61. "Arbeit Macht Frei"

Benjamin Lutz

I took this photo on June 12, 2013, at the entrance to the Dachau Concentration Camp in Dachau, Germany. The Holocaust is one of the most prominent examples of horrendous human rights violations through the genocide of millions of innocent people.
Dachau was the first concentration camp that began forcibly displacing thousands of people. On June 12, 2013, I decided to visit the place where the idea of concentration camps began. Visiting Dachau undoubtedly remains as the hardest thing that I ever pushed myself to experience. This picture still evokes tears from me even as I write this paragraph because it represents all the terror of the Holocaust era. The gate entrance to Dachau, emblazoned with the infamous quote “Arbeit Macht Frei” which means, “Labor makes you free,” encapsulates the main ideology of concentration camps. The first step inside was definitely the most petrifying. I can only imagine, in my wildest nightmares, what the actual inhabitants felt when taking their first step into Dachau. Throughout my entire time visiting Dachau, I was shaking, crying, praying, and breathing; I never felt this overwhelming feeling of helplessness before. Looking back, six months ago today, I am proud to have solidified my connection with the horrendous human rights violations that occurred throughout the Holocaust by starting my journey of education, further awareness, and more visits to more concentration camps. Never Again.

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