Sunday, February 24, 2013

Visiting Dachau, Germany

The Dachau camp is located 20 km north of Munich (Germany) and it has an easy acces for tourists. It was built in 1933  as a work camp and since 1941 it began to be used as an extermination camp. It mostly housed political prisoners and homosexuals. Among his most famous prisoners was the German carpenter Georg Elser, who attempted unsuccessfully against Hitler in 1939, placing an explosive device built by himself in the brewery Bürgerbräukeller. For 13 minutes he did not succeed and he was arrested and taken first to Sachsenhausen and later to Dachau where he was treated as "privileged prisoner" (it's believed to be because Hitler assumed he was a pawn in a larger conspiracy). In 1945, 20 days before the camp liberation, he was killed by direct order of Hitler.

It's estimated  that 41,000 people were killed in the camp as well as many others that did not survive the appalling conditions in which they were (in 1945 a typhus epidemic swept).
The camp was liberated on April 29, 1945 by the 20th Armored Division and 45th Infantry Division of the U.S. Seventh Army .

 Plaque commemorating the 20th Armored Division.


You can click here to see the exact location of the camp. To get there, you must take a train from Munich (line S-Bahn S2 Petershausen direction). These trains depart every 20 minutes and takes about 20 minutes to get to the station Bahnhof Dachau . You can take this train at any station of the S2 line: Ost, Isartor, Hbf, Marienplatz ... From Munich Hbf station (the main station) you can also catch a RE (regional express) that leads to the Dachau station in 10 minutes, but it happens less often than the S2.
To check schedules can click here .
Once you reach Dachau Hbf you have to go out the main entrance cross the street, in the square, you will see a post that indicates concentration camp memorial site . There, you will have to take the 724 or 726 bus which stops at the entrance to the camp (KZ-Gedenkstätte). If you show the train ticket you will not have to pay ticket.
If you want to walk from the station to the camp, be aware that there are more than 3 km (about 50 minutes). You can follow the signs to " KZ-Gedenkstätte ".


Official Website:
Open every day except December 24.
Hours : 9:00-17:00
Free admission. If you are going by car the parking fee is 3 euros.
Guided tour for 3 euros. Estimated duration of the visit: 2h30min.  
Guided Tour times:

 German  Daily: 12.00 am
 English  Daily: 11.00 am and 1.00 pm
 Italian  July to September, Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 a.m.

There are also audio guides for 3.50 euros.

 General plan.

Since 1965 the camp facilities have become a museum. It has 22 zones, and only the area of the former SS camp is inaccessible to the public. In 1945 much of the camp was destroyed, so because of that some areas, such as barracks, are not the original ones but they are reconstructions. Clicking in the plane you can see the dating of the buildings and monuments and what parts have remained ever since. As a curiosity, the area of the buildings of the SS is running and use by the bomb unit of the police.

Original crematoria.

The bunker is known for being the place where the torture and experiments were performed at camp prisoners, including intentionally infecting malaria, subjecting them to hypothermia, etc. Theodor Eicke , leader of the SS in charge of the camp, was known for its brutality.


Reconstructed barracks.

More than 7,500 people are buried in mass graves in the area. In the last weeks before the camp liberation, out of coal, the dead could not be cremated, so they had to be buried.
Christian grave.

Memorials to victims:

 Orthodox Chapel Memorial.

 Christian Chapel Memorial.
Memorial sculpture seen from the entrance.

 Thanks to SW-Winters for the information and pictures.


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