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IN A NUTSHELL
WHAT: Dachau Concentration Camp
WHERE: Dachau, just outside of Munich; CLICK HERE to Map It!
WHY: First Nazi Concentration Camp; Holocaust Museum; Sobering historical perspective
WHEN: All year round
HOW: S-Bahn from Munich Train Station; day trip from Southern Germany


Dachau Concentration CampDachau Concentration Camp, located in the town of Dachau just outside of Munich, Germany, was the original Nazi Concentration Camp, built by Heinrich Himmler in 1933 to house political opponents of the Nazi Party.  Over the next twelve years, the camp would become home to Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, clergymen, and Prisoners of War. 

While the Memorial Site is a very somber destination, it is very informative and educational for those who wish to learn more about Germany's past and the events corresponding to the rise and fall of the Nazi party.  Although it is a sobering destination, we definitely recommend this trip for those in the Munich or Salzurg areas as there are few places which can offer this kind of detail and historical context to the concentration camp system.  For World War II history buffs, Munich's Hofbräuhaus and Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden are two additional nearby historical sights in Southern Germany.

The two main objectives for camp personnel were to provide the Nazi Party with slave labor and personnel for medical experiments.  Over its period of time in operation, 206,000 prisoners passed through, 32,000 of whom perished.

The camp was liberated by US Forces on April 27, 1945.  After the war, Dachau became a refugee camp and housed families displaced by the ravages of war.

The camp was restored in 1966 as a memorial to the tens of thousands of people from over 34 nations who suffered and died there.

The memorial includes a museum (all displays are in English), the bunker/prison, a barracks building, gas chambers, and a crematorium.  Each of these exhibits presents a part of the overall picture of prisoner life at Dachau. 

Every visitor to Dachau can feel the tangible air of solemnity and solitude once they set foot on the memorial site.  The first sight visitors have of the concentration camp is of the guard towers and barbed wire fences which kept the prisoners from escaping.

Dachau Entrance  Dachau Electrified Fence  Monument in front of Museum  Memorial Behind Crematorium
Guard Tower  Fence  Ditch outside fence 
Dachau Ditch

Just inside the fence is a large, open area, which was where the prisoners would form up every morning so that the prison guards could take count of the healthy, the sick, and the dead.  Prisoners were often force to stand for hours in the cold winds and pouring rain, which was as much a form of torture as it was for organizational purposes.

For a Panorama View of the Formation Area, CLICK HERE.

Adjacent to the formation area were the rows of prisoner barracks.  In the barracks, prisoners were forced to sleep in close quarters which added to the poor hygiene conditions in the camp.  Visitors can tour through one of these barracks to see the dismal living conditions of the prisoners. 

Common Area  Barracks Foundations  Dachau Barracks  Prisoner Beds 

The Museum is located across the formation area from the barracks, and provides visitors with an in-depth, comprehensive look at the rise of Nazism and the concentration camp system.  The exhibits are quite graphic and include many quotes from Dachau prisoners describing the camp atrocities.

Monument in fron of Museum  Museum  Museum  Museum

The bunker, located behind the museum, was the concentration camp prison, where guards would torture and punish those who misbehaved.

Bunker Hallway  
Bunker Hallway
Cell Door

The crematorium area is located at the far end of the concentration camp, near the religious memorials.  Here, visitors can tour both the original crematorium, with its two ovens, and the expanded crematorium, with its ovens, gallows, and "shower room" gas chambers.  While the gas chambers at Dachau were only used for experimental purposes, the crematorium was in full use to dispose of dead prisoners. 

Crematorium  Original Crematorium  Disinfection Chamber
Ovens  Ovens  Gas Chamber

The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9am-5pm.  Entry to both the memorial and to the museum is free.

For more information, call 08131 669970 or email info@kz-gedenkstaette-dachau.de

How to Get There:
- Take the S2 train from Munich towards Dachau/Petershausen.  From the Munich Hauptbahnhof, this is a 20 minute ride.  From the Dachau station, take either the Bus 724 to the Memorial Site parking lot, or Bus 726 to the main entrance of the Memorial Site.

- If you are traveling by car, click the link below.

Click Here for Directions and a Map of the Camp
 

Other European Sights


TribergBlack Forest
Venture into the heart of the forest where the trees grow so close together they block out the light from above.  Enjoy this fantasyland of chocolate cakes and cuckoo clocks.


Hitler's Eagle's NestEagle's Nest
Adolf Hitler's Eagle's Nest lies atop a mountain in the southeastern corner of Germany.  Visit this magnificent monument and marvel at the breathtaking views of the German and Austrian Alps.

Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau
Take a trip into the Bavarian Alps to see the castle Bavaria's Mad King Ludwig grew up in.



Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein

Venture into the Bavarian Alps and visit the fairy tale landmark upon which the Walt Disney based his Disney Land Castle: Mad King Ludwig's Schloss Neuschwanstein.


Ulm CathedralUlm
The city of Ulm dates as far back as 854 AD.  It's cathedral lays claim to having the world's tallest steeple, and after you have climbed the 768 steps to the top you won't argue this fact.
 

Moving to Germany?  Look at out our tips!

Moving to Germany
Whether you are a member of the US Air Force, Army, or Navy, check out our guide to moving to Europe. 
 

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