Scrapbookpages Blog

January 3, 2017

Follow the red brick road — to the Dachau gas chamber

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 8:53 am

RedBrickRoad.jpg

My 2007 photo above shows the red brick path on which the Jews walked into the Dachau concentration camp.

In 2005, the entrance into the Dachau Memorial site was changed, to a different location, so that visitors could walk on the exact same brick path, on which the prisoners walked, as they neared the Arbeit Macht Frei gate into the prison camp.

My photo above shows the brick path and the grass covering the rubble of the factory buildings that were torn down after American troops took over the SS training camp and garrison next door to the concentration camp. The buildings in the background are in the former SS camp that was right next to the Dachau concentration camp.

A new gravel path, which leads from the Dachau bus stop to the Arbeit Macht Frei gate, was constructed in 2005 on the south side of the Dachau complex, which includes the former concentration camp and what is left of the former SS Army Garrison and Training Center for concentration camp administrators. Dachau tour guides refer to the SS Training Camp as a “school of violence” or a “school of terror.”

The entrance into the Dachau Memorial Site was changed again when a new Visitor’s Center was completed. New signs which tell the story of Dachau were added. I wrote about the new Visitor’s Center at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/visitors-center-at-dachau/

Visitors can now see a few of the buildings inside the former SS garrison, including the Administration building which is the white building trimmed in yellow on the right in the photo above. When I visited in 2007, I was told that this building was the Commandant’s house, but I have since learned that his house was torn down in 1987.

The brick path, shown in my photo above, was originally lined on both sides by a row of poplar trees. On the left side of the road, as you are looking into the SS training camp, there were formerly factories where the prisoners worked, and on the right side was an open field with a view of the barracks inside the concentration camp.

Most visitors assume that the tracks on the left side of the photo above were railroad tracks, on which trains loaded with prisoners arrived at the camp. These tracks were actually narrow gauge tracks used to transport material to and from the Dachau factories, where the prisoners worked.

New prisoners had to walk 3 kilometers to the Dachau concentration camp, from the railroad station in the town of Dachau. There are now 12 posters along the route from the station to the camp which tell visitors what happened as the prisoners walked through the town.

The Dachau camp was not turned into a Memorial Site until 1965. A visitor, who saw the former Dachau concentrtion camp in 1964 wrote this on his blog:

Begin quote from visitor’s blog:

One evening I asked what I shouldn’t miss when in Munich. More than one fellow traveler told me to make sure I visited Dachau, which was not far to the north. The next morning I made my way to the Autobahn and hitchhiked north towards the infamous destination. Drivers who picked me up would ask where I was going. When I replied “Dachau”, the response was uniform; the conversation quieted to silence. In retrospect, the response shifted from awkward embarrassment to naked shame.

End quote

The Dachau concentration camp was located inside a large complex, which included an SS Army garrison and an SS Training Camp. When the Memorial Site first opened in 1965, the US Army was still occupying the former SS garrison and the gatehouse building was being used by the Americans, so the entrance to the concentration camp was on the east side of the camp, not through the “Arbeit macht Frei” gate into the camp.

BarbedWireFence.jpgMy photo above shows the “very long border of the high wire fence,” which visitors to Dachau saw in 1964.

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