Europe 2013 with 3 granddaughters

My son and daughter-in-law are urging me to add a visit to Dachau to our itinerary. Their girls are 16 an 12. The other granddaughter is just 11. Do you think it would be too intense an experience for her?
I know it is a very, very important part of our history in many ways! Heidi

Posted by Thomas
Vienna, Austria
502 posts

Not if you are there to put it in context, explain it, and make her feel safe and loved. My humble opinion. For what its worth, both of my daughters visited concentration camps on school trips in the 7th grade (if I recall the year correctly.) Best of luck!

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3063 posts

My son was younger than 11 when we took him. We taught him, and he remembers. "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

Posted by Deanna
Canton, GA, usa
234 posts

We took our kids to the Maunthausen concentration camp when they were 12&8. We did not let our 8 year old in the museum or showers, but did explain what happened. She went through the barracks and the yard. Both seemed to handle it pretty well...understanding on a conceptual level, but not traumatized. My 12 year old son did come out of the museum early and said it was "too much", but later he said he was glad he saw it, even if it was awful.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

I think one has to carefully consider the individual child.. and no matter what the parents /grandparents need to prep the child by discussing the whole thing before hand. Some kids really are not ready for that experience at 11, others may be. I took my 11 yr old just to the Shoah Musuem in Paris, that was 5 years ago and she still talks about one exhibit she saw.. a little girls dress, about size 3-4 with a Star of David sewn on it. She wondered right away if the little girl who wore that dress was killed, and yes, I think she was, so we talked a lot about that.. it was hard for my child to grasp that a grown man would hurt and kill a small little girl, but there it was, cold hard evidence that even children were mistreated in war . Previous to that she knew people ( mostly but not exclusively Jewish people) were killed in the war and in camps , but it was a very abstract concept, seeing a personal belonging made it very real.. and that much scarier.

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

Perhaps try broaching the topic to them while still at home, by way of a book with pictures or a webpage. Watch their reaction closely and ask them how it makes them feel. Give them time to think about it. Let them express an opinion about whether they want to go there during their holidays. Better to have an idea of their feelings and sensitivity level ahead of time than to discover it's too disturbing for one of the children when you're right there on site and would have to cope with it. Or else, plan in advance how you would cope with it. I was with a group that visited Oradour-sur-Glane in France (Google it to find out what happened there when the German army was retreating after the Normandy Invasions). When the group reassembled after walking through the ruins on our own, the group mood was substantially altered and remained that way through the rest of that day and night, as people came to grips with what they had seen.