Individual Days - Germany

Austria

September 15, 2023

What an amazing breakfast spread in Rothenburg!! Even though we are leaving Germany for Austria, it is not Auf Wiedersehen to Germany yet. We will return for a day tour. But for now, we start our trip to Austria.

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial

We stopped at the Dachau concentration camp. What an emotional experience. While I knew some history surrounding Hitler, I honestly had no idea how far in advance his evil plans began.

Our guide, Claudia, told us about the rise of the Nazis. In January of 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor of Germany. The Nazi party was the second largest party holding around 33% of the Reichstag vote. The communist party was the third largest at 17% so Hitler turned his focus to the Communist Party in hopes to get a majority.

Elections were set for March, so on February 22, Hitler used his chancellor powers to appoint 50,000 Nazi SA men as auxiliary police. He then ordered a raid on communist headquarters and falsely claimed there was evidence that the communists were planning to attack public buildings. On February 27, a fire was started and destroyed the Reichstag buildings. On February 28, a decree was issued to abolish the freedom of speech, assembly, privacy, and the press. Hitler had complete control. He had over 4,000 men arrested that same night. When elections were held in March, elected officials from the communist party were arrested. The Nazi party assumed control of those positions and had the majority to do as they pleased.

So where were these prisoners taken? Dachau Concentration Camp. Hitler orchestrated this series of events so that his party could assume power and he could build the camp (and later more camps) under the guise of being a short-term prison. A place to rehabilitate prisoners to the right political thinking. But Hitler’s plan was always looking forward to rounding up and eliminating the Jews.

It was eye-opening to see how quickly Hitler went from being appointed, to the fire, to opponents being arrested and tortured. This did not happen without a premeditated plan.

Never Again
The map shows the locations of the 1500+ concentration camps.
Memorial - up close, you can see bodies. From a distance, looks like barb wire.
The gate - “Work will set you free” gave prisoners false hope.
Most of the barracks are gone now, but you can see the footprints of where the buildings were located.

Wieskirche Church

After such a somber morning, we drove to Freising, Germany to see the Wieskirche. It is a Rococo-style church. Lisa told us to think of a French woman, with a big, tall white wig and all the curls, a big puffy dress with lots of bows, and then put sprinkles on top of it all, a good description but still did not prepare me for the massive overload of detailed decorations. It is an interesting contrast to the peaceful, quiet, simple, rural surrounding area.

Looking straight up at the ceiling - long hair Jesus riding a rainbow

Reutte

We arrived at Alpenhotel Ernberg, the traditional Tirolean Guest House in Reutte, Austria. Got settled into room 301 then took a little stroll around the neighborhood.

Robot to cut the grass!

We celebrated with a traditional dinner at the hotel. Started with Pumpkin Soup then a salad bar. For the main course, Mark had Salmon Trout fillet on spinach with parslied potatoes and I had Roast Beef with onion and potatoes and green beans. For dessert, we had apple strudel.

After dinner, Lisa planned a special treat – schnapps (not sure what flavor). It was good – not super sweet like schnapps in the US. The manager, Herman, realized the flavor mix-up so we were able to get Lisa’s favorite (red pine schnapps) later – a very interesting flavor. We would have never tried it, but it was very good.

We ended the evening with a fun, entertaining Tyrolean band – Landjaegar das Duo playing Schlager Musik.

We walked 5.2 miles today.

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