Layout of the exhibition

The exhibition is divided into six sections, presented in 13 rooms or segments.

Übersichtsplan der Ausstellung

Sections 1 and 2 explain the Nazi camp system and the historical background to the Nazi dictatorship. The specific history of the Dachau concentration camp from 1933 to 1945 is told in three chapters. The model for this approach is taken from the work That was Dachau by the Czech historian and concentration camp survivor Stanislav Zámečník. In this work he describes three phases in the development of the Dachau concentration camp as instruments of SS terror.

The first phase (covered by sections 3 to 6) spans the years 1933 to 1939, as the concentration camp was used as an instrument of terror to eliminate political opposition and persecute so-called “community aliens”. In this function the concentration camps were decisive in bolstering and extending the power of the Nazis as well as preparing for the coming war.

The second phase (section 7) corresponds to the years of German military success in the war, from 1939 to 1941 as the concentration camps were turned into a tool of war policy: prisoner labor became an instrument of extermination, with prisoners no longer “able to work” sent to killing centers, while the camps became to execution sites where the intelligentsia and elites of those regions under German occupation, along with Soviet prisoners of war, were murdered.

The third phase (sections 8 to 12) covers the years from 1942 to 1945 and is entitled “Prisoners in the Armaments Industry”. The exhibition documents the final years of the Dachau concentration camp, focusing on its role as the center of a network of subcamps spread throughout southern Germany and Austria. Liberation brings this phase to an end.

The final section (13) documents postwar history of the camp grounds and the history of the Memorial Site.