Our last weekend in Germany we went to Dachau. It was a trip we meant to take many times during our stay, but never seemed to have the time. It was symbolically our last destination, as it was for the many people that were persecuted there.
The concentration camp in Dachau is a memorial site visited every year by over a million people from all over the world.
The air was solemn that hot afternoon as we watched the many tourists taking their photos. Walking the long white graveled roads from building to building, you could hardly imagine the hardship and suffering that took place. A black and white photo at the entrance of the crematorium shows the building relatively unchanged. Feelings of reluctant curiosity formed a lump in my throat as I found myself standing in front of a huge iron oven. We all know what happened there.
We then visited the cramped living quarters where they slept on wooden slats. I, the tourist, snapped a photo of the toilets. I couldn't resist the perfect light entering through the window. Ashamed by my artistic self, I had forgotten what was behind the lens.
Most things are easier that way. This certainly was one of them.
John wanted a photo of the famous gate with the words,"Arbeit Macht Frei". A man closed it just before he took the shot. He said that it would make the photo more realistic. I left Dachau wondering just how a perfectly staged photo would make the horrendous events that occurred here seem more realistic. The words,"more realistic" are still ringing in my mind as I find myself so far away in Ohio, of all places with a new house and a new car
longing for a larger lens.