Dachau concentration camp memorial
The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial is located north-northwest of Munich on the eastern edge of Dachau . It was erected on May 5, 1965 as a memorial and memorial site on the former prison grounds of the Dachau concentration camp . It has been sponsored by the Bavarian Memorials Foundation since 2003 . The archive of the memorial and part of the exhibition are located in the former farm building of the camp that has been preserved . The memorial is visited annually by around 1,000,000 people from all over the world.
The distance from the center of Munich is 18 km as the crow flies. The area of the memorial is almost on the eastern edge of the medium-sized town of Dachau; like the Mühlbach Würm and the Alte Römerstrasse, between which it is located, it is oriented almost exactly to the north. Outside the Dachau-Ost industrial park is also connected . The memorial is at number 75 on the Alte Römerstraße to the east, which provides access to car parking spaces. The main entrance, however, is in the southwest at the address of the visitor center, Pater-Roth-Str. 2a.
Dachau concentration camp memorial (main camp)
On May 1, 1945, the former prisoners gathered on the roll call square to celebrate “the day of liberation, friendship and fraternization”. Organized by country, they used banners to draw attention to the slogans of the international camp community, which they still pursue today: “Never again fascism! Never again war!".
In 1945 surviving prisoners set up a small memorial site in the former crematorium of the Dachau concentration camp. This was a thorn in the side of many: For example, the Dachau CSU district administrator applied for the crematorium to be demolished in June 1955. The concentration camp site was used as a refugee camp at that time. So-called displaced persons were housed in the former prisoner barracks.
1955, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the camp liberation , an international meeting of former prisoners took place in Dachau in May. The Dachau District Administrator Heinrich Junker had called for the crematorium to be demolished. The Comité International de Dachau , on the other hand, demanded the establishment of a worthy memorial and memorial on the former concentration camp site.
In 1960 a temporary museum was built in the building of the former crematorium. Originally, it was also considered that only the crematorium and the mass graves in the forest cemetery and the Dachau Leitenberg concentration camp cemetery should be designated as memorials. In the same year, the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising built the " agony of Christ chapel ". It was consecrated at the 37th World Eucharistic Congress in Munich by Auxiliary Bishop Neuhäusler on August 5th and has "since been a place of pilgrimage for tens of thousands from all over the world".
For the 20th anniversary in 1965, over 600 former prisoners from 14 European countries came to this place.
In 1965 the initiative achieved the construction of the memorial in its present form. The Bavarian Youth Ring , the DGB and the then Mayor of Munich, Hans-Jochen Vogel , were committed to the memorial site. Other proponents were Otto Kohlhofer , Alois Hundhammer , Johannes Neuhäusler and Leonhard Roth . The original barracks were demolished due to their dilapidated condition. The outlines of 32 barracks were cast in concrete. The Evangelical Church of Reconciliation and the Jewish Memorial were built in 1967. The former rail line between the Dachau train station and the memorial has been designated as the "Path of Remembrance".
On September 8, 1968, the International Memorial by the Yugoslav artist Nandor Glid was unveiled, which is located on the former roll call square .
In 1994 soldiers from the Russian army withdrew from Germany built the Russian Orthodox chapel " Resurrection of our Lord " in honor of the resurrection of Christ as a memorial for the Orthodox victims ( Russians , Greeks , Serbs, etc.) of National Socialism. It was inaugurated on April 29, 1995.
In 1995, the Bavarian State Government, in cooperation with the International Dachau Committee, invited former prisoners to the annual liberation ceremony for the first time. Due to the political change in the Soviet Union, many survivors came from Russia.
In 1995 the European Holocaust Memorial was built in Landsberg am Lech, the location of one of the largest subcamps in Dachau . Also in 1995, Edmund Stoiber, the first Bavarian Prime Minister, gave a speech at an official commemoration in the concentration camp memorial. After the central event, a state reception in honor of the former prisoners took place in the Munich Residenz.
Between 1996 and 2003 a new exhibition on the history of the Dachau concentration camp was created with the theme "The Prisoners' Path".
In 1998 an international youth meeting center was established in Dachau.
In 2000 Georg Elser's former prison cells were marked with an information board.
In 2003 the exhibition was redesigned. In addition, a replica of a barrack can now be seen, the interior of which reflects the time of the camp. The sponsorship of the memorial was transferred to the Bavarian Memorial Foundation established by the Free State of Bavaria.
At the end of April 2005, the visitor entrance was relocated from the east side to the camp gate at Jourhaus - this used to be the only access to the camp. On the 60th anniversary of the liberation, Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, together with Federal Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and the chairman of the CID , General André Delpech, opened the new entrance, which leads through the iron gate with the notorious inscription " Arbeit macht frei ".
There was also a redesign of the museum concept: As a memorial against the Nazi regime as well as a place of remembrance for former prisoners, the memorial site is now increasingly used as an international place of learning and remembrance, especially for young guests. As a result of the generation change and the foreseeable death of the remaining contemporary witnesses , the memorial work in Dachau is subject to profound changes.
There are a large number of associations and initiatives as well as periodicals and publications. In the early summer of 1980 the association Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Erforschung der Dachauer Zeitgeschichte e. V. There is the Würmtaler citizens' initiative - memorial procession death march from Dachau . The history workshop Mühldorf e. V. was formed, in 2001 his first book about the subcamp there was published.
The conference “Subcamps in Bavaria. Inventory and Perspectives (Dachau, Flossenbürg, 200 satellite camps) ”took place on November 17th and 18th, 2006 in Nuremberg. The organizer was the Bavarian Memorials Foundation. Lectures and panel discussions take place again and again in the state capital of Munich. From November 19 to 26, 2006, the “20. Jewish Culture Days ”deals with the“ history of the Jews in Bavaria ”, which also took place in the Dachau concentration camp or its satellite camps. The culture days were organized by the Society for the Promotion of Jewish Culture and Tradition e. V., the Chair for Jewish History and Culture at the LMU Munich and the Bavarian State Center for Political Education .
The memorial cooperates with the city of Dachau in awarding the Dachau Prize for Civil Courage , which has been awarded since 2005.
Following an invitation to tender in 2005, construction work began on the new visitor center for the concentration camp memorial in May 2007. It was opened on April 30, 2009.
In 2010, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the liberation, Horst Köhler, an incumbent federal president, visited the Dachau concentration camp memorial for the first time . His presence on the 65th anniversary of the liberation was of great importance not only for the survivors: high-ranking German officials had stayed away from this place since the end of the war. “It was about time,” said Köhler, explaining his participation. In a plea against forgetting, he paid tribute to the tireless efforts made by survivors in the educational work. US President Barack Obama also said in a greeting that the legacy of the survivors must be honored.
In 2014 the door with the “ Arbeit macht frei ” logo was stolen by strangers and was found again in December 2016 in Bergen , Norway . The door returned to Dachau on February 22, 2017 and will be on display in the museum's permanent exhibition in future.
Organization and maintenance
The financial situation is better than, for example, at memorial sites in the new federal states and Berlin. In 2006 the donations to the Bavarian Memorials Foundation, which Dachau, Flossenbürg and their 150 branch offices have to maintain, totaled 4.5 million euros. In addition to representatives of the Free State, the federal government, local communities such as the Protestant and Catholic Church and the Israelite religious communities, the Foundation Council also includes various associations of former prisoners, in particular the International Dachau Committee. A board of trustees with an advisory function includes other social groups that already played an important role in setting up the memorial, such as the Bavarian Youth Association , the Association of Sinti and Roma in Bavaria and the Bavarian DGB .
Other funds and activities are organized through parking fees, donations and the activities of religious communities and private sponsors and support associations. The demand of the head (and son of the founder) of the International Dachau Committee CID, Pieter Dietz de Loos, to collect entrance fees on the site was widely contradicted.
The Dachauer Hefte , which are also available at the memorial, were published between 1985 and 2009 .
The work at the memorial site is dependent on freelance workers, which is why “training courses as a speaker” take place at the memorial site, which allow guided tours of the site after successful completion. A monthly meeting of speakers is offered to share experiences, and there are regular discussions with contemporary witnesses.
Catholic Agony Christ Chapel
Jewish memorial, designed by Hermann Zvi Guttmann
Carmel Holy Blood (courtyard)
Ruth Jakusch (1914–1991), a Jewish emigrant who worked as an interpreter for the US Army after the end of the Second World War . a. was active during the Dachau trials , from 1962 helped to set up the exhibition of the concentration camp memorial and was its director until 1975. The long-time director of the Dachau memorial, Barbara Distel , retired in 2008 after 33 years of management activity, her successor is Gabriele Hammermann.
Memorial sites and places of remembrance outside the main camp
Other memorials (death march and subcamps)
Before the Dachau concentration camp was liberated , many concentration camp prisoners were driven towards the Alps. Many died on the death marches . 22 sculptures by the sculptor Hubertus von Pilgrim were placed along the route .
Memorials were also set up at some of the Dachau subcamps.
Places of remembrance around the memorial
These places include:
- SS shooting range Hebertshausen
- Dachau Leitenberg concentration camp cemetery (with the Regina Pacis chapel)
- Dachau herb garden
- two railway ramps
- Graves complex Waldfriedhof Dachau.
The “Path of Remembrance” was inaugurated in March 2007. It is lined with twelve information boards that are set up along the route from the Dachau train station to the visitor center of the Dachau concentration camp memorial. These plaques remind of the historical significance of the route on which most of the prisoners were brought to the Dachau concentration camp during the Nazi era. The three-kilometer walk takes around 45 minutes. The information boards show the prisoners' relationship to the Dachau environment. They indicate traces that have remained in Dachau as a result of the Nazi regime. A railway embankment can still be seen, along which entire trains with prisoners were transported to the camp. The prisoners were used to build public roads along the way. The last part leads along the former SS barracks to today's concentration camp memorial.
Criticism of Dachau's culture of memory
The historian K. Erik Franzen comments in an article on Dachau that the topography of the site has been given a strongly religious orientation through the establishment of various sacred memorials with the main idea of Christian reconciliation. "The 'authentic' place almost dissolved in the course of dealing with the past - if there are any authentic places."
The literary scholar and Holocaust survivor Ruth Klüger has in her autobiography Continue to Live. One youth disputed the suitability of memorial sites as places of learning and museums using the example of Dachau . Dachau is so clean and tidy that it looks downright inviting in that it is more reminiscent of a holiday camp than of tortured life. In a conversation about the increasing memorialization of memory, she said that “pathos and kitsch” would obscure the view of reality and also do not do justice to the victims. Aleida Assmann comments that for Klüger the “museum-like places of remembrance” have become “ cover memories ”.
- Christian König: The documentary “Dachau Concentration Camp”. History of origin - film analysis - interpretation of history. In the series Dachauer Diskurse , Vol. 4. 2010, ISBN 3-8316-0966-7 (178 pages).
- Stanislav Zámečník (Ed. Comité International de Dachau): That was Dachau. Luxembourg 2002, ISBN 2-87996-948-4 .
- Website of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
- Memory book for the prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp
- "European Holocaust Memorial" in Landsberg / Lech at a satellite camp of the Dachau concentration camp
- Ernst Antoni: The long way to the memorial site - Dachau Concentration Camp: Finally adequate remembrance of murdered Soviet soldiers. In: Antifa , edition 2014-07.
- Editor: The history of the liberation of Dachau and the liberation celebrations. In: https://www.kz-gedenkstaette-dachau.de/ . Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, accessed on January 7, 2020 .
- Michael Backmund, Thies Marsen: "The German people forget too quickly" , Neues Deutschland, April 18, 2020
- "The Agony of Christ Chapel"
- Monastery of Carmel Holy Blood
- Comite Internationale de Dachau; Barbara Distel, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial (ed.): Dachau Concentration Camp 1933 to 1945 - Text and image documents for the exhibition. Munich 2005, ISBN 3-87490-750-3 , p. 218.
- The former Dachau concentration camp, 1945–1968. In: Dachauer Hefte , 1992.
- The former prisoner Gleb Rahr also took part. A small wooden cross is kept in the chapel, which he made himself during his imprisonment in the camp. On the central resurrection icon in the Dachau chapel, Gleb Rahr was indirectly immortalized by the icon painter by having one of the inmates depicted there wear Rahr's inmate number R64923. The establishment of the Resurrection Chapel later led to the establishment of a congregation of the Moscow Patriarchate in Munich.
- Helga Pfoertner: Living with history. Vol. 1. Literareron, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-89675-859-4 , pp. 85-86. ( PDF; 1.1 MB ( Memento from April 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive )).
- Report of the Bavarian State Center for Political Education: Redesign of the exhibition at the Dachau Memorial Site in 2004. ( Memento from May 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) As of January 9, 2007.
- Working group for the research of Dachau contemporary history e. V. , Würmtaler citizens' initiative “Memorial procession death march from Dachau” ( Memento from March 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), association “Geschichtswerkstatt Mühldorf e. V. “ Günther Egger, Elke Egger: The district of Mühldorf a. Inn under National Socialism. Rhombos Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-930894-39-4 (164 pages, illustrations).
- Program of the 20th Jewish Culture Days 2006
- Dachau: Strangers steal the door with "Work makes you free". In: Spiegel Online . November 2, 2014, accessed June 9, 2018 .
- stolen gate is back in Dachau. In: Spiegel Online , February 22, 2017, accessed on the same day
- Donations for all Bavarian concentration camp memorials ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- NO to the entrance fee to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial ( Memento from February 14, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), declaration by the Association for International Youth Encounters and Memorial Work in Dachau e. V.
- Speaker training course , as of December 6, 2008.
- Opportunity to talk to contemporary witnesses ( memento from July 15, 2007 in the web archive archive.today ), effner.de, as of December 6, 2008.
- Article of the Augsburger Allgemeine about Gabriele Hammermann ( Memento from July 29, 2012 in the web archive archive.today )
- Memorial sites in the area - Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Retrieved January 7, 2020 .
- City of Dachau: Way of remembering. Retrieved December 26, 2019 .
- Ruth Klüger: continue to live: One youth . Wallstein Verlag, 2012, ISBN 978-3-8353-2151-9 ( limited preview in Google book search).
- Helmut Zeller Dachau: Church of Reconciliation Dachau: Life as a coincidence . In: sueddeutsche.de . ISSN 0174-4917 ( sueddeutsche.de [accessed on May 18, 2016]).
- Aleida Assmann: Spaces of Remembrance: Forms and Changes in Cultural Memory . CH Beck, 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-58532-6 , pp. 333 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed May 15, 2016]).