The darker side of Munich

Trip Start Mar 14, 2009
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24
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Upon waking we had to check out and store our luggage for later when we could re-check in again to the same hotel (madness we know, but it saved us a bit of money).

We really only had one full day in Munich and that was a Sunday. A large city in the Western world that shouldn't be a problem, everything should be open. No this is not the case in Munich, very very little is open. It is really only the beer halls and the beer gardens which remain open. So with nothing else to do we decided to go on the free walking tour, to find out more about this amazing cities 850 year history. Our tour started at Marienplatz, the central square of the city. Marienplatz contains a monument from 1683 dedicated to the virgin Mary for saving the city during  the 30 year war from the northern invaders.
On the tour we learnt about the foundation of the Nazi party in Munich and the how´s and why´s of its creation.
A brief description of what we learnt is that on the 9th of November, 1938 "Night of the broken glass," Hitler dispatched his own men in civilian clothes and instructed them to burn, loot and plunder the Jewish community of Munich. Dozens of Jews where killed on this night alone, but as we all know this was only the start for Hitler and his men.
Hitler called Munich "Die Hauptstadt Der Bewegung (The Capital of the Movement)."
The city and the surrounding areas were central to the rise too power of the Nazi leader. We saw many of the infamous streets in which some of the darkest ideas of modern history took root and grew into Hitler´s Dictatorship.
We learnt about Dachau, the only concentration camp to remain active for the entire rain of the Third Reich from 1933-1945. It was one of Germany´s first concentration camps in which more than 200 000 prisoners from more than 30 nations had been imprisoned. At Dachau alone more than 30 000 prisoners died. 95 percent of the SS guards sent to concentration camps in the rest of the Third Reich´s territory had been trained at Dachau and were taught to think of their prisoners as sub human.

The city of Munich emerged from almost complete destruction after the allied WWII bombings, and was restored to the best of knowledge to its previous glory. But the scars still remain.

We ask how a nation of people known for their level headed thinking allowed what is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century to happen, and how the world lay sleeping while the Nazis built their war machines and solidified their power.
It is hard to comprehend that such a beautiful city as this has ever had any of the history we have talked about above. Munich is not a city full of war memorials and statues remembering the past. Most memorials that are here are small plaques in obscure places that most tourist walk past without noticing. It is a city with a dark past which we feel it is trying to hide from rather than confront.
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