Located a short distance northeast of Munich, the Konzentrationslager Dachau was constructed in 1933, making it the first official Nazi concentration camp.
Originally intended to hold political prisoners, Dachau was soon expanded to imprison Jews, gypsies, homosexual people and Jehovah's Witnesses amongst other persecuted groups.
Between 1933 and 1945, around 200,000 people were estimated to be imprisoned here, of whom more than 40,000 died in the camp. During the twelve years in which Dachau Concentration Camp was in use by the Nazis, its prisoners were subjected to forced labour and torture, as well as horrific medical experiments.
The beginning of the end
As the Allied forces advanced across Germany, prisoners from nearby concentration camps were still being transferred to Dachau, creating overcrowding and epidemics that resulted in the further worsening in camp conditions.
Just days before the arrival of US forces, the Nazis forced over 7000 inmates into a death march out of the camp to the south: those who couldn't keep up were shot, and many others died of starvation, disease and the harsh conditions.
On the 29 April 1945, the Dachau Concentration Camp was liberated, and more than 30,000 prisoners were freed.
Visiting Dachau Memorial Site
Dachau Concentration Camp is open today as a memorial site. It is a sobering and thought-provoking experience, educating visitors on the horrors that took place during this dark period of world history. Entry to the site is free, although there is a small charge (around €3.50) for guided tours and audioguides, and it is easily reached by public transport.
If you'd like to know more about Dachau, the best way to visit is to book a tour with an expert English-speaking guide. Our Dachau Concentration Camp Day Trip includes transport from Munich making it a simple and informative way to discover the memorial site.
At the link below, the price is € 26 (US$ 31.40) per person:
Daily betwen 9 am and 5 pm.
S-Bahn train to Dachau (line S2), then bus 726 in the direction of Saubachsiedlung.