The Surprising Thing I Learned from My Visit to Dachau Concentration Camp

Cynthia Wylie
5 min readJun 18, 2024
Photo by Spencer James Lucas on Unsplash

… and how it relates to what is going on right now in the United States.


I went to see the Dachau concentration camp on a long ago trip to Germany.

I always thought (naively) that all the concentration camps of the Hitler era were isolated locations in the middle of “Nowheresville.”

Because, how could they operate these murderous places if too many people knew about them?

I was wrong. Dead wrong.


The surprising thing that I observed was the tidy row of suburban homes right across the street from the ditches (human excrement-filled at the time), surrounded by barbed wire fences.

The houses were neatly kept and brightly colored and I imaged them filled with German families during the war, doing German family things and celebrating German family holidays.

While in the camp, in full view of anyone who cared to look, trains were offloading passengers every day … destination concentration camp and gas chambers.

Over the 12 years of use as a concentration camp, the Dachau administration recorded the intake of 206,206 prisoners and deaths of 31,951. Most of the dead were Jewish…



Cynthia Wylie

Founder of Bloomers Island. Published children’s book author at PRH. Writes about big kid’s stuff like economics & business, too.