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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?