Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau near Munich. I remember visiting the concentration camp during a May Seminar through my alma mater in Minnesota in 1999 and took away two points: 1. Dachau is one of many concentration camps that many Germans would love to forget but they have to stress the importance of history of this horrible period of time so that it doesn’t happen again. 2. The gas chambers and the bunk beds at close quarters, where hundreds of thousands of prisoners were meshed together. Once you see them even on exhibit, they will be forever ingrained in your memories. They will reshape the way we think of humanity and how we should make sure that all are treated equal, regardless of background and preference. Read this column, which includes a story by the late Tony Hays, and let it sink in. Think about what we can do to help the other one and learn from the other one. We can only grow from this.
Today, April 29th, is the anniversary of the liberation of Dachau, 75 years on.
Today, if it is brought up at all, some of us might respond with a vacant stare. More might shrug and turn away. I suppose that is to be expected. But you know me. I just think that as a nation, sometimes we allow things to slip from memory at our peril.
It was real, and it happened. And it was American GIs who overran this camp and many others in the closing days of World War II.
The men of the 42nd and 45th Infantry Division arrived independently of each other, here, in southern Germany, at Dachau, on this day. A concentration camp, they were told. Their noses gave them a hint of what they were about to uncover, miles before the camp appeared in sight.
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