Adolf Hitler ordered the opening of the Dachau concentration camp near the city of Munich on March 20, 1933. Two days later The first prisoners arrived.
The Nazi dictator had been in power for just a month. Dachau had been until then a munitions factory. And although it was not the first concentration camp because the SS already had clandestine camps, yes, it was the first official camp of Nazi Germany.
Dachau’s It was the model for the 1,650 concentration and extermination camps Of all sizes.
Fields that would open in the following months and years, through which they passed and in which they died million of peoplemostly Jews but also gypsies, mentally ill, homosexuals, political opponents from Germany and occupied countries and prisoners of war since 1939.
In addition to holding prisoners, Dachau served for a time as a training camp for the SS destined for other camps, most of them outside German territory. In the SS he was called ‘Die Schulè der Gewalt’THE school of violence
During the first months the Nazis managed to partially deceive the international press. They organized visits to Dachau involving the Berlin correspondents of the international media.
In them it was explained to them that, unlike traditional prisons, in Dachau the inmates (who they hadn’t committed a crime other than political opposition to Hitler) were not in cells but were free to move around, even in the nearby woods. That it was a place of re-education and work rather than punishment.
Dachau filled up very quickly. In addition to political opponents, homosexuals, gypsies, Jews or Jehovah’s Witnesses were already interned there before the war.
Anyone that went out of the line of Nazism it could end up in Dachau or one of the camps being built in the style before the Nazis unleashed fire on the Jews.
The original Dachau, the one inaugurated in 1933, was reformed between 1937 and 1938 by the same prisoners in ruthless working conditions which ended the lives of hundreds of them. And in 1938, on November 10 and 11, after the ‘Night of Broken Glass’, they were interned in Dachau more than 10,000 Jews.
In 1942 the first four crematoriaalready with the war going on.
In the autumn of 1944, when the German troops were already in retreat on the various war fronts, further camps began to be built, dependent on Dachau and close to the arms companies (to force the prisoners to work there as slaves), until reach more than 30 subfields and that they had more than 30,000 captives turned into slaves.
Historical data ensures that 206,000 prisoners passed through Dachau and most were transferred to other camps before being killedfrom death from the diseases of the conditions of detention or release by the allies.
They were tortured, forced to work until they dropped and the prisoners were given a insufficient amount of food to survive.
At Dachau, while not officially a death camp, more than 40,000 people died, even though the records of the Nazis who ran the camp report 32,000 dead.
The difference is mainly due to the fact that thousands of prisoners of war, most of them Soviet, were never registered. They were hit on the head and their deaths were not recorded.
There were no gas chambers in Dachau, but the bodies of the dead were burned. Many others were sent to their deaths in Hartheim, a center near Linz in Austria, 150 miles by road from Dachau.
Medical experiments were also carried out without anesthesia which left hundreds dead and disabled for life.
For example, it has been experienced How long can a body last in ice water? to death. 583 homosexuals were castrated.
While a typhus epidemic that broke out in December 1944 killed thousands of prisoners, the Nazis decided to let them die. In addition to taking their clothes and blankets, they also removed the windows of the barracks In winter.
German political prisoners, mainly communists, started an underground organization inside Dachau.
The group grew so much that it came to include prisoners of other nationalities and other ideologies, such as Social Democrats or Christian Democrats.
they committed sabotage actions, They recovered food for the weakest and organized symbolic actions such as a parade of French prisoners on July 14 (French national holiday) 1944 or a collective protest after the execution of 92 Soviet officers.
In April 1945, shortly before the liberation of the camp, they created combat groups which tried to block the escape of the SS and recovered documents that the Nazis attempted to destroy. They would later serve as testimony on behalf of the crimes committed in Dachau.
The field was cleared by a platoon of American soldiers on April 29, 1945.
Weeks before liberation there were 67,000 prisoners, of which 22,000 were Jews.
Faced with approaching Allied troops, the Nazis evacuated as many as they could from other camps so as not to be released.
Thus, on April 19, 1945, 45,000 prisoners arrived in Dachau from the Buchenwald camp. Days before the liberation, the SS took nearly 7,000 prisoners (those who believed they had more strength to work).
On April 29, US soldiers found 30 train cars filled with rotting corpses and a handful of SS guards.
in the next days German civilians forced from nearby towns visit Dachau to see for yourself the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
Brussels, especially for clarion
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.