Located approximately a 10 minute walk from the main entrance of the memorial site of the old nazi concentration camp Dachau lays a building that is often forgotten – but used to be part of concentration camp Dachau. In the so called “plantation” inmates of Dachau where forced to grow herbs and vegetables that were later sold to citizens of the village. Inmates where randomly shot as they “tried to flee”. Himmler himself had large interest in the plantation. For more information: https://www.kz-gedenkstaette-dachau.de/vicinity_plantation.html
In 2015 the city of Dachau decided to use the old concentration camp buildings to house accepted refugees and homeless. Yesterday after work, I went there to document the controversial housing area and talk to people there.
A little excerpt from what I experienced – that made me leave quite in a mood:
Driving to the “plantation” you pass the memorial site of concentration camp Dachau. One passes by old watchtowers and the wall with rusted bob-wire on top. The area around the concentration camp makes me depressed and reminds me off our duty to prevent anything like the holocaust from happening again. Just after the wall ends on the right hand side you see the “plantation”.
I parked my car and started walking around to look at the buildings. As I approached the front door of the housing area I saw children running around – besides from that a group of 3-4 people were standing in front of the old office buildings. SS soldiers used this area for “office-duties”. As I wanted to take a picture of the situation a woman stepped up to me to let me know that she does not want her children to be photographed. So I asked the group standing by the front door if there were any refugees amongst them, how they experience the housing and just some small talk to get into contact.
All inhabitants denied that the area is home to asylum seeker – “just” homeless people. Then one of the homeless made a comment I still can not believe. We were talking about why it could be possibly interesting to document the area and why I find it controversial to house refugees in an area historically charged like this. He then stated: (roughly translated)
“… well I don’t see the problem. They should house refugees in the old concentration camp. Nobody is going to lock the door. There is so much empty space in there. They don’t have to be afraid – the ovens don’t work anymore…”
as he saw my shocked view he added
So this was very devastating to me and I left off because I got quite angry and did not want to start a conflict.
After all there was no possibility for me to speak to refugees actually housed here, but I took pictures of the housing area:
For more information about refugees housed in the old KZ building, read this article: http://www.deutschlandradiokultur.de/fluechtlinge-in-dachau-wer-im-glashaus-sitzt.2165.de.html?dram:article_id=327852