UC Santa Barbara > History Department > Prof. Marcuse > Research Pages > Dachau Memorial Site Page
collage of 1938 and 1985 photos of Dachau camp street
Collage of Dachau camp street in 1940 & 1985
(through the 1968 sculpture to the 1960 chapel
)

Dachau
Concentration Camp Memorial Site,
(KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau)
1933 - 1945 - 2005

by Prof. Harold Marcuse
(Homepage, Courses Page, Publications Page)
University of California, Santa Barbara
Department of History

page created Jan. 2000; last update 4/15/14

This site focuses on the history of the Dachau Concentration Camp site after 1945
recent additions: Legends page on 10/18/04;
book reviews
moved to separate page 12/04; Ninth Day page 3/05; exhibitions lecture 10/07

Page navigation
About the author
Site News
Organizations about the Dachau camp
Visits to the Memorial Site
The City of Dachau
author's book Legacies of Dachau
materials I've written about Dachau
documents, photographs, testimony
Newspaper articles
Deniers of
Dachau

Thumbnail of Legacies of Dachau: The Uses and Abuses of a Concentration Camp, 1933-2001 The author of this site is ...

... the author a detailed scholarly history of the Dachau concentration camp during the Nazi period and as a memorial site and museum after 1945:


Site News and Announcements (back to top)

  • Aug. 17-28, 2013: West German chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Dachau memorial site on Aug. 20, then went on to the town for a campaign stop at the annual Volksfest (mini-version of Oktoberfest). I tweeted (I tweet as @German_History) several articles and did a written interview that was quoted by The Telegraph.
  • Feb. 1, 2013: I just came across the papers of US Lt. Col. Martin Joyce, the first post-liberation commander of the Dachau camp. They were discovered in an old suitcase at Wayland High School (just west of Boston), and digitalized and put online by a history project group. The website provides superb access--kudos to the history project group! This is an excellent website and a great service to the public. Some of the treasures in that collection:
  • Nov. 26, 2012: A reader of this site sent a link to an online pdf version of the official US Army report made at the liberation of Dachau in April 1945:
  • Oct. 7, 2012: A couple of recent news items about Dachau that I came across:
  • Nov. 5, 2011: A rather random notice of a new book publication (in German only so far):
    • Eva Gruberová and Helmut Zeller, Geboren im KZ: Sieben Mütter, sieben Kinder und das Wunder von Kaufering I (Munich: Beck, 2011)(13 Euros at amazon.de).
      It's about 2 of 7 mothers with newborn babies who were liberated from Dachau. A 45-min. film about the story was broadcast by German channel 1 on April 28, 2010.
  • July 11, 2011: I've been looking at timelines for Dachau: google timeline; Dipity.com
  • June 5, 2010: I am still receiving inquiries about the incident during the liberation of Dachau in which US soldiers shot captured German "guards" (some may have been non-camp soldiers convalescing in the hospital) For the best discussion available, see this article:
    • Jürgen Zarusky, "'That is not the American Way of Fighting' The Shooting of Captured SS-Men During the Liberation of Dachau," in: Dachau Review 2(2002), pages 133-160. Since this may be hard to obtain from a library, I offer this pdf of the introduction and conclusion (pp. 133-141 and 157-160).
  • Jan. 13, 2010: Sorry I've been neglecting this page. I've fixed and updated a few links, but not systematically. The murals slide from the 2007 presentation is now available.
  • May 17, 2009: haGalil.com writer Robert Schickewitz published this
    timeline of Dachau camp's postwar history
    (in German):
    "Kleine Chronik des ehemaligen KZ Dachau seit 1945."
    • There is an interesting exchange in the comments section at the bottom, in which Jürgen Zarusky notes that the author completely ignores the existence of my book, in his invective against Bavaria for not providing a history of the memorial site. Schickewitz responds with an ad hominem attack that stoops to astonishing depths, even without considering Zarusky's long advocacy for and engagement with the memorial site.
  • Nov. 11, 2008: Mark Zanzig has a description of his May 2007 trip to Dachau and 69 photos on his zanzig.com website.
  • Oct. 25, 2008: I just discovered that the color film footage right after Dachau's liberation (3:50 mins.) taken by US Army photographer George Stevens is available on the web. This film material was discovered by his son in the 1980s and made into the 50 min. 1994 film "From D-Day to Berlin" (imdb page). This clip is about 35 mins into the film.
    • At 2:14 on the clip the narration notes that "122 SS guards were shot." According to recent research by Jürgen Zarusky (Dachauer Hefte 1997, the number was probably 35-40: 16 in the coalyard, 17 in Tower B, and a few others. The Jewish memorial service is at 3:17-3:27, then the May 8 end-of-war celebration.
  • Oct. 22, 2008: The Baden-Württemberg Center for political educationäs journal Politik & Unterricht: Zeitschrift für die Praxis der politischen Bildung (2008), issue 3, is devoted to the topic Gedenkstätten--available as a free 60page pdf. Nice color photos of various memorials and memorial sites in B-W; bibliography on p. 21.
  • Oct. 22, 2008: Otto Kohlhofer's biography was published in 2006: Deckname "Betti Gerber": Vom Widerstand in Neuhausen zur KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau (Munich: Allitera, 2006), 172 pages, € 18 at allitera.de (with pdf excerpt).
  • July 2008: I attended a conference in Munich in honor of the retirement of the memorial site's longtime director, Dr. Barbara Distel. (youtube clip of award ceremony in Dachau city hall)[74 views on 1/13/10]
  • May 7, 2008: An award-winning film team from high school near San Diego, California is making a documentary about making a documentary about Dachau and the Holocaust (yes, you got that right: they film themselves setting up and conducting filmed interviews). They interviewed me in March, and visited Dachau in April. They will be in Auschwitz in July, with a release date this fall. You can view a six-minute trailer for their film We Must Remember at their website, http://chstv.com/. The film premiered in March 2009.
  • April 14, 2008: My book Legacies of Dachau is now out in a paperback edition. (amazon.com page--price: $55 [$77 hardcover]; $55 at amazon) [prices Jan. 2010]
  • Feb. 6, 2008: There is a new Jewish Museum in Munich on St. Jakobsplatz.
  • Jan. 8, 2008: Vol. 23 of the Dachauer Hefte was published: "Nationalitäten im KZ."
    See Jan. 6, 2008 article in the Münchner Merkur/Dachauer Nachrichten.
  • Oct 29, 2007: On Oct. 2, 2007, General Felix Sparks, who led one of the battalions that liberated Dachau on April 29, 1945, died. See this Colorado channel 9 news story.
  • Oct. 16, 2007: Just uploaded: a 32-slide lecture "Exhibiting Dachau, 1945-2005" that I presented last week. It includes the images of the 1946 murals in the US army base that I first posted on this site in August 2001. [mural slide fixed Jan. 2010]
  • Sept 28, 2007: An album/scrapbook compiled by then 35-year-old former Polish Catholic inmate Michal Porulski (1910-1989) shortly after liberation was discovered. It was discovered by the daughter of fellow inmate Arnold Unger (1930-1972) who, as a 15-year-old Jewish Pole, became a translator for the US army after liberation and emigrated to the US with 60 other Holocaust orphans in 1947. See the eight photographs in the article "Album mit Zeichnungen aus KZ Dachau entdeckt," Die Welt, Sept. 28, 2007.
  • May 8, 2007: The anniversary of the liberation of Dachau has prompted another step in the development of the memorial site: Starting construction of a 36x36m Visitor's Center to serve the 800,000 people who visit the Dachau memorial site each year. (May 4, 2007 Münchner Merkur article in German)
  • Oct. 18, 2006: My English-language article about Dachau has just been published in: Encyclopedia of Europe, 1914-2004: The Age of War and Reconstruction, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter (New York: Thomson, 2006)(publisher's page: $595 for 5-vol. set). I may post an expanded version soon. (scan of 2006 Dachau encyclopedia article)
  • June 1, 2005: NPR broadcast a review of The Ninth Day by Pat Dowell, for which I was interviewed.
  • May 19, 2005: After seeing Volker Schlöndorff's film The Ninth Day, about a Luxemburg priest imprisoned in Dachau, in February, I got the memoir it is drawn from, translated key passages, and made a web page comparing the memoir and the film in March. In preparation for an interview for a review on NPR I did some more research in May, and augmented the page.
  • April 22, 2005: On April 29 I will be presenting at a German-French colloquium in Munich: "Memories and History: From the Experiential World of the Concentration Camps." My presentation is titled: "How Dachau has Changed: Ideas and Goals of Its Presentation, 1945-2005" (in German). The conference website is: www.dachau2005.com/; blurb about my presenation, French version.
    The main 60th anniversary celebration will take place on May 1, 2005, at 10:45am, preceded by religious services at the religious memorials. At 12:30 there will be a ceremony in Hebertshausen. Official program of events; live broadcast on Bavarian Radio;
  • Feb. 8, 2005: I was asked about the GPS coordinates of the memorial site. They are:
    Lat-Long: 48° 16' 5" , 11° 28' 4" 48.2682 , 11.468 Found and viewable at maporama.com.
  • Oct. 18, 2004: Legends page, about why people claim the Dachau gas chamber was built after the war, soap was made from human fat, and such like.
  • Sept. 20, 2004: Sept. 18, 1945 letter from US Army Air Corps pilot Robert Monson added. I've also created a Visits page, which will enable me to make such reports more easily accessible.
  • Nov. 10, 2003: link added to Henry Staruk's 50 page master's thesis : "After the Liberation: The American Administration of the Concentration Camp at Dachau" (May 2002) (link)
  • Oct. 2003: Best Dachau site in English. I receive many inquiries about the camp. I usually refer people to the scrapbookpages.com Dachau site, which contains a wealth of reliable information and is richly illustrated. The site was begun in 1998 by a couple of young American (probably from California) tourists interested in history (see their about us page). It has since grown to over 1000 pages about historical sites all over the world, many of them former concentration camps and sites of Jewish interest, as well as some of general interest.
  • Oct. 2003: I have talked about Dachau in some of my lecture classes, and have illustrated outlines on those course web sites: 1890-1933-1945, 1945-2002, demise of mythic resistance.
  • Apr./June 2003: A text by former US army corporal Henry Senger about the capture of Commandant Martin Weiss has been added (category background info, below).
  • June 2003: article published in local NJ newspaper (archive copy)
  • Aug. 2002: At the end of July 2002 I was in the Dachau memorial site again, and examined the first part of the new exhibition in detail. Unfortunately, it is, in my opinion, a disaster. The walls were stripped down and not repainted (to be more authentic??), giving the first part of the museum a confusing, dirty character. The murals below have been destroyed. The entire exhibition has far too much text and detail, and very complex design features that are likely to remain unrecognized by most visitors. What a shame!
  • Aug. 2001: In 1972 the US Army returned confiscated portions of the former concentration camp to Bavaria. This included one wing of the present museum building, which has been empty and off-limits since then. In 1998 three murals painted after the war were discovered there. They decorated the mess hall used by the US soldiers. They depict:
    a view of Manhattan in the 1940s, a tropical sunset, and a snowy mountain scene.
    thumbnail of snowy mountain scene mural thumbnail of Hawaii mural thumbnail of Manhattan mural
    b/w enhanced version
    1930s photo of NY skyline ,
    from a 2007 Huffington Post article about early color photos.
    1930s NY skyline color photoGERMAN AUTHORITIES HAVE DESTROYED THESE MURALS, because they are supposedly "not original." (They mean that the murals were not part of the Nazi concentration camp.) I think the murals would make a powerful backdrop for the planned exhibit on the postwar uses of the former camp. About 50% of the 600,000-800,000 visitors each year are Americans. These murals document how Americans stationed in Dachau tried to make the former camp livable for themselves. They would help US-American (and other) visitors to think about and define what they (we) are doing in the camp today, without detracting from the horrors documented elsewhere in the museum and on the grounds.
    This wanton and irreversible destruction of an important historical artifact, is typical of the Bavarian government's stance towards documenting the history of the concentration camp.

Pages of organizations (back to top) [links last checked 10/07]

in German:


Tours and photographs of memorial site, narratives of visits (back to top)
[links checked 10/07]


Some Dachau visit sites have disappeared from the web (back to top)
I've linked to their versions stored in the internet archive where possible:

  • Virtual tour of the Nazi history of Dachau, presumably by R Bennett (see the URL). It was not very comprehensive, and misleading in places. The internet archive documents that this "tour" was created before January 1997; shortly after March 2000 it went off line (it was gone in May). I found it via a link from a Jewish genealogy site, lchaim.com (archive), where it was called the "Holocaust web project." L'Chaim itself existed roughly from Dec. 1998 to Dec. 2003.
  • QuebecTel offered an illustrated tour of the memorial site (in French, a 'study and impressions of the concentration camp,' by Eugénie Meyer, classe de M. Le Comte, Carouge (Switzerland). The internet archive documents it from Nov. 1999 to March 2001 (archive). I noticed its disappearance in April 2001. (http://www.quebectel.qc.ca/eldorado/culture/culmus06.htm)
  • The Jewish Defense League had an article about its Northern California director Elie ben Cramer's visits in 1969 and 1991. The internet archive documents its existence from Jan. 1997 to Oct. 1999 (archive). I noticed its disappearance in May 2000.
  • Jim Brown, a history professor in Elon, North Carolina, had two photos and some links on his site in June-July 2000. The web archive has the page, but not the pictures (archive; Brown's homepage).
  • Victoria visited Dachau on her 1999 vacation in Munich and Austria--it made her cry. The internet archive was not able to store her posting on footloose.net, which had disappeared by Apr. 2001: http://www.footloose.net/forums/load/europe/msg070445098480.html.
  • Munich-based Mike's Bike Tours, founded in 1995, had a page with practical information (2005 tour price: €14) [2004-spring 2007 archive version with good information, even though they no longer offer the Dachau tour you can do it on your own]

Travel to the town of Dachau (back to top)


Background information, documents, photos, and bibliographies (back to top)


Essays and chapters I have written about Dachau (back to top)

  • 1990 article in German about Dachau history 1945-1968
    "Das ehemalige Konzentrationslager Dachau: Der mühevolle Weg zur Gedenkstätte, 1945-1968," in: Dachauer Hefte 6(1990), 182-205 [reprinted Munich: dtv, 1994]. text without notes
  • 1992 dissertation
    Dissertation: "Nazi Crimes and Identity in West Germany: Collective Memories of the Dachau Concentration Camp, 1945-1990" (University of Michigan, 1992). UMI Order no. 9308392, $36.00 softcover
  • 1992 presentation about concentration camp exhibitions in West Germany
    "Die Museale Darstellung des Holocaust an Orten der ehemaligen Konzentrationslager in der Bundesrepublik, 1945-1990," in: Erinnerung: Zur Gegenwart des Holocaust in Deutschland West und Deutschland Ost (Frankfurt: Haag and Herchen, 1993), 79-98. text without notes
  • Overview of dissertation
    The Politics of Memory: Nazi Crimes & Identity in West Germany, 1945-1990" (Oct. 1993 presentation at Harvard Center for European Studies, published 1994 as a working paper. listing as no. 4.2, can be ordered for $5.
  • 1995 book review about Dachau town, 1918-1945
    Dachau: Die Stadt und das Konzentrationslager in der NS-Zeit, by Sybille Steinbacher, in: Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 36(1996), 777-9. text  
  • Overview with emphasis on questions of identity
    "Former Concentration Camps and the Politics of Identity in West Germany, 1945-1990", Great Lakes Consortium for European Studes, Minneapolis, February 1997. text of introduction
  • 1997 overview emphasizing recent decades
    "Dachau and the Memory of National Socialism", "Conference Geteilte Geschichte: A History Shared and Divided: The Two Germanies, 1945-1990," Seattle, May 1997. text
  • theoretical essay with my table of moral categories (after Habermas) at end
    "Nazi History and Political Culture in West Germany since 1945", All-UC conference of history departments, May 1997. text
  • 1996 presentation in Berlin about 1968 revival of interest in Holocaust
    "The Revival of Holocaust Awareness in West Germany, Israel, and the United States" in: Carole Fink, Philipp Gassert, Detlef Junker (eds.), 1968: The World Transformed (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 421-38. text without notes
  • 1997 presentation at Dartmouth about aesthetics of Holocaust memorials
    "Dachau: The Political Aesthetics of Holocaust Memorials," in: Peter Hayes (ed.), Lessons and Legacies III: Memory, Memorialization, and Denial (Evanston, IL: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1999), 138-168, 278-287. text without notes
  • 1998 conference paper about tourism in Dachau 1933-present
    "Adapting Dachau to the Needs of Visitors, 1933-2000," Association of American Geographers' Conference, March 1998. text without footnotes
  • Book manuscript, published March 2001
    Legacies of Dachau: The Uses and Abuses of a Concentration Camp, 1933-2001 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). jacket blurb, table of contents, introduction w/o notes, intro to Pt. II: The Three Myths (modified, with tables 1 and 2 from Pt. III and Pt. IV), publisher's announcement
  • Holocaust courses that I teach
    The Holocaust in German History (Hist. 133D): The Nazi campaign of racial purification through eugenics and mass murder can be considered one of the watershed events of Western civilization. This course examines the historical, social, political and economic factors which combined to result in the Holocaust, as well as some of its consequences for German and world history. 2001 upper level course (133D) website ; 2003 introductory level course (33D) website

Newspaper articles (back to top)

  • Search the archive of the Süddeutsche Zeitung (articles since Jan. 1, 2000)
  • 28 Jan. 2000 SZ news report on the opening of the renovated bunker and jourhouse:
    Felicitas Amler, "Begreifen heißt anfassen" / Im "Bunker leiden die Besucher mit / 14 Millionen Mark für authentische Darstellung / erster Schritt zur Neugestaltung der KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau
  • 29 July 2000 SZ news report on the beginning of the 18th annual summer Youth Encounter
    Felicitas Amler, Bund gibt zu wenig Geld für Dachau / Heute beginnt die 18. Internationale Jugendbegegnung mit Hildegard Hamm-Brücher
  • 25 Apr. 2000 SZ news report on German federal (national-level) support for concentration camp memorial sites.
    Alice Ströver, Gegen ein zentralisiertes Gedenken: Berlin will die Verantwortung für die Vergangenheit an den Bund abschieben - eine fatale Idee
  • 17 January 2002 SZ news report about three research projects about Dachau funded by the city of Munich.
    Rudi Kanamüller, Neue Dokumente zur KZ-Geschichte

 


Holocaust denial links (back to top)


Other sites of interest (back to top)

  • history of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (illustrated on-line essay by Laura Dove and Angel Price, 1995/97)
  • shoa.de (in German), maintained by a private German group, has an excellent set of texts and e-mails an interesting monthly newsletter. Has a Dachau page by Armin Besant with a good historical summary.


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page created by Harold Marcuse, January 2000; major updates 5/01, 9/02, 2/03; last major update 1/17/2010
back to top; to homepage of Harold Marcuse, a history professor at UC Santa Barbara