New Gallery

New Gallery building was previously used by the Nazis

The New Gallery, which opened in 1992, is an art museum where modern art is exhibited. It is located down the street from the Brückenwirt Inn at Brunngartenstrasse 5. This building was being used as a gymnasium when it figured prominently in recent Dachau history. It was here that the Communists, who were arrested by the Nazis on March 21, 1933, were first brought when they were taken into "protective custody." The concentration camp at Dachau did not open until the next day. One of Dachau's most respected citizens, Georg Scherer, was arrested in this building by the Nazis on the night of December 22, 1935 while he was rehearsing a Christmas play. He was sent to the Dachau Concentration Camp, where he remained a prisoner for 5 years. After he was released, Georg continued to work at the Präzifix screw factory in the SS camp next to the prison compound, where work units from the prison also worked, so he had contact with the prisoners.

In the last days of the war, after Hitler ordered that Germany was to be defended to the last man, the German Home Guard was called up. These were young boys of 14 and 15 and old men up to the age of 60. The building which is now the New Gallery was then a gymnasium and it was put to use as a base for the Home Guard in Dachau. On the day before the American Seventh Army arrived to liberate the camp, Georg Scherer led the Dachau Uprising in which a group of town residents and escaped prisoners from the camp captured the Town Hall and disarmed the Dachau police. The Home Guard was called out, but they either joined those fighting in the uprising or laid down their arms and returned home. The insurgence was finally put down by the SS and the bodies of six men killed in the Uprising were laid out, as a warning, on the sidewalk in front of the building which now houses the Dachau Art Gallery, located across from the Town Hall.

The art museum building, shown in the photograph above, was originally a paper factory. In 1932, a fitness center for the Dachau Workers' Gymnastics and Sports Center opened here. When the Nazis seized power in Bavaria, the gymnasium was occupied by SA troops. The building was then converted into quarters for the Nazi Volunteer Labor Service. Under the Nazi regime, young people between the ages of 18 to 25 were at first urged to volunteer for one year of labor service; then in 1935 one year of labor by young people became compulsory. People on welfare in Dachau were also required to work in compulsory labor. In 1944, the building was given back to the town and the Reich Labor Service camp was closed. 


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