Last weekend, I flew from London to Munich to visit Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp, built in 1933. I’d never been to Germany before, and since I was already in London on business from the United States, I decided to use my weekend to make the journey.
My British Airways flight out of Heathrow Airport went smoothly, but when I approached a bus driver at Munich Hauptbahnhof Central Station for directions, it was the beginning of a bizarre series of events that left me wondering why so many Germans insisted they did not know what and where “Dachau” and “Auschwitz” were.
“Is this Bus 710?” I asked a driver standing outside his bus.
“There is no Bus 710,” he answered coolly, as he blew smoke from a cigarette. “Where are you going?”
“Dachau,” I answered.
“Dachau?” he asked curiously.
“Right, the camp.”
“The concentration camp.”
He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
“Dachau is a train station,” he answered. “You need to take the train there.”
Assuming there was a language barrier of some kind, I walked back inside to find the right train. When I arrived at the Dachau station, though, I found a police officer outside, and the same thing happened.
“Can you please tell me where the memorial is?” I asked.
“Memorial?” he parroted.