In April of this year, my husband, son, and I visited Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site Museum near Munich, Germany. We took a train from Munich to the town of Dachau and then went by bus to the site.

Since I’ve been researching World War II for my historical novels and had read a lot about the concentration camps, it was important for me to see inside one. Dachau was the closest to where we were staying and is a notoriously famous camp.

I took 168 photos there. Some were photos of signs and of the museum’s photos, which I thought were important because they allowed me to superimpose the past on the sights I was seeing. You’ll see what I mean further in this article.

I took these photos as we walked toward the entry gate of Dachau.

And here is the entrance. Notice the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign on the gate. As far as I can tell, this wording was on all the concentration camp entrances.


Here’s the same area during the war, with prisoners.

Visitors can rent an audio guide for a small fee. The handheld device guides them through the entire site. They can select their language (from fourteen languages) on the audio guide and listen to narratives, listen to recordings from former prisoners and guards, etc. The recordings are quite interesting and emotional. Visitors can also choose to go on a guided tour. We chose the handheld audio guide, and did a self-guided tour.

These photos were from inside the first building.

This photo was supposed to show an actual prisoner’s clothes, but glare put me inside the wardrobe. Oops!

Somewhere around this area was an auditorium that was added. In the auditorium, visitors were invited to sit and watch a film, Dachau Concentration Camp 1933-1945. It has a minimum age requirement of fourteen. I recall it being in English, but I may be wrong. I remember all the horrifying images and the tears that nearly everyone around me shed as they watched.

Since I have so many photos, I’ll continue this photo essay in Part II. You’ll see inside one of the bunkers and inside the crematoriums.