Dachau and its effect 

Yesterday, as we all headed into Dachau, I was scared. I’d been to the concentration camp once before, and it wasn’t fun. I still remember things like the gas chambers, pictures of bodies, and the beautiful yet agonizing memorial in the camp’s center. So when I walked through those iron gates again, I was dreading the way that seeing those things again would make me feel. And yet, 3 hours later, when I walked back out and headed to the hotel, I didn’t feel as shook up as I’d expected. I was sad of course, but I didn’t feel the pain of the camp as heavily as I’d prepared to. 
At first, I felt guilty. Why didn’t I want to break down into tears after seeing so many horrible sights? But after thinking about it and talking with some of the other CR9’ers, I realized that I’m desensitized to the Holocaust, and so are a lot of the rest of us. I’ve seen and heard so much about how people were treated in the camps that I can’t even feel shocked by it anymore. 
As awful as this makes me feel, it’s not that surprising that overexposure has led to desensitization. In some ways, the Holocaust doesn’t feel “real” anymore. It’s hard to imagine something that grotesque and awful happening to real people. Having lived a pretty charmed and cushy life, it’s almost unfathomable that people really spent years not knowing if or when they’d be shot or even eat real food. That life seems like something so far out of my sphere of reality that it couldn’t actually be anyone else’s. 
Dachau really surprised me, but not in the way I expected. I expected to be brought to my knees, but instead i was shaken up by my own lack of shaken-ness, and what that says about my humanity. I don’t want to be a heartless person, and on that day I felt like one. Seeing things like the trench that was dug at the execution site to handle all the blood flowing there, the beautifully grotesque memorial created by a Holocaust survivor, and the incredibly small living spaces made me feel miserable, but not as miserable as it should have. All in all, Dachau was a confusing experience, but a very different one than I had expected.