We had a relatively early start today for our tour of Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial in Dachau, Germany (about 25 minutes by train from Munich). It so happened our tour-guide-to-be was on the same train with us and some of the kids/leaders struck up a conversation. That helped when we arrived at Dachau since we were a few minutes late. He invited all the boys to go on the tour. Originally, the rules were that boys 13 and under could only do the self-guiding audio tour and those 14 and over could take the guide-led tour. Our guide didn’t seem to worry about that and we all got to take the guided tour. We were late and he was because we walked to the camp along the “path of remembrance.” This was the path/road most of the prisoners walked on from the train station in Dachau to the concentration camp about 2 miles away. They walked by houses and businesses of the local Dachau citizens and most citizens just looked the other way. We learned that after the camp was liberated by the US Army, the people of Dachau were made to walk through the camp so they couldn’t deny its existence. (Today, all school children in Bavaria must tour the camp when they’re 14 years old.)
It was a somber experience as our guide (Tobias) explained how the process worked as prisoners arrived in the camp and were processed. We saw the prisoner holding cells, the barracks (originally meant to hold 200 but in reality held 2,000), the gas chambers, and the cremation rooms. We learned a lot about this sad part of history. It was an important lesson and a good visit.
We took the city bus from the memorial site back to Dachau and found a place to have lunch. Afterwards, we walked into the old part of town of Dachau to check it out. And of course, we found an ice-cream stand and enjoyed some scoops.
Boys and leaders were getting pretty tired now and the boys “said” they wanted to go back to the hotel and chill. (Chilling in our hotels isn’t something we often do because we usually go from morning to evening…but also because most of our hotels haven’t had air conditioning including this one in Munich.) But, we did give everyone about two hours just to relax and I think that was appreciated. It’s also the time when I got most of my photo posting and trip notes caught up to date online.
For dinner we walked to a nearby local institution called “Augustiner Keller.” We had reservations secured months ago so our table was waiting. The restaurant, a biergarten dating back over 500 years, seats over 1,000 people outdoors. It was a pleasant experience and another good day.