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The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
The Memorial Site on the grounds of the former concentration camp was established in 1965 on the initiative of and in accordance with the plans of the surviving prisoners who had joind together to form the Comité International de Dachau.
On March 22, 1933, a few weeks after Adolf Hitler had been appointed Reich Chancellor, a concentration camp for political prisoners was set up in Dachau. This camp served for a model for all later concentration camps and as a “school of violence” for the SS men under whose command it stood. In the twelve years of its existence over 200,000 persons from all over Europe were imprisoned here and in the numerous subsidiary camps. More than 43,000 of them died. On April 29 1945, American troops liberated the survivors.
The Jourhaus was the only entrance to the prisoner camp. “Work sets you free” was set in the middle of the gate.
Entrance to the camp: Jourhaus
Located in the maintenance building (today the site of the exhibition, the movie theater, administration offices, archive, library and study rooms) were kitchen, the clothing store, workshops, and the baths. Written in large letters across the roof of the building was: “There is one path to freedom. Its milestones are:’Obedience, honesty, cleanliness, sobriety, diligence, orderliness, sacrifice, truthfulness, love of the fatherland.’”
On the roll-call area the prisoners were forced to line up mornings and evenings to be counted and often had to stand motionless for several hours. If a prisoner was missing, such after an escape attempt, this torture could be drawn out for many hours.
The International Memorial created by Nandor Glid in 1968
The camp fencing (partly reconstructed in 1965) was made up of grass strips, ditches with an electrified barbed-wire fence and the camp wall. SS men guarded the camp grounds from seven towers. If a prisoner stepped onto the grass strip, he was shot at.
Seventeen barracks (blocks) stood on both sides of the camp road. The first two barracks on both sides were used for different purposes. In the course of the years, the canteen, the camp orderly room, the library, a SS museum, training rooms for the prisoner personnel and production facilities for the armaments industry were all located on the left side of the camp road. Located on the right side was the sick bay with the death chamber, which in the course of the war was extended from two to thirteen barracks. In the blocks 1, 3 and 5 the SS conducted horrific medical experiments on the prisoners from 1942 onwards.
After the first two barracks came the fifteen numbered barracks housing the prisoners on both sides. Every barrack was devided into four so-called “Stuben”, comprising of a day room and dormitory. Designed to accommodate 200 prisoners, towards the end of the war each barrack was catastrophically overcrowded with up to 2.000 prisoners.
The clergy were accommodated in the barrack #26 (the priest block).
Located behind the accommodation barracks was a separated area with production facilities and offices. These included a camp market garden and hutches for rabbit breeding.
During the war a disinfection building for the prisoner clothing was built. In the spring of 1944 the SS set up the so-called special barrack. This was a bordello in which female prisoners from the Ravensbrueck concentration camp were forced into prostitution.
These buildings were torn down prior erecting the Memorial Site. Three buildings were built in this area:
The Catholic Mortal Agony of Christ Chapel (in front) was built in 1960. The Jewish Memorial (right side) was built in 1967. The Protestant Church of Reconciliation (left side) was built in 1967.
The crematorium area. In summer 1940 the SS had crematorium built because the number of dead had risen dramatically. This area was located outside the prisoner camp and was only accessible by passing through the SS camp.
In 1942/1943 a second large crematorium (called barrack X) with four furnaces and a gas chamber for mass extermination was built; it was, however, never put into operation.
Executions and murder operations were though carried out in the crematorium.
Please visit The Dachau Concentation Camp Memorial Site