All over an exhausted Europe, victorious Allied soldiers set free the desperate survivors of camp after camp. The diseased, the starving, the barely alive emerged to tell a shocked and disbelieving world of the full horror of a network of systematised murder, torture, degradation and exploitation that had first been conceived and set in motion 12 years earlier in 1933 in a sleepy little town about 18 km north of Munich.
Of the many picturesque towns and villages that lie on the outskirts of Munich, one of the prettiest is the old medieval town of Dachau. Just outside the town centre can today be found enduring testimony to the evil that was born among the rustic charm, where a major international Memorial Site stands on the grounds of the former concentration camp.
This was the “parent” KZ ("Konzentrationslager"). KZ Dachau was the “Academy of Terror”, the originator, role-model and training ground for the vast order of brutality that spread over half of Europe in the wake of the armies of the Third Reich, and which ultimately culminated in one of history’s greatest crimes: the Final Solution.
While each camp was responsible for its own particular form of barbarism, what distinguished Dachau is that almost everything that happened in the system as a whole happened at some level there. There, human medical experiments were conducted. To there, Soviet prisoners were sent to be mown down in mass executions. From there, Jewish prisoners were transported to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Almost every category of victim passed through its infamous Arbeit macht frei (“Freedom through Work”) gate: German dissidents, “anti–socials”, people who simply did not “fit in”, Sinti and Roma "gypsy" peoples, outspoken clergymen, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Jews, Polish civilians – all in all the citizens of some 34 nations.
Today’s Memorial Site combines the historical authenticity of the original environment and its many surviving buildings with the function of a modern exhibition centre. It is a place of memory, of pilgrimage and of education. To visit it can be a challenging but also a deeply moving and memorable experience.
We will provide you with a professional guide trained and authorised by the Memorial Site. Your guide will organise all travel arrangements, bring you there by train and bus and back again, and give you a complete and comprehensive tour of the entire area – the surviving original buildings, the museum exhibition centre, the cinema which screens an English language documentary film.
Our guides have detailed knowledge of the history and character of the concentration camp, of the stories of the victims and the unendurable oppression they were subjected to by the servants of a twisted ideology. They are trained to convey this often difficult and disturbing material to you with sensitivity, with dignity, with respect for the victims, and without recourse to cheap sensationalism.
We originated the concept of guided English-language tours to the Memorial Site from Munich. Over the years the integrity and professionalism with which we conduct these tours has won us the commendation of many interested parties from around the world – including survivors of the concentration camp and their relatives, US army liberators and their families, journalists, and academic experts – all of whom have been on our tour and praised it.
Please note that the majority of this tour takes place out of doors in an open and exposed environment. We advise you to bring weather-appropriate clothing.
Once the tour commences, there is little opportunity to purchase food or drink. We advise you to bring refreshments with you.
As with all of our tours, guides are happy to accept tips if you wish to show your appreciation in this way – but please do not do so within the grounds of the Memorial Site.
- Fully guided experience by an officially trained and authorised guide.
- Transport on the 18 km journey from Munich to the Memorial Site and back.
- The surviving original buildings of the former concentration camp.
- The modern Museum Exhibition area.
- A 20 minute English language documentary film.
*This tour is not recommended for minors under 14 years, although parental discretion applies. Minors may not see the film in the museum exhibition.