Wednesday, October 22, 2008

visit to a place that doesn't exist

When I went to Dachau, I didn’t feel much of anything. The experience was purely intellectual – and even that required striving. I felt more vividly about Dachau when I was reading about Dachau, when I looked at photographs of it, when I conjured that apocalypse, working myself into the place with imagination and the memory of all I’d learned. The reality was a failure. There is no Dachau anymore; it’s just tidy rows of sterile geometry, all swept up. No need to leave the small museum. I know that there being no Dachau should be a good thing, but there really is no Dachau. None at all. When I went to Dachau, I didn’t feel much of anything. When I went to Dachau, mostly I was waiting to go home.

4 comments:

Sorlil said...

I had completely the opposite experience when I went to Dachau a few years back. I found it horrific from the moment I got off the bus. I desperately wanted to leave after half an hour but I was stuck there for four hours with a tour group. It makes me feel sick in the stomach just thinking about it.

Dave said...

When I went to Dachau, mostly I was waiting to go home.
Weren't they all. Those people who didn't exist.

SarahJane said...

no disrespect intended here. dachau as a historical horror does exist, and its victims were real. but where the intangible Dachau terrifies, the concrete and dirt Dachau for me did not.

Anonymous said...

I found it impossible to find the good popcorn when I was there. Did they put in any better concession stands?

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