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Everything at Dachau Concentration camp has been either destroyed or renovated. Brand new bunk beds in one of the remaining barracks, clean crematories, even the hooks where they would hang prisoners look like they’ve just been put there.
I can understand that the place could not be kept the way it was and had to be cleaned up. But did it have to be renovated, refurbished?
The effect on the visitor, or was it only on me? is that one feels no emotions. It is interesting of course, but I visited the site as just another museum. That is not the way it should be. And I don’t think that it is what the people who organised the Memorial had in mind.
Back in April, we went to London and visited the London at war museum, where I felt more involved, moved and interested than I did at Dachau. Everything there was fabricated, from the Tube station where Londoners took refuge during the bombardments to the room in which, when you opened the door, you could hear the sound of bombings. Guess what! I did not have the nerve to get in.
Another great museum was Anne Frank’s House in Amsterdam. Although it has not been furnished or reconstituted the way it used to be at the time of the war, it was extremely moving.
Another thing that bothered me was the fact that there are on the site several religious memorials to the victims. There’s a Jewish monument, an Orthodox chapel, Carmelites with their shop right outside the site, and more that I haven’t seen.
Couldn’t the living share a monument? I have seen this done in airports, where all religions share a common space. But obviously they couldn’t do it in Dachau.
Lots of young people visit the site, but is Dachau Concentration Camp site delivering the message it is meant to? I don’t think so.