I am very much like Keller, the hitman of some Lawrence Block stories: if I spend more than ten minutes in a town, I immediately start fantasising about living there. There are some strange places though where I just don’t get the feeling, and Dachau turned out being one of them. It is a nice, livable town with lots of green parks and abandoned gardens covered with snowdrops like it were delicate Persian rugs, but I simply just couldn’t picture myself living there, riding my bike on the streets and buying groceries at the Aldi shop. I’m not sure if it’s due to the proximity of the concentration camp – in fact, it is incorporated in the city, with kindergartens right next to the fence and living room windows looking at its alleys – because dealing with the past is necessary anyway and it’s rather a healthy way of doing that; but I found myself (totally unusually) not wanting to move there.
And a small but very typical detail: of all of my coworkers, the only one who approved my visit to the Dachau concentration camp, was a practising Muslim and second generation Turkish immigrant. This fact tells tales of the Austrian mentality, which is rather like “oh no, I don’t go there, it’s not nice, I don’t want to see such things, they aren’t pretty”.