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Visiting KZ Dachau - Nazi concentration camp

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If we are at Dachau when it opens at 9am on a Sunday, how much time do we need minimum? I have already visited Auschwitz and also am not a person who reads every sign while going thru. Dont want to rush, but dont want to spend too much time there.

 

And if we go on a weekday - is it a lot less crowded, or not so much? This would be late March. Would like to go on Sunday while mom and aunt are here, but also want to do at least 1 museum (alte Pinakotheke) on the Sunday when they are 1 euro.

 

One more question. I assume that the bus to the camp is timed with the arrival/departure of the SBahn - yes?

 

Thanks.

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Depends if you want to see the film or not, I went with my mom and dad years ago, and we spent about 1.5 hours there with the film. But we drove there. Otherwise if you take the SBahn and bus, plan for a longer trip.

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The visitors' centre was redone last year and there is now LOTS of information about the camp. The film in English isn't until 11.30, but to be honest I wasn't very impressed with it.

 

I think half an hour having a look through the museum and another half hour in the grounds will suffice.

 

What I would say is that it can be pretty depressing. The first time I went, I was pretty sombre afterwards. But I really think that everyone should visit one of these camps. I think that would help ensure that something like this never happens again.

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The regular Dachau tours, offered by Radius tours @ the Hbf, for example, take 5 hours, which is 3+ @ the camp itself. This gives an idea of what most people need.

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If you catch the 10:09 S2 from the Hauptbahnhof, you'll arrive at the Dachau station around 10:30. I'd suggest walking the rest of the way to the camp. The area's nice and I've found it psychologically easier for me and my visitors who wanted to go. That'll take about 15-20 minutes and give you time to take in a bit of the place before the 11:30 English tour. Afterwards, figure 30-60 minutes on the museum and at least an hour on the grounds if you want to see the whole place. It's large and oppressive.

 

woof.

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When I first got to Munich the KZ was on my list of things to see until I discussed it at length with my mother who had first hand experience with it as a child - one of the very few talks we've had about the war. The fact that Dachau is a tourist attraction for people to gawk at is disturbing and an affront to the people who suffered there. I hadn't really thought about the depth of the tragedy that had happened there, I'd learned about it in school but it was about as real or relevant to my life as if it had happened in a movie. I never really got it until my mom made it personal for me.

 

If you want to learn about the history you can find a lot more information in books. If you think you'll leave with a greater sense of the value of life I kind of doubt it. I'd put it on par with visiting one of those torture museums, you go, get grossed out for a bit but then realise that it took place in another time and has nothing to do with you and promptly forget.

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I think you can learn a lot from reading but there is also a lot to be gained from first hand, hands-on experience. My problem with the Dachau thing isn't that it reflects badly on the German past, or that it is a KZ, or even that it might be used as a place to go and gawk; my problem is with the (typically North American) tourists who come to Europe with their check list, spend 7 or 10 days in Europe whipping through everything, seeing nothing, and then go home and say they 'did Europe'.

 

Eifel Tower? Check. Louvre? Check. French Riviera? Check. The Alps? Check. Concentration Camp? Check.

 

Hence my recommendation that people skip the tourist traps and spend some time where the locals do - walking on the Isar, having a pint in the English Garden, etc etc - is there any better experience in Europe? Come here and do that for a day then, for me at least, you've 'done europe'. :)

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The fact that Dachau is a tourist attraction for people to gawk at is disturbing and an affront to the people who suffered there.learn about the history you can find a lot more information in books.

Look, it's hardly my favourite place in the world but I have no idea how you come up with "tourist attraction". It's not like they've added ferris wheels and roller coasters there. You don't even go there for a picnic.

 

The place is eerie, depressing and maudlin. It's there for people to see that this place really existed and all of this really happened despite whatever shitheels like this might say (though as I wrote before, Dachau wasn't a death camp).

 

Edit: There's a big difference between the death and concentration camps. The concentration camps weren't designed to kill people though many did die. They worked and tormented the hell out of the people but the inmates had a chance at release. Not so the death camps, which were designed for one purpose: the extermination of human lives. They had massive crematoria. Many people were killed within hours of arrival, the rest worked for up to six months and then killed once they were no longer able to work. There was no chance of release from a death camp.

 

woof.

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It's a tourist attraction because people come specifically to see it. It's on the list of stuff to do when you visit Munich, up there with the Glockenspiel.

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Personally I make sure that all the guests visiting us get to see KZ Dachau. As a South African we have the bad experience of Apartheid on our records, but once I visited Dachau I realised that Apartheid ( as bad as it was) was a sunday school picnic compared to what people experienced in Dachau.

The words that gave me hope...for both Dachau and apartheid : NIE WIEDER!!!

In no way am I trying to compare the two...but it will never happen again.

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I've taken every visitor I've had to Dachau, I try to take them there first and then show them modern Germany. It's an important piece of history and it's also important to show them that it has nothing to do with present day Germany. The weird thing about Dachau is that it always feels colder there than anywhere else.

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I actually show people who want to go there some nicer bits first. Englischer Garten, Viktalienmarkt, Kaufingerstraße, Pinakothek, etc. Only after showing them what modern Germany is like and breaking people out of the "they're all Nazis" mindset do I make that awful trip up northwest. Seeing what is now and then seeing what was not so long ago is that much more impressive.

 

woof.

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Its kind of like the pyramids really, historical significance makes it a tourist attraction, even though thousands of slaves died making them. And when we go there its not to dwell on the slaves that died making it, the negative aspects, I would visit Dachau in the same way I visit the pyramids.

 

And to think, if they were much more recent we would be tearing them down simply BECAUSE so many slaves died making them.

 

Hmm also makes me wonder, would Prince Harry have gotten so much flack if he wore a roman centurians uniform to that fancy dress thing instead? Or a mongol warrior, or one of Napoleons soldiers, or one of Clovises soldiers etc...

 

Yep, definitly time to move on.

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It's not touristy at all - actually, on that note, take some lunch and drink with you because you can't buy anything there.

 

You can learn lots about the history of the place through other means but I think going there is really an experience and if it's something you are interested in you should definitely do it. I tried to learn a lot about it before I visited but it's nothing like actually being there.

 

I would say give a good half day to visit it properly. It took me a few hours to get around the camp itself and I barely had enough time to go through the museum properly after that (which is amazing in itself).

 

Give yourself time to chill out after your visit. The place is big but mostly just mentally draining so you can feel quite exhausted afterwards. Pick up a set of the self-guided head phones on your way in - they have really good information on them, including personal interviews with people and you can go through it in whatever order you want.

 

Think about splitting up and meeting at the end too. Personally I find it's a place I prefer to walk around by myself to really get the feel for it rather than be in a group of friends or family.

 

I'd recommend a visit to anyone who has an interest in German history.

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I visited there last Wednesday (1st March). It was snowing heavily and I could almost imagine the feeling of standing on the roll-call ground, bare-footed, in thin clothing in that weather, day after day, night after night. *almost* imagine because in my relatively pampered life I haven't even come close to that kind of experience. And if I had lived in those times, under that regime, would I have been incarcerated there? Would I have had the courage of my convictions to stand up to the policies of the NSDAP? In all honesty, shamefully, probably not.

 

Tourist attraction? I had no impression of that. Superficially it is dull, dull, dull. But that's the point; it is so functional, so fitted to purpose, so banally normal, so architecturally unprepossessing, and then you think about the purpose it was designed for . . . the people who ended up here . . . the political mindset that designed it . . . in Orwellian terms, the boot stamping on the face for ever. Did we expect the architecture of Evil to be some Heironymus Bosch creation of sadistic madness? Or as it is, one-story grey concrete pre-fabs?

 

The displays in the museum are very informative. Too informative perhaps; too much horror and misery to take in, to digest without getting cramps of angst, to be hit again and again with personal testament. The timetable it recalls is horrifying in it's brevity; How could the liberal democratic articles of the Weimar Republic be so comprehensively overthrown in so short a time? Can history repeat itself? Are we seeing it repeat now? 9/11=burning of Reichstag, Al Quaida=Elders of Zion, Guantanamo=Dachau, Islamism=Jehovah's Witnesses? I'm not suggesting it is repeating, but could we tell if it was? Any more than 1930's Europeans were gradually coerced into the Nazi narrative without questioning it's authenticity or morality?

 

Thankfully (and unlike most UK museums) KZ Dachau doesn't have any interactive displays aimed at trying to engage the i-Pod generation. Neither does it have a cafeteria or souvenir shop (Dachau cream teas anyone? 'Arbeit Macht Frei' mousemats?). It takes a degree of maturity to take in the site, a measure of empathy to feel for the people held there. But if you accept it for what it is - a concrete reminder of the extent to which a totalitarian government will extend itself to control dissention (incongruously but pertinently set in a residential suburban housing estate) - rather than a top-ten-things-to-see-around-Munich tourist list, it is well worth the effort in trying to comprehend the place.

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@ER

 

I've been to Dachau KZ a number of times, once to see it for myself and the others escorting visitors.

 

I think that the somber and dispassionate layout of the diplays is very appropriate. A person who still gawks in Dachau after visiting the exhibitions lacks some part of a healthy human makeup.

 

Of the 12 or so people that I have visited the camp with most people took away one piece of information or remembered one incident that encapsulated all that was wrong with the camp and the ideology behind it. I think that makes it worthwile visiting. Just my opinion though.

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