Sunday, April 18, 2010


So, I went to Dachau. It was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever had in my life. I honestly feel like I came out of Dachau a different person. I feel, after having been inside of a concentration camp, the enormous gravity of man's cruelty toward man. The horror of it hit me like a sack of bricks. I'm not going to describe Dachau to you, reader. I'm not going to tell you what I did and how I did it, what I saw or what the weather was like. Dachau is a personal experience for everyone that chances on experiencing it and it isn't something I care to recreate except for myself. I don't imagine that I could adequately relate to you what it was like to be inside of Dachau, anyway. I will, however, post a stream of consciousness piece that I wrote for my travel writing class. This experience, the one I write in the context of in this piece, this experience that I had was real. I went into the movie theatre of Dachau to watch a complementary introduction film that the concentraton camp offers at certain times of day as a preliminary supplement to your Dachau tour. What you're about to read really happened to me. I hope you aren't offended by what I wrote. Anyway, here it is:

Whoa. Crowded. Dark. Don’t bump these people. Late, hate being late. Ugh! Shut up behind me. No respect. People watching movie. Are they all American? English speakers, at least. So crowded. Can we even sit? Further down, maybe seats. More English speaking than others in Dachau, I guess. Weird. No seats anywhere! Why are there so many people here? How long is this movie? Standing will suck. Wait. Seats, two.
“Caitlin.” Whisper. Can’t be loud. Respect. “Seats, two rows down.” Quiet. All the way in. Don’t want to bump this family. Move. Don't get it. Why is this little girl in Dachau? Parents, so irresponsible. “’Scuse me, ‘scuse me.” Move your feet. Sorry. You’re rude. Sorry. Okay. No cushions? Wooden. So dark. Okay.
Dachau was the first concentration camp opened in Germany. It was meant to be a model… I wonder how they got these pictures. Awful. Graphic. This is intense. Grey walls. Look burnt. So offensive. Concentrate, Gab. …layout applied to later camps. History will never know how many died here… Oh, God. Can't believe that picture. That poor little girl. Hope her mom covers her eyes. So vivid. Murder. I don’t like this. The walls, fried. Why? Charred, gray, bumpy. So mean. Why? Wait. Why is the door closed? Concentrate. …occupied from 1933 to 1960. Sources estimate that there were over 200,000 prisoners held… Holy shit. Can they show that? Oh, oh, oh my gosh. They can’t show that. …political prisoners and the rest were Jews. There is no evidence of mass murder in the camps. Dachau’s massive death tolls can be attributed to poor sanitation, starvation, no medical care, exhaustion, medical experiments… Holy.. Holy shit. I don’t want to see this anymore. Walls. Burnt. Why? They look so burnt. Insensitive interior designer. Asshole. Oh my God. This is horrible. …crematorium built to get rid of the bodies. At this point there were so many they were left in piles in the back of the camp. It is still intact… Ew. Why? Take it down. Not memorial, just mean. Don't need the crematorium anymore. Can they show this stuff? These walls. …gas chamber, but may have never been used for mass murder. It is unknown whether… Oh my God. The walls. Dark. Closed door. Oh my God. No. They can't still have a gas chamber. Out. Have to get out. Gonna gas me. Air. Need air. Don’t understand. Why is the door closed? Can I get out? Need to get out. Get up. Can’t stand up. Gab. You’re not going to be gassed. Relax. Calm down. Ridiculous. So many people. You’re on a trip, they wouldn’t kill you. Gonna kill me. Don’t want to die. Okay. Breathe. Can’t breathe. Deep breath in. Relax. Watch movie.
…torture was unbearable, but the hunger was worse. Oh my God. They can’t show this! I’m gonna cry. Don’t cry. Don’t sniff. So small, so thin. No food. Its gruel. Climbing over each other. Just gruel. Starved animals. Kill each other just for gruel. Only one spoonful. Bones. Skin and bones. Can see the ribcage. Are there organs in there? …they decided who got fed on which days. Certain prisoners were never given a meal. They were only allowed scraps and leftover breadcrumbs. Water was a privilege… Gonna gas us. Can’t breathe. Gonna die. Young. Can’t die. Holy shit. God, please help me. Please help me. I don’t want to die yet. Please, God. The walls, grey, burned. Bumps of burn. Gonna cremate me. No one will know. Please help me. Why? Okay, Gab. Pull yourself together. Chill out. You’re fine. You’re not going to die. No one is going to gas you. This isn’t a war. There is no more holocaust. Watch the movie. Don’t cry. Stop crying. Not afraid. So sad. Why? …typhus outbreak, taking more lives than… Don’t cry. Don’t throw up. Wish I could save them. Piles, bodies, souls. Where are their souls? Can they show this? …mountains of dead bodies that the American liberators found… Gonna vomit. Feet. So thin. Bodies. Pale. Thin. Dead. So many. So pointless. Who were they? Gonna gas me. Pile us all. No. Gab, relax. Shave my head. Make me work. Starved. Pain. They can't show this. How do they have these pictures? Piles, mountains, dead. No, no no. I don’t like this.
second camp to be liberated by American troops. Can they show this? The walls, so rude. Please. God bless America. So many. Boys. Poor kids. Dead. No family. I want my family. Am I gonna die? I don’t want to die. The walls. Are they gonna gas me? So many dead. How many survived? Tell me some survived. They need to survive. Oh, God. This isn’t real. I want to go home. Is it over? Lights. Thank you. Lights. Oh, God, thank you. Open the doors. Please, open the doors. Thank you. The doors. Opening. Standing. Moving. He’s crying. That man is crying. Caitlin is crying. I’m crying. Outside, air. Oh, God, thank you. Air. Light.

Thats how I felt inside the movie theatre. Just imagine how it was inside the camp. I encourage you, reader, to visit a camp if you're near one. Or if you go to D.C., go to the museum. Pay respects.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby

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