There are no words to describe the feeling as we walked through the former grounds of the Dachau Concentration Camp, now a memorial site. Devastating, terrifying, and horrific it is now a place of sorrow and remembrance. As a memorial, visiting Dachau is a sobering reminder of what should never have happened, and what the world should never forget.
Located in southern Bavaria, about 25 kilometres from Munich in Germany, it opened in March 1933. Dachau is the concentration camp that had been in operation the longest when they were liberated in 1945. For twelve years thousands lived in constant fear of torture or death. Those running Dachau Concentration camp are an example of the worst of mankind.
The camp was designed for holding German and Austrian political prisoners and Jews, but in 1935 it began to also be used for ordinary criminals. Overall, it is estimated to have had over 188,000 prisoners, and murdered 41,500 of them.
According to Wikipedia, the Inmates included Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, French, Yugoslavs, Czechs, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, Homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists, and Gypsies.
Visiting Dachau is a very emotional experience, as are the images below:
Quotes from survivors are on a nearby sign. One from Jean Bernard, “Block 25487 – Clergy” reads,
“I don’t know whether the reader can picture to himself the sight of 250 tattered straw palliasses and as many pillows, plus 500 covers, not to mention odd pieces of furniture and personal possessions lying in a disordered mass in the filth and rain; how these same during the one-hour pause in work all must be cleared away, the beds made, rooms swept and dusted and the block road similarly cleaned of each tiny whip of straw . . . “
Imprisoned and Murdered
A Somber Memorial
The wall reads, “May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933 -1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defence of peace and freedom and in respect for their fellow men.
Visit Dachau with a tour or guide
Practical Information on visiting Dachau Concentration Camp
- Located in the city of Dachau, it is about an hour drive to the northwest from Munich (although it looks much closer on the map) or a two-hour drive south from Nurenburg.
- The car park is located in the Alte Römerstraße and costs €3 per car.
There is also a train that travels from Munich to Dachau.
- The site is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily, although closed on December 24.
- Entry to the memorial site is free, although there are small fees for audio or guided tours. See their official website for more details.
- Honestly, it took us a little while to recover from this visit. Personally, I wouldn’t bring small children here, and I agree with the official site’s recommendation of not bringing children under 12 years old. There are photos and images of things that should never happen.
- The guidelines for visitors can be downloaded here (from the official website).
- Visitors are asked to dress respectfully, and absolutely no clothing or symbols generally associated with right-wing extremist groups is permitted.
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