Because of the concentration camp, Dachau is known in the whole world, but most people don’t know that the town has a history of more than 1200 years.

The town

Dachau was first mentioned in 805, which makes it older than Munich. Because of its special landscape the town was internationally famous as an art colony. Since 1933 the name stands for the terror of National Socialism. After the second World War the representatives of Dachau fought against all attempts of processing the past. But thanks to various initiatives, today there is a vivid culture of remembrance in Dachau, which includes the International Youth Meeting.

the Concentration camp

In Dachau, one of the first Nazi concentration camps was opened on March 22nd by Heinrich Himmler to lock away political opponents of the National Socialists. After the release of the ‘Nuremberg racial laws’ great numbers of other persecuted groups were brought to Dachau. During the second World War the situation became increasingly worse because the camp was totally overcrowded, the prisoners were less and less supplied, but had to do forced labor for the war industry. The concentration camp Dachau was the only one that existed throughout the whole twelve years of the Nazi dictatorship. American soldiers liberated the camp as one of the last on April 29th in 1945. Overall more than 206.000 people were imprisoned there, about 41.500 didn’t survive.

The memorial site

The first 20 years after the end of the war, the area of the former concentration camp was used by American troops as a military detention camp and then as a reception camp for expellees by the town of Dachau. In 1965 the Concentration Camp Memorial Site was opened after years of engagement and lots of resistance. Today it is visited by ca. one million people from Germany and abroad every year. It is a place to commemorate, but also to research and to educate.

The international youth meeting

IYM Dachau was founded in 1983 by young people from Dachau and its surroundings and takes place every summer ever since. The first 15 years as a tent camp, after its completion the participants started meeting in the International Youth Guest House (Max Mannheimer Haus). Since more than 40 years they are accompanied by a team of young voluntaries who help shaping IYM Dachau with great commitment.