Dachau Memorial Site

dachau gate1

“On Wednesday the first concentration camp for 5,000 people will be set up near Dachau”

So the Nazi newspaper “Völkischer Beobachter” proclaimed on March 21st, 1933. During the next 12 years, until liberation on April 29th, 1945, more than 200,000 people passed through an iron gate marked “Arbeit Macht Frei“. Of these, 32,000 individuals are recorded as having died here as a result of torture, malnourishment, overwork, medical experimentation and cold-blooded murder. Many thousands more died in the horrific conditions, whose names were never recorded. The full tally of the Konzentration Lager (KZ) Dachau may never be known.

As the first permanent concentration camp it became a “School of Terror” where members of Hitler’s SS perfected their methods of physical and mental torture, skills they would implement in similar camps across Germany, and later Europe. The KZ was originally set up to hold, humiliate, “re-educate” (and sometimes execute) political opponents of the Nazi regime: Communists, Socialists and Democrats.

Later, political prisoners would be joined by other classes of prisoner: members of the clergy , Jews, Poles, so called “Anti-Socials”, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Homosexuals, Roma and Sinti, Soviet PoW’s, allied agents, resistance fighters – all passed through the gate – and by the end of the war, over 30 languages would be spoken here.

In its 12 years existence as a KZ, Dachau went through a series of changes which reflected the fortunes of the Nazi regime. On this tour we examine how conditions for prisoners changed from 1933 to 1945 as well as how Dachau compared to other camps within the KZ system.

During this 5 hour* tour you will visit:

  • The Jourhaus – The main gate of the camp, through which every prisoner passed. It was here that prisoners would read the mocking words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work will set you free).
  • Wirtshaftgebäude – Administration Building. How were prisoners categorised? Did they have tattoos? What did the different badges mean? What did prisoners wear? Punishment by the SS – and fellow prisoners.
  • Reconstructed prisoners barracks – on the site of the original barracks we consider daily routine and survival strategies.
  • “Barracke X” – The Gas Chamber and Crematoria. It is a misconception that only Extermination Camps like Auschwitz had gas chambers. The KZ at Dachau had a  “Gaskammer” and 2 crematoria. However, the extent to which the gas chamber was used remains a contentious issue. Find out why.
  • Religious memorials.

In addition you will learn about:

  • KZ Dachau: a vital part to the Nazi war economy
  • Liberation in 1945
  • Post-war history
  • The importance of the Dachau Memorial Site for today.

Cost:

Up to 4 persons: €190. This is inclusive of a travel ticket for local train and bus to get to the site as well as 19% German Sales Tax (MwSt).

For single travellers or couples we are happy to try and fix you up with another small group to keep your costs down if you so wish– but we make absolutely no guarantees that this will be possible.

Groups of 5 or more – Price on application. Booking is required, ideally at least two weeks before your intended visit. Concessions (max of 2 per group) of €10 given to students (of any age) seniors (65 and over) and serving or ex-military and first responders.

Interested in booking this tour? Send us an email with your preferred date(s) and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Notes:

Unlike some companies, Dark History only use officially accredited guides. Our guides have taken and passed a rigorous training course and passed an exam set by the Memorial.

This is a walking tour – please wear suitable footwear. Wheelchairs and electric golf-type carts are available on request. These can be in demand at the Memorial, so if you think that one will be required, please mention this in your communications with us in the first instance.

While this tour objectively looks at some aspects of WW2, it does not promote nor condone the ideologies and actions of the Nazi Party. The tour is pursuant with sections §86/86a of the German law code.

*Duration: as with all our private tours, we never watch the clock. However, give yourself around 5 hours – this includes journey time from and back to Munich Hauptbahnhof.

Eating and smoking are not allowed on the Memorial itself. A café is located just outside the Memorial where you can buy water to take with you or eat a snack before entering the site proper. However, we recommend eating before the tour. The café building also has a very good book shop with a number of relevant titles in English. There are several WC´s throughout the site.

Cameras are of course allowed, provided they are used respectfully – e.g. no smiling selfies at the gate or gas chambers. By the same token, do not use your phone – or allow your youngsters – to hunt for Pokémon.

The Dachau Memorial Site states that some of the exhibits, images and themes may be unsuitable for those under the age of 12. At Dark History we are passionate about life-long learning and feel that if your child is going to study this period in the future, then a visit will be of great benefit. You know your child better than anyone: whilst young children certainly are not banned from visiting with you, ultimately it is up to you to decide. Should you have any questions regarding suitability or content, please do not hesitate to ask by dropping us an email.