Memorial for the victims of the death marches

Memorial for the victims of the death marches in Dachau
Memorial for the victims of the death marches in Dachau

As the Allies moved closer and closer, the SS started to evacuate those concentration camps at the frontline and transported the prisoners into camps that were still under Nazi rule. Thousands of prisoners died of diseases, weakness, malnutrition and maltreatment during these transports and marches that often lasted for weeks. Prisoners, who were unable to walk anymore, were shot immediately.

The number of prisoners in the Dachau Concentration Camp rose significantly in those months leading to catastrophic living conditions from December 1944 onwards. The barracks were hopelessly overcrowded and an outbreak of a typhus epidemic cost thousands of lives.

In late April, the SS began to evacuate the outposts and subsidiary camps of Dachau. A large number of prisoners died during the succeeding death marches, was killed by airplane attacks or shot by the SS even before the evacuation started.

On April 26, 1945 about 7,000 prisoners were also sent from the main camp at Dachau on a march south.

The memorial commemorating the death marches, which stands in the Theodor-Heuss-Strasse at the John F. Kennedy Square in Dachau, and of which a copy can be found in the exhibition of the memorial site, has been erected in over 20 locations along the routes of the death marches. It was created by the artist Hubertus von Pilgrim.