Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Holocaust, WWII & the Third Reich in Germany

From the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg to the Schwerbelastungskörper in Berlin. From Templehof airport to the Colossus of Prora, the Nazi beach resort on the north coast. There are a number of Third Reich sites, either redeveloped since the war or left in ruins, that are open to the public. There are many more memorial sites, such as the Topographie des Terrors, the Sahsenhausen Conecntration camp near Berlin and the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich.

Map of Holocaust & WWII Sites & Memorials in Germany

World II & Holocaust Sites & Memorials in Germany
A plastic, pink rose is placed on the memorial platform at the site of the Grunewald deportation station in Belin.

Holocaust, WWII & Third Reich Sites in Berlin

Berlin is still grappling with its role as the capital of a National Socialist Germany, which was responsible for World War II. Today, visitors to the city can explore certain remnants of the Third Reich and pay their respects at Holocaust sites. These include the Topography of Terror, which documents the history of the Nazi regime, and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, located just outside the city. Visiting these sites is a sobering reminder of the atrocities committed during this dark chapter in history, and a way to honour the victims and ensure their stories are never forgotten.

Holocaust & WWII Sites & Memorials in Germany

Alte Panzerstraße

In the north of Sylt is one of the few surviving signs of World War II on the island, the old panzerstrasse, or tank road. Some 10,000 soldiers were stationed on the island during WWII, and supplies and munitions to their bases required roads – concrete roads were quick and easy to create. Hidden in the dunes on either side of the road are the remains of bunkers. Walking in the dunes in prohibited, as this is a protected nature area. The panzerstrasse is part of a popular bicycle route from Westerland to the northern tip of the island.

Bergen-Belsen Memorial

What started out as a Prisoner of War Camp developed into a Concentration Camp in the final years of WWII. From 1940 until the liberation of the camp on 15 April 1945 a total of 52,000 prisoners from all over Europe were killed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It was here that the young Anne Frank was sent to her death. The various features of the memorial site are spread over a vast area, not all accessible to the public. The Documentation Centre is a good place to start, and identify landmarks to see.

Buchenwald Memorial

The concentration camp was built by the SS in 1937 essentially for political crimes, by 1940 Roma, Jews and Poles were sent to Buchenwald. From 1945 the Soviets used the facility to house Nazi criminals. Historical features of the camp include the former inmates’ camp, the SS casern, the memorial complex, and the cemeteries of the Soviet Special Camp No. 2. In the facilities of the memorial are four exhibitions a historical and art exhibition about the concentration camp, the history of Soviet Special Camp No. 2, and the history of the memorial itself.

Bückeberg Reich Harvest Festival Grounds

On a hillside above the village of Hagenhosen is the 18 hectare site of the “Reichserntedankfest”. A festival organised by the National Socialists, and held between 1933 and 1937, to celebrate peasantry and the nation’s farmers. With hundreds of thousands of people, the event was one of the largest mass events held in Nazi Germany. In 2022 the site was adapted for visitors, providing a pre-set route across the site that includes the remains of the ‘Führerweg’, speaker’s rostrum and the VIP stand, part of which has a barrier-free walkway.

Bunker Valentin Memorial

On the north bank of the Weser River, not far from the river’s mouth, is the largest free-standing bunker from WWII in Germany. During World War II the bunker served as the German Navy’s submarine shipyard. It was still in use by the Navy until 1960. Thousands of people from all over Europe were put to work here. And over 1,100 people died here during the facility’s construction. In 2010 the city of Bremen decided to run the site as a memorial, opening to the public in 2015. An information trail of 25 stations tells the horrific story of the bunker. Guided tours available on Sundays.

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

The memorial site for the Dachau concentration camp was established in 1965. Initially intended for Hitler’s political prisoners, the camp in the medieval village of Dachau was set up in the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory in March 1933. Dachau would become a model for all other concentration camps as well as a school for SS men. American troops freed the survivors on April 29 1945.  In the twelve years of its existence more than 200.000 people from all over Europe were imprisoned in Dachau and its 100 sub camps, of which some 41,500 were murdered. Immediately after the war the facility was used to house SS members waiting trial.

Documentation Center at Nazi Party Rally Grounds

In the north wing of the unfinished Nazi Congress Hall is the Documentation Centre, a museum that explores the history of the National Socialist’s part rallies held in Nuremberg from 1933 to 1938. The exhibition “Fascination and Terror”, which opened in 2001, closed at the end of 2020 and a new permanent exhibition is currently being constructed. While the Documentation Centre is undergoing refurbishment an interim exhibition has been staged: “Nuremberg – Site of the Nazi Party Rallies”. The remodelled museum is expected to open in 2025.

Dokumentation Obersalzberg

Close to the Austrian border, Dokumentation Obersalzberg is a museum that re-opened in 2023 to tell the story of the use of the mountainside retreat on Obersalzberg in the Berchtesgaden Alps by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Hitler spent more than a quarter of his time at his home Berghof. The location was used to send out a positive image of an affable ‘People’s Chancellor’. But it was here that decisions about the war and genocide were made with Hitler’s inner circle.

Eagle's Nest - Kehlsteinhaus

Completed in 1938, and run as a mountain restaurant since 1952, Kehlsteinhaus is an inn with a dark past. The location has spectacular views of the Berchtesgaden mountains towards Salzburg. But many people visit because of its history. It was built for the Nazis for government and social meetings. With the aid of text and historical photographs, a series of information panels tells the story of the site. The restaurant is closed in winter, and it is only possible to visit from May to October – weather conditions permitting. Access is only possible using a bus service that starts in the Obersalzberg car park.

Feldscheune Isenschnibbe Gardelegen Memorial

Due to the advancing American troops, at the beginning of April 1945 SS troops cleared the Hannover-Stöcken concentration camp and other subcamps. One group of prisoners were forced to march to a field barn on the outskirts of Gardelegen. They were locked in the barn, and it was set alight. The following day the crime scene was discovered by the Americans. An onsite cemetery was created for the victims of the massacre. Of the 1,016 victims only 305 could be identified. The first formal memorial was built in 1949.

Flossenbürg Concentration Camp Memorial

The concentration camp in Flossenbürg was established in March 1938 by the SS as a work camp; prisoners were set to work on the natural granite outcrops in the area. The first inmates were German political prisoners. By 1940, prisoners were coming from all over Europe to be exploited for their labour. As a forced labour camp, conditions were harsh and inhumane, and many died from mistreatment. After the war, the camp was all but ignored. Only in 1995, at the request of survivors, was the site transformed into a memorial. A permanent exhibition has been established, with a route through the historical site.

Hinzert Concentration Camp

From 1939 to 1945 some 13,600 political prisoners of all ages were imprisoned here. Although most were in transit to larger concentration camps, many were executed at Hinzert. In 1946 the bodies of just over 200 inmates were buried on the site of the concentration camps, people who could not be repatriated to their home countries. This was the start of the memorial site. In 2005 the memorial and documentation centre opened, a modern steel structure that houses a permanent exhibition including artefacts and photographs.

Ladelund Concentration Camp Memorial

Some 2,000 prisoners from 12 different countries were held at a concentration camp just outside the village of Ladelund in the very north of Schleswig-Holstein. The prisoners were brought here in November 1944 to dig an anti-tank trench along the German-Danish border. During the six weeks the camp was open, 300 people died and are buried in the village cemetery. A documentation centre has been set up near the mass graves, from where you can take a short walk to see an excavated section of the trench, and the site of the camp.

Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen

From 1936 to April 1945 Sachsenhausen was used by the Nazi regime as a concentration camp. It mainly held political prisoners, and a number of high profile individuals were interned here. Including the wife and children of the Crown Prince of Bavaria. The camp was equipped with a medical experimentation centre and a gas chamber, the remains of which can still be seen. After the war this area was in the Soviet Zone, and the camp was used by them to house enemies of the Soviet state from August 1945 to the spring of 1950 – Special Camp Nr. 7.

Memorial for the Victims of the Euthanasia

The State Hospital in Brandenburg an der Havel on Neuendorfer Str. was one of six centres in the country where the weak, ill and handicapped were killed, the so-called Euthanasia Action T4. Brandenburg’s hospital was the first of these killing centres because of its strategic position and ready infrastructure. In the first few months of 1940 some 9,000 vulnerable men, women and children were killed. Much of the site has been destroyed, one surviving building now houses municipal administrative offices, and a memorial centre is housed in an adjacent building.

Memorial to the Victims of Langenberger Forest Labour Camp

At the entrance to Langenberger Forest just outside of Leck is a large rock, with the inscription: “Human dignity is inviolable. In memory of the victims of forced labour in the Langenberger Forest Camp 1943 – 1945.” It was laid on 8 May 2002.  The memorial is set between a two of a number of ditches, which were dug by inmates held at the nearby prisoner of war camp. These trenches were anti-tank ditches, thought to have been dug sometime in the first half of 1944 in anticipation of a land attack by the Allies. Nothing remains of the prisoner of war camp today.

Moritzplatz Memorial Magdeburg

Built in the first half of the 1870s, the Prussian district court and city prison on the north side of Moritzplatz continued to serve as a place of detention during WWII. Immediately after the war, the Soviets took control before East German law enforcement agencies, who continued to used the building as a detention centre until 1989. Today the historic court and prison stands as a memorial not only to the 10,000 plus victims of political persecution between 1945 and 1989, but also the victims held here by the Nazis. The memorial houses a permanent exhibition, “In the name of the people? About the judiciary in the SED state”.

Naval Memorial Tower

Dominating the skyline at the entrance to the Kiel fjord is a 72-metre high memorial constructed to honour the WWI war dead of the Imperial German Navy. In 1954 it became a memorial for all seafaring nations, promoting peaceful seafaring of all our seas. The tower has an observation deck, open to the public, as well as a memorial hall and an exhibition hall that houses a variety of models of ships and other naval/shipping displays.

Nazi Party Rally Grounds

For both symbolic and logistic reasons Nuremburg was chosen by the Nazis as the venue for their part rallies. A total of six rallies were held between 1933 and 1938. The site covered an area of 11 square km and vast structures were specifically build to glorify the leadership and the party. Some of these, such as the Congress Hall, were never completed before the war, others were damaged. But a number of landmarks remain. Part of the Congress Hall houses the Documentation Centre. From where it possible to start a self guided tour of the party grounds.

Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

Neuengamme was the largest concentration camp in north west Germany, with a number of original features still intact. Located on the historical site of the camp, the memorial commemorates over 100,000 people who were imprisoned here. The history of the site is explored in a series of exhibitions, in four languages: German, English, French and Russian. The grounds of the camp are open at all times. A short tour of the camp takes about an hour, a longer more extensive tour takes about 2 hours.

Nolde Museum Seebüll

Seebüll on the North Sea coast is the historic house of the well known, and controversial artist Emil Nolde. Begin your visit with a film about the life of the artist, that does not shy away from his association with the National Socialists and the Third Reich. Explore his house, which contains many of his paintings. Tour his beautifully maintained garden, in which he and his wife were laid to rest. From the museum hiking trails allow you to see more of the countryside he painted. Whatever you think of his art and his political associations during WWII, this is a fascinating experience.

NS Documentation Center - EL-DE Haus

From 1935 to 1945 EL-DE Haus was the headquarters of the Secret State Police for the administrative district of Cologne. It was from here that the Nazis orchestrated their reign of terror on the city. A permanent exhibition outlines the history of Cologne during the National Socialist era. In the cellar is the ‘Gestapo Prison’; with more than 1,800 wall inscriptions that bear witness to persecution, torture and murder, this is one of the best preserved detention sites of the Nazi era. The NS Documentation centre is Germany’s largest regional memorial site for the victims of Nazism.

Nuremberg Trials Memorium

Courtroom number 600, in the east wing of Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice is where the trials were held by the Allies against former members of the Nazi regime. Nuremberg was chosen partly for symbolic reasons, but also because the courthouse had a sufficiently large prison attached and most crucially was undamaged by Allied bombing. An exhibition outlines the history of the trials, and as Courtroom 600 is no longer used for trials it is possible to see that as part of your visit (if not being used for events).

Prora Documentation Centre

In what was one of the reception buildings of the Prora Seaside Resort for the Nazi organisation, is the recently founded museum that tells the story of this site. A permanent exhibition, MACHTUrlaub, using a wide variety of documents, photographs, historical film footage, contemporary artefacts and modern models, sets out the construction history of this the largest architectural project undertaken by the Nazis, as well as its social and political background. The centre also hosts temporary exhibitions from other such centres around Germany.

Prora KdF Seaside Resort

Adjacent to a large stretch of white sandy beach on Rügen Island in the Baltic Sea, in the second half of the 1930s the National Socialists built what was called the ‘Colossus of Rügen’. This 4.7 km complex was to be the seaside resort for the Nazi organisation, housing around 20,000 people at the same time. It was the largest  architectural projects carried out by the Nazis. The 500m long blocks of bedrooms are being converted into modern apartments. But many of the other features of this vast complex remain.