When I get to Dachau (pronounced Dak-ow), the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. I grab my camera, map and audio guide and hurriedly bundle up in layers. But nothing can quite prepare me for what I’m about to witness. It’s a bleak winter afternoon and the tourist crowds have thinned.
Once meant to serve as a “model” concentration camp, Dachau witnessed the barbaric murder of 41,500 prisoners. I remember the unspeakable crimes and realize I’m standing on hallowed ground.
Affixed to the gate are the words, “Arbeit macht frei” – a German phrase meaning “work sets you free.” From the minute the prisoners entered the gates, a death sentence awaited them. A death of dignity, humanity and anything remotely sacred.
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