As you may have seen over the last few weeks, we spent part of the month of May in Europe. One of the areas we stayed in the most was Munich, Germany. While there, we felt like we had to go and visit Dachau Concentration Camp. We had heard so much about it in history class, and in the media, but had to see what it was all about. Of course, we also planned a visit to Hofbrauhuas knowing we would probably need a happier evening, and something to clear the palette so to speak. We were definitely right on that assessment.
I don’t think I will say much about the history of the camp and what happened there during WW11. I think most everyone knows at least some of the basics. If not, here is a link to a website with some history. I mostly want to focus on what we saw while there and what we thought.
When we first got to Dachau, the first thing I noticed was the large wall all around the camp. It was large, but still a little smaller than I thought it would be. We made it inside and stopped into the visitor’s center. They suggested we go into the main building and watch a short film on the history of the camp. It was a good suggestion, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was back in school, lol.
After the film was over we walked around the large building checking out the many displays and exhibits. I learned a lot that I did not know or learn in school. It was much more than sad. It was sickening. I can’t think of another word for it. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would have felt if one of those “prisoners” was someone I loved.
We left the main building and made our way to the other end of the complex. This is where they had several memorials and chapels. The biggest ones were the Protestant Church of Reconciliation, the Jewish Memorial, and the Catholic Mortal Agony of Christ Chapel. I stood there for a long time thinking about all those poor people and prayed that they found some peace.
On the way back toward the main building are the roll call area and the barracks. They are reconstructions but give you a sense of their confinement. Dachau was initially planned to hold 6,000 prisoners, but more than 30,000 were imprisoned before the camp was eventually liberated by American troops on April 29, 1945.
One other note about the camps that you probably didn’t learn in school was the liberation of inmates from sub-camps by the 522 Field Artillery Battalion. What made this interesting was that this was Gene’s dad’s unit. Crazy huh? We found out there is a memorial to the unit about 50 kilometers south of Munich. One day on our way to Salzburg, we found it and took a few pictures of Gene with the memorial. It was a nice way to remember our trip, which made the memories a little less depressing.
I can’t say I enjoyed our visit to Dachau, because I didn’t. It made me sad, sick, and confused, but it also put things in perspective. It made all the little petty things, just that. I can say that I am happy to have been there to have a better understanding than what I did from just reading it in books and watching film strips in school. If you would like more information regarding hours and such, please check out their website. It is free, but there is a small charge for parking. I will end by restating what I said earlier, I pray that all those affected found peace one way or the other. No one should ever have been treated that way. May we never forget what happened there so that history will NEVER repeat itself.
Dachau Visitor Information
Alte Römerstraße 75
+49 (0) 8131 – 66997 – 0
Daily 9 AM – 5 PM
Arriving by car
Dachau is connected to the following highways:
A8 Stuttgart-München (Stuttgart-Munich) to the Dachau-Fürstenfeldbruck exit, then B471 towards Dachau to the Dachau-Ost exit.
A9 Nürnberg-München (Nuremberg–Munich) to the Neufahrn interchange, then A92 towards Stuttgart the Oberschleißheim/Dachau exit, then B471 towards Dachau (exit Dachau-Ost).
From Munich: A9 (Nuremberg) then A99 to the Feldmoching interchange, then A92 to the Oberschleißheim/Dachau exit, then B471 towards Dachau (exit Dachau-Ost).
The Memorial Site is in the part of town called Dachau-Ost and directions are well marked with signs.
Traveling from Munich, the easiest way to reach the Memorial Site is by public transport. Take the S2 train from Munich in the direction of Dachau/Petershausen until you reach the Dachau station. The train ride takes approximately 25 minutes from Munich’s Central Station (Hauptbahnhof).
Once you have arrived at the Dachau train station, take bus 726 towards “Saubachsiedlung” to the entrance of the Memorial Site (stop: “KZ-Gedenkstätte”).
For help planning your route via public transportation, visit the MVV (Munich Transport and Tariff Association) website’s useful itinerary planner.
For using the S-Bahn from Munich it is advisable to purchase a single (or partner) day ticket “Munich-M1”. It covers the S-Bahn from Munich Central Station to Dachau and the bus in Dachau to the Memorial Site. Automated machines are available for purchasing tickets. For more details please check the MVV München Homepage.
The parking area is located next to the Memorial Site at Alte Römerstraße 73. If you prefer to travel to the Memorial Site by car, please note that parking fees during the summer months (March-October) are €3.00 per car and €5.00 for buses. Between November and February parking is free. Please note that they do not accept any credit cards.
The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site wishes to be accessible for everyone and do what it can to remove all barriers. Unfortunately, this is not possible at present in all areas. Action has already been undertaken in the following areas:
The bus stop for the Dachau Memorial Site is barrier-free.
The outdoor grounds of the Dachau Memorial Site are difficult to access because they are graveled. To improve accessibility wheelchairs and e-mobile scooters are available for use by visitors.
The entrances to the following buildings are fitted with ramps to provide access:
- Former maintenance building (main exhibition)
- Reconstructed barrack (exhibition
- Former crematorium
- Former camp prison (exhibition)
- Seminar rooms
The interiors of the buildings at the Dachau Memorial Site have been leveled to improve accessibility.
There are disabled-accessible WCs in the Visitors’ Center, in the main exhibition in the former maintenance building, and in close vicinity to the seminar rooms.
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