“Never again.”

1 hour away from Munich, there is a small medieval town called Dachau. Despite its peacefulness and beauty, shadows still shroud this town when we think about what happened here during Nazi Germany. In 1933, 8 weeks after Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany, the first concentration camp was built in Dachau. I visited there with two friends on May 31st.

On the bus to Dachau, our guide gave an introduction to the history behind it. On Feb 27th, 1933, Reichstag (German parliament building) was set on fire, which was later referred to as “Der Reichstagsbrand.” In order to destroy the German Communist Party, the second largest party in the parliament at that time, Hitler framed the case against the communists by saying that they were trying to rebel against the Weimar Republic. Soon he was able to disperse the party and Dachau was originally built to imprison the communists and socialists. Our guide emphasized that it took only 8 weeks for a democratic country to fall into dictatorship. Before then, the public considered Hitler as someone who loved children and had the ability to save Germany from the long-lasting economic crisis. A poster in the museum read, “Hitler, unsere letze Hoffnung! (Hitler, our last hope)”

From 1933 to 1945, this camp imprisoned people from 34 different countries and of various accusations: communists, liberals, monarchists, homosexuals, Gypsies, Jehovah’s witnesses, emigrants, asocials, and of course, the Jews. What those people share is that they lost all their human rights, properties, and human dignity when they stepped into this camp. On the gate of the entrance writes “Arbeit macht frei” (Work will set you free.), but the only way to be free from the torture here is actually through death. Today, it is hard for me to imagine that this large, empty ground was full of the imprisoned Jews and other criminals, standing there and waiting for a day of hard labor, torture or death.


The edge of the ground is the greenfield, and beyond the greenfield and the iron fence is the boundless sky. I could not help wonder, how many people glazed at this sky with hope and longing for freedom? Among them, how many survived the massacre of Nazi before the end of the war and walked out of the gate? According to our guide, many people who could not bear the sufferings and humiliation ran to the Greenfield, the forbidden ground. As soon as the Nazi noticed their misbehavior from the tower, they were shot to death.

We visited the gas chamber. It was simple—people were told they finally got the chance to shower. They were required to take off all the clothes, went into the chamber and came out to the incinerator. I was shocked by how humans were treated no other than the animals in the slaughterhouse.

Not only the photos of the bodies of the victims but also the humanity they mirror are terrifying. 800,000 SS-Mann actively participated in the concentration camps to kill their nationals. Why could the humanity reach this extreme evilness? I could not help asking after the visit. This could not be explained solely by Hitler’s power.

“Wie viel toleranz braucht die Intoleranz? (How much tolerance does the intolerance need?)” I saw this slogan on my way to school every day. Nowadays, we global citizens all have the responsibility to reflect on the question and ensure the words on the memorial of Dachau, “Never again.”

“Tschüss München, Hallo Nürnberg” (1)

(Unfortunately, since my computer has problems during the past few weeks, I was not able to publish my blogs over my stay in Munich. Now, I am happy to play the flashback of the past fantastic six weeks!)

Saying “Tschüss” (goodbye) to Munich, I started my journey again as a wanderer in Europe. I enjoyed my sixth weekend in Nürnberg, the city home to the painter Dürer, world-famous tin soldiers and also a witness of the important trials of Nazi after World War II. Though Nürnberg is known as the second largest city of Bayern, it took me less than an afternoon to visit every corner of the old town.

A step out of my hostel, I was attracted by the Way of Human Rights (Straße der Menschenrechte) which features 27 white, solemn pillars. Engraved in each white pillar is one article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in German and another language. This symbolizes that the recognition and protection of human rights should be borderless. The monument is intended as both a repudiation of past crimes of Nazi (Nürnberg was once “City of the Party Rallies” in the Nazi-era) and a permanent reminder that human rights are still regularly violated. While trying to understand the German articles on the pillars, I was reminded of the miseries and anti-humanistic crimes that happened in the Dachau Concentration Camp I had visited. I felt heavy but also filled with the responsibility to safeguard the words on the monument of Dachau, “Never again.”

The Way of Human Rights: The Chinese words on this pillar read that everyone is entitled to display their creativity in economy, society, and culture.





Near the Hauptmarkt stands one of the most magnificent Gothic churches I’ve visited in Germany: St. Lorenz Church. The ceiling is star-shaped and in the middle of it hangs the giant wooden sculpture of Annunciation. From there leads to the Hauptmarkt where many shops sell fresh fruits, cheese and Düll (a specialty biscuit of Nuremberg). Though it is similar to markets in most German cities surrounded by joyful Bavarian music, beer, and fragrant food, I just love the atmosphere!

St. Lorenz Church













Abrecht Dürer is an inseparable part of the city of Nürnberg. This Renaissance painter, Da Vinci’s contemporary, is celebrated here as the name for streets, restaurants and the best artworks. I visited the old Dürer’s house and enjoyed his paintings and woodcuts which were dominated by religious stories and self-portraits. Famous ones include The Four Apostles, Adam and Eve, and Portrait of Maximilian I (his patron, a Bavarian King). I was fascinated particularly by his portrait of Adam and Eve in which the two figures look so tempted, yet the consequences of their fall still remain open to imagination. Undoubtedly, Dürer is a great painter and a pious Christian.


Then I visited the Toy Museum, climbed up to the Kaiserburg castle (beautiful but small), and had a wonderful meal at a beer garden. One thing I noticed in the Toy Museum is how the toys subtly mirror the “Zeitgeist” (A German word that means “spirit of the times”). For example, the picture below shows the tin soldiers whose production Nuremberg was famous for.  Obviously, in the Nazi era, the fever for Hitler and the army spread to the children. Nowadays, those NS symbols are strictly forbidden in the public spheres. Sadly, war is always an important theme even for the toys for children.