Maintenance Building

Station 4


The construction of the maintenance building in 1938 brought to completion the building work carried out as part of the redevelopment and enlargement of the concentration camp in the years 1937/38. The prisoners had already been forced to build the Jourhaus in early summer 1936. The enlargement of the camp was a consequence of the plan to establish the concentration camps as a permanent institution of the Nazi state. If during the first few months of the dictatorship mainly political opponents of the Nazis were imprisoned in the camps, persecution was now increasingly extended to include other groups who did not fit into the Nazi idea of society and were to be excluded from the so-called “Volk community”.

The maintenance building closes the former roll call square on its southern side. Here the prisoners were forced to assemble mornings and evenings everyday and endure roll call counts which lasted for hours. During this ordeal they were confronted with the inscription painted on the roof of the maintenance building which read “There is one path to freedom. Its milestones are: obedience, honesty, cleanliness, sobriety, diligence, orderliness, self-sacrifice, truthfulness, love of the fatherland”. Like the inscription “Work sets one free” mounted on the Jourhaus gate, this motto expresses the cynicism of the SS towards the prisoners. Foreign prisoners, who were deported to the Dachau concentration camp in ever increasing numbers following the outbreak of the war, must have felt mocked by a motto extolling a “love of the fatherland”.

Today the exhibition documenting the history of the Dachau concentration camp is located in the rooms of the former maintenance building. These rooms are also presented in their historical function. Besides various workshops and storerooms as well as the prisoner kitchen and laundry, located here were the so-called “Schubraum” and the “prisoner baths” in which the degrading procedure for registering newly-arrived prisoners took place.

Located today in the eastern wing of the maintenance building, situated on the Alte Römerstraße, are the Memorial Site’s administrative offices, the archive, library, and seminar rooms.

Historisches Bild

Picture of the maintenance building with the inscription on the roof, shot by the SS.
© KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau