Munich Day 2: National Socialism Museum (Nazi Documentation)

National Socialism Museum in Munich Germany

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The National Socialism Documentation Center (Nazi Documentation History Museum) is a modern museum in Munich Germany showcasing the country owning history, illuminating more information, and helping others understand this time period of history so it may never happen again. Sharing tour information and tips plus our experience and thoughts.

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National Socialism Documentation Center Visiting Information

Location: Documentation Museum of Nazi National Socialism Munich, Germany
Cost: 4,50 € kids under 6 are free
Time: 2 hours is about right, but there’s a lot of reading and listening so if you know you take more time at those attractions I’d plan 3 hours
Tip: We didn’t want to miss visiting the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial so went there immediately. If we could do it again, we’d come here first to better understand the politics and country history.

The National Socialism Museum/Nazi Documentation Center Munich

So the museum name has been called a few things in English: The National Socialism Museum, The Nazi Documentation Center, and in Munich, it’s called the  NS-Documentation Center of the City of Cologne. All the same thing, all describing this modern museum opened in 2015 to help Munich shed light on the Cologne period and the Nazi party.

Why Visit the National Socialism Museum in Munich?

Neither of us is an extremely political person, so attending a political museum may seem like a funny choice for a trip. But this was one piece of history I think anyone who had studied has a lot of question marks wondering how or why a party like this happened and came to rise. I can remember asking history teachers and hearing their opinions which helped me understand. But the answers never fully shed light on all I tried to grasp.

This museum is the place I’ve by far learned the most, and it’s done in such a tasteful and factual way that helps one really learn of this period of time in Munich Germany.

I’ll give one warning, there is a lot of reading at this museum. It isn’t light reading, and it isn’t emotionally easy to read either. The audio guide supplements the reading well, with actual audio clips and narration mixed. I would definitely classify this as an academic experience. It’s one so worth having! I can honestly say this museum changed so much of what I understood about this time period.

Documentation Center Munich

For every time I’ve asked how this happened, I felt like my young mind finally got some answers. It’s one thing to study history from your country’s perspective, it’s another thing to read the accounts from a country owning up to its own history.

For example, I had no idea Dachau was first used as a place of terror for those opposing the Nazi party. I had no idea the fear tactics used against people so quickly. I had no idea how quickly all the leadership politically, academically, and even in the church leadership was completely changed (in about 2 weeks!) to eliminate opposition. Hearing accounts of people left me shocked learning of the choices individuals made that changed history. There was the shock of ethics abandoned. And I read accounts of people threatened that lived in their own terror within their country.

My favorite section was the section that honored those who had stood for what they felt was right. For most, it cost them their lives. They stood up in their own country in a time of terror. I looked at these panels of brave men and women and got teary. There were a lot of personal asked myself a lot of questions about my own moral compass as I looked at these amazing faces. It definitely changed me.

I put together timelines I’ve never put together before. I listened to voices that were silenced by history and were just coming back to life. There were images that will forever be engrained in my mind.

We’re so lucky our son slept off a lot of jet lag through most this museum so we could soberly take it in. The Documentation Center is a piece of Munich anyone visiting or local should attend.

Like this Munich Germany Travel Guide? You may like these travel posts too:

Munich BMW Museum

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Tour

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