Dachau Today – Sam Wollenberg

By July 5, 2008Uncategorized

Despite the misleadings of my title, today was not the day I visited Dachau. This post comes a week and a bit later due to some undeniable procrastination and my tendency to process and understand emotions a bit further down the road. Dachau for me today, in our current society, is what stuck with me the most this past week and really got me thinking about how we, as individuals and collectively, deal with tragedy and evil on such a grand scale.

Having a reasonably large understanding of WWII and the holocaust prepared me somewhat for what i was going to see and although the images of the prisoners and their treatment brought a deeper connection, i wasn`t completely ruined. I was more interested in the actions taken after the liberation of the camp in 1945 by American troops. One of the first questions to myself upon entering the camp was “how could one possible move on from here?” It shocked me to find out at the end of the museum section that the general mentality surrounding Dachau and much of Germany was “Repress and Forget”. The town of Dachau even began building apartment buildings on the concentration camp property shortly after the war. It wasn’t until a group of previous prisoners spoke up for the creation of a memorial site in 1965 that a serious plan was put into action. Memories and emotions were repressed in hopes that history would erase itself.

It is quite obvious that this mentality wasn’t entirely successful and consequences came and people were brought to a level of justice. And while ” Never Forget” can seem cliche and ineffective sometimes, current reminders of our past are; i think, an effective way of combating repetitive mistakes. Time is up but i hope to wrap up some of my still unprocessed thoughts in my next post.