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Dachau Concentration Camp - Visit a Memorial Site From Germany's Darkest Past

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Dachau Concentration Camp

Sculpture by Nandor Glid, Dachau Concentration Camp

Edwin Lee

Dachau Concentration Camp - Overview:

The concentration camp of Dachau, 10 miles northwest of Munich, was one of the first concentration camps in Nazi Germany.
Built in March of 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler was appointed as Reichs Cancellor, Dachau would serve as a model for all subsequent concentrations camps in the Third Reich.

Dachau was one of the longest running concentration camps in Nazi Germany. 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: Jews, political opponents, homosexuals, gypsies, members of the Jehovah's Witness, and priests.

The camp was also a training ground for the SS, called “School of Violence”.

Dachau - The Liberation:

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.

Dachau - What to Expect:

Dachau visitors follow the “path of the prisoner”, walking the same way prisoners were forced to after their arrival in the camp; from the main iron gate that displays the cruel and cynical motto “Arbeit macht frei” (Work makes you free), to the shunt rooms where prisoners were stripped of their personal belongings along with their identity.

You will also see the original prisoner baths, barracks, courtyards, and the crematorium.

The original buildings house extensive exhibits on the Nazi concentration camp system and life on the grounds.

The Dachau memorial site also includes religious memorials and chapels that reflect all religions that were present in the camp, as well as an international monument by the Yugoslavian artist and holocaust survivor, Nandor Glid.

Dachau Address:

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site (KZ Gedenkstaette)
Alte Römerstraße 75
85221 Dachau
Phone: +49 (0) 8131 / 66 99 70

Dachau Opening Hours:

Tue-Sun, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday closed (except on public holidays)

Entrance is free, no reservation required

Dachau – Getting There:

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").
It will take approximately one hour to travel from Munich to Dachau by public transportation.

Dachau Tours and Guides:

Audio Guides

Audio Guides are available in English (€3,00/ €2,00) and offer information about the grounds, the history of the camp, as well as accounts of historical witnesses.

Introductions

A 30-minute long introduction offers an overview of the camp and its history (€1,50); questions and discussions are encouraged.
May - October
Tue-Fri, 12:30 p.m.
Sat, Sun, and public holidays, 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

October - April
Thu, Sat, Sun and public holidays 12:30 p.m.

Guided Tours

2,5 hours long guided tours of the memorial site take you around the former prisoner's camp, the historical buildings, and parts of the permanent exhibition (€1,50).

Tickets and audio guides can be purchased at the Visitor's Center. Tickets to the Introduction and the Guided Tours should be picked up 15 minutes in advance.

My colleague James Martin, Guide to Europe Travel, has more great tips for organized tours to Dachau.

For more information, consult the official Website of the Dachau Memorial Site.

Profile of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.

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