Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dachau - Never Again!

Dachau Concentration Camp

I must say that I did go to Dachau a few weeks ago and since then, I have pondered what I should say about my first experience at a concentration camp. At one moment in time you are left with a blank mind and the next millions of WHYs, and HOWs race into your mind and it is hard to figure out which one you much attempt to answer first. To know that you have been to a place where mass murders happened - it is still hard to believe it happened. But of course it did - one cannot say that the holocaust did not happen.

Gate that all prisoners entered through to camp. Reads "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Work for Freedom"

Now the little history lesson of this blog: Dachau was one of the first concentration camps in Germany. It was primarily used for political officials who did not follow Hitler's command and also priests, rabbis and other religious leaders. But it still was the last 'home' to an unknown number of persecuted people. There was some what of a record kept at Dachau of the murders but in the end, right before American soldiers invaded the camp, mass amounts of people were cremated or gassed so 'proof' of the camps work would be erased.

Beds in the Barracks - And you know they didn't have mattresses...

At the camp I did have an audio guide to tell me about certain areas of the camp. This was very nice because I could go at my pace. I was able to concentrate on what I wanted to and process the given information. About 5 hours was the amount of time spent there. Some people could have taken 12 hours some could have done it in 37 minutes but I took 5 hours and still had not seen it all. The museum alone would have been a good 3 hours (for me). But at the 5 hour mark, I had nothing left to give; I had reached a point of emotional and temporal emptiness. The feelings of the environment had drained every ounce of me. I had reached the point of depression.

View from Camp Road. Used to be 32 buildings that housed 50,000 prisoners.

End of Railroad at Dachau

Prisoners view of grounds (back of lot)
Yes, depression had set in at this point, however, I am truely glad I was able to experience and learn, and see the camp. You may be walking on grounds where men, women, and children were robbed of their right to live and believe what they wanted to believe; however, you also sensed the courage of those victims. You sensed their power within to give their best to restore their lives to society. To gain back all that had be ripped from their hands.

Right side: main building where registration, washing, and all personal belongings were striped from prisoners.

Ovens at crematorium

I was warned before going to a concentration camp of the 'feelings' one gets when touring a camp. I was warned that I should not take my time. I was warned that afterwards you feel like an empty blackhole. And may I say that I did experience this all but it was worth it. I am in agreeance that it is very important that we carry the message of Dachau to others. That is that the inhumane things that happened at Dachau and many other concentration camps throughout the world (yes, not just Germany; there are/were other camps out there) that this should NEVER AGAIN happen. We teach history to learn from it and I hope we DO learn from history. I know I have. I am not perfect but I am trying. -- and sorry for this political plug but I am impressed to say that we must be careful of what we support. We must be strong and fight for what is in line with our Heavenly Father's plan. (He is always there to guide us.) Hitler really had no training as a politician. Pretty much he woke up one day and said "I want to control Europe and the world" and the next day, BAM!, he was controlling parts of Europe, destroying families and changing governments for his benefit. I hope we are not blind to leaders in these days that are slowly and secretly robbing us of our rights. It may be this small thing here and that small thing there, but soon it all adds up. Candy is always sweet in the beginning but it always leaves a nasty after taste. -- end of political plug, end of blog.

Monument in 5 different languages pledging that this will happen NEVER AGAIN!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oh the mood "springs" of Germany!

On my last post I have a picture of the beautiful yellow flowers that blossomed amist the weeds. Oh the beauty! Well, this picture is from this morning...Just when you expect to see the sun enough to get a pink nose from its rays and not the crisp bite of the cold, you are graced with the white stuff. I'm back to wearing a coat that's for sure. I guess only time will tell for how long.

Oh and I felt like taking a little walk through the Bruckencenter, Ansbach mall, today and I found the cutest hat! Yep, this is girly but since I can't show it to you in person I must do it the 'popular' way of today's society - through the internet. I also bought the earrings all for 9 euros (about $11) so I say, "Not bad, not bad!" ... Now I just can't go back or else I might have to buy the hat in black too...

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Can Breathe!!

So one of the hardest things I have to do during my student teaching is now over! Yes the reason why I have been absent from blogging and emailing is because I had my observation from the university this week. I am glad it is over but I am glad that it happened. Overall I feel like I did a great job but I know that I am not perfect. It's been a struggle but I can now sleep, put my feet up and enjoy a relaxing night - or at least until I have to hit the grading stack. It keeps growing and growing!!

And oh it has been wonderful but really weird weather. Monday-Wednesday no coat, yesterday and today I DEFINITELY needed one!! There is no snow yet but boy is there a chill in the air and yet there are a few flowers of joy reaching for what sunshine there is here in Germany. These pictures are from along the sidewalk here at the house. So beautiful!
Funny thing is that the flowers where hiding under the snow. Once the snow melted about 2 weeks ago, a few flowers where already blooming. What true fighters!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Black Hawk and Shanooks

A few weeks back I finally had the opportunity to go to Katterbach base and see some of the helicopters there. Mrs. Wilson, who is one of my cooperative teachers, her husband is a medical pilot and he was nice enough to let me tour his hanger.

Pic 1: Shanook helicopter - this helicopter is big enough to transport vehicles. This one is an older helicopter and probably flew in Vietnam. Besides being big, it was big on smell. The shanook smelled like sweaty dudes. (Hayliegh and Alyn, Mrs. Wilson's daughters in the pic with me.)

Pic 2: Now that I climbed in how do I get out? The apparatuses in the middle of the plane are the gurneys for the injured. The bed swirves around in a circle. (Dustin, Mrs. Wilson's hubby)

Pic 3: I always have wanted to get a pilots license (and that's no lie). But I don't know if I could ever remember what all the buttons do. Luckily the ejection button didn't work...j/k

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Welcome Home Dave!

Its been 3 years in waiting. My brother David has completed his mission for our dear Heavenly Father. I am proud of him and his continuous desire to serve our Lord. This is one of his latest pics on the mish. For being in Italy he really did not get to see much of Rome. I guess he was celebrating when he finally got to go to the Trevi Fountain. (I hope to do the same before I head home).


Friday, March 6, 2009

Munich Part II

I love these moments when I can't do schoolwork and I get to tell you all how things are going. I am still LOVING Germany!! The sun has been shining for a few days now but we have another storm coming in tonight. I'm thawing as we speak from the walk home from the train. But back to the adventures in Munich...

At the Olympic Park we were able to go to the top of the TV tower. If you remember Jessica and I were with our German tour guide, Tinno a.k.a. German Matt Damon, and a few other guys. One of the guys were dying to go see if you could go to the top of the tower and oh by George you could!! Oh did I mention it was 190 m high!! Luckily there was an elevator and it traveled 7 m per second. The elevator was definitely fast!! At the top we were able to look out at the Olympic park and Munich itself. Wonderful view! Lucky for you, I took pictures so see for yourself.

I think this is BMW headquarters. Just a guess from the big "BMW" on the roof. (Just kidding I know for sure-even went inside.)

Tennis courts at Olympia Park.
Well after heading touring the park we headed back to Marienplatz where we left our fellow Americans and tour guide. Shortly after we said goodbye to dear old Munich. I do hope to go back because there is still a lot to see. Uhmm, maybe next weekend?