Presentation of the historic camp gate in the permanent exhibit

Presentation of the historic camp gate in the permanent exhibit

Representatives of
the political community and the Memorial Site received the gate in Dachau when
it was returned in February 2017. The Board of Trustees of the Stiftung
Bayerische Gedenkstätten (Bavarian Memorial Foundation) decided not to continue
using it at its former location. Following the restoration work and a color
analysis, the highly symbolic original can now be seen at the end of the main
exhibition. The replica that has replaced it at the entrance to the Jourhaus since
April 2015 will remain.

Tor im Jourhaus The SS ordered the inmates
to forge the camp gate in 1936. Its inscription, “Arbeit macht frei” (“work
sets you free”) made it a cynical symbol of the suffering the concentration
camp inmates were forced to endure. Its theft on the night of November 2, 2014
was an assault on the remembrance of this past.

Unfortunately, the gate was
in very poor condition when it was rediscovered under a tarpaulin on the side
of a path. It is severely corroded and has in places become porous. In order to
stop the advance of this degradation, the gate was preserved in its current
condition. In addition, a comprehensive color analysis was performed to learn
more about the coloring of the camp gate at various times. Subsequently, the Memorial
Site developed a concept for presenting the camp gate as part of the permanent

Tor in VitrineWhen this laborious work
was finished, the camp gate in its glass case was able to be unveiled at the
press conference on July 27, 2017, where State Minister Ludwig Spaenle again
emphasized the particular importance of the gate as a key indictment of the
former Dachau concentration camp. Abba Naor, survivor of the Dachau subcamp at
Kaufering and Vice President of the Comité International de Dachau (CID), Karl
Freller, Member of State Parliament and Director of the Bavarian Memorial
Foundation, and Dr. Gabriele Hammermann, Director of Dachau Concentration Camp
Memorial Site, provided information on the interesting results of the
examination by the Bavarian Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (State Office for the
Preservation of Historical Monuments). The circumstances of the theft are still

Photos: © KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau; Photo teaser: © BLfD, Jens Wagner