I had a chance to see Dachau in 1957 when a group of people invited me along on a trip to see the camp. I didn’t want to go because the camp was filled, at that time, with homeless people who had been expelled from Czechoslovakia because they were ethnic German.
I recently read a description of Dachau, written by a man who visited the camp in 1966. In 1965, the ethnic Germans were kicked out and the former camp was turned into a Memorial Site.
This quote is from the article about Dachau in 1966:
I saw a man wearing a Confederate flag baseball cap the other day. I didn’t hate him, but I sure felt sorry for him for the heavy load he carries. The sight reminded me of the Nazi flag and my visit to Dachau concentration camp in Germany in 1966. The visit was one of my life-changing experiences.
Dachau was one of the many Nazi concentration camps that tortured, experimented on and murdered millions of Jews, people of color, Gypsies, Catholics, disabled people, liberals (free-thinkers), homosexuals or anyone that opposed the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler.
I can still visualize the white bones in the sun sticking out of the dirt of the farmer’s fields that surrounded Dachau.
I can still see the tall, double-barbed-wire fences and the sign in German that read: “Work Will Set You Free” at the entrance of the camp.
I can still see the 5-foot-high pile of tens of thousands of eye glasses, the lampshade made from human skin, the long, 10-foot-tall, granite wall indented from the millions of machine gun rounds that first burst through the bodies of the men, women and children that were marched along the parapet and fell into the huge trench in front.
I can still smell the crematorium ovens and see the gurneys used to wheel the corpses in by the thousands. I can visualize the light green gas chamber — supposedly never used — with the fake shower nozzles on the walls.
In other camps, these gas chambers were packed with terrified, crying people who knew their fate. When the doors were closed cyanide was dropped into the holes in the roof, or trucks were backed up to the chambers and hoses hooked up to the exhaust and forced into the rooms. Monsters did this; monsters who made the Inquisition pale in comparison.
I regret that I didn’t go to Dachau in 1966. I could have seen “a lampshade made of human skin.”
People of color were not sent to Dachau, but there was one prisoner from the Belgian Congo: Jean (Johnny) Voste, who was at Dachau when the camp was liberated. Voste was a Belgian Resistance fighter who had been arrested in 1942 for an act of sabotage in the town of Malignes, near Antwerp.