I saw Dachau today.
The name of the place, Dachau, brings shivers, or tears, or pain, or hope, to those who know what happened there.
When you go to Dachau, you might want to take someone with you who will hold your hand. I felt like a little kid at times, and it’s helpful to have someone standing by your side in a place where such dark things happened. I was honored and so appreciative of Carrie, standing by me, holding my hand.
Congratulations and thanks must go to the Germany of today, and to the survivors of these terrible places. Their courage, and their strength, allowed them to face this truth, so that others (like me) could experience and face these harsh realities of humanity even 75 years later.
A concentration camp memorial isn’t something you want to do.
But I’m convinced after today that it’s something every human should see with their own eyes, hear with their own ears, feel with their own hands, and tread lightly upon under their own feet.
Something terrible happened here.
What these people did to these other people
And the system that allowed…
No, trained those in the first…
And so many.
So, so, so many.
If we could mine all the wealth
Of the human potential
That was lost in those years
On ALL sides
Imagine what a fuller, richer world we would have.
And yet, it is the destruction… not the potential
(A fact that yet again and still is so difficult to come to terms with) (2001 – 1) (2001 – 2)
The destruction is what led to the future I now get to live in.
This single today, when I bought:
An Italian Panini and
An Indian Chai at
An American coffee shop
In the marketplace that once was at the crux, the hauptpunkt, of the Third Reich…
And I walked from there to a tour of Dachau with men and women from:
And the tour was led by someone from Canada
And after the tour, listening to a German organist play in a church,
Restored from what was 60% destroyed during World War II.
Eating middle eastern falafel
at a restaurant owned by a man from Turkey.
Finishing off the evening walking, and on just one block, passing:
A Japanese sushi bar
A Chinese restaurant
A Mediterranean café
A Thai Restaurant and Bar and a
And then using a web-based tool created in England to have a crystal clear voice conversation, calling America, from Germany, for free. (Skype)
It all gives me so much hope
Hope that we really can, and are, evolving
As individuals, and as a species
That even though atrocities continue today…
That even though we have so much to work on and improve…
I have the hope, and the belief, with this day as proof, that it is possible for us to learn from our past…
And to use that past to become the people and society we can and should become.
It is possible.
Today has been overwhelming, and I’m kaputt.
But despite this, I know, without a doubt, that a peaceful and harmonious future for humans is possible.
The question I am left with is; will we choose this future? Each of us?
This future won’t be found in some rally, or gathering, or in a political or religious agenda.
Will we choose harmony and brotherhood (in its real sense) every day, in the things we say and do, to and for ourselves and others?
I hope to see a day where that is global reality.
I have now lived a day where I’ve seen the depths of human depravity, and in the same day seen the beauty of human collaboration, and although it’s not perfect, and it is difficult, today became an example of what can become of us in an amazing and powerful human experience.
And it doesn’t have to be at some undetermined point in the future.
We can have it now.
The only question we must answer, each of us, for ourselves, is: will I choose to experience this harmony today?
When we can all answer yes, then the future we dream of will be now.
Click on any of the placemarks in the map below to view my pictures of Dachau.
All my male relatives were interred at Dachau. Walter and I also visited Dachau and I brought home a small stone from the camp as a souvenir of my family’s visit.