Walking to the Camp – The Dachau Path of Remembrance

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Dachau.  Until the Nazi’s takeover of Germany, it was a small town with an artist colony.  In 1933, the Nazi’s would forever link Dachau with their reign of terror.  Dachau was more than a concentration camp.   It was the master plan for all other concentration camps.   Like many visitors to Dachau, I arrived via the U-Bahn train station from the city of Munich.  I was then planning on taking a bus to the camp.

The camp is about two miles from the station.  I was having some issues figuring out which bus I need to get on to visit the camp.  I didn’t feel like asking for help so I was looking at the route map when I noticed a signpost off to the side with some black and white pictures. I was still about an hour and a half early for my tour so I wasn’t in a rush.

Dachau Path of Remembrance - Sign 1

I walked over to the sign and discovered it was a walking path to Dachau.  The Dachau Path of Remembrance follows the path from the rail station to the concentration camp.  I double checked the time and decided that overcast day was conducive to the walk.  The Dachau Path of Remembrance is the actual route that the prisoner were transported via truck to Dachau.  I learned that I had just arrived at the exact same station as prisoners.

Dachau Path of Remembrance - U-Bahn Station

I had some trouble figuring out where I was supposed to go based on the diagram.  I stopped and asked directions.  I was pointed in the correct direction or I assumed I was. After some distance and a right turn, I found the second sign post.  I was lead through the quiet streets of Dachau.  At one point, I got a little turned around.  This confusion led me to a little side street with a single set of railroad ties.  This is the last remnants of the railway constructed as World War II started to transport prisoners directly to the camp.

Dachau Path of Remembrance - Train Tracks

I managed to get myself back on the Path of Remembrance.  I noticed that I was walking beside a compound of some sort.  The next signpost revealed that these buildings were constructed for use by the SS guards and their families.  Today these buildings are used by the Bavarian Riot Police.

Dachau Path of Remembrance -  SS Baracks

Next I passed the Dachau factory.  Dachau was a work concentration camp hence the camp motto “work will make one free.” Many of the prisoners were forced to make saddles, metalworking, and military uniforms.

Dachau Path of Remembrance - Factory

A short walk past the factory, I get my first view of the entrance of the camp. The Dachau Path of Remembrance walk gave me a chance to reflect and observe the town that was home to one of the early Nazi concentration camps.

Dachau Path of Remembrance - Entrance

If you are looking for more historical things to do in Munich check out 6 Historical Things to Do in Munich besides Oktoberfest.

Have you walked the Dachau Path of Remembrance or plan to?  What were your thoughts as you arrived at Dachau?

dachau path of remembrance

39 Replies to “Walking to the Camp – The Dachau Path of Remembrance”

  1. Tracy Hammond

    Thank you for posting the photos of the factory at Dachau. My paternal grandparents were both inmates at Dachau. My grandmother worked in the munitions factory from the age of 14 after Germany invaded Minsk. She was 19 when the camp was liberated. I think what a lot of people don’t understand is that Germany took people from the countries they invaded to use as a slave work force. Poland was especially hard hit, and Catholic priests/nuns were taken to be used as slave labor along with their neighbors. In my Grandmothers small farming community each family was told to give over one family member to the german war effort as slave labor, and they’d be allowed to stay on their farm that Germany now owned… or they’d kill everyone in the family. My grandmother at 14 was given over.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Your welcome. I am really glad I choose to walk to Dachau. It put me in the mindset for my visit. I am glad your family survived the war.

      Reply
  2. Harsh Gupta

    I never knew about a place called Dachau in Germany which has such a history attached to it! It would be good to include this historical place to the list of places to visit! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Chrysoula

    I think it is better you didn’t take the bus and walked the route the prisoners used to walk to arrive at the camp. It must have been a very emotional visit!

    Reply
  4. Joan Torres

    I’ve been to two different concentration camps: Auschwitz in Poland and Sauchenhausen, close to Berlin. It was pretty hard and I don’t think I will ever come back to any of these camps. But it’s something that any person should do at least once traveling, to learn about the history and empathize with all the hundreds of thousands of people who suffered by that time

    Reply
  5. Sia

    I can imagine that is such a chilling place to visit and definitely and intense and heavy adventure. I remember visiting a Russian prison and going through the dungeons and the place where they were killing the people and it was kind of terrifying. I definitely regret that I missed the opportunity to visit Auschwitz when I was living in Poland.

    Reply
  6. Debra Schroeder

    I haven’t been to Dachau but if I go, I think I’ll do the walk instead of taking the bus. It’ll be a different experience, as you know. And will help create a better sense of what they had to endure before they arrived at the camps.

    Reply
  7. anto

    I’ve been to Auschwitz and as my family grew up during WW2 I’ve always had a special interest in places like these. So yes, I’d definitely visit if I’d have the chance. I think everyone should see this in their lives, so we will never forget what horrible things happened here …

    Reply
  8. Megan Jerrard

    Must have been such a somber experience … I haven’t yet visited a concentration camp in Europe, but I genuinely believe that they play an important role in remembering our past – as many of the other comments here have said too, preservation of knowledge of the past means we will hopefully not repeat such atrocities in the future.

    Reply
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  10. Meg @ Mapping Megan

    I would love to walk the Dachau Path of Remembrance – I think there is a lot to be said for remembering our history, even if it means taking in a sombre and perhaps unsettling experience like a visit to a concentration camp.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      With every new thing, I learn about history the more I apprecriate how far we have come. History isn’t just remembering the good, one needs to explore the bad to help build the future.

      Reply
  11. Sonja @ Breadcrumbs Guide

    This really hits close to home. I’ve never seen a Nazi concentration camp, but I know that someday I need to. When I do, it’s going to be an emotional day, for sure.

    Thanks for this post and for being thoughtful and respectful in the way you approached your visit.

    Reply
  12. Andrea

    With personal ties to the history of Dachau and the war in general, I think it is always important to incorporate history into travel. I like the approach you took to this post, and do plan on taking the similar path of remembrance

    Reply
  13. Mags

    So upsetting to think that something like this happened not so long ago. I’m very glad that Germany has worked to preserve it’s history so that others may learn from it rather than trying to cover it up. I have never been to Dachau, but I did visit a Gestapo prison in Cologne, and it was certainly haunting.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      I think one of the camps should be a mandatory part of any trip to Europe. Walking the grounds is helps remind people that those events are more than just words and pictures.

      Reply

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