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
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.
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
For a Panorama View of the Formation Area,
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.
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
The bunker, located
behind the museum, was the concentration camp prison, where guards
would torture and punish those who misbehaved.
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.
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
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