Dachau Concentration Camp

Dachau, Germany

On March 22, 1933, a few weeks after Adolf Hitler had been appointed Reich Chancellor, a concentration camp for political prisoners was set up in Dachau. 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 the twelve years of its existence over 200.000 persons from all over Europe were imprisoned here and in the numerous subsidary camps. 41.500 were murdered. On April 29 1945, American troops liberated the survivors.

The camp was divided into two sections—the camp area and the crematoria area. The camp area consisted of 32 barracks, including one for clergy imprisoned for opposing the Nazi regime and one reserved for medical experiments.

The camp administration was located in the gatehouse at the main entrance. The camp area had a group of support buildings, containing the kitchen, laundry, showers, and workshops, as well as a prison block (Bunker). The courtyard between the prison and the central kitchen was used for the summary execution of prisoners. An electrified barbed-wire fence, a ditch, and a wall with seven guard towers surrounded the camp.

In 1942, the crematorium area was constructed next to the main camp. It included the old crematorium and the new crematorium (Barrack X) with a gas chamber. There is no credible evidence that the gas chamber in Barrack X was used to murder human beings. Instead, prisoners underwent 'selection'; those who were judged too sick or weak to continue working were sent to the Hartheim 'euthanasia' killing center near Linz, Austria. Several thousand Dachau prisoners were murdered at Hartheim. Further, the SS used the firing range and the gallows in the crematoria area as killing sites for prisoners.

The Memorial Site on the grounds of the former concentration camp was established in 1965 on the initiative of and in accordance with the plans of the surviving prisoners who had joined together to form the Comité International de Dachau. The Bavarian state government provided financial support. Between 1996 and 2003 a new exhibition on the history of the Dachau concentration camp was created, following the leitmotif of the 'Path of the Prisoners'.



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Founded: 1933
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Germany
Historical period: Nazi Germany (Germany)


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Patrick Orsini (2 years ago)
An extremely interesting and educational experience on the horrors of concentration camps. They have done a great job with the audio guided tour. The last part of the visit is structured as an exhibition with objects, documents, pictures and interesting description. Although this is a strong experience, I would definitely recommend it. The camp can be easily reached from Munich by train.
Phil Holtam (2 years ago)
Hard to give a five star review on a concentration camp, but it is a really impactful sight. Didn't take many photos as it didn't seem that type of place. Went without a guide and many signs were in German and English. Easy trip i from Munich if you have even basic knowledge of their metro. Worth having lunch or dinner in Dachau after. It is a great little city that unfortunately still shares it's name with the attrocoites of the camp.
C T (3 years ago)
This is my forth time here. Despite history remains the same, each experience it's unique. Very different from books, documentaries, films the experience it's surreal. You can just imagine what they went through.
Mirka Mendez (3 years ago)
Well preserved concentration camp. Free to visit. The museum inside the main building is very complete, lots of information and artifacts. Very worth it to go through it in detail to understand the history fully. All descriptions in English and German. Audio guides are available with additional languages at the visitor center. Guides are sitting at locations around the camp and they'll tell you about them. Great experience visiting this memorial. Parking is 3 euros
Luca Cangiano (3 years ago)
If you are in Munich, this is definitely worth a visit. It takes a 2-3h to have a full tour and I totally suggest to get a guide: it's cheap and improves the whole experience a lot. Just check their schedule on the website
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