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Excerpt: The Young Ambassadors

Submitted by Bruce A. Garner‎

Dachau story by a Frankfurt/Berlin Brat by Brat Dr. Daniel L. Bunting–

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One aspect of Brat Heritage is that we could view significant historical sites first hand, experiences that 95% of our fellow Americans did not have…

“That evening, my father told my brother and me that we would be driving south in a day or two for a special thing he wanted us to see. For the next two days we met with our new friends at the soda fountain and got in a couple of football scrimmages. My father woke us early, and after a quick breakfast, we got into the sedan with him and he drove out of the compound and onto a highway through town. I asked where we were going, and my father said Munich. I knew, from my history classes that Munich was the city that Adolph Hitler and the “Third Reich Nazism” was born. I thought that to be an exciting adventure. We drove until we were close to Munich, but my father made a turn off the autobahn onto a narrow road and entered a small village named Dachau. I looked quickly at my father, and he saw that I had already figured it out. My brother just kept looking at the sights. I made a face, and then my father told us, he planned this trip because he wanted us to see first hand, how terrible things can happen when a madman gains control. I was immediately unsure how to react. I I had an idea of what we would be seeing, and I did not like it. We arrived along a narrow road, and faced a huge gate attached to what seemed like miles of barb wire. Above the gate were the words, “Arbeit Macht Frei”. (Work Makes Free). It was the Concentration Camp, Dachau!

Dachau was still in the process of being “cleaned”. At the time the camp was liberated and the discovery made of the atrocities, General Eisenhower ordered hat the citizens of the village be forced to parade through to see the horrible sights, and, to participate in the cleaning up of the camp. Our tour of the camp was brutal. The sight of cremation ovens still uncleared, the horrible torture sites utilized to brutally kill inmates, the multiple hanging units, and a display of human tattooed skin made into lamp shades, was a terrible sight to see. The barracks, terribly foul smelling, contained wood bunk beds, some four tiered, and thin sheets of cloth for blankets. I remember thinking, “The whole world must SEE this!” After the hasty tour, we returned to the car, and drove away in total silence. Without conversation I remember thinking also, “Dad, you certainly made your point!”

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