Entrance road into Dachau prison compound
The photo above, taken in May 2007, shows the view looking west toward the former SS Army Garrison and Training Camp at Dachau. In the foreground is the red brick road on which the Dachau prisoners walked, between the factory buildings, to the gatehouse into the Dachau prison compound. The gatehouse is behind the camera in the photo above.
On the left is a loading ramp and a section of the narrow gauge railroad tracks that led up to the Dachau concentration camp gatehouse. The garage buildings in the background on the left were built after the US Army left the former SS garrison in 1973. The two-story building with a red roof, shown on the right in the photo above, is the Commandant's house.
Note the grass in the photo above, which is about two feet higher than the brick road which ends abruptly. The sign on the right tells visitors that the rubble from the former factory buildings, which were torn down in the 1980ies, was covered over with grass. The building in the foreground of the photo below is the former Commandant's house.
The photo above shows a section of the brick road leading to the Dachau concentration camp gatehouse that was formerly covered with rubble after the factory buildings were torn down. Note the grass-covered mound of dirt on the left of the photo.
Included among the buildings that were torn down was the Präzifix screw factory where Dachau prisoners worked along side civilians who lived in the town of Dachau. There were also factories, which made porcelain figurines, rifles and German army uniforms, where German civilians also worked. After the war, the citizens of the town of Dachau claimed that they didn't know about the gassing, beatings and torture in the Dachau camp, even though they were rubbing elbows with the prisoners on a daily basis.
Beginning in 1936, when the Dachau gatehouse was completed, the prisoners marched each day through this gate to the factories, as an orchestra played classical music for them. Dachau was a concentration camp where most of the prisoners worked, not an extermination camp where Jews were brought to be killed.
The photo above shows a model of the Dachau concentration camp and the SS Army Garrison right next to it, as it looked when it was completed in 1938. The prison compound is the rectangular area on the far right. The SS Army Garrison and Training Camp are in the large area on the left. The SS area was separated from the concentration camp by the Würm river canal which ran north and south just in front of the concentration camp gatehouse.
The brick entrance road formerly extended west until it intersected the road into the Dachau complex near the main gatehouse, which was located on the south side of the Dachau complex, a short distance west of the Würm river canal. The Arbeit Macht Frei gatehouse entrance into the prison compound is inside the Dachau complex and a short distance to the east of the main entrance. The main entrance building, shown in the photo below, has since been torn down.
Prisoners were usually brought to the Dachau concentration camp from the railroad station in the Lower Town of Dachau, which was west of the Dachau complex. Most of them had to walk to the camp along Friedenstrasse (Peace Street) which paralleled the railroad spur line that ran from the train station into the SS camp through the railroad gate on the southwest side of the complex. A few of the prisoners were brought to the camp on trains which entered the railroad gate.
When the prisoners reached the SS Army Garrison on foot, they could then go through a gate on the southwest side of the SS complex, which is shown in the photo below. From this gate, it was about a mile eastward, through the SS garrison, to the "Arbeit Macht Frei" gatehouse shown in the color photo above.
The photograph below shows the gate into the SS Army Garrison on the southwest side of the Dachau complex. This gate has since been torn down.
When the former Dachau concentration camp was turned into a Memorial Site in 1965, the US Army was still occupying the former SS Army Garrison, so a new entrance for tourists was made through an opening in the fence on the east side of the camp, which is shown in the photo below. At that time, there was a high wall which separated the "Arbeit Macht Frei" gatehouse building from the US Army garrison.
The building on the left in the photo below is the east wing of the administration building which was converted into a Museum in 1965.
This page was last updated on March 17, 2008