• Russell Roy

Dachau - First Nazi Concentration Camp

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

A visit to a Nazi concentration camp solidifies the reason we observe Remembrance Day. The Dachau camp was opened in March 1933 and remained active for the next 12 years. Over that time, approximately 45,000 people were killed at the camp. It started as a prison for political prisoners and later served as a camp for prisoners of war and anybody who stood in the way of Nazi ambitions.

The site is now preserved as a museum and memorial so that such atrocities should never happen again. The exhibits do an excellent job of explaining how the Nazi's came to power along with detailed history of the entire concentration camp system that they created.

Prisoners would arrive in rail cars at this platform just a few metres from the front gate.

Prisoners were greeted by this sign "Work sets you free". A sign displayed at four other concentration camps in addition to Dachau.

Once through the gate (right side of photo below), prisons encountered a large area used for assembly and role call. The building on the left housed the administration offices and prison (within the prison).

This one of 34 bunkhouses that were originally built to house 300 prisoners. By the end of the war, each housed closer to 2000.

Reconstructed bunks inside of the bunkhouse.

All of the other bunkhouses have been removed, but marked by foundations of where each stood.

The perimeter of the camp contained guardhouses along with a trench, barbed wire and electrified fence.

The real horrors of the concentration camp lay just outside of the main compound beyond the main perimeter walls. "Brausbad" = "Showers" above the doorway to the gas chambers in the second photo.

People killed in the gas chambers were cremated in the same building.

There are a number of memorials constructed around the site. A photo of the Jewish memorial below.