CRUISING THE DANUBE RIVER & PASSAU, GERMANY
Nancy...We are glad you are enjoying the Blog. We are not sure what the entree is at Blue. We will see if we can find out.
Kathie....Many thanks. We both very much appreciate your very thoughtful comments and are glad to hear you are enjoying our posts. Thank you again.
We will begin with our tour from yesterday afternoon.
We took a four-hour tour of the Mauthasuen-Gusen concentration camp memorial. We had never been to a former concentration camp. We have been to many Holocaust Museums including the ones in Israel, and Washington D.C.
It operated from the time that Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany on August 8, 1938 until May 5, of 1945. The precise number of deaths at this camp is unknown but sadly it is estimated that between 122,000 and 320,000 people perished in the entire complex. Think of the towns that many of us live in. In our case this represents the close to two times the number of people living in our town at the 122,000 level.
Our tour guide was exceptional and we would say one of the best tour guides we have ever had and we learned that he is the most respected guide for the tour we were on by the locals and his colleagues. He didn't just give us information. He often began by asking us questions. For example, why are you on the tour? What caused all of this to take place? Was it one man or a large number of people from countries other than just Germany? When did all of this start? Who ran the camps? How did some people survive the entire time. These are just examples of the questions.
We did learn many things. This began many years earlier in terms of how the Jews were treated. This continued in World War I. People from many countries supported this and the hatred for the jews across most places in Europe. It was the locals in the countries that often turned in the Jews. People knew what was taking place and did nothing to prevent it. For example people from Austria went to this camp one weekend day each week to watch the guards play soccer against local teams. People in nearby villages could see the concentration camps. The camps were business. This one was a quarry. How did most of the people in this camp die? Mainly through slavery in terms fo the work they performed. Some died in gas chambers but most died from the work they performed with very little food and also from disease. Within 15 minutes of arrival they received their one and only shower and their hair was removed and they were given a number such as number 25,000 from a survivors writeup he read to us. Without a name your history is gone.
As much as we learned from the tour and as much as we have studied about the Holocaust and as many times as we spoke with Holocaust survivors over the years words cannot describe how emotional the experience was for us and how horrible it was for those sent to the camps many of whom died. We can't imagine how anyone could treat humans in such an inhumane way. Unfortunately it was not all do to their leader but all of the people in many countries that allowed this to happen. It did not happen overnight.
There have and will always be bad people. Thankfully there are many more people that are good. We owe so much to our Parent's Generation who Tom Brokaw calls the Greatest Generation for the many sacrifices they made including before, during and after World War II to provide us with the freedom that many of us enjoy today. We do wonder if the issue was not war but only the concentration camps and imprisonment, torture and death to the jews how long this would have gone on.
We also know that history is important. It is important that future generations continue to learn about the Holocaust. Also all of the talk about nationalism that is taking place in countries in Europe and even our own country along with hatred and generalization of people should make us all step back. As we learned from the Holocaust this went on for years before the actual Holocaust took place. It was like seeds being spread with one generation to lay the foundation for the next generation.
We wanted to mention there were only 17 people on our tour in a bus that could fit many more than that. Two people stayed on the bus for the two and one half hours we walked the concentration camp. We were able to ask a number of questions from the tour guide when we were together as one group and when we he guided us along the way.
These are photos that we took. They include memorials from other countries, the quarry, the steps that lead to many deaths because when you marched those steps you were very sick and not coming back. There are photos of where people slept, the names of all of those imprisoned, the showers, the gas chamber, and other areas that we saw.
Before dinner we had a drink at Palm Court. We ended up speaking with two couples.
We dined at Waterside last evening.
This is the dinner menu from last night.
We enjoyed a great dinner. Anne Marie had a pasta entree as an appetizer while Keith had Oysters Rockefeller. Salad for both of us followed by Scallops for Anne Marie and Duck for Keith. Keith had a cheese plate and Anne Marie some coffee. When we arrived back to the room there was Mozart chocolate on our bed.
We left port at 9:00 PM. As usual we slept well as we are sailing to the next place of Passau, Germany.
Keith was up early for a workout and we had coffee and breakfast in our room.
A couple of photos of the scenery from our room shortly after 6:00 AM as we are sailing to Passau, Germany.
Passau, is a German city on the Austrian border. It is located at the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers which is why it is known as the "Three Rivers City" Overlooking Passau is a 13th-century hilltop fortress housing a city museum and observation tower. The old town below is known for its baroque architecture. This includes St. Stephen's Cathedral, featuring distinctive onion-domed towers and an organ with 17,974 pipes.
Originally, we had a beer tasting tour planned but before we boarded, we cancelled the tour. There were other tours to choose from including one to Munich, a biking tour and a walking tour. We decided to go with the shuttle and walk Passau on our own.
We will post photos from our walk around the town tomorrow with narrative.
Back on the ship we enjoyed lunch at Waterside and as we post this we are enjoying the remainder of the afternoon on Mozart.
Anne Marie & Keith