Commemorative Site at the former ,,SS Shooting Range Hebertshausen”

Open-air exhibition, photo: KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau

 

On May 2, 2014 the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site opened the remodeled place of remembrance at the former ,,SS Shooting Range Hebertshausen”. In 1941 and 1942 the Dachau camp SS murdered over 4,000 Soviet prisoners of war at the shooting range, built two kilometers to the north of the main camp in 1937/38. Based on ideological and racist criteria, special Gestapo task forces had beforehand “segregated out” the victims from their fellow prisoners at POW camps located in the military districts of Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, and Salzburg. Those especially targeted by the organized mass murder were communist functionaries, members of the intelligentsia, and Jews.

An open-air exhibition in Russian, German, and English at the commemorative site provides detailed information on the historical background of the crime. The focus is on the biographies of individual victims and these will be added to in the future. The presentation depicts the largely concerted cooperation between the Wehrmacht and the Gestapo in the “segregation” process as well as the crimes committed at the site and other concentration camps. Further key aspects are the role played by the concentration camp personnel and what the population knew about the crime. The history of the shooting range and how this site was used after 1945 are also considered.

Also located on the commemorative site is the installation “Memorial for the Victims”. The installation comprises five strip foundations slightly elevated above the ground and onto which memorial plaques are attached featuring the names of the victims in Cyrillic and Latin script as well as their dates of birth and death. These strips are aligned to the site of the crime and symbolically recall how the POWs were lined up in rows of five to be executed. Assuming a minimum number of 4,000 victims, with a length of 40 meters the foundations provide space for the names of all those murdered. The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site believes that between 1,500 and 2,000 victims can be named in the long term. The installation currently features 816 names.

The landscape architecture is oriented on a careful uncovering and displaying of traces of the historical past. Undergrowth and some trees were removed, the original lines of sight restored, the historical network of pathways reestablished, and a circular path laid out. Information panels complementing the exhibition and helping visitors to locate events on the grounds are positioned along the latter pathway. The course taken by the boarded fence and the coffin depot, which screened off the site from outside view, are marked by steel bands. This poignantly illustrates how hopeless the situation was for the Soviet POWs.

The Berlin architect Martin Bennis and the Stuttgart graphic artist Berthold Weidner are responsible for the design concept of the exhibition and the commemorative installation. The landscaping was designed by the Munich urban planning office of Keller Damm Roser. The redevelopment was co-financed jointly by the Federal Government and the State of Bavaria.

Commemorative installation “Memorial for the Victims”, photo: KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau
Commemorative installation “Memorial for the Victims”, photo: KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau

Besides the commemorative installation, the former SS guardhouse is also located on the grounds of the former shooting range, which covers a total of 85,000 m². Today the guardhouse is used by the City of Dachau as accommodation for homeless persons.

 

 

 

Directions

Arrival by car or bicycle from the Visitors’ Center of the Dachau Memorial Site

1. From the bus stop at the Visitors’ Center of the Dachau Memorial Site turn left into the Pater-Roth-Straße and continue for 350 m.

2. Turn left into the Alte Römerstraße and continue for 2.1 km.

3. Turn right into the Freisinger Straße and continue for 130 m.

4. Turn to the left and continue for 190 m until the car park for the commemorative site of the former ,,SS Shooting Range Hebertshausen”.

 

Address:

Gedenkstätte ehemaliger “SS-Schießplatz Hebertshausen”

85221 Dachau