Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany

DCCAfter so many visits to Munich, finally today I was able to screw up some courage and visited this academy of violence and terror. Not far from the city, it takes less than 20 minutes from Ostbahnhof to reach Dachau.

Documented facts tell us that it all started on March 22, 1933, a few weeks after Adolf Hitler was appointed as a Chancellor of Germany, the first Nazi concentration camp for political prisoners was set up in Dachau. Located just outside Munich in southern Germany this camp received its first group of detainees which were few socialists & communists. The very first commandant for this camp was Hilmar Wäckerle an official in the “Schutzstaffel” (a Nazi paramilitary organization commonly known as the SS)Main camp gate

Main camp gate

Record shows that since the beginning, camp detainees were subjected to very harsh treatment. Prisoners were executed by streaming lethal gasses from showerheads and were forced to end their lives. The immense pain they suffered could be felt even now when you see the nail marks on the walls of the room where they were executed. It eventually evolved into a death camp where thousands of Jews died from malnutrition, disease and overwork or were tortured to death. In addition to Jews, the camp’s prisoners included members of other groups Hitler considered unfit for the new Germany, including artists, intellectuals, the physically and mentally handicapped and homosexuals.The gas chamber used to murder individual prisoners & small groups using poison gas.

The gas chamber used to murder individual prisoners & small groups using poison gas.

An old sketch by one of the prisoner showing how at midday an entire chain of destroyed individuals returned lying unconscious on wheelbarrows. they were the ones that broke down from hunger, agony & cold.

An old sketch by one of the prisoner showing how at midday an entire chain of destroyed individuals returned lying unconscious on wheelbarrows. they were the ones who broke down from hunger, agony & cold.

Whipping trestle with bull whip

Whipping trestle with bull whip

There was no way to stop it at that time as an official order was issued stating that Dachau and all other concentration camps were not to be subjected to German law as it applied to other German citizens. SS administrators alone would run the camps and decide punishments as they find suitable.

In June 1933, Theodor Eicke replaced Wäckerle as Dachau’s second commandant. Eicke immediately released a set of regulations for the camp’s daily operation. Prisoners found guilty of rule breaking were to be brutally beaten. Those who planned to escape or support any kind of political views were to be executed on the spot. Prisoners would not be allowed to defend themselves or protest this treatment. His regulations served as a master plan for all the concentration camps in Germany.
DCC

This crematorium was built in the summer of 1940, after the foreign prisoners arrived and the mortality rate greatly increased.
This crematorium was built in the summer of 1940, after the foreign prisoners arrived and the mortality rate greatly increased.
Large crematorium - it was erected between May 1942 and April 1943. it was to serve both as a killing and to remove the dead.
Large crematorium – it was erected between May 1942 and April 1943. it was to serve both as a killing and to remove the dead.

DCCWith the beginning of World War II, some able-bodied Dachau prisoners were used as labor to manufacture weapons and other materials for Germany’s war efforts. Additionally, some Dachau prisoners were subjected to brutal medical experiments by German physicians, which included high-altitude experiments using a decompression chamber, malaria and tuberculosis experiments, hypothermia experiments, and experiments testing new medications. Hundreds of prisoners died or were permanently disabled as a result of these experiments. In the twelve years of its existence over 200.000 people from all over Europe were imprisoned here and in the various other subsidiary camps. Also, figures prove that around 45,000 were murdered.Mosquito bites were one of the methods used to infect prisoners with malaria. for this purpose a cage holding mosquitos was attached to the body of the test subjects.

Mosquito bites were one of the methods used to infect prisoners with malaria. for this purpose a cage holding mosquitos was attached to the body of the test subjects.

On April 29 1945, American troops liberated the survivors. Just prior to the liberation of Dachau by the forces, the SS ordered approximately 7,000 prisoners to embark on a six-day-long death march to Tegernsee, located to the south. Those unable to maintain a steady marching pace were shot by SS guards. Other marchers died from starvation or physical exhaustion. When the United States military entered Dachau, they found thousands of mostly skeleton looking, undernourished prisoners. The U.S. soldiers also discovered several dozen train cars loaded with rotting corpses.
DCCA memorial site was created on the grounds of the former Dachau concentration camp in 1965. Today, visitors can tour some of the camp’s historic buildings and access a library and special exhibitions containing materials related to Dachau’s history.

Although it was a sad place, it was definitely a good place to see. Those people had a lust for cruelty. My tour guide told me that the numbers of people who died there were inaccurate, because Jews, Gypsies and old or weak prisoners were not counted in the death toll because they were not considered people.
Barracks - living and sleeping quarters 1944

Baracks – living and sleeping quarters 1944

Camp road in between the two rows of demolished barrack remains.
Camp road in between the two rows of demolished barack remains.
Barrack remains and location
Barack remains and location

Also, the killing was done for sport. Guards could invent any excuse to shoot someone. The most sickening thing was when a guard would take a prisoner to the camp boundary and throw their hat over the border. Should the prisoner fetch, they would be shot dead. Should they not fetch, they would be beaten either until dead, or until they would crawl over the border hoping to be shot dead.

For me it was a day full of emotions!!

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Stir-fried Spicy Chicken with Basil

Stir-fry Chicken with BasilIngredients:

400G Chicken (bite sized)
4 Garlic cloves (minced)
½ T. Ginger (minced)
3 Red bell peppers (chopped)
6 Thai red chilies (finely chopped)
3 Shallots (thinly sliced)
1C. Basil leaves
12T. Stir-fry sauce

For stir-fry sauce:

⅔C. Soy sauce
⅔C. Oyster sauce
½C. Chicken broth
⅓C. Spicy vinegar or rice vinegar
3 ½ T. Sugar
1T. Sesame oil (optional)
2T. Corn flour

Stir-fry Chicken with Basil Stir-fry Chicken with Basil
Recipe:

Mix all the ingredients for the stir fry sauce in a bowl and leave aside.

Heat oil in a wok. Add ginger, garlic, bell peppers, shallots and the red chilies.

Cook for 30 seconds over high heat or until fragrant. Add chicken and cook, breaking up lumps, for 4 minutes or until cooked through.

Add the stir fry sauce little by little stirring occasionally, for 1 minute or until heated through.

Add basil and remove from heat. Serve the stir-fry with rice and a deep fried egg.

Tip: store the remaining stir-fry sauce in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated.

Stir-fry Chicken with Basil

 

 

Crispy Spiced Potatoes

Crispy Spiced potatoes

Ingredients:

4 Potatoes (boiled, peeled & cubed)
½ T. Cumin seeds
1T. Coriander powder
1T. garam masala powder
½ T. Chaat masala powder
½ T. Deggi mirch
3T. Coriander (chopped)
Salt
Oil

Recipe:

Heat some oil in a wok. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to crackle. Add the cubed potatoes, the remaining spices and salt. Stir to combine all the ingredients well.

Add the chopped coriander, toss once and serve as a side dish.

Tip: I lightly fry the potatoes before I add the spices. It just gives it a crunch!

Crispy Spiced potatoes

Chole Bhature

Chole bhatureA famous Indian street food from Amritsar, Punjab. A must try !

Ingredients for Chole:

1½ C. Chick peas (soaked overnight)
1T. Tea leaves
2 Dried Indian Gooseberries
2 Onions (chopped)
2 tomatoes (pureed)
2-3 green chilies (slit)
1½ T. Chana Masala
½ T. Coriander powder
Salt
Oil

Ingredients for Bhature:

2½ C. Refined flour
½ C. Yogurt
½ T. Baking powder
1T. salt
2T. Sugar
Oil
A pinch of baking soda

Chole bhature

Recipe:

Start with preparing the dough for the bhatura. In a bowl sieve flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix yogurt, water and knead into a soft dough. Cover the dough and leave aside.

Drain the chickpeas and pressure cook with four cups of water. Tie tea leaves and gooseberries in a muslin cloth to form a bundle and add it to the cooker. Cook under pressure for around 12- 15 minutes or till completely cooked and soft.

Heat some oil in a pan and sauté onions and green chili till lightly brown. Add tomato puree and sauté till the oil separates. Add chana masala, coriander powder to it and mix well.

Add the boiled chickpeas with the cooking liquor and simmer for 15 minutes. Check for salt.

To make bhatura roll out five inch diameter diskettes of the prepared dough and deep fry till brown on both the sides. Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot with chole.

Walnut & Date Bread

Photo 13-03-15 2 31 59 pm
Ingredients:

1½C. Dates, pitted (coarsely chopped)
½ T. Baking soda
1C. Boiling water
½ C. Walnuts (roasted & chopped)
2C. All – purpose flour
½ C. Brown sugar (little crushed)
1½ T. Baking powder
½ T. Salt
½ T. Ground cinnamon
½ C. Butter, cold & unsalted (diced)
1 Egg, at room temperature
1T. Vanilla extract

Photo 13-03-15 2 32 49 pm
Recipe:

Start with combining the chopped dates with the baking soda and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dates, stir, and leave aside to cool for around 30 minutes.

Now take another bowl and place the flour, sugar, baking powder, ¼T salt and ground cinnamon. Mix it well and then add the butter. Continue mixing until done properly.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the vanilla extract.

Add the beaten egg mixture and the cooled dates (along with the water) to the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Place the batter into your prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Bake in a pre heated oven for about 55 to65 minutes at 180 degree C or until the bread is golden brown and set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just clean.

Place on a wire rack to cool and serve as u like.

Butter Chicken Masala

Butter Chicken Masala
Ingredients:

For the 1st marinade:

400 gram boneless chicken, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
1T. Deggi mirch
1 lemon (juiced)
Salt

For the 2nd marinade:

½ C. Yogurt
3T. Ginger garlic paste
½ T. Deggi mirch
½ T Garam masala
2T. Mustard oil
Salt

For Makhani gravy:

06 Tomatoes (pureed)
4T. Butter
2T. Ginger garlic paste
5 Green cardamoms
½ T. Mace
½ T. Fenugreek leaves (roasted, crushed))
1T. Honey
4T. Fresh cream
½ T. Garam masala
½ C. Water
Salt

Butter Chicken Masala

Recipe:

Start with preparing the first marinade for the chicken. In a bowl add chicken pieces, chili powder, lemon juice and salt. Leave for one hour in the fridge.

After one hour add all the ingredients of second marinade in it, mix well and leave for another hour in the fridge.

Cook the chicken pieces over a grill or in a clay oven.

To prepare the Makhani gravy, in a heavy bottom pan heat butter and add cardamoms and mace. Once fragrant add ginger garlic paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Now add pureed tomatoes, red chili, salt and half cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add the honey and crushed fenugreek leaves.

Now add the chicken pieces, fresh cream and garam masala to the tomato gravy and give it a nice stir. Simmer for five more minutes and serve hot with rice or naan.

Butter Chicken Masala

Banana Walnut Cake

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Ingredients

4 Bananas, ripe (peeled & chopped)
1.5 C. Whole wheat flour
½ C. Sugar
⅔ C. Vegetable oil
1T. Baking powder
1T. Vanilla extract
½ T. Baking soda
½ C. Walnuts (chopped)
A pinch of salt

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Photo 07-03-15 4 05 31 pm
Recipe:

Preheat your oven at 180 degrees C. if using a regular oven; heat both the top and bottom elements.

Add the bananas to a bowl and mash them well. Add sugar, oil and vanilla extract to the bananas and stir so that the oil mixes with the banana puree and the sugar dissolves.

Sieve whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt directly in the bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients very well.

Now add the chopped walnuts and mix again.

Pour the batter in a greased or lined loaf pan and gently tap and shake the pan. place the pan in the center rack if using a regular oven.

Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or till toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

When warm or cooled, slice and serve banana cake with tea or coffee.

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Tip: if the top of the cake starts browning then cover the top with an aluminum foil.

Tuna Mayo Salad

Tuna mayo Salad
Ingredients:

3 Can tuna flakes in water or oil
(Rinse with water if in oil)
1 Lemon (juiced)
1 Onion, small (finely chopped)
1 Bell pepper (finely chopped)
10-12 medium lettuce leaves (shredded)
½ C. Mayonnaise
¼ T. Salt
¼ T. Pepper
2T. Honey

Recipe

Drain the tuna in a strainer and leave aside.

In a bowl, mix the tuna, lettuce, onion, mayonnaise, honey,  lemon juice, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Check for seasoning & serve.

Photo 07-03-15 2 36 05 pm

 

Tip: This salad can also be used as a sandwich filling.

To make a grilled tuna sandwich spread tuna mixture on bread slices. Top with another bread slice. Lightly grill it in a sandwich griller and serve.

Importance Of Travel

Saint Augustine once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”

I completely agree with him. Travelling does not only allow getting some culture but also teaches us to live an adventure. It gives us that chance to capture the moments of which we are proud and may be a few we regret. Travel expands our awareness, gives us a break from our fast-paced lives but most importantly gives us that first time experience which narration cannot provide. It’s like someone can describe the amazing beaches of Seychelles and historic sites of Egypt to you, but you really have to see it for yourself to experience it. You can read all the books in the world about the Taj Mahal, but being there is a different story.

Perth, Australia
Perth, Australia
Quebec, Montreal
Quebec, Montreal

When talking to people of my plans, I generally get a reaction along the lines of “I’m so jealous of you” or “I hate you.” But I personally see it in a way that anyone could do what I’m doing. I’m not doing anything extraordinary or something that’s never been done before. Also, sometimes few people view me as being in some special and unique position that allows me to just take-off on a plane whenever I want. Well, it’s not the case. I definitely put some planning into this lifestyle but in my opinion, it’s something that anyone is capable of.

Money is always a tough one when it comes to planning a trip. I think what lot of people don’t realize is that you don’t need a huge amount of money to start your travel. A reasonable amount is required and a small backup is always better.

Not having enough money shouldn’t be a reason to not travel.  If you really want it to happen you’ll find a way to make it happen. But saving money shouldn’t seem like a big task when it pertains to travel. I recommend Southeast Asia to start with, where anyone willing and able can travel on almost nothing per day.

Oslo, Norway
Oslo, Norway
Yangon, Burma
Yangon, Burma

My profession gives me plenty of opportunities to travel, but still as often as possible I try to get away because I know travel can be a powerful tool for personal development. 

Do not put off your dreams indefinitely. Life won’t always be just about you and you won’t always be young. So, do it now. Travel. Experience the world!

I am sure you will learn valuable lessons, be more responsible, mature and create some priceless memories.

Prawn Linguine

Chili Prawn Linguine

Ingredients:

250G. Linguine Pasta
3 Garlic cloves (chopped)
1 Red chili (chopped)
24 Prawns (peeled, deveined)
12 Cherry Tomato (halved)
Handful of rocket leaves
2T. Black olives (pitted, sliced)
¼ C. Parmesan cheese (grated/shaved)
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Chili Prawn Linguine
Recipe:

Cook the pasta according to the instructions and leave aside.

Heat some olive oil in a wok and toss in the garlic, chili and olives. Cook on med heat without letting the garlic brown. Now add the prawns and cook until they turn pink.

Add the tomatoes and stir for approx 3 minutes. Add the drained pasta, rocket leaves and stir. Check for salt at and pepper at this time.

Garnish with some parmesan cheese and dressing of your choice.

Serve hot with a portion of garlic bread.