Dachau near Munich, 1980’s

I visited this the first nazi camp for undesirables as a young man in his 20’s. This is the first time I’ve written about it, I’m 53 . Although not an extermination camp like Auschwitz, it’s inmates were communists, priests, freemasons, homosexuals etc and no doubt poets, it was still a place of evil and pain. I had a camera but felt it wasn’t right to use it in such a place. However, I came across a locked room with a peep hole, the punishment block . The thought immediately struck me ‘how bad must a punishment block be in a place like this !” I left but quickly returned,dazed and compelled to take a picture, for what reason I don’t know. It was then I noticed how the sunlight was moving down the corridor. It is this picture that features on my home page. My choice may seem in bad taste or macabre but to me it represents some of the literal doors that can be opened when imagination and intellect work in harmony which is the central theme of this blog. It is also a constant reminder of the depths to which man can sink in pursuit of ideology, sadly today a never more relevant sentiment . 


the punishment block


I feel guilt for disturbing this hallowed place,

this odious time trap of tortured remnant recalls,

this bleak vestige of depravity’s sport,

with it’s sharp staccato shrieks of despair and pain,

forever echoes, etched deep into plaster decay.

Though each door is open, wide, nothing can

leave. I feel not pity or sorrow, they ooze from

my every pore and like cheap cologne fail,

the stench of evil which permeates all, to temper.

That some could inflict such suffering on another makes me retch.

Did they truly hate that much ? felt pleasure ?

I pray just one foul soul, for even a second gave pause,

when a flicker of humanity briefly sparked.

I feel horror. It is a hell within hell, an inner Hades.

Purest light, tasked with cleansing, slowly works

down the corridor in a futile gesture, glad to be busy

for to let one’s mind wander is to collect tears

and nightmares.

To view this scene you must leave a piece of

yourself, that is the price.

I hope the bit I left was from love shorn.


  1. Thank you Roland. Two small things still bother me about that day, objectively trivial but to me ‘not right’. The first is that there was a party of German school kids visiting, it was part of their curriculum, and like all kids they were messing about. It could’ve been a trip to the Zoo. I was livid that their Teachers couldn’t give a damn. Needless to say I put Yorkshire/Bavarian relations back a few years !
    The second was that my trip was on a shoe string so the visit to Dachau was part of a tour that included, wait for it, the fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein ! From Disney to Dachau, maybe I’m too sensitive but ……

    Liked by 1 person

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