Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Wednesday, October 28, 1998 Published at 20:04 GMT

World: Europe

Dachau seeks image change

More than 30,000 prisoners were killed here

The town that shares a name with Germany's first concentration camp has begun a sensitive public relations campaign to attract more tourists.

Every year some 800,000 tourists visit the concentration camp - making it one of Germany's prime tourist attractions.

Jane Barrie: Dackau hopes PR campaign is sensitive and profitable
But few of those visitors venture the short distance from the camp to the historic town itself.

Although the town has a history stretching back more than 1,000 years, the town's name will probably always be linked to the darkest chapter in its history, and the disturbing memorial site on its outskirts.

Between 1933-45 more than 30,000 prisoners from all over Europe died in the camp, which served as a prototype for other labour camps.

[ image: Mayor wants tourists to also visit town]
Mayor wants tourists to also visit town
For decades the town of Dachau distanced itself from the camp. But the new Mayor, Kurt Piller, says it is time for tourists to see that the camp and the town belong together.

He said plans were afoot to put signs up directing tourists visiting the camp to also stop off at the town.

"We want people to get in contact with the town as well as the concentration camp," he said.

Although changing Dachau's image represents a vast challenge, public relations officials say the town has something to offer besides its horrific past.

Marketing Consultant Thomas Seibold said: "The concentration camp is a symbol of 12 years of a cruel dynasty, but Dachau has 1,200 years before this 12 years and the townspeople hope that there will be a future for Dachau in a better context."

Voices of dissent

However, there has been criticism of the campaign.

Nikolaus Lehner, a Hungarian Jew who was transported to Dachau in 1944, questions the mayor's tactics.

"I would be ashamed to expect people to come and see this wonderful city after you saw this crematory and the rest of the concentration camp and saw the museum and read the statistics," he said.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

18 Sep 98 | German elections
Voting on the Holocaust

05 May 98 | Europe
Austria remembers its Nazi past

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift