Despite living in Germany for a year, and visiting a number of times before that, I only recently visited a concentration camp; left standing so all people never forget what horror is possible by human hands. These camps are technically no longer camps–their intended function and ability to terrorize was stripped by both physical force, and the force of conscience. We now call these places memorials, to preserve the memory of a devastating chapter in the history of man, so not to repeat it or allow it to repeat.
This brief post is not about the Dachau memorial per se, but more about the American students seemingly unaware of where they were, what happened beneath their feet 70 years prior, or what lessons their ignorance is preventing them from learning. If this sounds harsh, it is with good reason, and comes after feeling embarrassed to be American.