Thoughts on my recent visit to Dachau concentration camp....
Last week I got the chance to go to Dachau concentration camp just outside Munich. As expected it was indeed one of the most sobering, emotional and painful experiences of my life. This was a concentration camp, different I've learned from the official "extermination camps" like Aushwitz. But I noticed one thing there - there were no women and girls it seems to ever have gone there, and perhaps not to any concentration camps where the main intention was work, or as the entrance gate says "freedom through work", i.e. extermination through work. I assume it was because it was assumed women would not make for hard workers, as the men would.
I learned that up until 1938, only Germans were sent to these camps, including priests who spoke out against the Nazi regime, and against their own church who supported Hitler; homosexuals; Romani or Roma people; "antisocials", which could include prostitutes, homeless persons, the disabled, etc.
I also learned that the most brutal conditions that consisted of perpetual fear, punishment, starvation, beatings and violence, and psychological punishment that these prisoners experienced on an hourly basis. Rare was the instance when someone would try to escape, because they knew that someone back at the camp would be punished for their act of fleeing. This knowledge that a fellow man would suffer for your act deterred most prisoners from taking their freedom into their own hands, so some chose other ways instead, like running into the electric fence and commiting suicide.
I felt the need to write about this because as I try to become a student of history more and more (at the blessed encouragement of my beloved Roberto) and I think of our modern day atrocities, like Sudan, DRC, and Zimbabwe I also am obliged to remember those brave humans who continue to speak out against all odds. Those who are willing to stand up to injustice and fear, even at the highest cost of all, and refuse to submit their will, minds and bodies to the volition of others. I am reminded of the importance of our own World Pulse community and how we are changing the face of human interaction and connection, and those among us who are being those brave warriors in various fronts - against brutal dictatorships, against HIV and AIDS, against violence against women and girls, against illiteracy and poverty, against hunger, against civil and human rights violations.
I am humbled to be in the presence of such fierce warriors of peace.