The Dachau Concentration Camp was the first of its kind opened in Germany by Adolf Hitler's Nazi government in 1933, and it served as a model for later concentration camps. Today, the camp is a memorial to the more than 32,000 people who died and the more than 200,000 who were imprisoned during the Nazi regime. The memorial was established as a site of memory and education in 1965, 20 years after Dachau was liberated by American troops.
The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site is most often visited on half- or full-day trips from Munich. Visitors to the memorial site can expect to see the former compound (now an exhibition center), and learn about Europe in World War II, the Holocaust, and the role Dachau played in this important chapter in German history. Whether seen independently or on a guided private or small-group tour from Munich, the guard houses and administration buildings, reconstructed barracks, cells, and crematorium offer ample opportunity for reflection.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Visiting the Dachau memorial is an intense experience, and appropriate solemnity and respect are required on the grounds.
- While it is free to visit the memorial, booking an audio guide or a group or private tour allows for added insight and context from a tour guide.
- The site does not offer luggage storage.
- Dachau is generally wheelchair accessible, although some of the grounds are unpaved and some buildings do not have dedicated wheelchair entrances. Wheelchairs can be borrowed upon arrival.
- Some of the exhibits may not be appropriate for kids under 12; it's recommended that kids visit with an adult.
How to Get There
Dachau is set just 17 miles (28 kilometers) northwest of Munich. By public transportation, take the S2 train from Munich's Central Station for about 25 minutes to Dachau. Get off at Dachau station (Dachau Bahnhof) to hop on bus 726 toward Saubachsiedlung and get off at KZ-Gedenkstätte, the entrance of the memorial site. Parking fees apply from March to October.
When to Get There
The camp is open daily from 9am to 5pm year-round, aside from Christmas Eve. While some exhibits are indoors, many consider the summer months of May to October the best time to visit as much of the site is outdoors. The memorial tends to be busiest around noon.
Exhibitions at the Dachau Memorial Site
Set in what was once a maintenance building, Dachau's main permanent exhibition covers the former Nazi concentration camp's horrific history and sheds light on the lives of the site's prisoners with firsthand accounts, biographies, and artifacts. Elsewhere on the Dachau grounds are exhibits in other original buildings displaying bunkers, model barracks, a crematorium, and a gas chamber, although evidence indicates that the gas chamber was never used to murder prisoners.