Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Tour photos and things learned- part 2. A tragic and heartbreaking time in history of the Holocaust and all those forced to take part.
Photos of the Tragic History of the Grassy area and GroundsTry to imagine that twice a day, rain, cold, snow, or shine, you and thousands of other prisoners were forced to stand out in the courtyard to be counted.
The courtyard looked like this:
The tour guide explained that it was vital not to stand out in any way. Individuality was severely punished. If you were the tallest, the shortest, the broadest, you were at grave risk of being shot. At the entrance, if you were the only woman, you were handed an ill-fitting garment, you had a button unbuttoned, etc., you might be shot. Therefore, I imagine, people did their best to keep their head down.
Notice, in this next picture, the body language of this group of Jews and/or townspeople who had been gathered up in town - selected to be sent to Dachau. That first guy visibly shows his befuddlement and almost arrogance, as if to say, "What gives you the right to make me join this group!" It is tragic to think that his strong and proud spirit would later be beaten down once he was forced to march through Dachau's gates. Then, to his potential peril, he would realize that displaying that kind of defiance would be severely punished.
Within sight of the courtyard, there was lovely grassy areas. However, that grassy area was a trap, so to speak. If you stepped one foot on this grass, you would be shot and killed as a suspected escapee. It mattered not that there were electric fences near or far off on the other side of this grassy area.
If life got too unendurable for some, this was their way to commit suicide.
The Nazi solders were expected to shoot to kill. If a soldier decided on the more humane approach of only shooting should a prisoner attempt to breach the electrical fence, the soldier was at grave risk of becoming a prisoner himself. Should that happen, he would likely be dead in less than a minute, due to revenge. Eventually, I imagine, the Nazi soldier has to partially or fully shut off his own humanity as a matter of self-preservation.
Of course, there were those other Nazi soldiers who might decide to purposely shove a prisoner onto the grassy area so he had an excuse to finish him off without negative consequences to himself.
Here are some pictures of some of the grassy areas.
There were also parts of the courtyard where prisoners were executed or placed in a guillotine.
In the photo below, you can see what happened to the Nazi soldiers who dared to defy the commanders by trying to exercise his own humanity to not be cruel. He would be forced to spend 24 or more hours standing underground in this brick kiln-like area with only a tiny area of ventilation.
The indoctrination by the Nazi regime was to view the prisoners as a sub-human. One soldier, who later was hung for his war crimes, was proud of his extreme torture measures. He viewed the prisoners like a bug under his foot.
Once liberation happened in 1945, at the end of nearly 12 years of Dachau operating as a concentration camp, the prisoners told the U.S. Army not to punish certain of the guards who managed to treat them and their fellow prisoners humanely.
In that case, I guess you could say, karma came into play. After all, not all Nazi soldiers were evil. There were a large number of them who were forced to join the ranks rather then volunteer. In that case, that "fear factor" thing came into play for prisoners and some soldiers alike.
This was truly a sad and tragic time. It tears at my heart that those millions of prisoners had to endure such unfair and inhumane practices.
Please visit these other blog posts about the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Tour. Here are the links. They will each open up in a new window.
- Entrance of Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Tour
- Perils of Lawn and Courtyard at Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Tour
- Dachau Concentration Camp Tales of Select Prisoners Part 1 of 2
- Dachau Concentration Camp Tales of Select Prisoners Part 2 of 2