- Dachau Blues...
By Phil Guidry
There is a museum on the premises, and it serves as a horrifying
living timeline of the cumulative events of the slaughter. Early
anti-Semitic propaganda, often nothing more than a flyer, poster,
or pamphlet, hang on the walls in the first stages of the museum.
I felt my flesh crawl as I witnessed, before my eyes, the rise to
power of a xenophobic, horrific ideal, an ideal that changed the
way we look at each other and ourselves.
My insides went numb as it progressively (and surprisingly rapidly)
got worse. The photographs are notorious; as I examined them, I
felt pangs of guilt for even coming to such a place. I had trouble
breathing, and my heart hammered away in my chest. I stopped just
short of the last set of photos - those related to the "tests" performed
on the prisoners at this camp. I stepped outside for a breath of
fresh air; there was none.
I came here searching for answers, and all I got were more questions.
The propaganda I'd read reiterated a need to banish all undesirable
peoples from Germany, in order to craft a 'perfect' society. Why,
then, were tens of thousands of Jews brought into Dachau from France
and other outlying regions? No, this wasn't simply the handiwork
of an evil, powerful regime. It was the worst humanity has to offer,
an evil that manifests itself once in a millennium. And this camp
represents ground zero for that manifestation.
To be honest, I'd always struggled with the concept that six million
Jews died in the Holocaust. Six million? That number seemed so intangible,
so unreal, that it was impossible for me to comprehend. I'm not
Jewish, so there has always been that gap between what I read and
understand, and what I truly feel. I understand what happened here,
but I do not feel it. Until now.