BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Dachau concentration camp, built by the Nazis in 1933 near Munich in southern Germany, opened a new center on Thursday to offer visitors more information about the horrors of the camp.
About 800,000 people visit the Dachau site annually, more than any other concentration camp memorial and the new center and related work cost 4.7 million euros ($6.23 million).
In its 12 years of existence, nearly 32,000 deaths were recorded at Dachau.
Although Dachau has long had an exhibition, it has taken 44 years since the memorial’s creation in 1965 to set up a visitor center.
“The new visitor center at the Dachau camp memorial makes it possible to encounter this landmark of brown terror in an appropriate fashion,” Bavarian culture minister Ludwig Spaenle told Bavaria’s Merkur newspaper.
“Visiting a concentration camp memorial requires solid pedagogical and historical preparation and an opportunity to process what one has experienced.”
The new building has 460 grey wooden posts, some vertical, some leaning, surrounding the rectangular structure. The posts could suggest prison bars.
Inside, visitors will find information on the history and layout of the memorial, a cafeteria, bookshop and a room for meetings.
The Dachau concentration camp was built just weeks after Adolf Hitler’s Nazis came to power. It received its first prisoners on March 22, 1933, and served as a model for similar camps across Germany and Europe.
U.S. troops liberated the camp on April 29, 1945.
Dachau is not the only former concentration camp to be rethinking its facilities for visitors. The Auschwitz camp in southern Poland is seeking funding to help save its museum.
At least six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
Reporting by Jacob Comenetz