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Dachau Gedenkstätte - The Dachau Memorial Site - 17km outside of Munich, Bavaria.

Dachau, opening its gate on March 22nd 1933, was the first permanent Koncentrationslager (Concentration Camp) opened by the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei - the National Socialist German Workers Party, the Nazi Party. It was the model camp, the camp by which all others would be judged by.

"Dachau - the significance of this name will never be erased from German history. It stands for all Concentration Camps which the Nazi's established in their territory" - Eugen Kogon

Dachau was designed initially for the re-education of Germans - political opponents of the Nazi Party. It was only after March of 1938 with the Anschluß of Austria, and the 2-3 days after Reichspogromnacht (November 9th 1938) that the first foreign prisoners started to arrive. By the start of World War 2 the population had risen enormously, resulting in the spread of disease within the camp, and death by Typhus would kill many. After the Battle of Stalingrad Germany would start to lose the war. Massive evacuations of many Eastern European camps - including many of the Vernichtungslager, the extermination camps in Poland - forced the population at Dachau to soar even further. Death marches southwards towards the Alps in the final days of the War resulted in further loss of life. Dachau was freed by the US army on April 29th 1945.

The Memorial site opened on April 29th 1965 and is dedicated to the memory of the hundreds of thousands of people that had their life destroyed within the camp itself, and the many subsidiary camps in the surrounding area. It is a memorial, place for remembrance, museum and study centre for this period of history and visited by around 1 million people every year.

One of the most unique - but certainly not pleasant aspects about the Dachau Memorial - is that in the far left hand corner, in an area named Barrack X, there are 2 Crematorium buildings and a completely original Nazi gas chamber. It is rare opportunity in life to get the chance to see the true extent to what mankind is actually capable of. The Nazi's were not monsters, they were human beings. Barrack X is a very good example of the capability of both men and women. Human beings are capable of the most amazing things - both in the lighter and darker senses. Dachau for me is an incredible chance to show a few people everyday one of the darkest periods in recent human history.

This is not German History, not European History, not even World History... This is relevant history.

Concentration camps and rendition facilities still exist, torture still exists, laws which take away your basic fundamental human rights - such as the US Patriot Act - and of course Genocide never went away after 1945...

"They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up".

- Martin Niemöller, Lutheran Pastor and Dachau prisoner.
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