Saturday, August 13, 2011



Dachau was the only early concentration camp, which lasted until the liberation in 1945 from its inception in 1933. This so-called main camp (Stammlager) with a number of satellite camps (Aussenlager) was controlled from Munich. I visited two of these places in 1950, the Pollnhof which was an Estate of the SS and the Meat factory Wülfert a private enterprise,  within the city limits that held inmates as slave labor but nothing was there as a reminder of the past, yet records do exist how prisoners were treated and I might be able to comment at a later stage.
The first indication the public received that a camp would be established was a Press-cutting from the Völkischer Beobachter, the mouth piece of the NSDAP of 21st March 1933 in which it stated that "a concentration camp for political prisoners will be opened on Wednesday 22nd March 1933 near Dachau." The camp in fact was built on land in the parish of Prittlbach which was later to become part of the town of Dachau. In its structure it was the model for many other concentration camps to be built right through German occupied Europe during WW II. The essence of the National Socialist rule was a system of terror that spread right through the net-work of 24 main camps with about 1000 sub-camps where opponents to the regime were exploited, tortured at the mercy of SA, SS, and police auxiliary which often resulted in death.
My narrative is based mainly on documents as well as books, in addition to statements from a number of inmates including SS guards that left Dachau prior to the liberation and have never been brought to trial.
As for myself I had a cosmopolitan upbringing during the third Reich, we had French and Russian POW's on the Estate, never considered Russians as (Untermenschen) sub-humans, in both cases they taught me their languages, something that was not condoned by the regime.
The translations are my own and I apologize if it sounds somewhat "stilted" as I have not done this type of work for over fifty years. Last but not least I dedicate my narrative to two young Indian brothers, Arjun and Varun who will tour Germany as part of their School Curriculum.
HKW Stolpmann-Auckland NZ -August 2011


The local newspapers reported extensively on the new camp. On 11 April, a new Häftlingstransprt(Transport of Arrested) arrived from Nuremberg, another hut was completed. Cooking was done initially in field kitchens, the food was taken into a large hall outside the fenced part of the camp and consumed there. The allocation of numbers indicates the growth of inmates assigned to the camp population: In March 1933, number 170 was reached, in April 1137 and at the month of May number 2033. Due to some releases from the camp in June 1933 with a slight drop in the total, the number 2375 was assigned. 1953 people had been detained. By the year 1938 the number of prisoners moved constantly between 2000 and 2500. The total capacity intended originally was for 5000 internees, which was meant to be held in "protected custody".

The first detainees were German communists, Social Democrats later came increasingly civic politicians and monarchists. The political police in June1933 conducted a raid on the Bavarian People's Party which led to the detention of their Functionaries. The police behaved properly in this first phase towards the detainees in general. The initially tolerable condition within the the camp were not of a long duration. On 1 April 1933 Himmler rose to the command of the political police in Bavaria and assumed all rights in this area of responsibility as leader of the SS. On April 10th an SS unit took control of the camp and murdered few days later four Jewish inmates, under the pretext of an alleged attempted escape.Camp commander was SS Captain(Hauptsturmbannführer) Hilmar Wäckerle.
To run the Camp on a legal basis, rules and regulations as used in civil prisons was applied. Dachau was established as a State-owned concentration camp, although Himmler did everything to have it entirely under the domain of the SS, a comprehensive 18 point Sonderbefehl (Special Orders) was implemented which exposed prisoners to brutal treatment, imposing punishments as well as death. Wäckerle on Himmlers order had details worked out as far back as May 1933. These regulations divided the prisoners into three categories: one privileged, one basic and one punishment. A permanent state of emergency prevailed in the camp with draconian application of the death penalty.The guards had the right to use their weapon for any attempted escapes which was often an excuse for just a killing. For minor infringement this could result into a re-classification of a prisoner into a lower category or a death penalty. The Camp Commandant appointed a four-member Court of the SS with him as its chairman who decided  penalties over life and limb. The verdict was final the victim had no defense or appeal against the outcome.
It makes it clear looking at the background of the events in Dachau that the motive for the creation of these special provisions of Heinrich Himmler's was an attempt  to gain complete control over the inmates and to avoid any interference from the Justice System . Himmler's idea was a state within a state with its own Laws, with its own Leader and to commit violence. Only the funding would be the responsibility of the state of Bavaria and that of the Reich. Even in those days Himmlers plans could not be realized . The arbitrary declaration of a permanent state of emergency and the entitlement to their own rules, including the right to impose the death penalty presented, even at that time unheard of measures. The document of implementation  met with resistance in the Bavarian government and Justice Department. Himmler was forced to replace the camp commandant Wäckerle. The new camp commander was appointed on June 26, 1933 by the name of SS-Oberführer Theodor Eicke .He made immediately a revision of the collected writings of Wäckerle of the camps running operations. From 1 October 1933 the Disciplinary and Criminal Procedure entered into force for the prison camp.A prisoner could be shot as a revolutionary and hanged later as a deterrent. Guards had the right to open fire and use their weapon without warning to shoot anyone who made an alleged attempt to escape. Any SS-man killing in line within his duty could not be brought to answer for his actions. Only to quote two of his regulations, which reads:
Article 11. The following offenders, considered as agitators, will be hanged: Anyone who politicizes, holds inciting speeches and meetings, forms cliques, loiters around with others, who for the purpose of supplying the propaganda of the opposition with atrocity stories, collects true or false information about the concentration camp, receives such information,buries it, talks about it to others, smuggles it out of the camp into the hands of foreign visitors..... etc
Article12. The following offenders, considered as mutineers, will be shot on the spot or later hanged. Anyone attacking physically a guard or SS-man, refusing to obey or to work while on detail or bawling, shouting, inciting or holding speeches while marching or at work.....
identical Orders were introduced in all other Concentration Camps based on these guide lines. Eicke taught his sub ordinates to hate inmates as criminals and enemies of the state and a number of these indoctrinated SS-men at the "Dachauer Schule" became later leading functionaries of other camps.


Eicke shaped in Dachau an organizational structure which later found its application in all other concentration camps. The camp was divided into Headquarters, Chief of Staff of the Commander or Adjutant, SS-Guard Units, Prison Camps (later the Protective Custody Camp(Schutzhaftlager), Physician, Political Department and the Department of Economic Affairs (Administration). The guards formed the SS Unit D (Dachau), under the command of SS Major and his deputy leader Michael Lippert and Max Koegel. The guards (prisoner escort in supervisory capacity) managed and controlled the barracks on a daily basis. The Political Department was the department which was run by an arm of the police. They interrogated prisoners and prepared inmates eventually for their release back into the community The Department of Economic Affairs managed the workshops and factories that were established within the camp. The responsibility to administrate these facilities was not entirely clear at first. To a certain extent it was the responsibility of the workshop manager. Since May 1934, the function of a Protective Custody Camp was established and administered by Günter Tamascke. He controlled the SS personnel at the camp as well as that of the inmates. Later there were two to three protective custody camp leaders, who served as the first step for all activities, reporting to the camp commander.
The organizational structure of the camp resulted in the the placement of prisoners in ten huts, each of which had five rooms. Each room at full occupancy totaled 54 prisoners, which was called a"Platoon", with a "Corporal" at the top. The prisoners of a whole barracks was designated as a "Company". It stood under the guidance of a "sergeant" appointed from the ranks of inmates. The seventh company was the penal company, which consisted mainly of Jews and political figures (Bonzen) and worked at the gravel pit and road constructions.
The highest function, which could be exercised by prisoners was that of a "Working Sergeant." This position was held by the communist Josef Zauner. In the fall of 1933 Karl Kapp became the"Working Sergeant". The most popular personalities among the inmates next to a communist Georg Zauner was Gröner, due to their tolerant attitude towards other political-minded fellow prisoners which was appreciated by them.[Theodor Eicke commanded his Totenkopf Division in Russia from 1940 which fought with unmatched ferocity and ruthlessness. He was shot down during an aerial observation and killed Feb.1943 over Russian lines. I had an SS-Instructor who participated in the assault group (Stoßtrup) to retrieve his body 1 km into Russian territory. Sic]


The barracks of the camp were one story, built partly of stone and the roof covered with tar paper. The floor was made of concrete.Only the three-tier bunk beds provided a place of some privacy. The room had long tables and benches. On its head of the bed was a small closet for the few items of daily use and eating utensils. A towel and an enameled bowl for the daily meal was kept on the other end of the bed. On the wall next to it and in other accessible places the prisoner could hang photographs of his next of kin. At six o'clock in the morning a trumpet signal was given to get up. After the washing and making beds to military standards, the prisoners received a cup of thin ersatz coffee. At 6:30 am the whole camp was assembled at the roll call square. There was a wooden stage, from here orders were issued and the names of prisoners to be released were read out, as well as those required for interrogation. By the command of:"Form work details" the prisoners then lined up into the labor gangs, headed by the "capos". In the company of the guards they marched to their jobs. At 11 clock they returned to the camp and entered a half-hour rest period.

The needs and requirements of the Garrison as well as those SS-Units stationed within the vicinity of Dachau were catered for from their own operated enterprises, which included a slaughterhouse and a large bakery worked and run by inmates. Other prisoners were used in the general maintenance of the facilities, repairs, renovations and extensive new building projects. With the vision of national-socialist autarky(i.e.independent from imports)of Germany which included the establishment of a Heilkräuterplantage (herb garden plantation) but also the cultivation of indigenous spices were the focus of this project from spring 1938 on the east side of the camp. Due to the low labor costs the camp developed an economic base for the SS, with their affiliated farms the cost effectiveness of these projects gained them a substantial profit unheard of in the nineteen thirties.[making profit for one-selfs was frowned upon by the NS Regime as profit was associated with Jews sic]
A formidable and hated workplace was the gravel pit, (Die Kiesgrube) which employed mainly Jews and and Communists, but also prisoners whose personal files were marked by the police with the words "Release of prisoner is not desirable." (later: RU =Return Unwanted), or prisoners who were selected by Headquarters to physical annihilation. In the gravel pit, they rushed them to death, shot them for alleged "Fluchtversuch"( trying to escape) or drove them to commit suicide. In the fall of 1933 the first transport of prisoners at Dachau from the workhouse of Rebdorf arrived, in January 1934  more shipments of this kind followed which was motivated primarily by the need for additional labor, and presented unfair competition  to local businesses, the relationship with SS Administration deteriorated. On 28 November 1933 the Chamber of Trade wrote to the Bavarian Ministry of Economics expressing concerns that the Dachau concentration camp is setting up a "work house", which presented the local craft to an intolerable disadvantage as competitors. In May 1934,  the police requested additional political detainees about 300-500 from these workhouses, citing specific needs. They showed interest mainly in tailors, shoemakers,saddlers and construction workers.
 From July 1933 on Sunday afternoons there was a church service, first on the parade ground, where a temporary altar was erected, and later in a small room next to the post office. On the average about 20 people participated  during these services. The Priest of the congregation appeared regularly at the Camp, although the SS tried to hold him back from these visits by provocations and insults.[He was the Priest Pfanzelt and I have met him sic] The detainees wore initially their own clothes. Later, they were gradually issued with second hand Drill-uniforms and boots. The civil suit they originally had in the first months were kept in their closet. As food the prisoners received  soldier's bread(1.5 kilos) for three days. Breakfast was coffee substitute (Ersatz Kaffee). [The civilian population right through the war did not have anything else either sic].Dinner was usually a piece of sausage or cheese, or meat-jelly, occasionally salted herrings. With this tea or coffee was consumed.Stew for lunch was prepared in the kitchen
On October 16, 1934 the Bavarian Interior Ministry ordered Beggars, Drunkards and men who had rejected the work assigned to them for a period of three months or up to three years to the Dachau concentration camp. In a sweeping action of this kind from 7 to July 16, 1936  a total of 1306 beggars, work-shy individuals, vagrants and wandering journeymen
were arrested, 736 of them came to Dachau.
On 1 August 1936, the Bavarian police introduced policies to the imposition of "Schutzhaft"(Protected Custody) towards "the enemies of the people". The term used were for beggars, vagrants, gypsies, work-shies, loafers, prostitutes, habitual drunkards, brawlers, summarized traffic offenders, psychopaths and the mentally ill. In protective custody also fell members of Jehovah's Witnesses, an initial group was already in Dachau internment since December 1933, because the persons concerned had not attended the election of Hitler. SS members shot on July 4th 1935 near the Bavarian-Czech border in the vicinity Altenberg-Geising two communists who attempted to smuggle publications across the border. This incident  served Himmler as a pretext to order the Bavarian political police the arrest of 200-300 communists and affected primarily those who had been previously interned in a concentration camp. In this way a number of previously released inmates from Dachau returned for the second time into the camp and many of them stayed there until the collapse of the Nazi regime. In 1936 Eicke was working on a special statute for the "second-timers". They should be assigned to the penal company, working ten hours a day and may write only once every three months a letter to their next of kin. Smoking was strictly forbidden for them,and they were allowed to receive only ten Reichsmark on a quarterly basis from home. They should stay a longer time in prison and the review of their personal files should not be carried out at the standard three monthly period instead after three years.This shows these regulations referred to were not new subversive activities of the affected persons, but arose from administrative arbitrariness. [And a display of arrogance who runs this place sic]
The number of prisoners which had decreased as a result of the Amnesty in August 1934 only slightly. At the beginning of summer 1935 there were a total of 3555 prisoners held in various Concentration Camps, of it 1800 in Dachau.


In the summer of 1934, Eicke and his guard troops from Dachau took a leading role to liquidate the the SA leadership. Two units of the guard troops took part under the pretext of a "Röhm Putsch" in Bad Wiesee and made ​​arrests.[The leader of the SA, Ernst Röhm was shot point blank by Michael Lippert at Stadelheim Prison near Munich.[Hitler and Röhm were close friends, he, Röhm was one of the few that were allowed to call him "Adolf" and the familiar "Du" instead of the formal "Sie, mein Führer" sic] In the concentration camp a total of 17 men were shot in connection with the so called "Röhm-Affair who had previously been arrested. The Nazis used the opportunity to settle outstanding "scores"with other opponents. So the 71-year-old Gustav Ritter von Kahr was shot at Dachau, who had refused in 1923 as Commissioner General to join  the Hitler coup. Eicke also took this opportunity to shoot five prisoners, some of whom had already spent several months in the Bunker.The control of the concentration camps by the SS was accelerated by these events of 30 June 1934. On behalf of Himmler, Eicke revamped since May 1934 the reorganization of all Prussian state-controlled internment camps. Eicke used his own Dachau  rules as a model as far as Discipline and Criminal Procedures were concerned and guidelines for Guard Duties (Wachdiesnst).Arrest bunkers were built and expanded and the practice of mistreatment including public beatings found general application. In July Eicke was appointed Inspector of the concentration camps and the SS Death's Head

                                       SA leader Ernst Röhm in Bavaria in 1934
No one in the SA spoke more loudly for "a continuation of the German revolution", as one prominent stormtrooper put it, than Röhm. Röhm, as one of the earliest members of the Nazi Party, had participated in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt by Hitler to seize power by force in 1923. A combat veteran of World War I, Röhm had recently boasted that he would execute 12 men in retaliation for the killing of any stormtrooper. Röhm saw violence as a means to political ends. He took seriously the socialist promise of National Socialism, and demanded that Hitler and the other party leaders initiate wide-ranging socialist reform in Germany.
Not content solely with the leadership of the SA, Röhm lobbied Hitler to appoint him Minister of Defence, a position held by the conservative General Werner von Blomberg.Although nicknamed the "Rubber Lion" by some of his critics in the army for his devotion to Hitler, Blomberg was not himself a Nazi, and therefore represented a bridge between the army and the party. Blomberg and many of his fellow officers were recruited from the Prussian nobility, and regarded the SA as a plebeian rabble that threatened the army's traditional high status in German society

On June 17, 1934, conservative demands for Hitler to act came to a head when Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, confidant of the ailing Hindenburg, gave a speech at Marburg University warning of the threat of a "second revolution". Privately according to his memoirs, von Papen, a Catholic aristocrat with ties to army and industry, threatened to resign if Hitler did not act. While von Papen's resignation as vice-chancellor would not have threatened Hitler's position, it would have nonetheless been an embarrassing display of independence from a leading conservative.
In response to conservative pressure to constrain Röhm, Hitler left for Neudeck to meet with Hindenburg. Blomberg, who had been meeting with the President, uncharacteristically reproached Hitler for not having moved against Röhm earlier. He then told Hitler that Hindenburg was close to declaring martial law and turning the government over to the Reichswehr if Hitler did not take immediate steps against Röhm and his brownshirts. Hitler had hesitated for months in moving against Röhm, in part due to Röhm's visibility as the leader of a national militia with millions of members. However, the threat of a declaration of martial law from Hindenburg, the only person in Germany with the authority to potentially depose the Nazi regime, put Hitler under pressure to act. He left Neudeck with the intention of both destroying Röhm and settling scores with old enemies. Both Himmler and Göring welcomed Hitler's decision, since both had much to gain by Röhm's downfall – the independence of the SS for Himmler, and the removal of a rival for the future command of the army for Göring.

Hitler posing in Nuremberg with SA members in the late 1920s. Julius Streicher is to Hitler's right, and                               Hermann Göring stands bedecked with medals beneath Hitler.

In preparation for the purge both Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the SS Security Service, assembled a dossier of manufactured evidence to suggest that Röhm had been paid 12 million marks (EUR 48.2 million in 2016) by France to overthrow Hitler. Leading officers in the SS were shown falsified evidence on June 24 that Röhm planned to use the SA to launch a plot against the government (Röhm-Putsch). Göring, Himmler, Heydrich, and Victor Lutze (at Hitler's direction) drew up lists of people in and outside the SA to be killed. One of the men Göring recruited to assist him was Willi Lehmann, a Gestapo official and NKVD spy. On June 25, General Werner von Fritsch placed the Reichswehr on the highest level of alert.] On June 27, Hitler moved to secure the army's cooperation. Blomberg and General Walther von Reichenau, the army's liaison to the party, gave it to him by expelling Röhm from the German Officers' League. On June 28 Hitler went to Essen to attend a wedding celebration and reception; from there he called Röhm's adjutant at Bad Wiessee and ordered SA leaders to meet with him on June 30 at 11h. On June 29, a signed article in Völkischer Beobachter by Blomberg appeared in which Blomberg stated with great fervour that the Reichswehr stood behind Hitler.
At about 04:30 on June 30, 1934, Hitler and his entourage flew into Munich. From the airport they drove to the Bavarian Interior Ministry, where they assembled the leaders of an SA rampage that had taken place in city streets the night before. Enraged, Hitler tore the epaulets off the shirt of Obergruppenführer August Schneidhuber, the chief of the Munich police, for failing to keep order in the city on the previous night. Hitler shouted at Schneidhuber that he would be shot. Schneidhuber was executed later that day. As the stormtroopers were hustled off to prison, Hitler assembled a large group of SS and regular police, and departed for the Hanselbauer Hotel in Bad Wiessee, where Ernst Röhm and his followers were staying.
With Hitler's arrival in Bad Wiessee between 06:00 and 07:00, the SA leadership, still in bed, were taken by surprise. SS men stormed the hotel and Hitler personally placed Röhm and other high-ranking SA leaders under arrest. According to Erich Kempka, Hitler turned Röhm over to "two detectives holding pistols with the safety catch removed", and the SS found Breslau SA leader Edmund Heines in bed with an unidentified eighteen-year-old male SA senior troop leader. Goebbels emphasised the latter in subsequent propaganda justifying the purge as a crackdown on moral turpitude. (meaning homosexuality) Both Heines and his partner were shot on the spot in the hotel grounds on the personal order of Hitler.] Meanwhile, the SS arrested the other SA leaders as they left their train for the planned meeting with Röhm and Hitler

Hitler triumphant: The Führer reviewing the SA in 1935. In the car with Hitler: the Blutfahne, behind the car   SS-man Jakob Grimminger.

[As a by-note:
He was a member of the Schutzstaffel (SS) known for carrying the Blutfahne, the ceremonial Nazi flag, that was soiled with the blood from the original carrier  during Hitler's attempt to overthrow the Bavarian Government November 9th 1923, but failed.
Grimminger  entered the Imperial German Army when he was sixteen years old. He served during World War I as a mechanic in an air regiment from 1914 and 1917. He fought in the Gallipoli Campaign. He also served a year in Palestine after which he returned to Germany. Having been awarded the Iron Cross (second class), Bavarian medals and the Turkish Iron Crescent, Grimminger was discharged from the military in 1919.
                                         Image result for jakob grimminger

He  joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1922 and became a member of the Sturmabteilung (SA). He took part in the fights in Coburg in 1922 and the Munich Beer Hall Putsch of 9 November 1923. After serving in the Brown House, the general headquarters of the NSDAP, he was selected in 1926 to become a member of the Schutzstaffel (SS). Grimminger was promoted many times during his service in the SA and the SS, eventually reaching the rank of SS-Standartenführer (equivalent to colonel). As a member of the SS, he was given the honour of carrying the blood-stained Blutfahne from the Munich putsch. and was decorated with the Golden Party Badge, the Blood Order (Number. 714) and the Coburg Badge, three of the most important decorations of the NSDAP..
Grimminger survived World War II, and was put on trial by the Allies in 1946 for being a member of the SS and carrying the Blutfahne for nineteen years. For this, he was not sent to prison, but all of his property was confiscated. In later life, he reportedly attempted to enter politics and served as a Councillor in Munich; his past, however, prevented him from continuing this career. He died in obscurity in Munich in 1969 .sic]

Although Hitler presented no evidence of a plot by Röhm to overthrow the regime, he nevertheless denounced the leadership of the SA.Arriving back at party headquarters in Munich, Hitler addressed the assembled crowd. Consumed with rage, Hitler denounced "the worst treachery in world history". Hitler told the crowd that "undisciplined and disobedient characters and asocial or diseased elements" would be annihilated. The crowd, which included party members and many SA members fortunate enough to escape arrest, shouted its approval. Hess, present among the assembled, even volunteered to shoot the "traitors" himself. Joseph Goebbels, who had been with Hitler at Bad Wiessee, set the final phase of the plan in motion. Upon returning to Berlin, Goebbels telephoned Göring at 10:00 with the codeword Kolibri to let loose the execution squads on the rest of their unsuspecting victims
Röhm was held briefly at Stadelheim Prison in Munich, while Hitler considered his future. In the end, Hitler decided that Röhm had to die. On July 1, at Hitler's behest, Theodor Eicke, later Commandant of the Dachau concentration camp, and SS Officer Michel Lippert visited Röhm. Once inside Röhm's cell, they handed him a Browning pistol loaded with a single bullet and told him he had ten minutes to kill himself or they would do it for him. Röhm demurred, telling them, "If I am to be killed, let Adolf do it himself.] Having heard nothing in the allotted time, they returned to Röhm's cell at 14:50 to find him standing, with his bare chest puffed out in a gesture of defiance. Lippert then shot Röhm three times, killing him. In 1957, the German authorities tried Lippert in Munich for Röhm's murder. Until then, Lippert had been one of the few executioners of the purge to evade trial. Lippert was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison

As the purge claimed the lives of so many prominent Germans, it could hardly be kept secret. At first, its architects seemed split on how to handle the event. Göring instructed police stations to burn "all documents concerning the action of the past two days".Meanwhile, Goebbels tried to prevent newspapers from publishing lists of the dead, but at the same time used a July 2 radio address to describe how Hitler had narrowly prevented Röhm and Schleicher from overthrowing the government and throwing the country into turmo] Then, on July 13, 1934, Hitler justified the purge in a nationally broadcast speech to the Reichstag:
The Night of the Long Knives represented a triumph for Hitler, and a turning point for the German government. It established Hitler as "the supreme leader of the German people", as he put it in his July 13 speech to the Reichstag. Later, in April 1942, Hitler would formally adopt this title, thus placing himself de jure as well as de facto above the reach of the law. Centuries of jurisprudence proscribing extra-judicial killings were swept aside. Despite some initial efforts by local prosecutors to take legal action against those who carried out the murders, which the regime rapidly quashed, it appeared that no law would constrain Hitler in his use of power. The Night of the Long Knives also sent a clear message to the public that even the most prominent Germans were not immune from arrest or even summary execution should the Nazi regime perceive them as a threat. In this manner, the purge established a pattern of violence that would characterise the Nazi regime
.On December 6, 1934, Himmler appointed SS Colonel Dr.Alexander Reiner, a dentist as commander of Dachau. But because of corrupt behavior at SS Section XXVI(Danzig), he was suspended from his office before starting work at Dachau. In the period of 10 December 1934 to April 1936 SS chief leader Heinrich Deubel held the office of Camp Commander, a professional soldier and one of the oldest members of the SS since 1926. Eike held Deubel however, for "almost too good-natured" and "working poorly" and had his appointment rescinded. After Deubel  SS Top Leader Hans Loritz took over on 1 April 1936 as commandant, he had as camp commander of Esterwegen (Emslandlager) demonstrated his cutting and was the first commander, who had already proven his experiences in other internment camps. The position of officer in charge of the Protective Custody Department was held by the brutal SS  Obersturmführer Jokob Wiesenborn. Loritz  who run the camp until 1939, is remembered by prisoners of his arrogance and cruelty and witnessing of public corporal punishment [sadistic as he may have been usually receive sexual pleasures out of it sic]. After the annexation of Austria (Anschluss) in March 1938 he used Dachau inmates to build  a holiday villa at Gilgen. During construction the prisoners were housed in the nearest jail.Under Loritz the striped inmate garments (Häftlingskleidung) were introduced in the years 1937 to 1938. While the individual categories of prisoners were formerly distinguished by colored dots and stripes on their clothing, they now featured colorful triangles on the left side of the chest and the right trouser leg.
The political prisoners wore The political prisoners wore a red triangle, the criminals a green, the anti-socials a black, Jehovah's Witnesses a reddish and homosexuals a pink one. The garments of Jews were marked additionally with a cross-stitched yellow triangle so that a two-tone Star of David was visible. The prisoner number was printed and sewn  on the corner on white linen. [prisoners in Dachau were not tattooed sic]The "second-timers" could be recognized by a strip between the inmates number and the triangle in the color of their category. Under Loritz a number of changes were made in the designation of the inmates accommodation. In future a Barrack was called "Rooms"(Stube) or "Blocks" which was headed by a Block Leader or an elder (Stubenführer). The SS-company commander would be reclassified as SS-Blockführer.
.The press coverage changed. Initially positive reports dominated the headlines highlighting the "care" that was given to the inmates by the administration. Now the people were warned not to go within the vicinity of the camp, because the guards could make use of their weapons. It was to read that some well-known politician in Dachau had been shot during an escape attempt or had committed suicide. The Propaganda described on one hand, the provisions and certain allocation the prisoners received, but noted also that they did not deserve this, because 80 percent of the inmates are"bastardized" mongrels with Jewish blood as well as Negro and Mongolian mixture which otherwise would impact badly if they became part of the wider community.As part of Nazi propaganda were visits that led two types of visitors to Dachau. The first were NS-dignitaries, in which Himmler boasted his methods and effectiveness in the fight against political opponents, enemies of the state and ethnic minorities. The Bavarian Minister-President Ludwig Siebert wrote after his visit to Dacha in March 1934 a laudatory open letter published in the Press to Himmler, in which he paid tribute to Dachau as a "model"- Internment Facility. The second category were foreign journalists and representatives of international humanitarian organizations. The settings had been staged to convince them that the bad reputation of the concentration camp was completely unfounded. They, however, did not miss the fact that these performances and the effect had been unnaturally arranged.

View: YouTube: - Josef Goebbles Diaries

in September 1937, Himmler re-organized  the operational areas of each camp. Dachau served as a central place of detention for southern Germany. In early 1937 construction began on a new prison camp, which was built only partly to the ground plan of the original one. In view of the preparations for war, the SS drove the prisoners without regard for their physical condition to work. Above all, the earth and demolition work was a grind, since no machines were made available.The guards rushed the prisoners in an untenable pace and in addition spent their time with various cruelties and atrocities. A deterioration of living conditions took place which resulted in a higher rise in the mortality rate. Of the eleven dead in 1936, the death toll rose to thirty eight a year later The new camp measured 583x278 meters. It was surrounded by a high wall which was topped with four strands of high tensile and electrified barbed wire. On the inside of the wall was also an electrically charged barbed wire fence and coiled barbed wire in front of that .Another obstacle was a 2.5 meter wide and about 2 meter deep ditch, before that was a 3 meter wide strip, the neutral zone. If this was entered the guards opened fire without warning. There were seven guard towers, which were each equipped with two heavy machine guns.
The entrance to the camp was located on the west side. Where you first  passed the SS buildings and went through the iron gate with the inscription ("Arbeit macht frei") "Work makes free" of the one-storied"Jourhaus", you then entered the large parade ground (Apellplatz), to the right of the camp was a large building that  stretched over the entire width,  the(Wirtschaftshaus)Utility Building, which housed the kitchen, the shower facilities, laundry, storage rooms, workshops including space for personal effects.  Behind the building hidden was (der Kommandanturarrest), the Bunker, with 136 cells. On the opposite side of the parade ground stood  two long rows of 34 barracks, between them the general "camp road"which went straight through.[I have a 1937 motion picture tape of these facilities being built sic] In the first two barracks on the right side the infirmary was housed, on the other side was the cafeteria, the anthropological museum, the office, the labor assignment Dept. and (der Schulungsraum) the "training room". The remaining 30 barracks kept the detainees and were called blocks. On the right side of the road camp, they were marked with odd Arabic numbers from 1 to 29, up on the left side they had the straight numbers  starting with 2  to 30. Each block consisted of four residential units, the"rooms", each room was for 52 men, so that the capacity of the camp was built for 6240 persons. The accommodations were consistent with the former standard of German military barracks at that time. Each room was divided in a living- and bedroom. The 10x9 meter-sized living room was equipped with narrow lockers and ten tables with stools. In the center was a free standing tile-lined fireplace(Kachelofen). In the locker every prisoner had to keep a soup bowl (Essenschüssel), a plate, mug and cutlery, all made of aluminum, in addition to a military towel and a shoe brush. In the bedroom were three-tier bedsteads with straw mattresses plus one pillow stuffed with straw and two blankets.In July 1938, the number of prisoners increased from 3410 to6166. As the intake of the anti-social and criminal prisoners increased the make-up and character of the concentration camp changed . But the mainstream of political prisoners kept the Self-Administration (Selbstverwaltung) firmly in their hands and thereby able to keep criminal prisoners from occupying any functional positions


With the outbreak of war all lawful and administrative standards  were abolished, the powers the SS had over prisoners which had previously been partly restricted and made a difference between life or death, was lifted. Releases from prison with a few exceptions was stopped. With the outbreak of hostilities the existing Guards were called up for active duty to the front lines and replaced by older members of the SS-Replacement Units (Ersatzreserve). There were delays to implement and introduce these new measures, as the entire camp in late September 1939 was needed for the training of the SS-Totenkopf Division for combat duties. The evacuation of the camp started on the evening of September 26th, with1600 men transported to Mauthausen, 981 to Flossenbürg and a further 2138 moved to Buchenwald. Only 100 prisoners remained in Dachau to perform urgent work, especially on the plantation. Among the Buchenwald contingent  were Czechs and all prisoners held in the bunker, these prisoners never returned to Dachau. To the Mauthausen camp the SS sent the German and Austrian political prisoners[the exact figure is not recorded sic], including the inmates of the criminal category and blocks as well as all "second timers", 44 Jehovah witnesses, 571 asocial prisoners, 11 emigrants, 53 Homosexuals and 227  criminal prisoners. They expected not only  hard work at the Mauthausen quarry, but also the hatred of a group of criminal inmates who had been sent in August 1938 from Dachau to help in the construction of the camp facilities there.
In February 1940 the SS-Units left the camp and the inmates returned. To start with only the rear part of the camp was made available for the prisoners and another entrance was provisionally opened up. On the 18th of February 1940 only 390 inmates arrived from Mauthausen. Even if one considers that these were the ones out of a group of political prisoners, that means that either 204 lost their lives there or were unable for some reason to travel.[The figures do not tally, I am unable to verify this statement sic] Of the 981 men transferred to Flossenbürg late September 1939 only 921 returned to Dachau on the 2nd of March 1941. Three days later 1500 inmates arrived from Sachsenhausen and the camp once again filled up.


Since 1938 corporal punishments in Dachau were carried out in the courtyard of the new Bunker on seven specially installed stakes which had hooks driven into them and prisoners tied onto them and beatings carried out. Since 1940 when these stakes were no longer sufficient the location was changed towards[outside sic] the prison bath (Häftlingsbad)  were a crossbar held up by two support posts was erected . The crossbar had a number of hooks with a spacings of about 40-50 cm between them. This way you could torture now around 50 people at a time. The duration of the punishment lasted for one hour, in some exceptional cases even longer. The prisoner had his hands tied with a chain on the back and after stepping onto a footstool an SS man attached the chain to a hook and would kick the stool from under his feet. After the first  initial excruciating pain the victim would slowly faint and  fall into unconsciousness. The SS men then punched the prisoner in the face, or by pouring cold water over him to regain consciousness. The unnatural position with the upper arm twisted at the back restricted breathing and could after two hours lead to death. Unfortunately  after an hour of this type of torture in most cases this resulted in long-term  paralyzes of the hands and the shoulder blades.
For serious offenses, the public beating was imposed. It was originally performed with a stick, and later with a (Ochsenziemer) leather strap(ox whip), and soaked in water.To ensure the "Delinquent" could not move was standing on a wooden block with his legs encased in a sort of box. After each beating the prisoner  received a stay in the Bunker for a minimum of three days. Corporal punishment was imposed in each case by the Inspector of Concentration Camps, which at time was Schutzhaftlagerführer Egon Zell who since 1940 arbitrarily changed the methods in as much that he counted the lashings of two SS-man as one strike as well as other little quirks he had in mind. This was a typical example of how Himmlers orders were interpreted and cynically carried out to give the impression that procedures were strictly adhered to. The tortured victim in addition to this had to count in a loud voice the number of lashings he received, if he made a mistake, Zill gave the orders to start again. Should the prisoner faint during this procedure he was doused with a bucket of cold water and the whole process started again as soon as he became conscious.

From the end of 1940 onwards the punishment known as “pole hanging” was carried out in the prisoner baths. The SS inserted wooden beams between the interior pillars onto which hooks were attached every 40 to 50 centimeters. The prisoners had their hands tied behind their backs with a chain and were forced to stand on a footstool. The chain was mounted onto one of the hooks and an SS man kicked away the footstool.This hanging was one of the most severe and dangerous punishments meted out in the concentration camp. If the prisoner survived the punishment, he often suffered long-lasting damage to wrists and shoulde

                                     Pole hanging, drawing by Georg Tauber

.Although I lived within the Camp for almost ten years, (1946-1956) roaming around at my pleasure, I never saw the Hanging Poles as he described, unless they had been removed what was then a restricted area that became the US Army Stockade after the War Crimes Tribunal Trials were completed. (sic)

In the Punishment Block you had a number of prisoners which had the "Fluchtpunkt"(EscapeDot) a very visible red-white Target Marker sewn onto their chest, on their backs and on the trouser leg. This way those inmates that were accused or suspected of attempted escapes were clearly visible. For others it was sufficient that a prisoner overheard the signal for assembly and arrived too late, overlooked the weekly haircut or that he was caught contrary to standing orders only with his shirt on, or seen only in his underpants or worse still that he had used an outer garment while sleeping. These violations resulted in a minimum of 25 double lashings, 42 days in a darken cell of the Bunker, withholding of nourishments and subsequent transfer to the Punishment Block where Escape-Dot inmates were subjected to regular torture and chicaneries. Finally he could be sent onto a work detail were death was inevitable.

The baths were the last station of the admission procedure. This is where newly arrived prisoners had their heads shaved, were disinfected, showered and then sent to the barracks dressed in their prisoner clothing. Those already imprisoned came here once a week at the beginning - later less frequently - to "bathe," a procedure that according to the recollection of many survivors often involved harassment. At the same time though, many also tell of the relief at being able to finally wash themselves with a piece of soap or to feel briefly the luxury of warm water after the frequently long transports or weeks of imprisonment.

Edgar Kupfer-Koberwitz gives the following graphic account of the prisoner baths: “We were showered off under single sprinklers attached to the wall. Our new clothes lay in bundles on a bench underneath the clothes stand. I was last. One last bundle remained, a shirt that just came over my bellybutton, a thin pair of underpants, socks whose heel only reached the middle of the sole, and the striped uniform! The pants ended a handbreadth above the ankle, and the smock only just barely buttoned up at the bottom. But it could not be buttoned across the chest, the sleeves were far too short, and were completely stretched at the elbows. I’d copped two different shoes, one fitted, the other was a torture chamber. The climax was the perfectly circular, striped, peakless cap; I could only wear it like a crown, it sat so high up, and spitefully it refused all attempts to forcefully stretch it. I realized that the word rags is usually used for this getup.”

                                             Heutige Ansicht
                                       Picture of the former prisoner bath, 2008.

                                             Historisches Bild
                              Prisoner bath, unknown photographer after the liberation april/may 1945.
Actual attempts to escape before WWII and the first years of the war were very rare, only since 1943 as more prisoners stayed in satellite camps (Außenlager) in Bavaria and Austria where the restrictions as in Dachau could not be enforced, escape attempts did occur and some actually succeeded.[inmates on outside work details would smuggle electrical wires into the camp by replacing their shoe laces to short circuit the electric fence sic]
During autumn of 1944 the Administration installed the so called (Stehbunker) Standing Bunkers to save space and at the same time intensify the method of torture, thus  inmates were kept for a shorter period to return them to their work details as soon as possible. These constructions looked like a small chimney and measured about 75x80 cm with four of them in some of the cells. At the top they had an opening for air and at the bottom a small 50 cm wide opening which was shut and locked from the outside.
The implementation of Punishments took a long and often difficult procedure, it had to take the preliminary hearings, as well as the clinical examination taken into account and every step had be verified, signed and approved by its own Department Head. After the arrival of foreign prisoners from German occupied countries, the use of the Bunker as a means for punishments and incarceration was no longer an option, the original requirements of 136 cells was no longer sufficient of events to come.

                         photo of

The photograph above, which I took inside the old Dachau Museum in May 2001, shows a scene at Buchenwald that was created in 1958 for an East German DEFA film. (Source: H. Obenaus, “Das Foto vom Baumhängen: Ein Bild geht um die Welt,” in Stiftung Topographie des Terrors Berlin (ed.), Gedenkstätten-Rundbrief no. 68, Berlin, October 1995, pp. 3-8) This fake photo was not included in the new Dachau Museum which opened in 2003, but all the tour guides at Dachau still dwell at length upon the hanging punishment. (This is no longer the case (sic)  I have not been to Dachau since 2008; perhaps the fake photo has been brought back.
Refer to: Srapbook Pages Blog darted:J uly 19 2015


Of the most depressing experiences in the concentration camp was, that the Nazis exercised their rule by means of using Inmates to implement their overall orders. They tried to break the cohesion and solidarity of the prisoners by racial and national differentiation. In the camp hierarchy a Czech prisoner, and later on the Polish,French, Russian or Italian was of a lower "class" than a German, not to mention the Jews who were on the lowest rung. In Dachau, the Selbstverwaltung (Self-Administration) was in the hands of German political prisoners who were mostly recruited out of the ranks of Communists.[These were almost ex-members of the Thälmann Brigade who had fought in Spain sic]

                      Corpse of a murdered inmate at Dachau concentration camp after liberation by units of the US 45th Thunderbird Division, 29th April 1945 (photo):
Corpse of a murdered inmate at Dachau concentration camp after liberation by units of the US 45th Thunderbird Division, 29th April 1945 (photo) [It is most likely that he was a functionary who had terrorised his comrades.A typical example is the killing of the Kapo by inmates that showed Eisenhower the 'facilities at Ohrdruf conentration campafter he had left, sic.]

In this respect, conditions in Dachau were more bearable than in other camps where the "greens" the criminal prisoners ruled. The Communists established in Dachau their own idea of ​​an iron military discipline that should defy the Nazis, and  forced a regime themselves to establish their idea of a "Model Camp" much to the consternation of the SS leadership. They founded the Exerzierkommando (Exercise Commando) Gröner, which Eicke finally prohibited, because he saw an attempt at Dachau to form a Red Army within its confines. Also associated with their orders(i.e.SS) of the cleanliness mania a certain amount of harassment took place, from inmate to inmate, which was the work of zealous official prisoners.

                                                                                                                          CHANGE OF PACE

The first major transportation of Czech prisoners was conducted on 16 June1939, from Mauthausen to Dachau. This transport comprised of 105 representatives from public life out of the area of Kladno were they had been arrested in retaliation for the shooting of a German policeman. All the Czechoslovakian prisoners were strictly isolated from other inmates and most of them assigned to the punishment block. On the night of 9 to 10 September 1939 a transport of 630 Czechs the so-called Protectorate-Prisoners arrived at Dachau. This group was composed of representatives of political, public and cultural life that had been taken on 1 September 1939 as hostages into custody. During the evacuation of the camp they were sent to Buchenwald. The vast majority of Czechs who were brought to Dachau until the war ended, had been arrested for or of suspected resistance activity.[During my own military activity in Czechoslovakia we pasted written warnings onto window panes with the warning we will take and execute hostages on the ratio 1:3 if any of us is shot sic]
About 17 Poles arrived on the 16 September 1939, they were the first, an additional 54 followed on 23 September. These were mainly Functionaries that had belonged to cultural and other organizations of the minorities living in Germany. The Administration classified them as "Heckenschützen" (Snipers)[which seems rather far fetched sic] and locked them into the Bunker where they received rather harsh and brutal treatment. The majority of deportees came mainly from the new "germanized" Reichsgauen, between March 1940 and years ending 1940 a total of 13377 Poles arrived at Dachau.
Up to the year 1938 the number of Jewish inmates in Dachau hardly exceeded a two figure number. However, since the annexation of Austria, when at the end of May and within the frame work of the "Aso-Aktion" in 1938 the transportation of Jews commenced, this figure increased dramatically. Between September 23rd and 24th a total of 2282 Jewish prisoners were shipped to Buchenwald from Dachau.
After the pogroms started at the 9th and 10th of November 1938 more than 10,000 Jewish prisoners arrived at Dachau and the next day their number increased to 11911 of which 3700 were from Austria. The total number of Jewish  prisoners in Dachau reached on the 1st  December 14232. The recording procedures, combined with the usual humiliations, stretched over several days. The supplies to feed them had stalled, and the starving  prisoners had to endure during the day the arbitrariness of the SS men on the Appellplartz and go through the usual humiliation standing at attention and often received a taste of punishments until it was their turn to be registered. At night they were housed in sparsely furnished barracks. As a way out of this hell, the Nazis gave the Jewish inmates the choice in waiving their rights to property and other assets they had in exchange for a passport and permit to leave the country and emigrate. This was already part of the so called "Arsierung" of a planned emigration method. End of November 1938 began the gradual release of those that were able to leave.
From a total of 14232 prisoners the number dropped during December 1938 to 8989, in January 1939 to 7273, in February 5871, in March 4326, and from April it leveled off from between 3300 to 3900. In the thirties, clergymen were only occasionally detained for a short time. Austrian priests were transported in greater numbers to Dachau. When the first "Pfaffen" (priests) arrived they were exposed to a considerable amount of viciousness and cruelty from the SS. By the end of 1938 their number increased to fourteen.  During the year 1939 saw an  additional  eight Austrian priest. From the end of 1940 all priests were consolidated from other  concentration camps and sent to Dachau. By the end of the Nazi rule a total of 2720  priests were deported to Dachau from 20 nations. The majority,1870 were Poles. The second largest group with 447 persons were the Germans, followed by French (156) and Czechs (109). At the beginning of 1941 in block 26, a chapel was set up. The altar consisted of a small table covered with a bed sheet, two wooden candle holders, a tiny cup, a wooden monstrance and a cross. The windows of the chapel were painted, so no one could see into the barrack and surrounded by a wire fence. The entrance of the chapel was only allowed to the clergy. The first Mass was held on 20th of January 1941. Over time the prisoners improved and  completed the provisional establishment of the chapel. They adorned with a carved wooden cross and pictures of the Station of the Cross. From pieces of tin cans they made a monstrance. In March 1941, the SS used priests to dig at the extended Herb Garden, project Friedland II. At the end of March, they were removed from these work details and assigned for the distribution of meals covering the entire camp. Since the 11 April 1941 priests got a bigger bread ration, better food and in general conditions improved for them.
Larger convoys arrived since 1943, when the Nazis began to deport the working age population from the areas behind the advancing front as laborers into concentration camps.Soon the Soviet prisoners were the second largest nationality group. They were the poorest of victims singled out for SS terror, and were designated as part of the camp pariahs. Among them were the highest proportion of successful and not successful escape attempts, and most of those executed for sabotage came from their ranks. In October 1941 the barracks 17-29 were prepared for the reception of Soviet POW's and surrounded by a tall wire fence, at the entrance gate a sign went up with the inscription Kriegsgefangenlager  "Prisoner Of War Camp". The inside of the barracks were stripped of nearly everything  and 250 beds installed in each room without mattresses or blankets.Although accommodation for at least 7000 prisoners of war was made, provided each would have its own bed, the entire actions failed in as much that only a few hundred arrived due to their catastrophic physical condition.
The first mass executions of Soviet prisoners of war commenced on the 27th August 1941. Due to the difficulty to keep the killings secret, they were moved to the nearby shooting range at Hebertshausen.  It first took place there on the 4th September 1941, followed by two to three times a week of  further executions.The bodies were cremated in both Dachau and Munich crematoriums and the ashes deposited in a collective grave. After a transitional period the SS-men had the executed men burned in the Dachau crematorium only, a Jewish work team was used there whose members were always killed after a certain time. The members of this work team was housed in the bunker and did not come into contact with other inmates.[Normally the Wehrmacht did not send Prisoners of War to a concentration camp unless these Russians were Political Commissars, which according to a Führer-Befehl would be executed sic]
About three-quarters of the executed Soviet POWs were from prison camps of the Military District XII (62 officers' camp in Hammelburg, Gestapo Office Regensburg)
and transported to Dachau. The executions took place until about mid June 1942. One has to estimate that the total of victims that perished this way amounted to 4500.
In mid-February 1944, 31 Soviet Air Force officers were transported to Dachau, who had risked a common attempt to escape from another prison camp.On the 22nd of February they were killed inside the crematorium building by a Genickschuss (shot through the neck). These execution took place only days before the order of "Kugelentlass"(Bullet- Regulation) of March 1944 was released, which stated that all Officers and non-working NCO caught during an escape attempt, with the exception of British and American prisoners of war shall be the responsibility of the head of the Security Police and SD for execution in the Mauthausen concentration camp.


Gypsies were used in part together with the Jewish inmates to work on cultivating the plantation. In the second clearing of the camp in late September 1939, a part of them went to Buchenwald, another lot was sent to Mauthausen where they remained. Much of the Sinti and Roma arrived1944 from KZ- Natzweiler which was evacuated and brought to Dachau. 200 of them took up work in the Satellite Camp outside Munich-Riem. On 14 November 1944, a large transport with 156 Gypsies from Budapest arrived, and on November 30th a total of 242 Sinti and Roma are registered as "Abgänge"(Departures) from Dachau, where to is not mentioned.. Prisoners from other countries that were occupied by Germany  in 1940 and 1941, were initially arriving singly only or deported in small groups to Dachau. Mass deportations took place from the year 1942. The first French prisoners were from Alsace-Lorraine. From 1941 the French made up only a small number who had committed minor crimes like work sabotage. At the end of September 1943 there were approximately 150 French citizens in the camp. Mass deportations did not commence until the summer of 1944, on or about 21st June  of 1944, a transport from Compiegne with 2140 people arrived and other larger transports followed,  the French prisoners subsequently became one of the largest groups in Dachau.  French-speaking inmates in particular, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germans from Alsace and Lorraine were trying to help them to settle in. Within a short period a total of 14076 French prisoners came in, some were subsequently deported to Auschwitz. Shortly before the liberation on 26th April 1945 a total of 5387 French inmates were registered at Dachau of which a large part stayed mainly in satellite  camps located at Munich-Allach. In the declining days of the Reich a number of evacuation trains arrived between the 18th and 29th April 1945 that came to Dachau with 2909 French prisoners which were apparently not all listed in the inmate inventory as at 26th April 1945.
The first 17 Belgians came to Dachau in 1940, four more in the course of the following year. It was not until the summer of 1942 that transports were made in larger numbers, All together a total of 1756 Belgians went through the camp. They consisted of various ethnic groups and formed a cohesive unit and maintained good relations as well as contact with other inmates. A total of 945 Belgians internees was processed through the system before the end of the war.  A number came sporadically from the Netherlands in the first years of the war until the end of 1941 Dachau held only 26  there. Most were taken into custody in connection with the landings of the Allies in Normandy. When the typhus epidemic in early 1945 broke out  they were the first to come forward and registered as blood donors. Before liberation there were 836 of them in Dachau. On March 25, 1942 about 17 Luxemburg  policemen arrived at Dachau, young men who had served for their country before the German occupation in the "Freiwilligenkompanie" (Volunteer Company). They were arrested because they refused to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler. To the very last days there were 211 prisoners from Luxemburg in Dachau.
 As a result of the rise of the partisan movement in Yugoslavia a proportion of them came to Dachau in 1942. In January 1943 they numbered over 800, this figure did rise to about 3000 later on. A total of 7583 Yugoslav's had been interned they were held and categorized as Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Block 24 which held most of them was called by other inmates as the "Partisanenblock". Among the Yugoslav's were also some children that had been helpers to the partisans and thus taken into custody. Schooling in some cases was provided by their own teachers.
 Mid September 1943 the first transport of 1857 Italian prisoners arrived and were housed into a Block that normally held 200 people. The SS-Administration treated them very similar as the Russian inmates as far as cruelty was concerned.[General Badoglio had sided with the Allies sic] On September 24th 1943 a group of Greeks in British uniforms arrived. Apart from these only those that had been forced as slave laborers stayed in the camp. Prior to the liberation there were 334 Greeks in Dachau. On the 11th of December 1943 about 80 Albanians arrived, a total of 200 people of Albanian nationality had been processed, by April 26th 1945 there were 44 only of them present. Bulgarians were very few inside the camp and came out of the number of the so called "Fremdarbeiter" (Foreign Workers within Germany) that would have been detained for various misdemeanors. During the night of December 15th 1944 51 Bulgarian students that attended the High School in Bratislava were taken into custody and deported  to Dachau, where five of them perished.[Bratislava is located in Czechoslovakia unless they studied there, the researcher got this wrong sic]. In addition to these there were 21198 Hungarians including 17604 Jews incarcerated at KZ Dachau.


The year 1941/42 brought an ominous development for Germany of the war. The regime was faced with the task of changing the entire economy, which had previously focused on a blitzkrieg production to an outdrawn process . The problems within the armament industry was expected to be solved through the use of concentration camp inmates. However, due to the high mortality rate in the concentration camps and the catastrophically ill-health of the emaciated prisoners was not the solution the Rüstungsindustrie (War Effort) wanted.Commander Alexander Piorkowski, who led after Loritz from February 1940, who did not interfere significantly in the running of the camp in the day to day activities to improve living conditions. The tone was set by the brutal and primitive camp commander Franz Josef Hoffmann and JosefJarolin as well as the orderly officer Seuss. At the head of the prison staff were the hated  camp elders Karl Kapp and Martin Schaferski. From the infirmary in early 1942, the infamous capo Joseph Heiden had been transferred to the Waffen-SS but staff appointed by him remained in charge. Under these conditions arrangements for the improvement for the prisoners, which should have contributed to an increase of its work output were either ignored or done very superficially.
On 1 September 1942 Piorkowski was replaced by Martin Weiß who since 1940 held the position of the camp commander at Neuengamme. Weiß who had known Dachau since its early days, he had first worked there as a security guard and later as Technical Director. From March 1938 to 1940, he had worked as aide to the commanders Loritz and Piorkowski. Now it was under his leadership that he introduced radical changes. Weiß forbade the public beatings, the cruel harassments, the punishments on the posts. The penal company was dissolved. He stopped  the mid-day assembly and reduced the duration of the morning and evening roll calls. Furthermore, he removed the Camp Leader Hoffmann, Rapport Leader Seuss and Camp Elders Kapp and Schaferski from their posts. Shortly after his arrival in Dachau  food parcels were again  permitted for shipments to the prisoners.
[Although Weiß was tried and executed 29.5.1946 sic]All this was for the prisoners an unexpected and surprising change. They believed that the new conditions was the work of Weiß. But Weiß was only following orders which were based on purely economic achievements. Weiß finished his work at Dachau on 31 October 1943, in order to take up on the 4th  November the position as commander of the camp Lublin-Majdanek. As the new camp commander followed Eduard Weiter. The lives of the working prisoners at Dachau had changed under the regime of Weiß. The most important turn for the better were the food shipments whose weight and number were no longer restricted. Some prisoners especially foreign ones  were now very well catered for.Thanks to the solidarity existing between the inmates this  improved the situation for those who received no parcels at all. The Polish Clergy who received food parcels to their requirements founded a kind of charity. They instituted collections, and distributed on the basis of need for food to their fellow countrymen who did not receive any. [they apparently ignored hundreds of inmates that starved to death sic]This also had an impact on Soviet prisoners who had no contact with the homeland, many of them had friends among the prisoners of other nationalities, who helped them along.  Among the prisoners a new ranking system emerged, the barter trade flourished, and who had food could now purchase anything possible, including a "good" work assignment. As a result of the prohibition of harassment and beatings, however, which were never entirely eliminated, there was a marked change for the better between inmate-functionaries and the lower rank of inmates not least helped by the food parcels The capos and members of the camp personnel were predominantly German workers, their families were usually suffering themselves and had very little to spare or nothing at all to send them. They were now dependent on those who formerly belonged to the pariahs of the camp who they had in parts previously mistreated.
Oswald Pohl, Head of the SS Economic Administration in May 1943 issued a regulation on rewards for extraordinary work results for working prisoners. This was done in form of "Premium Tickets" in the value of one to four Reichsmark, you could not purchase food or any type of clothing, but they could be redeemed in a brothel. The brothel in Dachau existed only as of May 11, 1944  and was, however not an incentive to the increase in work performance of inmates.The political establishment of the camp ignored this establishment. At the turn of 1944/45 the brothel was closed.


The infirmary lacked the most basic and necessary equipment, there was a great shortage of bandages and medicines. Medical attention, with the exception of isolated cases that seemed interesting to SS doctors, did not take place. All work performed was done by orderlies who did not have any training. The sick that soiled their beds were removed. In some blocks beds for this purpose had been set up in the bath houses fitted with shackles. If the victim survived a night even after repeated dousing with cold water, he was killed by an lethal injection next day. The physical remains of prisoners in the mortuary were used as"material"  for hand craft production by inmates. Skeletons were sent to numerous institutes and schools. Scull specimens would be prepared for pathological studies. Also corpses may have been used to make utensils and souvenirs. [I find this statement of the researcher incomprehensible although a source is indicated, the German text reads:"Außerdem wurden möglicherweise aus den Leichen Souvenirs und Gebrauchsgegenstände hergestellt (41)" the author Stanislav Zamecnik is Polish and could be biased.sic]
At the beginning of 1941 (Krätze) a scabies epidemic spread through Dachau, within two months 4000-5000 people had been infected. Most patients however died from pneumonia due to the lack of sub standard accommodation within the isolation wards. The most common diseases in Dachau were cellulitis, hunger edema, diarrhea and tuberculosis. In the TB department in March 1941 an experimental station was established by the German Medical Association, which was led by SS Captain Dr. Rudolf Brachtel. The patients received additional rations of white bread, butter and milk. These allowances were retained for some of the patients even after the dissolution of the trial operation (Versuchsstaion). In addition the infirmary kept the Pneumathorax Apparatus, thus the treatment of TB patients as well as condition in this respect were more favorable at Dachau than in other concentration camps.
On Himmler's request (wish) in  the spring of 1941, all concentration camps had to be included within the" euthanasia program". In Dachau, the first major selection which was part of the "14f13" Aktion (action)  took place on 3rd September 1941. Those that took part in these experiments were the two top experts, Professor Werner Hyde and Professor Hermann Paul Nitsche, who had brought his wife and daughter, also Dr. Gerhard Wischer, Dr.Theodore Steinmeyer, Dr. Rudolf Lonauer and Dr.Victor Ratka from the Psychiatric Hospital at Tiegenhof near Gnesen in the Warthegau. The preselection of "incapacitated" prisoners were broadly held in the infirmary. The selection of inmates  from work blocks took place on the parade ground (Appellplatz). The naked prisoners had to run in front of the Camp Doctors and the assembled members of the Commission. The physical handling of those that had been chosen was done by section capo Heiden who presented them for viewing. This was conducted in the presence of one SS-Camp Doctor and a Depute of the commandant who had to provide pertinent details of each prisoner. Every "Appraiser" singled out and selected about 100 detainees daily. [Göring had a handicapped sister, it is alleged he went and told Hitler to have the euthanasia program stopped sic]


In the year 1941 Germany started to work intensely on the development and construction of fighter jets. Medical knowledge  (Flugmedezin) remained behind the development of
technology because there was no human trials to verify the difficulties whether and under what conditions a person capable of working at great heights and what rescue options for a pressure drop when jumping with a parachute a pilot might have at  high altitude. All these issues were discussed at a Study Seminar (Schulungskurs) in Munich, which was attended by the Air Force Military Physician Dr. Sigmund Rascher. He asked Himmler to provide appropriate testing inmates. The camp provided the medical establishment, the prison staff and the human "test material". The Air Force transferred as a scientific collaborator Dr. Wolfgang Romberg and provided a mobile compression chamber for him. The experiments ran from February to May 1942 and according to Romberg, the experiments were carried out on 10 to 15 inmates. Every trial had been documented in writing and filmed. In the absence of Romberg, Rascher conveniently used the compression chamber for his own, far more radical "scientific" purposes Forschungsprogramme). Of the results of these tests he informed only Himmler. From detailed reports it is clear a number of inmates would have to die stating that this was planned in order to perform autopsy examinations. Himmler was extremely interested in this information. He ordered Rascher to proceed with the tests and also determine whether the subjects were able to be revived after high altitude conditions. In the course of three months apparently 70-80 inmates died in the compression chamber.
 Rashers initiative showed  Himmler a way to increase his prestige by taking advantage of the concentration camps facilities for military medical research. With his order dated 7th July 1942, Himmler therefore established the Institute for Armed Forces Research Science Purposes.(wehrwissentschaftliche). This department was subordinate to Himmlers research facility "Ancestral Heritage Association"(Ahnenerbe e.V.) which he had founded in 1937 and almost exclusively used for medical research in Concentration Camps. Raschers facility at Dachau with the topic of hypothermia experiments were parts of the institute. Later still, the Entomological Institute and the Department of malaria research of Dr. Kurt Plotner was added. Alas another department was incorporated into conglomerate, the Anatomical Institute of Professor August Hirt from Sraßburg. For his experiments with war fare poison gas he received from Dachau at least once "material" for his laboratory tests.
As with the altitude tests, the focus of Rascher's hypothermia experiments was the observation of the dying process and the subsequent autopsy. With onset of winter he began a series of the so-called dry hypothermia trials. The prisoners were tied naked on stretchers, lying outside overnight in the cold. Since the winter of 1942/43 was not severe, Rasher had the victims covered with a bed sheet and every hour cold water poured over them. In a  letter dated February 17th, he reported to Himmler that he had performed the experiments on 30 inmates. The under cooling experiments were completed in May 1943. There were 300-400 trials conducted in which 80-90 people lost their lives.
 In the summer of 1942 the so-called biochemical quality tests commenced. They were based on a notion of Himmlers, who was hoping for an equivalent drug to penicillin. Biochemical acting tablets were used already against cellulites and sepsis, to conduct the trials they which artificially induced to victims by injections of pus.Six Jewish prisoners died in these experiments. Beginning of November 1942 another 29 prisoners died in agony in experiments with sulfonamides.
 After its rapid and hypothermia experiments, the researchers were confronted with the problem of airmen and sailors surviving in sea water: the supply of drinking water. It was decided therefore to examine the invention of an engineer of the Air Force, the Viennese Berka. His agent called Berkatit desalinated sea water, but it only just tested better. On June 7th 1944 Professor Oskar Schroeder Chief of the Medical Department of the Air Force, asked Himmler to provide him with 40 healthy subjects for a period of four weeks, and recommended that the experiments be conducted in the Dachau concentration camp, since the necessary laboratories were available there. Thus 40 young healthy male Sinti and Roma youths were selected from Buchenwald. In Dachau, Wilhelm Beiglböck a lecturer led the experiments. Before starting his military service he worked  as senior physician at the University Hospital of Vienna.There he led a team of three Air Force doctors, three medical officers, chemists, and the in-house nurse.[it is not clear if they assisted him during these experiments sic].  During the tests themselves there were no deaths, but that does not mean that there were no post trial complications resulting in the loss of lives.


The traceless removal of the dead was also a problem in Dachau. In 1933 twenty two people were killed. In 1934 the year of the "Roehm Putsch" it had risen to 34 dead, 13 in 1935 and a year later eleven people. In 1937 the number of deaths amounted to 38 The increased mortality in Dachau with the arrival of Jewish transports from Austria in 1938 inresed then rapidly. They did, however, does not compare with the high mortality rate during the war years
In the summer of 1937 the Department of the Reichsführer SS in conjunctions with Camp Commandant Loritz negotiated with the Firm Müller of Munich-Allach for the delivery of  an oven for the cremation of bodies. The outcome of these discussions were not recorded and not known. Up to this time the garage type looking building was used as a Funeral Parlor for the dead.It was equipped with a catafalque, a Christian Cross as well as candle stick holders. The deceased were kept in coffins with the lid nailed down[this not a German practice sic] and after a short service if appropriate taken to Munich for cremation. Mid 1940 the first oven was erected and used . As all deaths had to be reported to the Public Registrar (Standesamt now the Amtsgericht für Tote in Dachau) and to keep the very high mortality rate within the Camp secret from the public the SS established their own Office where Death Certificate were issued.[ I do not know if the Totenbuch was ever shown as  evidence during any War Crimes Tribunals sic]During 1941 this oven did not have the capacity to handle over 2500 dead bodies in addition to the more than thousand Russian POW's that had been shot.[ If you inspect the oven now you will notice that the sidewalls have buckled under the intense heat and are almost convex sic].The building of a new Crematorium commenced early in 1942 and was commissioned spring 1943, its design and efficiency of the so called Baracke X was mainly based due to the high influx of Russian prisoners which was a factor in its final completion. The Gas-chamber, like in all other Concentration Camps was built to use Zyklon B pellets, next to the crematorium was the place of execution where victims were shot through the back of the neck(Genickschuss). Execution by hanging or shooting was the most used method towards the end of the war to eliminate prisoners, while the Gas-chamber if ever used, never for mass homicides. There are reports from survivors that talk of "Trial Gassing".[I did comment on this subject before sic]


The first sub-camp of the Dachau concentration camp was built before the war at Gröbenried. Between 1940 and 1941 fourteen additional satellite camps were added, where prisoners were doing mainly construction and craft work for the SS. In addition, there were numerous clearing and demolition squads as work details. The largest of these with 180 men was located in May 1940 and worked for the SS Junker School in Bad Tölz. The Administration in Dachau, created in 1942,  twenty-three new and compact sub camps throughout the region. The prisoners worked in construction and agriculture, and performed manual labor and support services for various SS-departments as well. In 1943 two large complexes were erected at Munich-Allach (BMW) and Augsburg Haunstetten which held several thousand prisoners in the aerospace industry as forced labor.
In 1944, under the under the auspices of the Jet Fighter Program(Jägerprogamm) the shift of important weapons facilities went underground. For this purpose four satellite camps in the area of Mühldorf and eleven in the immediate vicinity of Kaufering, were erected. The prisoners were to build six large bunkers, in which fighter planes would be assembled. From the summer of 1944 a total of approximately 30,000 Jewish prisoners from different European countries were deported there. Almost half of them lost their lives. In the final phase of the war, living conditions deteriorated not only in the main camp, but also in the satellite camps with catastrophic results.

The rather high number of sub-camps administered from Stammlager Dachau should be taken with a grain of salt. In fact a single inmate working on a farm, or in another capacity, was counted as a satellite camp and there were numerous of them.
An interesting is sub-camp is:
The ‘sub-camp’ Obersdorf part of the community of Bad Hindelang in the Allgäu existed from the 20th March 1945 to April 1945 and consisted of one prisoner only, who was allocated and worked for the wife of Rudolf Hess (Heß), Ilse Hess, who lived in a house in Bad Obersdorf after the flight of her husband to England and his subsequent detention there, ran a small farm on the outskirts of the village. She probably requested help through the Labor Exchange (Arbeitsamt) In March 1945, and was sent the Dachau concentration camp prisoner Friedrich (Fred) Georg Frey. Frey, born in 1902 in Röt near Baiersbronn, was a Jehovah Witness and imprisoned because of his faith since 1937. After his original police custody he was detained from September 1937 to September 1939 in Dachau, and then transferred on February 18th 1940 to Mauthausen. Subsequently, he was registered until 1945 until liberati The tasks Frey had to perform among other things like gardening and the care and milking of ewes (sheep) and the Iceland ponies. With these he did an Express-Delivery on behalf of Bad Hindelang into the Hintersteiner valley for Frau Hess, who had been approached by the local authorities to perform this service.
According to his (Freys) own statement she had defied the order that Frey should not be allowed to be added to the family. Instead Frey had slept in the house, attended the general evening meals and dinners and not wearing prison clothes. [One can only guess that he was expected to live in the stable with the animals, which Frau Hess would not have,sic]
Frey, who testified about his stay in Dachau, that he was mistreated harshly and had suffered permanent health damage, he did not report about his treatment in the house of Frau Hess.
The so-called ‘forced labor’ by Frey in the household of Use Hess ended 20 April 1945. Frey self-reported after the Second World War, he had gone home from from Bad Hindelang in May 1945 on his own.
The legal investigation about the ‘sub-camp’ at Bad Oberdorf ceased in 1973, while the fate of Friedrich Frey is not known. Use Hess later went to Bremen, where she died 1995.


Solidarity and resistance was primarily  based on the affiliation of the same nationality. For instance, if a new transport arrived at Dachau prisoners the first contact you were trying to make was with your own Landsleute(countryman). The German or German-speaking Communists formed the most influential Solidargemeinschaft. The cohesion of German Communists as teams remained so right through the war years, but increasingly formed groups within higher and an influential members of the camp personnel. A substantial strengthening of the bond was the arrival of the Communist International Brigades (Spanish Civil War) in 1941. The German Communists established contacts with other higher foreign Party Functionaries. With the approaching end of the war the SS grew nervous because of the strong concentration of German Communists in Dachau, and in this context  the increased fear of a planned revolt. In early May1944 they  tortured six of the best-known Communists in the bunker in order to extract information which failed and nothing was obtained. However forty prisoners were suspect and were spread out to other concentration camps as a preventive measure. The largest concentration of solidarity and resistance was centered in the infirmities which encompassed a number of nationalities not only in Dachau but in other camps as well.


Foreign officials as well as thirty six "Sippenäftlinge(Detained Blood Relations)where in the camp who had been arrested after the assassination attempt on Hitler on the 20th July 1944, under them relatives of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and Carl Goerdeler. On the 8th April 1945 special prisoner Georg Elser, who committed in November 1939 an assassination attempt on Hitler had been killed. Ten days later the French general Charles Deletraint was shot. During  the night on the 27th April the remaining prisoners were sent to the Special Innsbruck transit camp of the Gestapo, on May 4th  they were liberated there by the U.S. Army. On April 23rd all 2,000 Jewish prisoners werelined up during a roll call and then  herded  into Railway Wagons after a three-day waiting period also to bring into the Innsbruck camp as well. The train took the direction towards Munich,Wolfratshausen and Penzburg after Staltach where the survivors were liberated on April 30th by the Americans
On April 26th after the morning roll call only a few smaller detachments left the camp. After 9 clock the camp administration gave orders that all who are able to march to be ready by 12 noon assembled on the Appelplatz with the exception of the infirmary inmates. Around the evening the administration decided that only Germans, Russians and Jews should remain on the parade ground. A total of 6887prisoners were placed in three columns to march south. Behind the gate they were joined by heavily armed SS men with dogs. Among them were also armed German prisoners from Kaufering in SS uniform. A total of 8646 prisoners were evacuated on April 26 from Dachau. The column stretched out  for several kilometers. After about 30 kilometers the prisoners arrived on the morning of the 27th of April in a forest near Starnberg where they rested. There they were joined by other columns from various satellite camps. During the night the march was resumed. However, those that were weakened  were left behind at this point  and a large number of them lined the route  further on. After the columns the murder squad moved in, consisting of SS-men and dogs.
The population of the communities which led through them reacted with shock, fright and anxiety. Women in particular were affected by the plight of the prisoners and tried in vain to hand out food or water, yet SS-men would threaten them and pushed them away. On May 1st this wretched lot arrived at Bad Tölz and entered  the forest near Waalkirchen which is on the western border of present day district of Miesbach. On the morning of May 2nd the prisoners noticed that the SS-men had gone overnight only about thirty older German guards and some Latvian where on post.They were only hours away from the advancing American troops.[I did see about 600 women prisoners April 1945  near the Czechoslovakian border marching in a westerly direction which was a misery of humanity with their dead lying on the road side sic]


Order and authority did lay  with the US Army  in conjunction with the established International Camp Committee which was quickly put into force. It had elected Patrick O'Leary as President and the well known camp elder Oskar Müller and scribe Jan Domagala. To maintain the issues of medical care Dr. Frantisek Blaha, the nutritional needs that of Jan Marcikowski and disciplinary issues with Oskar Juranic. After and during the liberation of Dachau another 3,000 people had died. The Americans let typhus infected patients out of the isolation wards thus the epidemic spread sic. Among the 200,000 prisoners who were deported in the years 1933 to 1945 into the Dachau concentration camp and its satellite camps, there were nearly 6,000 women for the most part in the sub camps that worked in armament factories. According  to the report of the Tracing Service in Arolsen, and  the International Red Cross dated June 20th 2002 a total of 32099 had been certified as having perished  in Dachau. Through documents or the determination of the number of human remains in mass graves an additional 9467 dead have been found so that a total of 41566  people were killed there. Included in this number are at least 4,000 Soviet POWs that were shot during 1941/42 and 4851 prisoners that were no longer capable of working who had been murdered in Auschwitz or Schloss Hartheim. Not included in this number are the victims which the Gestapo treated as "Sonderbehandlung" (Special Treatment) delivered into the camp and executed.


In July 1945  the former prison camp and the area used by the SS was converted by the  American military administration into an interment camp. Initially about 25,000 German alleged supporters of the regime were detained and housed in different parts of the the camp. These fell into the following groups:
SS members and functionaries of the NSDAP and its organizations were automatically arrested and initially formed the largest group. In early 1946  the first releases of these   prisoners took place.

View: You Tube:

Members of the Wehrmacht who were held in a separate compound as prisoners of war within the SS facilities and some releases took place during 1946/47.  From   these two groups a number of individuals were held back who had participated in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The American War Crimes Tribunal Dachau imposed 426 death sentences (but not all were executed) and 256 acquittals. Due to changes as early as 1950 in the wake of the East-West conflict  the policies was reviewed and some sentences were reduced or waived.

SS Obersturmbannführer Martin Gottfried Weiss preparing to be hanged at Landsberg prison after being convicted of war crimes by the Allies. He was the 7th Commandant of Dachau.

The U.S. general commanding the Units during the liberation was mistaken in his view that the town of Dachau with its inhabitants have a heavy responsibility to bear for all the horrors he had seen and prepared to raze the whole town with its 25 000 inhabitants to the ground. At that time the Priest Friedrich Pfanzelt went to the U.S. General. Friedrich Pfanzelt fell down before him on his knees and prayed with folded hands for mercy of his people with tears in his eyes. The general was shouting at him and cursed the regime. If he had not been a Priest he would have been perhaps shot or thrown out with kicks. So he knelt down in tears for two full hours in desperation intent that Dachau should not be razed to the ground. Finally the face of General broke and became friendly and spoke the words: "Good, then we look for the culprits, the city itself should be spared."
[The above was written by one of his acolyte's Paul Brandt and is published in an Auto Biography page 32 of the Priest Pfanzelt who did not speak English although he had an interpreter with him. He himself has never spoken publicly of the meeting with the US General who's name is not mentioned in the book for verification sic].



The response of the German people after fifteen years of frustration and resentment against the consequences of a lost war 1918, was almost unanimous. Some 96 percent of registered voters cast their ballots and 95 percent of these approved Germany's withdrawal from the vindictive Versailles Treaty and Geneva. [Adenauer and the Bundesrepublic in 1948 had to accept and pay the balance of the original $55 billion in Gold including adjustments plus interest in retrospect for the Treaty and was fulfilled Mid 2011 sic].The vote for a single Nazi list for the Reichstag which included half a dozen non-Nazis was 92 percent. Even at the Dachau concentration camp 2154 out of 2242 inmates voted for the government which had incarcerated them! It is true that in many communities threats were made against those who failed to vote or who voted the wrong way, and in some cases there was fear that anyone who cast his vote against the regime might be detected and punished. Yet  even with these reservations the election, whose count was at least honest, was a staggering victory for Adolf Hitler. There was no doubt that  in defying the outside world as he had done, he had the overwhelming support of the German people and the stage was set for WWII.

--Additional post 10 October 2012---


All the watchtowers of the camp had hoisted white flags. The Americans still shot onto tower B, and the Germans returned the fire. After a short exchange of fire, the Americans stormed the tower and threw down the corpses of 10 SS guards. At the tower B, the bodies lay for days afterwards, some in the moat surrounding the camp. Most of them barefoot as the inmates had taken not only their boots, (Stiefel) but the socks as well.
A brief skirmish inside the camp killed some 20 SS-men. These thirty dead are the only ones who can be described as having fallen during the fighting, Buechner writes (p. 97).
Almost simultaneously with the 45th Infantry Division also part of the 42nd U.S. Inf. Division ("Rainbow") reached the camp, with them was Brig. General Linden.
General Linden saw wounded SS-men lying on the ground, and ordered the Jewish army doctor accompanying him to care for the wounded. The doctor, however, refused on the grounds that he would not touch the Germans. The General threatened to court-martial him, but the Jewish doctor was unimpressed. Meanwhile Lt. Col. Sparks ordered the members of the 42nd Infantry Division should be leaving the camp and General Linden was forcibly escorted out (pp. 65 -66).

Watchtower B
On the German side, the commander of the SS troops, Lieutenant Henry Skodzensky, accompanied by a representative of the Swiss Red Cross tried to hand over the camp properly to the Americans.
Buechner will not elaborate. The description of this scene, however, we find in the English magazine "After the Battle" (No. 27, 1980, p 13). There the Belgian inmate of Dachau, Albert Guerisse (aka Patrick O'Leary), describes the course of events as follows: "I was certain in my own mind that the Americans were now masters of the situation. I went to an American who just climbed out of a tank, introduced myself, and he hugged me. It's a Major. His uniform is dusty, his shirt open to the waist, with sweat and dirt, he is unshaven, a dented helmet on his head, a cigarette in his mouth.
At that moment the young German Lieutenant Henry Skodzensky leaves his guards and endeavours to report to the American major.The German is blond, handsome, well groomed, his boots polished his uniform well tailored . He clicks his heels together as if he were on an exercise at a parade on Unter den Linden, he raises his arm properly and respectfully salutes: "Heil Hitler! I herewith hand over the Dachau concentration camp with 30,000 inmates, including 2,340 sick, 27,000, on outposts, and 560 garrison troops' ...The American major has not returned the salute. He hesitates for a moment, as if to reflect first on the right words.
Then he spits into the German's face. 'You bastard!' [Du Schweinehund] Then he commands the German : 'Sit down there "He points to the back seat of one of the Jeeps, which had now arrived.
The Major turns to me and gives me a sub-machine gun. ' Come with me'! But I have no will or power to move. 'No, I'm staying here'. The Major orders, that the Jeep with the young German officer is taken out of the camp. A few minutes pass. My fellow prisoners have not yet dared to leave their barracks. from a distance, they could not have seen how the negotiations between the American and the SS man were developing. Then I heard several shots. 'The bastard [Der Schweinehund] is dead, 'the American major tells me. "
Thus began the "liberation" of Dachau concentration camp. The unknown major only gave the start signal.

Waffen-SS soldiers were lined up against a wall and shot by American troops
The Americans GI's went in all directions and shot every German SS-man they encountered in the camp, and shot them on the spot. Buechner tells us the number of 122 victims (p. 98). The inmates raged off and brutally murdered another 40 soldiers. A headline in the "New York Herald Tribune" dated 2nd May reads: "Dachau prisoners revenge on Nazi torturers - SS men found murdered, beaten to a pulp, cut off their middle finger,"
Only after half an hour was Lt. Col. Sparks able to restore discipline and ordered to have the surviving SS men, 358 in total, guarded. But no sooner had he turned his back as the machine gunner deployed as guard, nicknamed "Birdeye" let loose and fired on the group of prisoners. Sparks flew at him and tore him away from the machine gun. Twelve victims were lying lifeless (p. 98/99).
Buechner was on the morning of 29 April with the medical unit of the 157th Infantry Regiment on the way to Munich, as the news of the capture of the Dachau camp reached him. In the early afternoon, he could stand it no longer, he wanted to see for myself what was going on in Dachau and went on his way there. Arriving at the camp, he was denied access, since Lt. Col. Sparks had blocked the area. The situation, however, seemed to be quiet, there were no shots to be heard. Buechner asked if he could enter the outer complex, the SS camp. Perhaps there would be wounded, which he could help. The request was granted.
He had only gone a short distance into the SS camp, when suddenly machine gunfire was very close to be heard to his left.It seemed to come from an area where several buildings stood, bearing the sign of the Red Cross on the roof. Buechner was surprised that that there should be fighting in the vicinity of a hospital. His curiosity was aroused, however, he got out of the Jeep and walked toward the building. "I peeked around the corner of a wall in the direction from which the shots came, and I witnessed an incredible scene.
Lt. Bushyhead stood on the roof of a low building, perhaps a bicycle shed. Beside him, served one or more soldiers a 30-caliber machine gun. Opposite this building was a long, high wall of cement and bricks. At the foot of this wall were the dozen of German soldiers, some dead, some just dying, some may have pretended to be dead. Three or four inmates in striped clothes, each armed with a 45-caliber pistol, given to them by the Americans, went through the ranks of about 350 killed soldiers. Then they fired at each soldier one shot through the head who seemed still to be alive. Behind the prisoners who had become executioners, was a row of foot soldiers, rifles at the ready and another soldier served a second machine gun, which was on the ground. At the end of the row of the dead or dying soldiers, there happened a small miracle. The prisoners, who had given the coup de grace, had not yet arrived at them, and a few of the only wounded soldiers were taken by the German medical personnel on stretchers under supervision of a German doctor into the nearby hospital. "(P. 86, 87) . [There were a number of young German nurses attending the wounded, yet neither Buechner mentioned this or any pictures of them have ever been published, some , according to private conversations with Linberger confirm that in fact a number of the wounded begged for razor blades to cut their own wrists, as the raking with the Browning cal.30 MG on the ground could not aim higher and inflicted partly stomach wounds (Bauchschüsse) which created longer and more agonising deaths. sic] Buechner has made a sketch of this horrible scene (p. 94). Amongst others on this sketch he noted two prisoners who are in the process killing a German soldiers with a shovel, he is lying on the ground, shot in the leg, so he could not run, Buechner states. The inclusion of this scene, known from the Book of Nerin Gun, "The hour of the Americans', is also in Buechner book (p. 114).
Drawing of the execution site by Lt. Buechner. Dead German soldiers are represented by "Xs," black dots are American soldiers, machine guns are shown as circles, shown with approximate lines of fire. A BAR man stands behind and to the right of the machine gun on left. "A" shows the path of Lt. Buechner. The other is Sgt. Rosa's path. "25" indicates the location of the two inmates beating the German guard with a shovel below. (Buechner)
Drawing of the execution site by Lt. Buechner. Dead German soldiers are represented by "Xs," black dots are American soldiers, machine guns are shown as circles, shown with approximate lines of fire. A BAR man stands behind and to the right of the machine gun on left. "A" shows the path of Lt. Buechner. The other is Sgt. Rosa's path. "25" indicates the location of the two inmates beating the German guard with a shovel below". (Buechner)

According to a table (p. 99) he puts the victims of that day as follows:
Shot on the spot: 122
by inmates killed: 40
shot by "Birdeye": 12
shot by Lt. Bushyhead: 346
Total killed: 520
fell during the fighting: 10
TOTAL: 560
[It is unknown how and where the bodies were disposed off, Linberger privately believes that they were buried at the adjacent future golf course, which I personally doubt, this is a sloping grass area with natural springs and two small ponds, furthermore the overflow from the swimming pools dissects this part and flows into the river Amper which is the boundary of the complex on the north-western side. The ground water level would be approximately at 1.5 meters. Although I did find about three small overgrown mounds, which may have been part of (20*) buried children that took cyanide capsules from their mothers after their fathers were shot during another incident.sic]
Those of SS guards, who initially escaped, Buechner writes, they would have tried to mingle with the inmates. But they were soon discovered and were either beaten to death by inmates or shot (p. 97). You are therefore expected to include these figures among the victims. To support his description Buechner quotes a number of witnesses who have seen the details of what happened.
He calls their names and published their statements and photos. More photos of Buechner show the capture of the German guards, the entire murder scene described by him and details of individuals or small groups of slain soldiers.
To the accuracy of his account, there can not be the slightest doubt.
In a footnote on page 87 Buechner writes: "As I learned later, when the first members of Company 1 stormed the German hospital (in the SS camp) and physically kicked all patients outside. Only one German physician and a small group of medics were allowed to stay behind".
This fits to another account of what some of the SS men were apparently observing because they were walking on crutches and slow to move, and were probably people who had been thrown out of the hospital. "
Furthermore Buechner's remark coincides with that of a German eyewitness account, by Erich Kern for the first time published 1960 in his book "Meineid gegen Deutschland" (Perjury against Germany) and his pamphlet "Das große Kesseltreiben" (was published by Oldendorf, 1971, pp. 224 - 247, 313 - 315).
»Hans Linberger was during the battle at the bridgehead east of Kiev in Russia seriously wounded. His left arm was torn, his body covered with shrapnel.
He was transferred after a long hospital stay as a troop leader of the Waffen-SS on the 9th March 1945 to a Reserve Company to Dachau.
On 29 April 1945 all those in the Reserve Company laid down their weapons and reported to the leading physician Dr. Schröder and were taken into a barrack. The medical personnel prepared themselves for the the surrender.
Doctors were visible by their white coats, pharmacist and the medical staff and the international Red Cross by their armbands.
Linberger then took a Red Cross flag in hand and walked to the entrance of the military hospital. He was by his empty left sleeve widely seen as a Schwerversehrter (heavy limbless person) to the advancing American shock troops, he declared at once that this part consisted of a hospital, which will pass naturally over to them unarmed. An American put his sub-machine gun to his chest and slapped his face. [He also uttered some explicits,'You fight Ruskie, you no f..... good", sic] Still they left Linberger and stormed now the hospital. The first American Linberger had threatened shot in the hallway of a hospital barrack an unknown invalid who lay there motionless on the floor apparently dead. All the doctors were forced out of the treatment rooms, as well as the pharmacist and the medical staff.
Dr. Schröder, who as the hospital chief physician endeavoured to hand over the occupation to the Americans in its proper form, was so beaten by one of them that he suffered a skull fracture.
The Americans drove all who could walk together with the women and children out of the hospital building and into the street in front of the heating plant, which is right next to it.
There they sorted out everything that smacked of the Waffen-SS, having first plundered at gunpoint and took their watches, rings, mechanical pencils, pens and money from the Germans and then the prisoners were driven into the horseshoe type courtyard of the heating plant [which was an empty coal yard with an approximately 3 metre high concrete walls, sic]
The Americans set up a machine gun in front of the crowd.
Then the American war correspondent arrived, photographed and filmed the group. Midst of it, a machine gunner opened fire.
With a burst of fire from left to right and back to the centre he shot into the mass of about forty SS-men who were lined up on the wall".
Hans Linberger gave for the German Red Cross under oath following description of this mass murder:
"The comrade right behind me dropped with the last cry, - Au, the pigs shoot at the belly - (Au, die Schweine schießen auf den Bauch) , out of inexplicably reason I just dropped. It was the same to me whether I was standing or caught lying down. So I only got the blood of the dead, who were bleeding heavily from the chest, head and face that I looked badly hit (angeschlagen).
During a pause in the firing that had occurred, drunken prisoners who had armed themselves with shovels explained to me to kill a man by the name of Weiß. It was possible to me and the other comrades, to survey the situation. Various soldiers crawled towards the Americans and wanted to identify themselves as foreigners - others tried to explain that they had nothing to do with the concentration camp. Weiß said this, however: >Relax and quieten down, we die for Germany <! [Weiß was shot by an American soldiers through the foot, lying on the ground and was killed with shovels by two inmates,sic]

Two inmates of Dachau preparing to kill an SS man with a shovel. In background rows of machine gunned German guards can be seen lying in piles along the base of the coal bunker wall. A large hospital building can be seen above right. The man on the left is same individual as below. The GI who shot the SS man in the left foot is visible. (Photographer unknown, probably T/4 Arland B. Musser, US Signal Corps. Reproduced from "Day of the Americans" by Nerin Gun.)                                                                                                                                                                                                  
His left foot is never shown in any of the two pictures

Polish prisoners celebrate their liberation from Dachau
Polish prisoners celebrate their liberation from the Dachau concentration camp

 This caption is incorrect, the picture was taken after the inmate in the centre with the raised bottle in his hand had killed the SS-man with the shovel.. It is most likely that these prisoners had worked at the nearby Heating Plant (Boiler House) on a shift basis and had to some extent the freedom of movement. At the time of the massacre, no inmates had been liberated at that stage from the main camp which is about one mile away from the coal bunker.. (sic)

During the liberation of Dachau camp, many German soldiers from the surrounding area surrendered under the protection of a medic with a Red Cross flag.  Photos also show members of the Volksturm, mountain troops, Luftwaffe personnel, Wehrmacht, SS soldiers in camouflage, soldiers in civilian clothing, etc….
Inmates inciting American troops to murder the German prisoners Lt. Walsh placed his division under the command of Lt. Bushyhead (nickname Bird’s Eye) of Native American Indian origin, to guard the prisoners.
Lt. Bushyhead placed the prisoners against the wall of the empty coal bunker and shot them with a few salvos of machine gun fire, giving inmates pistols in order to finish off the survivors. The bodies were looted. No action was taken by the Americans to prevent the inmates from taking revenge upon German personnel. The middle- aged man shown here was killed by inmates with a shovel, this is the same man seen lying dead along the wall holding a crucifix in his hand. General Patton was informed of this massacre, but ordered the evidence destroyed and prohibited any further investigation. No one ever prosecuted for the murder of  German soldiers interned at Dachau, who were entitled to protection under the Hague convention. Dachau was surrendered in full accordance with the terms of international law.
That the murder victims were members of the camp guard personnel is simply a lie,  photographs show soldiers from all German units. Even the camp personnel were not all criminals per se.
Source:‘Dachau: The Hour of the Avenger’ (Col. Howard A. Buechner), Thunderbird Press, Metairie, LA. USA, 1986.

  A freed prisoner beating a German camp guard at the liberated Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945.:

  A freed prisoner beating a German camp guard at the liberated Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945.while   a GI looks on. The freed prisoner seems to be in a good physical condition!

Oberscharführer Jäger asked me while lying down, if I had been hit, I gave him a negative answer (das mußte ich verneinen). He had gotten one shot into the right forearm.
I shared quickly one last rib of chocolate with him, as we waited for the bullet through the neck. A man with a Red Cross armband threw us razor blades and said. >There, make yourselves ready<. Jäger cut himself the pulse area of his wounded arm, and I cut his left. And as an amputee he was ready to do the same for me, at this stage an American officer arrives together with the defeated Dr. Schroeder, who could hardly stand on his feet, and stopped the shooing and offered to help. But the doctor only replied: No, no, no! This way we were able to drag out our wounded comrades".
Maybe it was Buechner, Linberger saw standing with Dr. Schroeder. Lt. Bushyhead had meanwhile given orders to stop firing. The dead lay on the next day at the foot of the wall. Buechner left the camp on the same day and moved on with his unit to Munich.

Lt. Jack Bushyhead relaxing in Augsburg, Germany
That same afternoon, 29 April 1945, a number of senior American officers visited the Dachau camp. They discovered the bodies of the Germans and the team was horrified. Someone suggested to distribute the bodies over the entire surface, then take pictures and to say that the Germans had resisted arrest and tried to flee, while they had been shot. But for this version, it was too late, as there were already photos of the grisly scene. There was nothing left but to initiate a formal investigation.

US Soldiers inspect the bodies of 12 dead SS soldiers in the coal yard 
After intensive consultations charges against four officers and five soldier had been prepared for the court-martial. Undoubtedly, many more people were involved in the events, but it was difficult to locate them. They had now been transferred to other units, thereby "taken out of circulation." The indictment read: disobedience, failure to prevent the killings, denial of medical assistance and violation of the Geneva Convention.
Buechner was still at the headquarters of the 45th Infantry Division during his stay in Munich when he was told that against him, Lt. Col. Sparks, Lt.. Bushyhead and other members of the U.S. Army a court martial was being prepared. When asked why he had done nothing personally to stop the killings, and why he had not cared for the wounded, he said, as he appeared on the scene, almost all Germans were already dead or the few that were still alive had been so badly wounded that any help would have come too late. Moreover, a German doctor had appeared, and the three or four casualties that had been carried into the hospital, no longer needed his help. In the camp itself, at the ravages of the prisoners, he also could not do anything because he was unarmed as member of the Medical Corps, and therefore would have had no chance to keep the prisoners from their hateful murders.
On the same day that the Dachau Concentration Camp was discovered, a massacre took place in the little hamlet of Webling, about ten kilometres from the camp. A Waffen-SS unit had arrived at the hamlet, which consisted of about half a dozen farm houses, barns and the Chapel of St. Leonhard, to take up defensive positions in trenches dug around the farms by French POW workers. Their orders were to delay the advance of American tanks of the 20th Armoured Division and infantry units of the 7th. US Army which was approaching Dachau. The farms, mostly run by women (whose husbands were either dead, prisoners of war or still fighting) with the help of French POWs, came under fire on the morning of 29th.April causing all inhabitants to rush for the cellars. One soldier of Company F of the US 222nd Infantry Regiment of the 42nd Rainbow Division, was killed as they entered the hamlet under fire from the Waffen-SS unit.

Dead German soldiers at Dachau. Exact location unknown. They are wearing Tarnjacke, camouflage uniforms, of Waffen-SS combat troops. The head wound on the man in foreground appears to have been made by a US .45 caliber pistol. It looks as if he saw the bullet coming and shielded his eyes. According to Edwin F. Gorak, who took this photo on April 30, 1945, "the way the bodies were piled up seems to indicate they were slain simultaneously, as by machine gun fire." (Courtesy of Edwin F. Gorak, 158th Field Artillery)
The first German to emerge from the cellar was the owner of the farm, Herr Furtmayer. He was promptly shot dead. Informed by the French POWs that only civilians, not SS, were in hiding in the cellers, the GIs proceeded to round up the men of the SS unit. First to surrender was an officer, Freiherr von Truchsess, heading a detachment of seventeen men. The officer was immediately struck with a trenching tool splitting his head open. The other seventeen were lined up in the farmyard and shot. On a slight rise behind the hamlet, another group of eight SS were shot. Their bodies were found lying in a straight line with their weapons and ammunition belts neatly laid on the ground. This would suggest that the men were shot after they surrendered. Altogether, one SS officer and forty one men lay dead as the infantry regiment proceeded on their way towards Dachau. Next day the local people, with the help of the French POWs, buried the bodies in a field to be later exhumed by the German War Graves Commission and returned to their families.

Picture taken from the Jura House, as it appeared on 29.4.1945, the walk  

future prisoners took to the Concentration Camp "Arbeit Macht Frei" had 

to pass via the "Street of the SS" (Straße der SS) , past the 'Eicke 

Platz' as shown. The building in the centre was the SS-Canteen, Mess 

Hall and Club for the Elite, the villa type town houses, on the left, 

were occupied by SS-Staff and their families and not necessarily 

associated with the concentration camp. Through the lengthy centre, 

about half a mile, (not shown) was a Horse Trail (Reitweg), where they 

exercised their horses during morning greetings, but the welcoming 

"Liberators" destroyed the entire complex later on, no traces can be 

found now. One can only assume it was done out of sheer wanton and 

hateful disdain for all that was German. The general local attitude at 

that time towards the "Liberators", was "If this is what Democracy will 

teach us, then help us God". It is now the Bus Stop to the Memorial 

site. The Street has been renamed: "Straße der KZ Opfer" (Street of the 

KZ Victims) and goes in an easterly direction away from the Military 

Entry, where the Massacre took place, who were blissfully unaware of a 

concentration camp.The first American "Liberators" missed this entrance 

completely, and went straight towards the Main Military Entrance showing  

the Eagle-Swastika. Only after an American Troop Commander in the city  

of Dachau was made aware that there was a camp in an other direction 

i.e. (Dachau-Ost) did this Unit enter the actual KZ as "Liberators". 

This was after the Massacre had taken place.

This shows the Swimming Pool of the SS which was located at the far 
northern point of the Military Installation and was during the American 
occupation destroyed. It now constitutes a triangular small lake, and 
was used as a testing facility of REO M62 Trucks repaired at the 
Ordnance Field Maintenance Shop for water proofing and engine air intakes.


Source Acknowledgements:
Scrapbook Pages Blog
Der Ort des Terrors Vol 2:
Stanislav Zamenik, a former inmate.
C.H.Beck oHG, München 2005
Translated from German by:
Herbert Stolpmann

Stanislav Zámečník
 was a Czech historian and witness of Nazism.t age seventeen Zámečník was arrested by German troops. After detention in several prisons deported the occupiers him in February 1941 in the Dachau concentration camp . From autumn 1941 he worked as an orderly in the infirmary of the camp. After four years of imprisonment he witnessed the liberation of the camp and returned to his home.
He studied history at the Charles University in Prague . From 1960 he was the Military Historical Institute and he did research on the history of the Czech resistance and the history of the concentration camp Dachau.
In August 1968, after the Prague Spring , he lost his job and he felt prohibited his profession perform. After political changes in 1989, he was able to continue the historical research freely again. As a member of the Scientific Advisory Board, he worked on the redesign of the memorial site. On behalf of the Comité International de Dachau he created the first literary overall presentation about the Dachau concentration camp.
During 2011 after Zámečník death, he was posthumously honoured  with the Dachau Prize for Civil Courage Award.