“Would you like to include Dachau?”

July 2, 2008 at 12:05 am 5 comments

it  ain't easy
by Loraine Ritchey thatwb@yahoo.com

I need to get refreshed and out of the dour mindset that has plagued me lately – I need to remove myself emotionally and physically – so the news re my child being more positive– he being married now – my husband retired and a significant wedding anniversay in August it seemed a good time to take a vacation. Maybe that is what I need to shake off what I think is a form of depression.

Apart from the usual visiting of family and friends I promised my husband we would go to Germany.
Germany is not my favourite place to go – my mother and father obviously had not so pleasant memories of the Germans and Germany , as did my grandparents.

From My Mothers Book http://thewomblog.com/?p=128

nothing suddenly a complete and utter silence. The bricks seemed to be crumbling and falling all around. I tried to hold onto something. I only grabbed at empty space. The air was filled with dust. I realized the house must have received a direct hit and the three people who had been near me had disappeared. I tried calling – the silence was eerie and shocking. I had bricks, wood and plaster all around me.” I am going to be buried alive!”

There was one sound, a hissing sound coming from somewhere beneath me – “a fracture gas pipe perhaps. I remembered hearing accounts of people being gassed to death before they had been dug out from all the rubble. I groped around in all that black darkness and found a pipe. I maneuvered myself and sat over the leak. Bricks were still falling but I heard the voices of my three companions, everyone was at least alive.

I heard the sound of movement. Many hands helped me out, I was the first and escaped with hardly a scratch but was holding a very sore backside and apparently hysterically asked the first aid warden “Can you get gassed in the posterior?” I looked to see what remained of our house, just a heap of broken bricks, shattered glass and matchsticks – the only remains of doors and beams

I have been to and through Germany on two or three occasions , once when I was five and learned to count to 10 as I would clutch my money in a hot little hand at the sweet shop of Frau Bloomers ( I am sure that was just my pronounciation of her name) whilst visiting my Uncle in Dusseldorf.

Later (in my teens ) travelling through and getting lost in Nuremburg on the way to Prague and again visiting my cousin in Belgium with my daughter when she was 2 and going to see the dam busters dam” Mohne Dam

and memories of Black Forest cake.

I had wanted to take a river cruise 4 or 5 days up the Rhine, however things on that front are looking doubtful, seems people book very early and there is difficulty finding one that suits. I started contacting specialists in German travel to see if they had any better luck.
When asked what type of tour , I said

Oh! something historical – to do with German history

in my mind thinking – castles and mountains and the Romantic road so I was a bit taken aback when the travel agent said

“Would you like to include Dachau”.

I literally caught my breath , my first response was No! but then I thought about what I had asked of her – the history of Germany. Yes Dachau too was part of German history just as the Rhine, the castles , the dam busters, and the black forest. Dachau
Black Forest

In my present frame of mind would going to Dachau be a wise thing to do – I ask myself but then again maybe it is exactly where I should visit and remember that as bad as things are here at the moment there was a time and people in the not so long ago who didn’t even have the luxury of being depressed.

I Never Saw Another Butterfly : I Never Saw Another Butterfly is a collection of works of art and poetry by Jewish children who lived in the concentration camp Theresienstadt. This book is named after a poem by one of the children, Pavel Friedmann

Ironically Stocker Center had produced this work and my son who has been much in my thoughts was the designer of the artwork……maybe Dachau

Poster Design by Chris Ritchey – 2000 AD -Stocker Center Production


Entry filed under: Brit take, commentary, history.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jill  |  July 2, 2008 at 1:58 am

    I will tell you the truth – I just got chills down my back and I have extra pools of saline in my lower eye lids.

    I’ve been to Dachau. If you want to talk about what it’s like, I can tell you only of my experience. It is hard to advise or judge other people’s choices and so I won’t even try to suggest whether you would “like it” or not. It certainly isn’t the kind of place one “likes.”

    Thank you so much for sharing that information about your family, Loraine.

    Sigh. I can tell you that I would do it again – visit Dachau, for one time. I don’t mean that I’d go again, but only that if I had to choose over again, I would still have gone.

  • 2. thatwoman  |  July 2, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Thanks Jill, I think that sometimes we need to be reminded , this wasn’t the horrific uncililized atrocities of hundreds of years ago but withiin at least my mother’s living memory …it took a travel agent to bring me back down to earth today and she really did take my breath when she asked ” would you like to include Dachau” ….I started looking on line and reading the stories once more and I am ashamed of my own “wussy” behaviour of late….I am serously considering the inclusion . We have managed this evening to get the cruise so it will depend on the time line before and after the trip.

  • 3. dennis lamont  |  July 2, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Yes Loraine …brings back the nightmares I had as a small child after seeing the newsreels of the opening of the death camps. Watching my uncle that helped liberate the camps slowly slide into oblivion and living with the old folks in Cleveland Heights that had numbers tatooed on their arms. Personally I don’t have to go to Dachau or the museum, its all right there in the little corner that doesn’t forget.

  • […] teachers…… I wonder if I will start an international incident ? Oh and then the German and Scottish part of the trip- Kalin dare I even consider Ireland? and Brian- have I got a place […]

  • 5. THIS “thatwoman” Blog « That Woman’s Weblog  |  February 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    […] I could follow-up on the post with the most hits “Dachau“ […]

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