I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_DachauDachau concentration camp was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany, intended to hold political prisoners. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (9.9 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany. Opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, ordinary German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries which Germany occupied or invaded. It was finally liberated in 1945.

Prisoners lived in constant fear of brutal treatment and terror detention including standing cells, floggings, the so-called tree or pole hanging, and standing at attention for extremely long periods. There were 32,000 documented deaths at the camp, and thousands that are undocumented.

In the postwar years it served to hold SS soldiers awaiting trial, after 1948, it held ethnic Germans who had been expelled from eastern Europe and were awaiting resettlement, and also was used for a time as a United States military base during the occupation. It was finally closed for use in 1960. There are several religious memorials within the Memorial Site, and there is no charge to visit.