Sunday, October 31, 2010


Dachau was the Nazi Concentration camps all others were modeled after. I believe it was the first camp and where camp officers were trained at. Because this was a teaching concentration camp as well as a functional concentration camp punishments and torture here was often more cruel than others. The camp was opened in 1933 and began as a place to jail political opponents. It obviously changed and became a place for the Polish, Jews, enemy soldiers, etc.

The sign you are greeted with at Dachau.

Map of Dachau.

Enter this building to pick up an audio guide or join a tour group.

All prisoners had to march through this gate.

On the door of the gate are the words: Arbeit Macht Frei, which means Work will set you free. Originally prisoners thought if they worked they would be let go. It was never the case, this was just a Nazi slogan.

The camp grounds... depressing isn't it?

On the right is the Dachau museum.

A look back at the entrance to the camp from inside camp grounds.

One of the memorials at the site.

Beds the prisoners had to sleep in. Menial tasks were given to the people just to annoy them. For example one of the former people interned here said the Nazis forced them to continue making their round pillows square. It was like torture he said, a task that could never be completed; it's goal was just to drive people crazy.

More pictures of beds.

This is where the people had to clean themselves.

The toilets.

The tower in the background would have guards with machine guns. The fence was electrified. The blanks spaces you see used to be buildings where camp prisoners were factory workers making weapons or subjected to medical experiments, or a variety of other things. Each building had its own function.
Interestingly this lot used to be the brothel. I had no idea the concentration camp had a brothel. The women were sent here from other camps. The purpose of the brothel was to improve moral. There wasn't much information beyond this. I find this both terrible and fascinating. On one had you have the horror of this Nazi concentration camp and on the other hand you have those interned in Dachau using a brothel with women prisoners that probably really didn't want to be there. How horrible.
This memorial is for the Catholics that were imprisoned here.

This memorial is for the Jews that were interned here.

This memorial is for the Protestant imprisoned here.

The Crematorium at Dachau.

This is where bodies were cremated.

More places for bodies to be cremated.

This is the gas chamber. It was designed to look like a shower to trick prisoners into the gas chamber. The gas chamber at Dachau was never used though.

On April 29, 1945 the Americans liberated Dachau. The Americans actually used it as a base for a while. Dachau did not turn into a memorial until some time in the 1960s I think.

Dachau wasn't a happy trip, but it was a powerful one. The instant I walked inside the camp grounds I was struck with just how desolate it seemed and how depressing it must have been. This may have been one of the darkest chapters in human history but it's one that I don't think you should miss. Of all the concentration camps Dachau is significant because all other camps were modeled after it. For the people that live in Dachau, well, they know that the name of their town will always be associated with this camp.

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