KZ Dachau was the first Concentration Camp of Nazi Germany, soon erected after Hitler came in power in 1933. When Hitler became “Reichskanzler” (chancellor) he turned the paramilitary “Sturmabteilung” (SA), a division of the Nazi party to protect party assemblies, into regular police, which gave them the right to arrest political enemies without any reason. Very soon the prisons were overcrowded and Himmler had the idea to use unoccupied factory buildings located near Dachau (where he had worked in) as a prison. This day trip is part of the 9-DAY HISTORY RAIL TOUR: “FASCINATION AND TERROR” – RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH.
The Memorial Site can easily be visited from Munich by taking the commuter train “S2) (“S-Bahn”) to the Regional train to Dachau Station. The regional train only takes 11 minutes, the “S2” 21 minutes to get there. A local bus line (726) takes you from there to the entrance of the Memorial Site – the schedule of the bus is matched to the arrival of the trains.
From the station there are also signs which lead you to the Memorial Site (“KZ-Gedenkstätte”) if you prefer to walk and would like to follow the “Path of Remembrance”. The path follows the route the prisoners had to take when they were walking from the Dachau Railway Station to the entrance of the concentration camp. There are 11 information panels along the way. Walking time to follow the “Straße der KZ-Opfer” is about 45 minutes.
Admission to the Memorial Site is free. When you get to the Memorial Site you first want to visit the Visitor Center. There are scheduled English-speaking tours (daily at 11am and 1pm) for a small fee you can join and there is also the option to rent audio guides if you prefer to explore the memorial at your own time and pace. The audio guide is accompanied by a map of the area, and contains information about the grounds and history of the Dachau Concentration Camp, as well as accounts of historical witnesses. You should plan to spend about 2.5 to 3 hours to visit the site.
When you walk towards the gate (which used to be the main entrance of the KZ Dachau) you will see the former railway ramps. At the former entrance of the KZ you will find the iron gates with the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” – work makes (you) free.
In the former maintenance building (which you find right behind the entrance gates) you find a permanent exhibition about the site and the prisoners. Here you can also watch the documentary film “The Dachau Concentration Camp” which takes 22 minutes. An English version is shown 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
The “Camp Road” crosses the “Roll-call area” and leads to the barracks. Along the sides you will see the guard towers and the security installations.
There are a few barracks which are open so you can take a look at the interior. Even without the many people which were packed in one barrack a visit of the inside gives you an idea under which circumstances the prisoners lived in the camp.
At the end of the Camp road you find the Crematorium area. The area behind the buildings was used as an execution site used to shot Soviet prisoners of war and Gestapo prisoners.
Today the area is the main place of remembrance and cemetery in the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.