Scrapbookpages Blog

November 17, 2013

Visitor’s center at Dachau

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:39 am

The first time that I visited Dachau in 1997, there was no place to eat, and bringing food inside the camp was forbidden.  At that time, there was a McDonald’s restaurant about a mile from the camp, and there was severe criticism of a sign, fairly close to the Memorial Site, advertising McDonald’s.  It was considered very disrespectful to even think of food, while visiting a place where Jews had been killed.

I visited Dachau several times after that.  On my visits, the entrance into the camp was not through the Arbeit macht Frei gate, but though a hole in the fence on the opposite side of the camp.  I have not been back to the Dachau Memorial Site since 2007.

Tourist entrance into Dachau many years ago

Tourist entrance into Dachau years ago

When I visited the camp in 2007, construction had just begun on a new visitor’s center at the new entrance on the opposite side of the camp.

Entrance path into Dachau memorial site in 2007

Entrance path into Dachau memorial site in 2007

Construction of new Dachau visitor's center began in 2007

Construction of new Dachau visitor’s center began in 2007

The photo above shows the beginning of the construction of a visitor’s center, which includes a bookstore and a cafeteria.  The building in the background is located in the former SS garrison and training camp that is right next to the former concentration camp.

Today, visitors to the Dachau Memorial Site are told by tour guides that the SS garrison was a place where the SS soldiers were trained in torture and abuse of the prisoners next door.

This quote is from another blogger:

Much of the [Dachau] camp (and the part we couldn’t see) was used to train the Nazis in the art of torture. Most of those Nazis worked closely with Hitler and many went on to run Auschwitz. Now the buildings are privately owned and used for the Bavarian Riot Police Academy. (Or something like that. Kind of alarming.) It really bothered me that it was a school for Nazis. Literally. And in the old shower room there are many displays and signs explaining what went on. The most disturbing sign talked about how many different languages were spoken, but said that the only language needed to communicate was that of fear.

Since 2007, visitors to Dachau have been able to see some of the buildings inside the former SS garrison, where Nazis were trained to torture the prisoners in the camp, according to the tour guides.

Looking into the former SS camp, next door to the Dachau concentration camp

Looking into the former SS camp, next door to the Dachau Memorial Site

Dachau ntrance sign put up in 2009

Dachau entrance sign put up in 2009

Visitor's Center at Dachau was opened in 2009

Visitor’s Center at Dachau was opened in 2009

Entrance into Dachau visitor's center

Entrance into Dachau visitor’s center

If Hitler had a grave, he would be turning over in it, at the thought of the construction shown in the photo above.  Hitler was an artist, who had once thought of becoming an architect. The first thing that tour guides at Dachau should explain to tourists is that this building is an example of why Hitler wanted the Jews out of Germany.

Dachau visitor's center has opening in the roof

Dachau visitor’s center has opening in the roof

This quote is from the blogger who took a tour of Dachau after the new visitor’s center was built:

The tour was the hardest towards the end when we went to the gas chamber. Dachau’s gas chamber is still standing. We learned that people who were killed in the gas chambers commonly came from other camps. They simply thought they were being shaved and showered just like any other camp. I had never considered this before, but I suppose it makes it seem less depressing than them knowing that they were going to die. The chambers were used a lot more towards the end of the camp because of disease and over-population. Thousands of people were killed in the chambers. The original ovens used to cremate the bodies were still there as well as the upgraded ones they used later on. I was standing outside the building, listening to our guide explain, and I saw the picture [of the dead bodies outside the gas chamber] posted right there.

So it seems that the tour guides at Dachau are telling students at least part of the story.  The people who were killed in the gas chambers at Dachau did in fact come from other camps.  But why?

Were prisoners brought from other camps to Dachau because the “other camps” didn’t have a gas chamber?  No, they were brought to the main Dachau camp to take a shower and have their clothes disinfected before going on to a sub-camp of Dachau. These people had originally been in Auschwitz, but were brought back to Germany when the Auschwitz camp was abandoned in January 1945.  The “gas chamber” at Dachau is the former shower room, which was changed into a gas chamber by the American liberators of the camp.

I wrote about the newly constructed gas chamber at Dachau that was shown in a film at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal at

Why do tour guides at Dachau tell visitors about the “Dachau gas chamber” at all?  It is because young students want to get their money’s worth when they pay for a tour to the camp.  They don’t want to hear that Dachau was mostly a camp for political prisoners and that there was no gas chamber.  They certainly don’t want to hear that the “gas chamber” was constructed by the American liberators.  In Germany, that would be a crime, punishable by 5 years in prison.


  1. The Dachau ” gas chamber” is part and parcel of US psychwarops along with the ” human skin lampshades ” and the Polish prisoner ” shrunken heads” . It is so amateurish and laughable but since Shoaismus became the state religion in the 1960s it has become an heretical crime to question its provenance.

    Comment by peter — November 18, 2013 @ 4:30 am

  2. Is there anything uglier than cntemporary concentrtion camp memorial architecture? Where do they find the bad architects and artists to design all these ham fisted buildings, plazas, visitor centers, monuments etc. The Holocaust™ is a very kooky business cum cult that servces millions of tourists and school groups each year who come to immersing themselves in the pre-fab despair on display. The new visitor center hadn’t been built when I toured Dachau by myself because the one guided tour that afternoon had been reserved exclusively for Native Americans and the man who was conducting it, a self-important nebbish sent over from Central Casting, let me know I didn’t qualify. BTW The Dachau gas chamber looks like it was retrofitted by Peruvian pygmies, not German engineers.

    Comment by who dares wings — November 17, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

    • who dares wings wrote: ” BTW The Dachau gas chamber looks like it was retrofitted by Peruvian pygmies, not German engineers.”

      And what could be said about the Auschwitz ‘gas chambers’? 4 holes in the roof of cold underground rooms and wire mesh columns, what a joke!

      Comment by hermie — November 18, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

  3. As soon I learnt from German Press – maybe DER SPIEGEL, but I am not sure – Dachau Commander build the Gas Chamber in February 1945 like in some other Camps. Indeed in Terezin they started such a construction but at order of State Minister and High SS Comander of Bohemia-Moravia Karl Hermann Frank the works had been stopped. At that time many Commanders – fanatical nazis – wanted to kill the highest possible numeber of prisioniers before the End. Furthermore, the nazis did not want many political prisoniers to survive. In my opinion a Visitor Center should be place before the entrance, outside the Camp. If You wish I can trie to send the DER SPIEGEL article showing how SS men were trained to torture and kill.

    Comment by Wolf Murmelstein — November 17, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    • Der Spiegel is a German magazine. Their writers cannot write the truth because that would be “Holocaust denial” which would mean that the staff members of Der Spiegel would be sent to prison for 5 years. If they hired a lawyer to defend themselves in court, their lawyer would be sent to prison.

      The building, where the gas chamber is located at Dachau, is the Barracke X building which was completed in 1943. The building was planned in 1942. What was in the location of the gas chamber during the period between April 1943 and February 1945? Did they keep an empty room available for a gas chamber for almost two years?

      Meanwhile, where did the prisoners, who worked in the job of carrying dead bodies to the ovens, take a shower? There was a sign in the Baracke X building which said that the prisoners should keep themselves clean; that sign has now been painted over because there is currently no place to take a shower. The former shower room, where the prisoners took a shower, is now a gas chamber.

      Comment by furtherglory — November 17, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

    • Wolf Murmelstein wrote: “If You wish I can trie to send the DER SPIEGEL article showing how SS men were trained to torture and kill.”

      Why not? Maybe you could translate some parts of it for the people who don’t understand German.

      Comment by hermie — November 18, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

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