Andrew James John Mackenzie
an historiography
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Welcome to Dachau and welcome to McDonald’s

On a recent trip to München, Germany, I took the opportunity to visit the place synonymous with cruelty and human degradation, a place which has come to define the crimes of National Socialism. The concentration camp of Dachau was the first instrument of terror used by the Nazis and was the only camp to remain operational up to the very end of the Second World War, murdering more than 31,000 people and brutalising many thousands more. Its history and its significance in modern day democratic societies are of the utmost importance therefore. How then did it seem appropriate, opening a McDonald’s restaurant barely a mile away from the camp and adjacent to the S-Bahn station? Offering customers the option of ‘supersizing’ can only have been a catastrophic oversight considering the thousands that suffered and starved over half a century ago.

In terms of abject product placement and corporate insensitivity, this must surely be one of the more outrageous and depressing, despite its Happy Meal promise. Indeed, prospective customers can even have the opportunity of ‘checking in’ to the restaurant using Foursquare®. Is this not also an oblivious and tactless decision to make, a haunting reminder of the horrific bureaucracy, atomising and roll call of the camp at the height of its tyrannical exploits? There is certainly no doubt as to the depths that McDonald’s will plunge to exercise its commercial zeal. Framing its own golden arches alongside the wrought iron gates of Dachau, emblazoned with ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’, would deter many, I hope, from entering its premises, for the sake of both their conscience as well as their stomachs.


To check-in using Foursquare®, use the following link:
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