This morning we took a local train about fifteen minutes (more like a light rail train) to the town of Dachau for a walk through a concentration camp memorial. For most boys (and just about all visitors) it was a sobering experience. We passed through the iron gates with the inscription, “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work will set you free), which was the first message prisoners saw as they passed through the gate into this concentration camp. Over 206,000 “undesirables” were interned here between 1933-1945. I asked some boys to relate one thing they learned after their walk through. Some remembered lots, some very little, but I think it at least had some kind of learning impact on all. One of our kids did say he read that all the citizens of Dachau were made to walk through the camp after it was liberated by the United States Army in 1945 so they too would know what the world would soon know.
We needed something more lighthearted after that experience so we took the train back into Munich and got off at Marienplatz, a large pedestrian plaza with tons of shops, restaurants, churches, etc. We let the boys go off to lunch in small groups and gave them time to do a little shopping afterwards. We did get caught in a small rain shower, the first rain we’ve had the whole trip that actually fell on us. It did bring a bit of relief from the heat.
By then it was nearing 5 o’clock so we returned to our hotel for some rest time before going out to dinner at the Haufbrau Haus, a cavernous centuries old beer hall which dishes out hearty German fare. I will say, and most boys will agree, we’ve eaten well on this trip.
Tomorrow is our last touring day on this trip. No guarantee there will be a blog or photos from tomorrow until we return, but there will certainly be a wrap-up post within a couple of days.