Chief of Staff Testimony of: Capt. It stood on a wooded hill about 4.5 miles northwest of Weimar, Germany. WHITE Major General, G.S.C. During the entire time in which Dachau served as a concentration camp and death camp, over 200,000 prisoners were cataloged as having passed through its gates. The facility had been designed to house some 6,000 detainees, but the population continued to rise and by 1944 approximately 30,000 prisoners were packed into the camp. In 1948, the Bavarian government established housing for refugees on the site, and this remained for many years. Dachau (/ ˈ d ɑː x aʊ /) was a Nazi concentration camp opened on 22 March 1933, which was initially intended to hold political prisoners.It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory northeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany. The occupants of one barracks rioted as 271 of the Russian deserters were to be loaded onto trains that would return them to Russian-controlled lands, as agreed at the Yalta Conference. American troops killed some of the camp guards after they had surrendered. Wintersberger's complicit behaviour is documented in his own evidence to the Pohl Trial.[32]. [19] Two thousand cases of "the dread black typhus" had already been identified by 3 May, and the U.S. The Nazis also used Dachau prisoners as subjects in brutal medical experiments. ... Eisenhower Letter On 10th Anniversary of Liberation of Concentration Camps . [29], Shortly after the SS was commissioned to supplement the Bavarian police overseeing the Dachau camp, the first reports of prisoner deaths at Dachau began to emerge. Inside the camp there was a sharp division between the two groups of prisoners; those who were there for political reasons and therefore wore a red tag, and the criminals, who wore a green tag. That June, Theodor Eicke (1892-1943) replaced Wäckerle as Dachau commandant. In November 1942, 20 were given phlegmons. SS troops and police confiscated food and water that local townspeople tried to give to the prisoners. The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, which stands on the site of the original camp, opened to the public in 1965. However, it evolved into a network of camps where more, The word “Holocaust,” from the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “kaustos” (burned), was historically used to describe a sacrificial offering burned on an altar. Dachau concentration camp, located in the state of Bavaria, Germany, was the first concentration camp established by the Nazi regime. Between the years 1933 and 1945, more than 3.5 million Germans were imprisoned in such concentration camps or prison for political reasons. In addition to the direct abuse of the SS and the harsh conditions, people died from typhus epidemics and starvation. In mid-April, plans to evacuate the camp started by sending prisoners toward Tyrol. After days of travel with little or no food or water, the prisoners arrived weak and exhausted, often near death. Many others died of exhaustion, hunger and exposure. [citation needed], During the war, other nationals were transferred to it, including French; in 1940 Poles; in 1941 people from the Balkans, Czechs, Yugoslavs; and in 1942, Russians. Nearly 11,000 Jews ended up in Dachau. [53], Whatever the publicly stated purpose of the camp, the SS men who arrived there on 11 May 1933 were left in no illusion as to its real purpose by the speech given on that day by Johann-Erasmus Freiherr von Malsen-Ponickau[54]. In a cell block used by Catholic priests to say daily Mass, several Greek, Serbian and Russian priests and one Serbian deacon, wearing makeshift vestments made from towels of the SS guard, gathered with several hundred Greek, Serbian and Russian prisoners to celebrate the Paschal Vigil. The regimental records of the 157th Field Artillery Regiment for that date indicate that over a thousand German prisoners were brought to the regimental collecting point. Some begged American soldiers to shoot them. [64]:53 Political prisoners who had been arrested by the Gestapo wore a red badge, "professional" criminals sent by the Criminal Courts wore a green badge, Cri-Po prisoners arrested by the criminal police wore a brown badge, "work-shy and asocial" people sent by the welfare authorities or the Gestapo wore a black badge, Jehovah's Witnesses arrested by the Gestapo wore a violet badge, homosexuals sent by the criminal courts wore a pink badge, emigrants arrested by the Gestapo wore a blue badge, "race polluters" arrested by the criminal court or Gestapo wore badges with a black outline, second-termers arrested by the Gestapo wore a bar matching the color of their badge, "idiots" wore a white armband with the label Blöd (Stupid), Romani wore a black triangle, and Jews, whose incarceration in the Dachau concentration camp dramatically increased after Kristallnacht, wore a yellow badge, combined with another color. Robert L. Berger, N Engl J Med 1990; 322:1435–1440 May 17, 1990. The 524 prisoners who had been forced to carry the dead to this site were then shot by the guards, and buried along with those who had died on the train. In the early years of imprisonment, Jews were offered permission to emigrate overseas if they "voluntarily" gave their property to enhance Hitler's public treasury. History will likely never know how many people were interned or died there, due to periods of disruption. With the implementation in 1942 of Hitler’s “Final Solution” to systematically eradicate all European Jews, thousands of Dachau detainees were moved to Nazi extermination camps in Poland, where they died in gas chambers. [90] Many local residents were shocked about the experience and claimed no knowledge of the activities at the camp. In the entire history of the Orthodox Church there has probably never been an Easter service like the one at Dachau in 1945. It was used as a training center for the SS-Totenkopfverbände guards and was a model for other concentration camps. : A review of David Goldhagen, [, "Holocaust on Trial The experiments by Peter Tyson", "Last Priest from Dachau Concentration Camp Dies at 102", "Norske vakter jobbet i Hitlers konsentrasjonsleire", "The Dachau Trials: Dachau Cases (1945–1947)",, "Notorious Nazi Prison Camp is Liberated, 32,000 are Freed", The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau, The 761st "Black Panther" Tank Battalion in World War II, Dachau 29 April 1945: the Rainbow Liberation Memoirs, "Die Amerikanische Armee entdeckt den Holocaust (The American army discovered the Holocaust)", "Central Europe Campaign – 522nd Field Artillery Battalion", "U.S. Army Divisions Recognized as Liberating Units by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Center of Military", "Testimony of: Lt. Howard E. Buchner, MC, 0-435481, 3rd Bn., 157th Infantry". For example, inmates were obligated to be guinea pigs in a series of tests to determine the feasibility of reviving individuals immersed in freezing water. On 26 April, over 10,000 prisoners were forced to leave the Dachau concentration camp on foot, in trains, or in trucks. Richard F. Taylor 0-408680, Military Government, Detachment I-13, G-3", "1945 – present History of the Memorial Site – Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site", "An archway at Theresienstadt bearing the phrase, "Arbeit Macht Frei." Eventually, under Hitler’s more, Founded in 1925, the “Schutzstaffel,” German for “Protective Echelon,” initially served as Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler’s (1889-1945) personal bodyguards, and later became one of the most powerful and feared organizations in all of Nazi Germany. The Bavarian state government provided financial support. Many perished in forced marches during the last days before liberation of the camp a few days later. "Dachau Liberated." "The 522nd Field Artillery Battalion and the Dachau Subcamps", "Never again! They hoped to prevent the liberation of large numbers of prisoners. KZ Dachau was therefore the longest running concentration camp of the Third Reich. For years they have been able to continue their criminal existence. [70] Camp commandant Weiss admitted in affidavit testimony that most of the deaths at Dachau during his administration were due to "typhus, TB, dysentery, pneumonia, pleurisy, and body weakness brought about by lack of food." As early as 1935, a jingle went around: "Lieber Herr Gott, mach mich stumm, Das ich nicht nach Dachau komm'" ("Dear God, make me dumb [silent], That I may not to Dachau come"). From the start, camp detainees were subjected to harsh treatment. Dachau was also used in Germany’s euthanasia program and thousands of “invalids” were systematically murdered. [65]:276–277 Over 400 German priests were sent to Dachau. Le camp reste en service jusqu'à l'arrivée des soldats américains, le 29 avril 1945 [80][81], As the Allies began to advance on Nazi Germany, the SS began to evacuate the first concentration camps in summer 1944. Tear gas was used by the soldiers before rushing the building. But now we are in power. These administration offices consisted of large storage rooms for the personal belongings of prisoners, the bunker, roll-call square where guards would also inflict punishment on prisoners (especially those who tried to escape), the canteen where prisoners served SS men with cigarettes and food, the museum containing plaster images of prisoners who suffered from bodily defects, the camp office, the library, the barracks, and the infirmary, which was staffed by prisoners who had previously held occupations such as physicians or army surgeons. [44], In August 1944 a women's camp opened inside Dachau. [30] They noted many inconsistencies between the injuries on the corpses and the camp guards' accounts of the deaths. 2. Several Norwegians worked as guards at the Dachau camp. Priests Barracks at Dachau were established in Blocks 26, 28 and 30, though only temporarily. The camp initially housed political prisoners, and its first group of detainees consisted primarily of socialists and communists. "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. In 1934, both Hartinger and Wintersberger were transferred to provincial positions. The Memorial Site on the grounds of the former concentration camp was established in 1965 on the initiative of and in accordance with the plans of the surviving prisoners who had joined together to form the Comité International de Dachau. For the time being, Dachau was used as a training site for members of the newly established “Waffen-SS,” an elite SS combat unit whose troops also helped run concentration camps. The SS administrators who operated the camp claimed that Nefzger had committed suicide, but an autopsy disclosed that he likely lost his life due to asphyxiation or strangulation. Guards are known to have tossed inmates' caps into this area, resulting in the death of the prisoners when they attempted to retrieve the caps. In November 1938, the prohibitive measures against German Jews that had been instituted since Hitler came to power took a violent and deadly turn during “Kristallnacht” (“Crystal Night” or “Night of Broken Glass”). Several Poles met their deaths with the "invalid trains" sent out from the camp, others were liquidated in the camp and given bogus death certificates. [11], Dachau served as a prototype and model for the other German concentration camps that followed. Today, visitors can tour some of the camp's historic buildings and access a library and special exhibits containing materials related to Dachau's history. After the takeover of Bavaria on 9 March 1933, Heinrich Himmler, then Chief of Police in Munich, began to speak with the administration of an unused gunpowder and munitions factory. The SS used the cynical term Sonderbehandlung ("special treatment") for these criminal executions. We have not come here for human encounters with those pigs in there. [52], Prisoners were divided into categories. Eicke’s regulations served as a blueprint for the operation of all concentration camps in Nazi Germany. Hartinger reduced the scope of the dossier to the four clearest cases and Wintersberger signed it, after first notifying Himmler as a courtesy. [citation needed] After the closure of the Eastman Barracks in 1974, these areas are now occupied by the Bavarian Bereitschaftspolizei (rapid response police unit). Just before the liberation many German prisoners were evacuated, but 2,000 of these Germans died during the evacuation transport. [108] It was also the site of the Dachau Trials for German war criminals, a site chosen for its symbolism. The number of Jewish prisoners at Dachau rose with the increased persecution of Jews. In January 1943, Kozal perished from a lethal injection. [25] Himmler announced in the Münchner Neuesten Nachrichten newspaper that the camp could hold up to 5,000 people, and described it as "the first concentration camp for political prisoners" to be used to restore calm to Germany. [43], The prisoner enclosure at the camp was heavily guarded to ensure that no prisoners escaped. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Despondent prisoners committed suicide by entering the zone. All Kaufering sub-camps were set up to specifically build three underground factories (Allied bombing raids made it necessary for them to be underground) for a project called Ringeltaube (wood pigeon), which planned to be the location in which the German jet fighter plane, Messerschmitt Me 262, was to be built. Operation Reinhard. [61], During 1942, high altitude experiments were conducted. [78][79] "Within the first month after the arrival of the American troops, 10,000 prisoners were treated for malnutrition and kindred diseases. Visitors to the memorial site follow the "path of the prisoner", walking the same way prisoners were forced to after their arrival in the camp. That night a secretly formed International Prisoners Committee took over the control of the camp. Starting from the end of 1944 up to the day of liberation, 15,000 people died, about half of all the prisoners held at KZ Dachau. Since 1945, the word has taken on a new and horrible meaning: the ideological and systematic state-sponsored more, The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazi Party, grew into a mass movement and ruled Germany through totalitarian means from 1933 to 1945 under the leadership of Adolf Hitler (1889-1945). The prisoners of Dachau concentration camp originally were to serve as forced labor for a munition factory, and to expand the camp. Shortly before liberation, in late April 1945, there were over 67,000 registered prisoners in Dachau, including over 22,000 Jews. (Between 1941 and 1944, several thousand sick and handicapped Dachau prisoners were sent to a Nazi “euthanasia” center in Hartheim, Austria, where they were put to death by exposure to lethal gas). [35], On 26 April 1945 prisoner Karl Riemer fled the Dachau concentration camp to get help from American troops and on 28 April Victor Maurer, a representative of the International Red Cross, negotiated an agreement to surrender the camp to U.S. troops. He had a separate, secure camp near the command center, which consisted of living quarters, administration and army camps. [5] The main camp was liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945. All were found guilty – thirty-six of the defendants were sentenced to death on 13 December 1945, of whom 23 were hanged on 28–29 May 1946, including the commandant, SS-Obersturmbannführer Martin Gottfried Weiss, SS-Obersturmführer Freidrich Wilhelm Ruppert and camp doctors Karl Schilling and Fritz Hintermeyer. [85]:292, 6 May 1945 (23 April on the Orthodox calendar) was the day of Pascha, Orthodox Easter. A crematorium that was next to, but not directly accessible from within the camp, was erected in 1942. After 1948, when hundreds of thousands of ethnic Germans were expelled from eastern Europe, it held Germans from Czechoslovakia until they could be resettled. One source gives a general estimate of over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries for the Third Reich's years, of whom two-thirds were political prisoners, including many Catholic priests, and nearly one-third were Jews. In 1985, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II (1920-2005). On 29 April Sparks led part of his battalion as they entered the camp over a side wall. A. In 1940, Dachau became filled with Polish prisoners, who constituted the majority of the prisoner population until Dachau was officially liberated. Twenty-one others attempted suicide, apparently with razor blades. The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or Arbeitskommandos, and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. Owing to the severe refugee crisis mainly caused by the expulsions of ethnic Germans, the camp was used from late 1948 to house 2000 Germans from Czechoslovakia (mainly from the Sudetenland). British forces liberated concentration camps in northern Germany, including Neuengamme and Bergen-Belsen. Buchenwald, one of the biggest of the Nazi concentration camps established on German soil.