The Mortal Agony of Christ Chapel
The Mortal Agony of Christ Chapel from 1960 was the first religious monument to be erected. Former prisoners including Johannes Neuhäusler, who was later to become the auxiliary bishop of Munich, were instrumental in getting the church built. Its official dedication took place on August 5, 1960 as part of the Eucharist World Congress. The importance of the congress lent support to the successful effort to erect a memorial site at the former concentration camp. In 1972, Polish priests who had survived in the camp hung a plaque on the back of the chapel recalling the suffering of Polish prisoners who suffered in the concentration camp. The chapel stands directly within the camp axis with the entrance facingthe former camp. The position of the chapel and the open circular form was designed by the architect Josef Wiedemann to symbolize the liberation from captivity by Christ. The memorial bell, donated by Austrian survivors, bears the inscription: "In faithful memory of our dead comrades of all nations, dedicated by Dachau priests and laymen from Austria."
The building’s white gables can be seen over the wall. You can enter the cloister through a gate beneath the northern guard tower. The nuns regard it as their duty to offer prayers of worship and atonement at this sight of immeasurable suffering and inhuman atrocities. The cloister is designed in the form of a cross. The chapel is open to visitors. Inside you will find the "Madonna of Dachau," a statue of Mary from the Priests’ Barracks (Block 26) of the former concentration camp. Former prisoners, including Neushäusler, the late bishop of Munich who is buried in the convent church, dedicated the convent on November 22, 1964. The nuns also run a small shop where books and crafts can be purchased.
Protestant Church of Reconciliation
The Protestant Church of Reconciliation was dedicated on April 30, 1967. The building is set into the ground of the memorial site leading the visitor beneath the surface. The broken and irregular ground plan consciously opposes the right- angled monotony of the camp. The steps lead down to a narrow dark entrance that opens into a light interior courtyard. At the point where darkness and light meet, there stands a steel gate made by Fritz Kuhn and inscribed with words from the 17th psalm: “Hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” The architect Helmut Strifler designed the irregular rooms in juxtaposition to the ordered terror and uniformity of the concentration camp. The Reconciliation Church also contains a discussion room and a permanent member of the volunteer staff of the organization Action Reconciliation assists the Reconciliation Church in its educational work.
The Jewish Memorial to the right of the Mortal Agony of Christ Chapel was dedicated on May 7, 1967. Zvi Guttmann, the architect, had designed a larger structure, but during construction it was reduced to three-quarters of its originally planned size. The structure is made of black basalt lava and slopes downward like a ramp. At the lowest point, however, light seeps through an opening in the ceiling. A menorah with seven branches made of Peki’in marble hovers above the building. In Peki’in, a place in Israel, at least one Jew should always reside, even in the most difficult of times, to symbolize the continuity of Judaism. Inside burns the "Ner Tamid," the eternal light. The railing is reminiscent of the barbed wire that was so ubiquitous in the concentration camp, and together with the ramp imbues the building with symbolism recalling the extermination of European Jewry. The following psalm verse is chiseled over the entrance to the Memorial: "Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah." (9, 21)
The Russian-Orthodox Chapel "Resurrection of our Lord" is located along a path that runs between the former prison camp and the area of the crematoria. It is the newest of the religious monuments, built by members of the west group of the Russian armed forces, and was dedicated on April 29, 1995. The chapel, which is built of wooden planks, has an octagonal shape and is set on a hill filled in part with soil from the former Soviet Union. Its main icon shows the resurrected Christ leading the camp inmates out of their barracks and through the gate held opened by angels. The other two icons show Jesus’ final prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and Pilate presenting him to the people with the words "Ecce homo." The chapel is used both for private prayer and regularly scheduled religious services.
Picture of th desinfection-barrack. The SS let desinfect the prisoner clothes and blankets here. Unkown photographer, after the liberation
Photographie of the area with the religious memorials, 2007.
“Mortal Agony of Christ” chapel