Path of Remembrance
The “Path of Remembrance” is made up of twelve information panels set out along the route of the foot march leading from Dachau railway station to the Memorial Site’s Visitors’ Center. With these panels the Dachau municipal authority remembers the historical significance of the pathway, some three kilometers long, most of the prisoners were forced to take to reach the concentration camp in the Nazi years. The information panels explain the links which existed between the camp and the town of Dachau. Around 45 minutes are needed to walk the “Path of Remembrance”.
The information panels are oriented on the remnants of the historical past in Dachau. For example, the rail embankment on which the prisoner transports once rolled into the concentration camp can still be made out, so too the public roads concentration camp prisoners were once forced to build. Just before the concentration camp was liberated the SS forced some 7,000 prisoners along these roads on a death march into the unknown.
Taking the “Straße der KZ-Opfer”, visitors are directed further along the southern perimeter of the former SS compound to the Memorial Site. The SS redeveloped the cluster of buildings belonging to the old munitions factory, creating a generally accessible district with residential and commercial premises for members of the SS and their families. Today information panels tell of the close neighborly ties between SS members and the civilian population. Most of the historical structures have meanwhile been dismantled; only a few buildings, today used by the Bavarian Riot Police, as well as curbstones and remnants of pavement surfaces remain of the original development.
Foundations of the concentration camp’s outer gatehouse were also excavated; from 1935 prisoners were forced to pass through this gate upon their arrival in the camp. The “Path of Remembrance” ends at the Memorial Site’s Visitors’ Center with a view of one of the factory buildings where prisoners performed forced labor. Two other factory workshops were demolished in the 1980s and the only remnants today are the earth walls heaped up out of the rubble of the demolished buildings. At this point the panels of the “Path of Remembrance” link into those of the Dachau Memorial Site.
This project of the Dachau municipal authority was carried out in cooperation with the Memorial Site in 2007 and consulted various citizen initiatives in the process. For the “Path of Remembrance” the municipal authority adopted suggestions and ideas from former prisoners, the Memorial Site, and the Förderverein für International Jugendbegegnung und Gedenkstättenarbeit in Dachau e.V.