At the international memorial a way leads downwards along the granite slabs that recall the prisoners’ hard work in the quarries of the Flossenbürg and Mauthausen concentration camps. The downward slope into the sunken space recalls the suffering and death of the prisoners. At the lowest point there is a site for placing wreaths.
Here the sculpture by Nandor Glid emerges: fence posts, ditches and barbed wire are reminiscent of the security facilities installed around the camp. The human skeleton commemorates those, who in an act of desperation, jumped into the barbed wire fence. Death in the concentration camp was commonplace and ubiquitous. This depiction is not only symbolic, it also tells the story of the many suicides that were committed in this way in the Dachau concentration camp. As the visitor enters further into the incline, the motif of humans caught in barbed wire intensifies, like an altarpiece, a triptych. The sculpture is framed by cement posts that reflect the security installation of the former concentration camp. This is one example of how the monument connects art and reality in its design.
At the lowest point of the way the view on another monument opens up: a relief with triangles that are attached to a chain. This part of the monument recalls the triangle badges that marked every prisoner as of 1937.
The relief does not show either the black triangle that marked the so-called "asocials," the green triangle of the category of so-called "criminal prisoners" nor the pink triangle which homosexual prisoners had to wear. The monument had been created in 1968 on the instigation of the International Prisoner Committee that represented above all the former political prisoners. It honored all the categories of prisoners that were accepted as "recognized" persecuted groups after 1945 and this included solely those people who were persecuted for political, racial or religious reasons. The fate of the others, the so-called "forgotten victims," has only been a topic of research since the 1980s.
At the end of the monument the words "Never Again" are written in Yiddish using Hebrew letters, and in French, English, German and Russian. An urn with the ashes of the unknown concentration camp prisoner lies before it and recalls the fate of the thousands of people whose corpses were burnt in the crematorium. It was buried here in May 1967. The panel on the left narrow side of the monument notes further: "This monument was erected in honor of the tens of thousands of martyrs, who died here as victims of National Socialist tyranny and was dedicated on September 8, 1968 by the Comité International de Dachau."
Picture of the "patch" relief.
Urn with the ashes of the unknown prisoner and the reminder "Never again" in the back.
Detail of the sculpture created by Nandor Glid