ARA 03 - 21 - 2010

Today was possibly one of the most surreal experiences of the trip. After a week of touring Poland, Hungary, and Austria, we arrived in last night in Munich, Germany. Being in the previous countries allowed us to see first hand the impact that Hitler and World War II had on Europe. While Krakow exposed us to ground zero of the Jewish extermination, Budapest and Vienna allowed us to see what damage was done to the historic architecture. Given this new insight, we toured Munich by bus this morning. I will now remember Munich as Hitler's stomping grounds. Hitler left his mark all over Munich, leaving tangible evidence of his rise to power right there in that very city. What is surreal is that Hitler truly existed, and that he had a homeland and a following to support his actions. We saw who he had hurt and what he was capable of, but Munich almost put a face with a name, so to speak. Munich is full of notorious buildings where Hitler worked and rallied. It was practically his city in the late 1930's and early 1940's. Here a city turned itself over to him, and watched as he built building after building, from where he dispatched the SS and unleashed terror upon Europe. For me this felt a lot like being in the belly of the beast. To have gone from the scared country of Poland to the less than proud country of German was a powerful line-up, and only drove home the reality that is the Holocaust. For this experience I am thankful, but only because I have been enlightened on mankind's dark past.

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