emotion, such as one finds in memoirs and films.

As I walked through the barracks, the crematorium, the gas chamber (very eerie), I'm left wondering how a human being could do this to another human being? How does one come to the point where your purpose for getting up every morning is to murder, torture, and demoralize another human being? And I'm even more amazed at the people who were able to survive the concentration camps. The survivors listed in the museum were men who had been imprisoned for up to 4 years. How does one witness such atrocities, endure such hunger and pains, have the hope beaten out of them, and still maintain the will to live?

Today was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining, there was a warm breeze, the trees were starting to bloom and the birds were chirping in the forest. As I strolled along soaking in the sunshine, I couldn't help but ponder the circumstances some 70 years ago. What would it have been like to not be able to pause? To not be allowed to enjoy the first spring days? To dread the winter for it's bitter cold and to dread the summer for it's unrelenting sun? Do you think the birds still chirped? For some reason I seem to think that animals sense when things aren't right and settle elsewhere (or perhaps the stench of a crematorium would do it as well). At any rate, I marvel at those who survived, for I feel I would not have the strength to live so long in such a place, and I mourn for the others who lost their lives. I pray for the time when all people are respected as the sons and daughters of God that we are.


"C" said...

i love reading your blog and about all your amazing experiences....thank you for sharing them. just reading your description of the camp made my mind wonder to walking through the holocaust museum and all the emotions that brought.

Rebecca McDermott said...

yeah the memorial there is amazing. It isn't something that one could describe only feel. did you see that statue of a survivor next to the cremation room that said under it "a memorial to the dead and a warning to the living". that really got me. It is just shocking and sad

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