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dachau alternative suggestions

We will be on an eftour with high school students in april...and its our 1st international trip. Already scheduled to see main munich sights. Its a very personal choice as an adult I appreciate history but do not to want to go to dachau museum. Any suggestions? do I just go to town of dachau and shop? Unsure what else is there in dachau to do. How far is oberammergau from dachau or Munich? Heard they have Xmas store and salt mine and neither are on our tour but sound awesome.

Posted by
9363 posts

Oberammergau is about 70 miles south of Dachau.
How much flexibility do you have as far as your activities? As a chaperone, don't you have to accompany the kids?

Posted by
32244 posts

paige, As mentioned in the first reply, it would help to know whether you'll be expected to accompany the students to Dachau as a Chaperone? If that's the case, when you arrive at the rail station in Dachau you could some touring in the city. Some of the sights include the Dachau Palace, St. Jakob Church or Painting Gallery. The town has some interesting history besides the Concentration Camp. Agree to meet the group at the station at a pre-determined time for the trip back to Munich. If you don't have to accompany the students, you could take a day trip to Salzburg (SOM or Mozart history) or Berchtesgaden (which also has a Salt Mine). Cheers!

Posted by
7 posts

I'm not the chaperon just parent traveling with my son an husband. Hubbie an son want to go with tour with rest of group to dachau museum in morning...that leaves me on my own to do whatever. Salt mines sound better for me. I could take train from Munich. Unsure what hotel will be at to know which station in Munich to take but thinking I can get ticket that morning. Any stops between Munich an salt mines that are a must see?

Posted by
8208 posts

A visit to Dachau is very important when carrying a bunch of high school students to Munich. It's just something everyone needs to see. I took my daughter to Dachau when she was 12 years old, and it's right up there with Anne Frank's house in her mind.
Dachau's displays are done in very good taste and I would recommend it to anyone. The city of Dachau is a couple of miles away, and it's just a small little town. If you cannot go to the work camp, you might as well stay back in Munich. The reason for Dachau, Auschwitz and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC exist today is so nobody will ever forget the annihilation that happened.

Posted by
32244 posts

paige, For travel to Berchtesgaden, you'll likely have to use the Hauptbahnhof in Munich. The trip is about 2.5 hours in each direction, so it will be a longer day trip. The Salt Mine website has all the details on the tours. Note that the hours of operation are more limited in April. The Mine is a short distance from the station, so you'll either have to walk or use a local Bus. Will the students also be visiting Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau as part of their tour? If not, that's another possibility for a day tour. If you'd rather take a day trip to Salzburg, you could either go by yourself and wander around, or take a guided day tour with Radius Tours. Cheers!

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you everyone this was very helpful information. David Please respect that not everyone agrees with your viewpoint. I mean no disrespect and the details provided were clear that its my personal choice which will not affect the rest of the group as they will go to the museum. Again thank you to everyone for the suggestions and alternatives

Posted by
3049 posts

I would use the time to see a museum in Munich that perhaps your son and husband aren't interested. There are many! If you like Renissance art at all the Alte Pinaotek is a must see.

Posted by
33130 posts

I've never heard of the Dachau memorial described as a "museum" before. It is very impressive and brings up all sorts of emotions. It is very much a memorial with explanatory descriptions. If you don't feel that you would be able to cope with it, or if you just have no interest, nobody will judge you. Don't go. My concern is that from my memory it is very much a half day trip to Dachau, not a full day. If you go off quite a long day trip you may miss what your family and the group do before and after the visit to the memorial. My memory is that the area around the memorial is fairly devoid of other interest. I hadn't heard of the other places mentioned above when I went. Whatever happens I hope that you and your group have a wonderful time.

Posted by
1168 posts

Take a trip to Garmish. It is a short direct trip south of Munich by train, and you will love all the shops, etc. We thoroughly enjoyed our two days there. The main area is an easy walk from the station, and you will pass your time enojying the beautiful mountain scenery as well as all the unique shops and restaurants. It is a lovely town. More to do than Oberammergau.

Posted by
19151 posts

Oberammergau is out unless you had a car Really! Glad I didn't "know" that when I went there without a car in 2007. There is a train from Murnau to Oberammergau or a bus from Oberau. I then took the bus from Oberammergau to Linderhof (Ludwig's small palace). But other than the Passion Playhouse, there is not a lot to see in Oberammergau itself except for the painted buildings.

Posted by
10335 posts

I agree with Nigel. Dachau is a half day trip. Unless you are looking for something that will take up your entire day I'm sure you can find something to do in Munich.

Posted by
19151 posts

According to the Bahn, the round trip from Munich Hbf to Oberammergau is 3h55m with a 17 min stopover in Oberammergau, so it is possible in four hours, just not practical. However, according to ViaMichelin, it will take 3 hours round trip in a car, so you would only have 45 min longer (1 hr total) in O'gau. That's not practical either. But by the same consideration, Salzburg or Garmisch-Partenkirchen would be out too. For any trip you take, the total time is going to be dependent on your time a the destination. You could easily spend an entire day in Oberammergau, particularly if you go out to Linderhof. As for Dachau, I spent weeks in Munich on numerous trips before I ever saw Dachau, and I would still not give it a high priority. I figured I had learn enough in school about the Holocaust, that I didn't need to go there. But I did learn something - Dachau was a work camp, not a death camp. A lot of people died there due to overwork, but they weren't just killed. It's still not a very interesting place, in my opinion, but not too terrible to see. Round trip from the Hbf to the Memorial takes about 1h20m and the tour itself takes about 2½ hours, not including the 22 min film (every 1-1½ hr, in English). The Memorial website suggests a half day at the memorial. Including time waiting for the next English tour, you will need more (maybe a lot more) than 4 hours.

Posted by
1293 posts

Here is my opinion (for what it is worth): I have toured 2 salt mines. I enjoyed both of them, but I do not think they are worth traveling the distance you have to go from Munich to get there. If I decided I wanted an all day activity, I would go to Salzburg and enjoy a day there instead (lots to see and fun shops). Someone also suggested Garmisch-and that sounded interesting (I have not been there myself). I would research the time it takes to get to both and then decide. You could also look over the itinerary for the tour and probably find some things to do in Munich that are not already on it. One of my favorite memories of Munich is when my husband and I rented bikes at the train station and biked through the Englischer Gardens. It was a nice break from museums, churches, and tours. You should not have any trouble finding an alternative to Dachau. You may have a tough time deciding which alternative to choose. Have a great trip!!!

Posted by
8998 posts

Ah yes, dying by being worked to death, is ever so much more pleasant than any other way of being killed. That is truly one of the cruelest statements I have ever heard. If ever there was a reason one ought to go on a tour here, an opinion like that would be it. Guess you easily walked right by all the information about the medical experiments, the death marches, the horrific conditions, the starvation, the diseases and yes, the executions. http://www.holocaust-history.org/dachau-gas-chambers/ http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005214 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/dachautoc.html I am sorry, I just don't know what else to say, I am so appalled.

Posted by
4150 posts

I wish to add to Jo's remarks . I was also very disturbed by the comments about Dachau being a " work camp " . It is important to acknowledge that the establishment of Dachau was the first concentration camp in the Nazi scheme . It was essentially a laboratory that preceded the mass brutality that the third reich eventually codified and brought to a zenith in " The Final Solution " in subsequent years . That the initial statistics for extermination were lower than for the more notorious camps like Auschwitz , the underlying principles were identical . Bear in mind that Himmler , later to command the SS , was chief of police in Munich . Without proselytizing any further , the fact that less quantitative slaughter was enacted at Dachau that at Auschwitz for example , The inhuman principles there were no less reprehensible .

Posted by
32244 posts

@Jo & steven, "dying by being worked to death, is ever so much more pleasant" I suppose interpretation of wording can vary somewhat with each person. I also read Lee's comments and didn't perceive that he was suggesting that in any way. I'm sure all of us agree that those incarcerated at Dachau did endure horrific treatment, as did those at all the other camps. The comments seemed to be just pointing out that the function of Dachau was not the same as the "purpose built" facilities such as Auschwitz/Birkenau. It's difficult for any of us on an internet forum to know what others may find to be sensitive topics, but I didn't see anything offensive or insensitive in Lee's reply. Cheers!

Posted by
4411 posts

I would strongly suggest staying in Munich! There is much to see and do after the 'main sights'.

Posted by
4150 posts

@ Ken , My remarks were not intended or meant to be a personal attack . In the two or so years that I have paricipated here , I have always found Lee's posts very helpful and among my favorites as I find yours as well . I don't think he intended any ill will. However Jo was absolutely correct that The term " work camp " is a benign euphemism for something far more sinister . My point was that Dachau was where the Nazis first started to implement these things and in essence , Dachau only differed from the " death camps " essentially in magnitude . My criticism of Lee's comment was that it was somewhat insensitve . I agree that sensitivity is a subjective issue from person to person ,particularly in a wide and diverse setting such as an internet board , but the issue of the Holocaust is well known to be a hot button issue to say the least. Admittedly the initial purpose at Dachau was not as a Death camp , but that frankly puts too fine an edge on things . I sincerely hope that my comments are taken in the spirit of better understanding , Best Wishes , Steve .

Posted by
4171 posts

Paige, I respect your decision to not go to Dachau, but I think you will regret it later, probably as soon as you talk to your family and others who did go. I have been to Dachau 4 times, once alone and the other three to take people close to me to see it. It is that important to me that we never forget. With only about a half day to yourself, I would recommend staying in Munich and seeing something that is not on the planned trip schedule. Trip Advisor lists things to do in Munich and even has a button for shopping. I'm not much of a shopper, but I can easily spend half a day just looking and having cafe and kuchen along the way. I know it's hard to keep from trying to do just one more thing when it's your first time overseas, but resist the temptation. Your trip will be all the better for it.

Posted by
1976 posts

I also respect Paige's decision not to visit Dachau. Even though I'm Jewish, I have no desire to go to any camps, work or concentration. My friend in Germany offered to take me to one the first time I visited him but I didn't want to. I don't need to see the places where terrible things have taken place, to know that they have taken place and that we should never forget. Jews will never forget the Holocaust, just as we've never forgotten the destruction of the second temple in 70 AD or the slaughter of Jewish communities in medieval Europe or other horrific events in our collective memory. I'd rather remember my relatives by visiting and celebrating the cities where they lived, such as Paris and Iasi, instead of the places where they died.

Posted by
11613 posts

Thanks, Jo and Steven, for the points you raised. One other thing to consider: I don't think it's an accident that the more notorious camps were located further away from the major German cities - Dachau is practically in Munich's back yard. As for work camps/death camps, people were murdered at all the camps - at Dachau and other "work camps", those who were unable to work, or worked too slowly, were immediately executed.

Posted by
4 posts

My goodness! We are new here and thought this was a travel board, not a criticism board! Between this one and the one on "surviving" a 10 hr. plane trip, it seems people are getting a rough time for a simple question. We are afraid now to ask anything! We are going to sign out of this board. Best of luck Paige, hope your trip is a success and you find something wonderful to do!

Posted by
2391 posts

hopefully Abby that you will reconsider your decision to not come back to this board. Yes some discussions go off the "deep end" but the vast majority is very good. There are a very few people who make this unpleasant but have found other sites far, far worse.

Posted by
3696 posts

@Abby.... there is so much good informnation that you can learn from 99% of the people here... and without criticism, so please reconsider and try to ignore those posts you find rude. Most people here are very helpful. @Jo & Steven... could not agree more. I found my visit to Dachau to be life changing. It was a horrible place that reeks of evil, no matter what kind of camp it called itself. It was a total loss of dignity and freedom for the poor souls who were kept there.

Posted by
262 posts

Agree with Jo and Steven concerning Lee's comments. Seemed like one should just skim over what happened in Dachau. Just really didn't like his answer!

Posted by
37 posts

Hi Paige,
In my opinion the best advice on this thread is from anyone who suggests that you stay in Munich for the half-day or day and find something you'll enjoy doing there. If you're on an eftour, chances are you'll be spending enough time in transit as it is... So I think a day trip that requires a few additional hours of bus / train probably isn't the best thing ever. If you're okay with shopping, grab a free city map where you're staying and have someone there circle the Hauptbahnhof, Karlsplatz, Marienplatz, and Isartor S-bahn stations. Walking that line gives you lots of shopping opportunities, with some interesting places just off to the sides: Viktualienmarkt, Fünf Höfe, etc. Then there's always the "salt mine" in the Deutsches Museum. But seriously consider staying in the city, there's more than enough great stuff to do.

Posted by
31 posts

Paige, I respect your decision about Dachau. I went once with my wife about 20 years ago and it was really powerful. I went again with my son and found it overwhelming to see a second time, especially since we went on an excellent tour and the site was full of German schoolchildren. I agree with the Garmisch suggestion. I have taken this train from Munich. Get an early train and you will find yourself in a car with hundreds of German hikers and cyclists heading down for the day. From here you can get the valley train to the cog rail or lift to the top of the Zugspitz. But, I would not do this. Instead, head for the Partnach Gorge. It's an easy walk up through the gorge and from the top you can continue up farther to the top of a ski area that has a nice goulash lunch. You can come down via Wamburg, an alpine town. The trails are well marked and you can get a good guide from the TI or from Compass Maps. It's impossible to get lost and bring your camera. http://www.gapa.de/Garmisch-Partenkirchen_Sights_Partnach_Gorge I made this trip with my son and it is one of my most memorable days. If you have a spirit of adventure then you could take the valley train to the Aplspitzbahn lift. This brings you to a beautiful series of alpine meadows. From here you can hike up the Alpspitze or down to the bottom or down to another lift. All are easy to do in one day if you are reasonably fit. Let me know if you want more detail. Here are some pictures of the area:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcgannon/5286611007/in/set-72157625536667281/

Posted by
7 posts

Rob & Jon, Thank you both. I had not stopped to consider I do have a back that acts up sometimes and I'm not physically fit (like I used t be) but don't have a problem walking etc. After checking out some websites about Munich, I think staying in Munich and shop or just hang out. Our tour will hit the important places to see in Munich. Unsure which hotels EFTOURS uses as in if they are in town or outside it, but if the hotel isn't close to the city, I would think a cab or train is always an option. Thank You Again, Paige

Posted by
32244 posts

paige, If you'd prefer to just stay in Munich, there are LOTS of touring options. You could (for example).... > Visit the Deutsches Museum. It has 16 kM of exhibits and more in two nearby satellite museums. It's one of the best, and I could easily spend a full day there. > You could visit either the Transport Museum or Air Museum (located closer to the airport - it's smaller but the exhibits are well done). > Shopping - lots of great stores! > Eating - lots of great restaurants! I would highly recommend Opatija, which is not far from the Hofbrauhaus. > Walking Tours - contact Radius Tours (office in the Munich Hbf) as they offer a variety of walking tours and bike tours. Cheers!