Dachau – Concentration Camp

Dachau – Concentration Camp

We all have heard of the horrible things that happened in the past in the camps like Dachau. It was the dark chapter in modern Europe’s history, but just hearing about it doesn’t really compare to actually visiting these places. Right from the beginning there came a chilling feeling while reading the info sings near the entrance and it kept rising the whole way through.

First a little background info, Dachau was the first concentration camp that was opened in Germany. It’s located about 16 kilometers from Munich, next to a town called Dachau. The location was optimal since the the main govern was located in Munich. The original idea of the camp was holding political prisoners, but it expanded to holding criminals and prisoners from countries that Germany invaded. The camp included prisoner area, SS training area, barracks, and other facilities, all in total covering over 25 acres of land. The estimated amount of prisoners is over 200000, of which over 32000 have reportedly been killed. In April 1945 American soldiers liberated the Camp.

 

Entering the camp

Getting to the camp was easy. Driving from Munich wasn’t very long and parking was easy to find close to the camp. There are also bus connections to the area but not sure how often they’re going. Before entering the camp there is an visitors center from where you can buy books related to the camp, take up an Audio tour or buy some refreshments. If you’ve got the time, we’d recommend to take the audio tour as it will give you much detailed description of the site than just reading the plaques in the area. We our self did not take the audio tour as we did not have so much time to spent here, but those that I’ve talked with have highly recommended it.  

 

Inside the camp

We entered the camp from the main gate, where also the SS offices were located. Beyond the gate opened up the main square where the prisoners had been counted each morning and evening, no matter their condition. We started our tour from the prison building “bunker” where you could read stories of some of the prisoners, see the rooms they were kept in and read about some of the officers that worked there.

Dachau monument
The monument in the center of Dachau

After the prison building, we went inside the maintenance building, where were a lot of pictures, stories and items from the camp. Here were described some of the prisoners that were sent here, giving face to the horrible stories that were surrounding us. There were also mentions of the experiments and other horrific acts done in there, but i will not go in details with them. From here we went on to look the monument in the square, visited the barracks where the prisoners slept and continued forward to see the churches and chapels and other religious memorial that’s been build on the far end of the camp.

Dachau main road
Main road between the barracks

We ended our tour in the worst place of the whole camp, crematorium/execution area. It was chilling to read how much effort they had seen in making the complex as efficient as possible for the killing. Crematorium was located on the center and different killing areas were on all sides of it, from gas chambers to shooting ranges and even gallows pole right front of the ovens. Seeing all this after so much time still gave us a bad, empty feeling. How someone could have done something like this?

Own thoughts

 

Visiting the camp opened my views on the horrible acts that had been done there. I’ll never understand what have made people act in this way and i hope that such a places will never be made again. Nobody deserves to be send to this sort of place and meet their end there. I also do not understand some of the visitors in there, who took smiling selfies with the cells, with the pictures of those that had been there..even with the crematorium. How can someone have so little respect and sense of compassion as to leave the camera in pocket within those walls. In my opinion it’s disrespectful for those that were sent there

2 thoughts on “Dachau – Concentration Camp

  1. I understand where you’re coming from – I visited Mauthausen 10 years ago when I was on a study abroad in Austria, and it was a really sobering experience. I was pretty frustrated at the people who were taking these super happy pictures – you can’t really take those kinds of pictures and there’s too much tragic history within. Still, I’m glad I went and it’s impacted me for a long time.

    1. Yea, theres a time and place for everything and these places just aint one for smiley photos. Still would recommend visiting them regardless of the dark history as it’s really an eye opening experience

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