Retracing the Steps of a Concentration Camp Prisoner

Dachau was one of the most brutal places on earth. I traveled over 5000 miles to walk the path of my friend.

Kathleen Murphy
Human Parts

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Dachau prisoner’s uniform. Brigade Piron, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

As a college student, I received a writing assignment to interview someone I didn’t know. So I walked up to an old man sitting in the lobby of my apartment building and asked if we could chat.

And chat we did. Over many hours, the old man told me stories I’ll never forget.

As a result, I made myself a promise. Someday, I would retrace his path — the steps he took through one of the most brutal and horrific places on earth.

I would visit Dachau, the notorious World War II concentration camp.

The road to Dachau

Driving toward Munich, I considered all that had brought me here. More than 40 years had passed. The old man — Eric Behr — was long dead.

But my longing to walk in his footsteps remained. It was stoked by the fact that I’d recently rediscovered, tucked in the pages of my college yearbook, the yellowed pages of the assignment I’d written so long ago, covering our interview.

That sealed the deal. When retirement freed my schedule, I booked my trip to Germany and headed to Dachau.

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Kathleen Murphy
Human Parts

Health writer and essayist offering insights into physical and emotional wellness and successful aging. Subscribe: https://kathleenamurphy.medium.com/subscribe