On a cold December morning we took the train to Dachau, small boring german town 20km NW of Munich. I guess noone would ever know about this old medieval town if it wasn’t the area where the Nazis built the infamous Dachau concentration camp in 1933 (the first one actually, and used as a prototype for many others that follow).
Konzentrationslager (KZ) Dachau was ordered by Heinrich Himmler (one of the most powerful leaders of Nazis) first to house political prisoners and then roma people, homosexuals, jews, catholic and orthodox priests and people from every country Nazis occupied during WWII.
200,000 people passed the gates of Dachau, officially about 32,000 died here (many of starvation, malnutrition and diseases like typhus but many others also got shot, hung or just took part in cruel medical experiments that were part of the nazi’s vicious campaign while others transferred to other camps and faced murder with poison gas (there was a gas chamber in Dachau but never used) because Dachau wasn’t built as death camp like Auschwitz.
The camp liberated by US army on april 1945, that day there were 32,000 inmates inside the camp. Some camp guards were killed after liberation by American soldier but also by prisoners’ hands. Until 1948 the camp was used as a prison for SS officers. After 1960 it was closed and there was a big discussion if they should keep it or not but many survivors wanted to return, to build memorials etc
In our days apart from numerous memorials it houses a museum. It is open daily 9.00-17.00 with no entrance fee but its worth to pay 3 euros for the useful audio guide.
We approached the main gate where we saw the famous phrase “Works makes you free”, we spent 2 hours inside the small museum (it houses information about nazi policy, the camps all over Germany, photographs, posters, drawings of inmates, statistics, items etc), we also saw the 22 minute long video documentary and then we visited some of the barracks, the original barracks have been demolished but they reconstructed two of them so the visitors to see how it was. We also saw the memorials and monuments, checked the perimeter fence and finally ended up at the crematoriums (they are located outside the camp).
The truth is that some people get dissapointed from their visit in Dachau because it looks like a regular summer camp or something with all these new constructions, the clean grounds with green grass etc but that's not the point here, it's not the place itself, it is what happened so the people to remember and not forget...
When we left we had a lot to talk about, definitely not an easy place to visit….
From Hauptbahnhof S2 train (direction Dachau/Petershausen) to Dachau station (25’). Then bus 726 (or 724) towards "Saubachsiedlung" for 5 stops to the entrance of the memorial site ("KZ-Gedenkstätte").
Maybe it's not an enjoyable thing to do here but I recommend you visit here to see and not forget a dark era of humanity, a symbol of inhumanity, the terror of life, better die than live in that dark era. A large number of prisoners were abused by SS doctors for medical experiments; an unknown number of prisoners suffered agonizing deaths in the course of atmospheric pressure, hypothermia, malaria and many other experiments.
The concentration camp of Dachau, 10 miles northwest of Munich, was one of the first concentration camps in Nazi Germany. This camp served as a model for all later concentration camps and as a "School of Violence" for the SS men under whose command it stood. In its twelve years of existence, more than 200,000 people from more than 30 countries were imprisoned at Dachau and its sub-camps. More than 43,000 died. On April 29, 1945 Dachau was liberated by American troops, freeing its 32,000 survivors.
20 years later, the Memorial Site Dachau was established on the initiative of surviving prisoners.
The Memorial Site includes the original prisoner's camp grounds, the crematorium, an exhibition, various memorials, a visitor's center, a library and archive, and a bookstore.
Admission to the grounds and museum is free, just pay 3 Euro for car parking only .
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site (KZ Gedenkstaette)
Alte Römerstraße 75
From Munich, take the metro S2 to Dachau/Petershausen. Get off at the Dachau Station and take the bus Nr. 726 into the direction of "Saubachsiedlung"; get off at the entrance of the Memorial Site ("KZ-Gedenkstätte").
Being a history major, I had been interested in seeing things from the other side. I met up on the bus to the site with a tour guide who was in training and they were trying to gather people for a free tour around the site. I jumped on the deal and took the free tour and learned TONS of interesting facts. Walking around the site alone isn't enough to really get to know what happened there. The movie is well worth your time, but it contains the harsh truth and censors nothing, so be warned. Take your time here and get the full effect of the site. It is well worth your time. I took about a half day to go through everything.
I did not find visiting the Dachau concentration camp quite as emotional as when I visited Auzwitz. Maybe it is because all the bunkers have been leveled bar the one they have kept to show how the people lived and you have these vast open spaces at Dachau, or maybe it is because I first visited Auzwitz. Still the terror of what happened stays with you and the camp is a stark reminder of what happens during time of war.
I ask myself the question ........... what is wrong with us humans as a specie that we could do such terrible things to others?
Unless you're very well versed in concentration camps, this is an eye-opening experience. This monument that has been created to memorialize the terror of the 20th century deserves a day of your time. Most notable is how this all came about; circumstances, the times and the convergence of commonplace events makes you wonder just how many more times things like this will occur in human history. "Never again" is only a dream as long as apathy and ignorance exist.
The town of Dachau and with it, the memorial site for Dachau's concentration camp, is only an hour away from Munich's city centre by public transportation. Make sure you go there. It will be a sad trip. But it's important that as many people as possible see this in order to make sure that what happened here between 1933 and 1945 will never ever happen again!
Read more about my visit here on my Dachau Page.
Directions: From Munich take S-Bahn number 2 in direction Petershausen and get off at Dachau main station. In front of the station there's a bus terminal. Busses to the memorial site are very well signposted from there.
Dachau is one of Munich's suburbs, and now infamous for being home to the first concentration camp from Hitler's Germany. It also served as a prototype and model for the others that followed...
Among the eerie reminders of the horrors- gas chambers (which for some reason were never used in Dacau) and the wrought iron gate to the main camp, which bears the words `Arbeit Macht Frei' or `Work will set you free'. The nazi's had this motto/ slogan put up at many of their concentration camps.
Of course, nobody was ever released for hard work or cooperation...
The original barracks were later pulled down, though one was rebuilt and is used as a display of the camps history. The remaining barracks are now just marked by small concrete foundations with numbers on each of them.
Almost 30,000 prisoners were killed here, and many others lost their lives due to other causes while at the camp. The exact numbers are hard to determine.
The best way to get there is to take the S-Bahn (S2) to Dachau station, and then follow the signs. Busses run regularly (724/ 726) between the station and the campsite.
Its a 10 min walk from there on to the main entrance.
The Memorial Site is open on all days except for Mondays, between 9 am and 5 pm.
Entry is free.
The Dachau concentration camp memorial is something that all humans should experience. Supposedly a 'work camp' and not a extermination camp like Aushwitz it has amazing pictures and articles, a particularly interesting one has a board classifying the star or symbol a prisoner had to wear there were at least twenty classifications. They also have reproduction of there 'housing' and the actual crematoriums. I wasn't in the mood to take pictures so I got this one from a web site. It is a picture from the memorial in the front of the camp, one of the best modern memorials I have ever seen.
A visit to Dachau is highly recommended during any visit to Munich. Sobering and disturbing, but fascinating and compelling. You can actually touch the crematoriums. It's like nothing you'll ever experience.
Dachau was the first German concentration camp, set up in 1933. The camp office files show a total of more than 206,000 prisoners were registered b/t 1933 and 1945, however, there were many more that weren't registered so the exact number of prisoners is unknown.
The museum is divided into four parts: The Entrance Hall, The Vestibule, Center-First part and Center-Second part.
The Entrance Hall shows the main concentration camps w/their sub. camps.
The Vestibule shows the documentation; the period preceding the Third Reich.
The Center-First part shows the main part of the exhibition beginning with documents illustrating the seizure of power by the Nazis in 1933. The you see the foundation of the camp, the arrival of prisoners, life in the concentration camp, working conditions, punishments and transfers of prisoners to other camps.
The Center-Second part shows executions and a description of the so-called final solution of Jews.
This concentration camp will grip you, compel you to seek truth and raise more questions about humanity than you could ever imagine. Go, don't deny yourself the opportunity to experience this place.
You can take a private car or S2/s-bahn- train/bus to Dachau, as it is only 45 minutes from Munich.
Note: the site is closed on Mondays.
Dachau concentration camp was a work camp, used by the Germans to produce armaments. Walking into the grounds you could be forgiven for thinking it looks welcoming, its only when you enter the buildings and see the museum within that you understand what happened in this place.
Well ... what can I say ... I find this place terrible ... I didn't wanted to come ... I have learn the history ... I know that is important to learn about history for not make mistakes again ... but when madness come ... no learn of history can help ... I really don't feel the need for me to be in a place where the madness of few made so terror ...
I founded of extrem interest the museum inside with pictures, things, and lots of history and events in that time that try to make you understand in what kind of situations this madness came out ....
What made me so bad was the film ... seeing that film at the place maked me very upset ...
I feel that is a must see place ... but I will only recomend the history museum as very interesting ... the rest is up to you and ... warning about the rude ...
I hope that no one will misunderstand me ... I feel is important that this memorial camp exist ...