Okay wow, this is the longest I’ve stayed away from my blog, when not even traveling. I looked at my calendar for October and it’s really full. But I still would not say that I’m busy. I have quite a lot of distaste for that word, “busy”. Maybe someday I’ll make peace with that word. But not today.
Today I am saying that I’ve been kept occupied by many things.
But I am not busy.
No, instead my October calendar is more like a wish list for all the events I’d like to attend. This is mostly Canada’s fault. Yesterday was our election day. So the first 19 days of the month were the final political push, and I felt my brain becoming more and more engaged. Therefore, we’ve been attending every lecture and discussion group we could find. Now it seems I’ve become addicted, continuing to feed my addiction for brain-food by seeking out ever more more more. For instance, tonight we were at a local university for a lecture about the connection between evangelicals and big oil. Fascinating. Isn’t it too bad my blog isn’t about politics and theology? Just kidding! Andrew already covers that with his magnificent blog.
Anyway the point of my blatherings here and now is just to explain that i’ve been around, I’ve been intending to write another post, I will not abandon this blog. I’m trying to remember what else I’ve been up to. A weekend in at the cabin with girlfriends. Football games with family. Day trip to Fargo with Andrew. Surely there have been a few concerts mixed in there too. Which circles around to the topic of today’s post: the time we saw The National and St. Vincent in Dachau. Or should I say “at Dachau”? Unsure.
So yeah, if you’re aware of the concentration camp at Dachau, then by now you’re probably wondering WTF, how/why/WHY would anyone hold a concert in such a place? If so, you’re not alone. That’s pretty much what I said to Andrew when he told me that’s what we were going to do. I was beyond confused.
That was when he explained to me that Dachau is a city, and there was a concentration camp built just outside the city, which was also called Dachau. The concert would be in the city’s town square. Right okay, yes of course. Once I had it spelled out to me, it made sense. So there you go.
By now you probably know enough about Andrew and I to assume that if we’re going to a concert in the City of Dachau, that we will be visiting the concentration camp that day too. It’s kind of a weird, draining thing to do right before attending a concert… but honestly, I think that made the entire experience that much more intense and valuable.
That is to say, visiting a concentration camp leaves you kind of raw. And then, in that state, you go and hear beautiful music outside, and the contrast is just so visceral, deep, and painfully beautiful.
The last time I visited a concentration camp, it had been on a walking tour. But this time, we took the train from Munich and were on our own. So that fact made our experience different this time.
If you’re talking to me and want to see me cry, ask me to tell you what i learned about when I visited Dachau. Because on this occasion, there was an exhibit in one of the buildings about women who found out they were pregnant after they had been taken into the concentration camp. They never saw their husbands again… but here now they realized they were expecting a child. The heaviness of this is stunning.
But amazingly, yes, babies were born in this concentration camp. Probably in all the others too. The women helped each other through it. They looked out for each other. They used their ingenuity to pull together and ensure the expectant mothers had food to eat, and helped them hide their pregnancies from their captors. (!)
I don’t remember the details as to how exactly they managed once the babies were born… but it was done. They did it. Babies were born there and some of them even survived. In the midst of this place of such horror and death… there was indeed still new life. The women banded together to help each other… this is so beautiful.
So yeah, I stood for a long time reading those stories, individual, detailed stories, and dabbing at my tears.
Eventually, I ambled over to where Andrew was standing, and we talked a bit, looked around, and noticed Annie Clark standing a few feet away, thoughtfully reading a story.
We talked to her for a bit. It was one of the most awkward conversations ever… which was completely fitting. I mean, that is not the place to smile or exclaim with excitement to take a selfie. Just no.
So we just said hello and that we’d see her show later, and she told us the guys from The National were also wandering around the concentration camp as well. We saw them a little later, but stayed away. There’s really no point of talking to someone whose work you admire… when you’re visiting a concentration camp.