I have had many opportunities to visit historical and memorial sites of WWII while traveling in Europe. Being at these sites, the whole reality of war has become more vivid in my mind. Today I find it very appropriate to write about my experience at Dachau because it manifested my nightmare last night.
The first concentration camp of WWII, founded in 1933, is in Dachau, Germany. On Easter Sunday, I made a pilgrimage there with Jon and two Jewish friends, one of whom was visiting from Israel. At the gate entrance, the sinister Nazi saying, "Arbeit Macht Frei", received us. Inside, tall brick walls, trenches, and barbed wire surrounded us. It was a very surreal experience to walk through the buildings and standing on the ground that was labored by innocent prisoners of the camp. The museum on the grounds was very educational and sobering. Observing the site of something so grave will never leave my mind, as I realized last night. The gas chamber and oven room have made an imprint in my brain that will continue to remind me of what I've seen. Despite the occurrence of my disturbing dream, I think that it is an important part of life to learn as much about the history of the past as a reminder of how not to shape the future.