(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "G" is for "Gemuetlichkeit")
A word that, freely translated, can mean a sort of coziness; for example, a room in a home that induces a calm mood and peace of mind.
I found a town like that when I was making a film in Munich, back in the sixties.
I had hired a very capable young woman to act as translator, facilitator, production assistant, etc. Once I asked her where in Munich she lived and she said she didn’t live in Munich, she lived in Dachau.
It was in 1933 that Nazi bigwigs chose this village as the location for the very first of their concentration camps. Over the years, until 1945, it was a place where some 42,000 people were killed.
I asked my production assistant if I could visit; I’d love to explore Dachau. She volunteered to show me around.
Dachau is indeed a pleasant town, with a history that goes back more than 1,200 years. A hundred years or so ago it was an art center, famous for its impressionist painters.
But right down the road is this ghastly death factory. It’s still there. My assistant told me that, well after the war’s end, when she was in grammar school, there was a referendum that became a national affair: What should be done about the Dachau concentration camp? Should it be destroyed, all traces obliterated? Or should it be kept as a memorial to those who died there?
They have kept it as a memorial. You can visit it. It lives up to expectations; it is a powerful, moving experience.
At this point I’d like to post a photo that I think is fascinating.
One day in the thirties or forties a man who lived in Dachau took a picture from his window. I don’t know if he was pro or anti-Nazi. (I imagine taking such a photo was a rather dangerous thing to do.)
It shows a solid mass of people being herded along the main street of the town, heading toward the camp, just down the road, where so many of them would die. This must have happened a great many times over the twelve years of the camp’s existence.
If you visit the Dachau camp I’m sure you’ll be moved, as I was, by the phrase at the entrance – a phrase in five languages.
1 year ago