A day in Dachau?

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Leeraar
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A day in Dachau?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:02 pm

I will have free time in Dachau, near Munich, Germany next Friday evening and Saturday. I plan to visit the aircraft museum and Schloss at Schleissheim in in the morning, and the concentration camp in the afternoon.

Any suggestions for restaurants or other pursuits? I will be at a local hotel, on a mostly solo business trip.

L.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: A day in Dachau -- Unforgettable. . .

Post by Taylor Larimore » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:09 pm

Leeraar:

My visit to the Dachau concentration camp was one of the most meaningful days of my life.

Dachau is an unforgettable lesson of how propaganda and lies persuade civilized people to do horrible things.

Best wishes.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by mhc » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:18 pm

Be prepared mentally and emotionally when you visit the concentration camp. I went almost 30 years ago, and I still have graphic images in my mind.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by chrysogonus » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:32 pm

I've been to the concentration camp. I think the best way to describe it is that it's a worthwhile and memorable experience.

It's not "fun," but also not worth missing.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by dickenjb » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:34 pm

We were there two years ago. Highly recommended. One of the things you will learn is that the Holocaust victims were not only Jews but also many other groups of people. Very moving.

If you like Doener Kebab there is a place right across from the train station, near where you catch the bus to the KZ camp. I think we fed a family of 4 for about 20 euro.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by thewizzer » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:37 pm

I was there about 4 weeks ago.

If you are using public transportation, take the S2 (green) train line to the Dachau stop. There will be a bus waiting at the bus stop directly adjacent to the station that goes to the memorial site. If you buy a single day ticket for 11.7 Euros, you can use both the bus and the train system all day.

Admission to the memorial site is free. I suggest you spend the 3.5 Euro for an audio guide. I only got to spend two hours at the actual memorial. That was enough time to experience everything, but I could have probably spent about 6 hours there. There is a large amount of information to go through in the museum.

It's a somber place. I'm not an overly emotional type, but even I was deeply moved almost to the point of tears. It was an experience I will never forget.

As for food, there is a decent small cafeteria in the information center (the same place you rent the audio guide). Otherwise, I suppose you can find something to eat near the bus stop/train station (as someone else noted).

I would make sure that this is a priority, ahead of any other things you might want to do during your short sightseeing window.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:54 pm

dickenjb wrote:We were there two years ago. Highly recommended. One of the things you will learn is that the Holocaust victims were not only Jews but also many other groups of people. Very moving.
Yes, I have read that Dachau was established early (1933) compared to the other camps, for political prisoners (Communists), then for homosexuals, then for Jews, ...

All I can say, it is something I feel a need to do.

By the way, I have been to the air branch of the Deutsche Museum at Schleissheim before. It is a truly fascinating place, if you are an engineer or aircraft nut like me.

http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/flugw ... formation/

It is replete with the history of German aviation between the world wars, and then in the cold war. And, on an airfield that seems unchanged since the days of the Red Baron.

L.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by coacher » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:05 pm

My advice is take it all in and take back the feeling and lessons to your children, grandchildren, and any other young people you know so that you may all have a part in building a brighter and more tolerant future for us all. Best wishes for a meaningful trip.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Steelersfan » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:09 pm

Leeraar wrote:
Yes, I have read that Dachau was established early (1933) compared to the other camps, for political prisoners (Communists), then for homosexuals, then for Jews, ...

All I can say, it is something I feel a need to do.

By the way, I have been to the air branch of the Deutsche Museum at Schleissheim before. It is a truly fascinating place, if you are an engineer or aircraft nut like me.

http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/flugw ... formation/

It is replete with the history of German aviation between the world wars, and then in the cold war. And, on an airfield that seems unchanged since the days of the Red Baron.

L.
I'm going to visit Dachau in September. Do remember how you did the public transportation to visit both the concentration camp and the museum to and from the S-Bahn station?

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:18 pm

Yes, I do not expect this to be an entirely sightseeing trip.

When I was previously at the Schleissheim air museum, I had no idea it was close to Dachau.

L.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:37 pm

Steelersfan wrote:
Leeraar wrote:
Yes, I have read that Dachau was established early (1933) compared to the other camps, for political prisoners (Communists), then for homosexuals, then for Jews, ...

All I can say, it is something I feel a need to do.

By the way, I have been to the air branch of the Deutsche Museum at Schleissheim before. It is a truly fascinating place, if you are an engineer or aircraft nut like me.

http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/flugw ... formation/

It is replete with the history of German aviation between the world wars, and then in the cold war. And, on an airfield that seems unchanged since the days of the Red Baron.

L.
I'm going to visit Dachau in September. Do remember how you did the public transportation to visit both the concentration camp and the museum to and from the S-Bahn station?
Yes,

From the main station in Munich you buy a 2-zone ticket to Oberschleissheim, which is north of the city and near the airport. The palace grounds and air museum are an easy 1 km walk south from the train station.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Obers ... 77f4?hl=en

Dachau and the camp are a few km to the west: I have not yet been there.

L.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Rich Cape Cod » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:55 pm

Some old pictures of Dachau I took while serving in Germany (1967 or so).

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Toons » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:06 pm

Rich Cape Cod wrote:Some old pictures of Dachau I took while serving in Germany (1967 or so).

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Goldfinger » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:51 pm

Leeraar,

I visited Dachau in 1996 and have very vivid memories. I visited Germany, Austria, and Italy during a 2 week period that year, and Dachau stands out the most. There was a former prisoner who would visit Dachau every day as part of his therapy to come to terms with what happened there. If memory serves, he was in his 70's at the time. He showed us (my group) several pictures of himself when he was there, the ovens, the unbearable conditions, as well as a few people he knew there who died.

What I really cannot shake is the pictures on display of one particular prisoner who was subjected to some of the most inhumane experiments you could imagine.

I couldn't tell you the first thing about transportation there, food, other things, etc., except to say that it will be a very moving experience for you that you will never forget. "nie vergessen" (never forget)

I do recommend a tour guide. It would be well worth it.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Erwin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:18 am

And yet racism is still very prevailing specially in Europe.
Erwin

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Leeraar » Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:41 am

mpt follower wrote:And yet racism is still very prevailing specially in Europe.
Thank you, all.

I might note that I was born in South Africa but was lucky enough to make my life (after age 25) in the USA, a white refugee of that racist society.

(Not that the USA gets a clean report card on this account.)

L.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Copper John » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:17 am

I am the son of Auschwitz survivors who have both passed on the last 5 years. In an age when the last living survivors of the Holocaust are becoming fewer and fewer it is imperative we know their stories. This is critical in the world of the internet where Holocaust deniers can spew their hatred. This hatred can only be countered with the light of knowledge. Please share your post-visit thoughts and experience with all of us here and all of those you encounter in your daily life.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Steelersfan » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:31 am

Leeraar wrote:
Steelersfan wrote:
I'm going to visit Dachau in September. Do remember how you did the public transportation to visit both the concentration camp and the museum to and from the S-Bahn station?
Yes,

From the main station in Munich you buy a 2-zone ticket to Oberschleissheim, which is north of the city and near the airport. The palace grounds and air museum are an easy 1 km walk south from the train station.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Obers ... 77f4?hl=en

Dachau and the camp are a few km to the west: I have not yet been there.

L.
They look so close but I checked the train/bus schedules and there are two bus legs and on some routings an S-Bahn bit to get from one to the other. Too bad. I'll be there during Oktoberfest and I can't use my whole day tripping around and miss any of that. I'll just visit the concentration camp.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by ocdokie » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:12 am

I remember my parents talking about their visit to Dachau in the late 1950s. Dad was U.S. military and had duty stations is both France and Germany during this time. He, Mom, and older sibs decided to visit Dachau one weekend. Although Dad had a vague idea where it was, there were no signs. More than once, they stopped to ask the locals how to get there. The locals vehemently denied the existence of the place. Despite the stonewalling, my family eventually found the camp and toured it. My sibs still have vivid memories of the experience, more than 50 years later.

Have a good visit.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by tarheal93 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:48 am

Went last July. Ended up spending 6-7 hours there (intended few hours). One of the most moving experiences of my life.

Would recommend the audio tour. Gives you time and freedom to examine things of interest. The official tour is too fast paced. The audio tour lets you plug in numbers and it will give you much more detail. Very easy to do. There is a small charge but well worth it. Admission is free.

We took a cab there and it was easy and just 20-30 % more than the train. It is interesting but with the cab from Munich, and I have heard this has happened to others, our German /Munich born cab driver acted like he did not know where Dachau was. The German national angst is still alive and rightfully so.

Food wise we ate in Munich before and after. Small cafeteria at camp. I am sure you can find a decent meal in the town of Dachau.

Dachau was the first camp established in 1933. It was also the main SS training camp--never opened to public. The stories of the individuals who died are a lesson to all of us. Enjoy the visit but leave yourself enough time--please.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by thewizzer » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:54 am

ocdokie wrote:I remember my parents talking about their visit to Dachau in the late 1950s. Dad was U.S. military and had duty stations is both France and Germany during this time. He, Mom, and older sibs decided to visit Dachau one weekend. Although Dad had a vague idea where it was, there were no signs. More than once, they stopped to ask the locals how to get there. The locals vehemently denied the existence of the place. Despite the stonewalling, my family eventually found the camp and toured it. My sibs still have vivid memories of the experience, more than 50 years later.

Have a good visit.
I remember part of the audio tour commented on this. It wasn't until sometime in the 1960's (I want to say '67, but I could be wrong) that strong international pressure led to the creation of the current memorial. Prior to that, I think the locals (and Germany as a whole) were content with trying to let it slip into the past. This seems to be in line with what your parents experienced.

I will say that in my recent experience, this is no longer the case.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by hicabob » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:09 am

My German associates told me not to bother when I suggested going there a few years back. We went to a biergarten instead.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Steelersfan » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:15 am

thewizzer wrote:
I remember part of the audio tour commented on this. It wasn't until sometime in the 1960's (I want to say '67, but I could be wrong) that strong international pressure led to the creation of the current memorial. Prior to that, I think the locals (and Germany as a whole) were content with trying to let it slip into the past. This seems to be in line with what your parents experienced.

I will say that in my recent experience, this is no longer the case.
I've been all over Germany multiple times and I agree with your current assessment. Many towns have museums that highlight the Nazi horrors of WWII or memorials to the holocaust victims.

The only towns I've been where there were still bad feelings toward the Allies (but not good feelings toward the Nazis) were Dresden and Wurzburg, both cities of no strategic importance, both destroyed by bombing very late in the war.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by bltkmt » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:18 am

mhc wrote:Be prepared mentally and emotionally when you visit the concentration camp. I went almost 30 years ago, and I still have graphic images in my mind.
This.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by likegarden » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:26 pm

I lived there 1965 for half a year while working in North Munich. Trains went regularly from Munich Hbf to Dachau. To visit the former KZ I took a local public bus. At that time only the entrance and far in the back the crematorium were still standing. It seems they rebuilt barracks. Do not believe that the whole German population knew what was going on in these camps. There was a dictatorship in power which lets you only know what they think you need to know, no free press.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by RedRose » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:55 am

I went to the camp in 1974 after graduating high school.
I'll never forget that experience.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Leeraar » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:15 am

Steelersfan wrote:They look so close but I checked the train/bus schedules and there are two bus legs and on some routings an S-Bahn bit to get from one to the other. Too bad. I'll be there during Oktoberfest and I can't use my whole day tripping around and miss any of that. I'll just visit the concentration camp.
You might consider a taxi cab between the camp and the air museum.

L.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by rjm_cali » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:42 am

Following a trip to Prague I visited Buchenwald. Like others have said - interesting from a historical perspective but also to keep alive the memory of what happened at these places. I have seen discussion in the press about the preservation of these sites. Rebuild them and they risk losing that historical credibility or at worst turning into merely a "tourist site" or let them fade away and risk that memory fading away too.

My abiding memory of Buchenwald was seeing it in colour. It was a beautiful day and there was a lovely view of the valley from the site. It had never occurred to me that others at the time going through unimaginable horror would have seen the same view in the same weather. All I have to compare is grainy black and white footage.

I would have to say one has a duty to visit if you are in the area if only to attempt to pass it on to the next generation as it fades from living memory.

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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by abuss368 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:54 am

This was a very moving post. I can only imagine the experience of visiting.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by mlebuf » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:14 pm

Two stories about Dachau:

In the late '90's my wife, Elke and I visited Germany in May. She was born in the Bavarian village of Bad Tolz during the Battle of the Bulge and immigrated to the US when she was 16. We spent one of our mornings touring Dachau. I swear, the place still had a strange smell, although I don't know where it came from. When we pulled into the parking area I noticed a good number of tour buses. It turned out that those tour buses were there to transport German high school seniors to tour Dachau. I believe some or all schools required it for graduation. Once we were in the camp, we saw a group of high school students surrounding what appeared to be a teacher talking very forcefully to them. Not speaking German I asked Elke to tell me what he was telling them. The line I remember most well went something like this: "You need to know and understand that our people did these horrible things to those poor people and we must never let it happen again!"

While that gave me hope, the visit was a stark reminder of what horrible things can happen when genocidal maniacs get power. It was reassuring to see the German people making sure that the horrors of the Holocaust were not being swept under the rug.

The second story: During my college teaching days, one of my faculty colleagues and a dear friend had been an aide to General Patton during the war. After his wife passed away, I would go over to his house about once a month, pick him up and we would go have lunch somewhere. In April 1995 the world was commemorating the 50th anniversary of VE Day and I saw a special on the Holocaust. The next day, Richard and I were having lunch. I asked him if he had seen any of the concentration camps during the war. He told me that he was with Patton when they liberated Dachau. I asked him if he felt the German people living nearby knew what was going on. He said the smell was so bad that he didn't see how they could not have known. When I asked him what he remembered, he said the place didn't look too bad from the outside. However, as he walked back into the camp he saw the piles of bodies stacked up, people near death who were little more than skin and bones, corpses of the recently deceased laying in the streets, people laying in barren wooden barracks and all the horrors we have seen in photos and motion pictures. He said it made Patton ill and he literally threw-up. However, Richard said for all the horror he saw, the one thing that bothered him most was how desensitized the SS guards had become to the whole process of the horror they were creating. They just acted is if it were business as usual, and that really troubled him.

Shortly after it opened, I spent an afternoon touring the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and highly recommend it. I felt it was a better overall education of the Holocaust and the horrors that were perpetrated on millions of innocents than the tour of Dachau.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Leeraar » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:34 pm

Thank you all, I leave for Munich tomorrow night.

For me, it is somehow important to go to the actual place.

L.
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by roymeo » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:46 pm

Follow it up with a trip to Manzanar if you're looking for a bit of guilt a little closer to home?
http://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by tarheal93 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:20 pm

If we are going that line then go to Andersonville, Georgia and the US National Prisoner of War Museum. See how we did in the 1860s.
www.nps.gov/ande/planyourvisit/natl_pow_museum.htm
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by BW1985 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:08 am

Has anyone been on a guided WWII tour in Europe? I'm a WWII buff and this is at the top of my bucket list.

Has anyone been to the Auschwitz memorial?
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World War II tour in Europe ?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:19 pm

Has anyone been on a guided WWII tour in Europe? I'm a WWII buff and this is at the top of my bucket list.
BW:

The best tour is not even close.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Re: World War II tour in Europe ?

Post by BW1985 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:51 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Has anyone been on a guided WWII tour in Europe? I'm a WWII buff and this is at the top of my bucket list.
BW:

The best tour is not even close.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Taylor, I'm not sure what you mean. Not even close to the experience of visiting a camp? From what I've heard the tours will visit one or more camp memorials. I wouldn't take a tour that didn't.
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The horrors of war.

Post by Taylor Larimore » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:56 pm

BW1985 wrote:
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Has anyone been on a guided WWII tour in Europe? I'm a WWII buff and this is at the top of my bucket list.
BW:

The best tour is not even close.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Taylor, I'm not sure what you mean. Not even close to the experience of visiting a camp? From what I've heard the tours will visit one or more camp memorials. I wouldn't take a tour that didn't.
BW:

I was trying to say that the horrors of WWII were so terrible that it is impossible to comprehend. OVER FIFTY MILLION PEOPLE WERE KILLED. Most in a way to horrible to describe -- not to mention their loved ones and hospitals filled with crippled survivors.--plus the gigantic monetary cost.

For a World War II Buff, The Guns of Last Light may be the best book about the war in Europe. It was written in 2013 by Rick Atkinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The book was named Best Books of the Year by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post:

The Guns at Last Light

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by BW1985 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:04 pm

Taylor,

Thanks for the book recommendation. I agree that it's impossible to fully comprehend the horror without having been in battle. I do however still see value in visiting places like Normandy, The Ardennes, Bastogne, Dachau, The Eagle's Nest, etc.

Here are two of the tours that I was referring to:

http://stephenambrosetours.com/d-day-tours

http://www.beyondbandofbrothers.com/itineraries11/
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Re: A day in Dachau?

Post by Leeraar » Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:25 am

I was there today.

The taxi ride from the Air Museum in Schleissheim to the Dachau Camp was €19.50.

From the camp to the Dachau train station is a 40-minute walk, about 3 km. Parts of the original road (path of remembrance) from the station to the camp seem to survive as a pedestrian and bicycle path along Friedenstrasse. There are no particular markings on the route - it is on a map I got at my hotel.

At the camp: The audio tour thingy is essential. It is €3,50 . There is a 25-minute movie that plays on the half hour, but in English only every two hours or so. Highly recommended. I was lucky enough to catch it in English at the start of my visit.

Allow 2.5 hours for the movie, and a walk through the grounds and the exterior features. Plus, 30 - 60 minutes in the museum.

Emotions and opinions may follow in a later message, but I am not sure.

I walked through a gas chamber today, and stood in a room that held thousands of bodies over time, before the incinerators.

L.
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