Dachau concentration camp

 Chief  inspects the Dachau concentration camp ()
SS Chief Heinrich Himmler inspects the Dachau concentration camp (1936)

The Dachau concentration camp was a Nazi German concentration camp near the city of Dachau, north of Munich, in southern Germany.

The camp was constructed in a disused gunpowder factory and was completed on March 21, 1933. Together with the Auschwitz extermination camp, Dachau has come to exemplify Nazi concentration camps to most non-experts.



Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp and served as a prototype and model for the others that followed. The basic organization, camp layout as well as the plan for the buildings were developed by Kommandant Theodor Eicke and were applied to all later camps. He had a separate secure camp near the command center, which consisted of living quarters, administration, and army camps. Eicke himself became the chief inspector for all concentration camps, responsible for molding the others according to his model.

In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were housed in Dachau. Beginning in 1941, Dachau was also used for extermination purposes. Camp records list 30,000 persons killed in the camp, with thousands more who died due to the conditions in the camp. In early 1945, there was a typhus epidemic in the camp followed by an evacuation, in which large numbers of the weaker prisoners died.

Due to the number of deaths and killings, the cremation facility had to be expanded, as the existing one was unable to keep up with the number of bodies to be disposed of. At the same time, a gas chamber was added to the camp. This, however, was never put into use, as the prisoners destined for death were transferred to other camps.

Among the most famous inmates of the Dachau concentration camp were Hans Litten (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Litten), Fred Rabinowitz (aka Fred Roberts), and Alfred Gruenebaum.

Dachau also served as the central camp for Christian religious prisoners. According to records of the Roman Catholic Church, at least 3000 religious, deacons, priests, and bishops were imprisoned there. Particularly notable among the Christian residents are Karl Leisner (Catholic priest ordained while in the camp, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1996) and Martin Niemöller (Protestant theologian and Nazi resistance leader). In September 1944 a women's camp opened inside Dachau. Its first shipment of women came from Auschwitz Birkenau. Only nineteen women guards served at Dachau, most of them until liberation, and only sixty-three served in the Dachau complex. We know fifteen female overseers by name; Fanny Eleonore Baur, Leopoldine Bittermann, Ernestine Brenner, Anna Buck, Rosa Dolaschko, Maria Eder, Rosa Grassmann, Betty Hanneschaleger, Ruth Elfriede Hildner, Josefa Keller, Berta Kimplinger, Lieselotte Klaudat, Thereia Kopp, Rosalie Leimboeck, and Thea Miesl***. Women guards were also staffed at the Augsburg Michelwerke, Burgau, Kaufering, Muhldorf, and Munich Agfa Camera Werke subcamps.

The last head of the camp was Oskar Müller, who later became minister of labor for Hessia. According to the report of Father Johannes Maria Lenz, Müller sent two prisoners to bring the U.S. army to free the camp, because orders had come in to kill all the prisoners.

Liberation of the camp, 1945

The camp was freed by the 45th Infantry Division of the U.S. Seventh Army on April 29, 1945. It was used for many years thereafter as a residence for refugees. [1] (http://www.45thinfantrydivision.com/new_page_6.htm)

It holds a significant place in public memory because it was the second camp to be liberated by British or American forces, and therefore it was one of the first places in which the West was exposed to the reality of Nazi brutality through first-hand journalist accounts and through newsreels. After the camp was surrendered to Allied forces, the troops were so horrified by conditions at the camp that they summarily shot all of the camp guards.

The U.S. 7th Army's version of the events of the Dachau Liberation are available in Report of Operations of the Seventh United States Army, Vol. 3. page 382. It has been alleged that further photographic evidence was detroyed by General George S. Patton.

The evidence of this U.S. war crime is the photographs reprinted in Col. Howard A. Buechner's book, "Dachau - The Hour of the Avenger". Dr. Buechner was the chief medical officer of his division and was present during the liberation of Dachau.

The memorial site

Missing image
The cremation ovens of the concentration camp are still viewable at the Dachau memorial site. The ovens were used to dispose of the bodies of the over 30,000 persons who were killed or otherwise died in the camp.

Years later, former prisoners banded together to erect a memorial on the site of the camp, finding it unbelievable that there were still persons (refugees) living in the camp under those conditions.

The display, which was reworked in 2003, takes the visitor through the path of new arrivals to the camp. Special presentations of some of the notable prisoners are also provided. One of the barracks has been rebuilt to show a cross-section of the entire history of the camp, since the original barracks had to be torn down due to their poor condition when the memorial was built. The other 32 barracks are indicated by cement foundations.

The memorial includes four chapels for the various religions represented among the prisoners.

      • All the information on the female overseers was found in the book "THE CAMP WOMEN The Female Auxiliaries who Assisted the SS in Running the Nazi Concentration Camp System" by Daniel Patrick Brown.

Famous prisoners of Dachau


Nazi resistance fighters

Religious ministers

Dachau had a special "priest block". Of the 2720 priests (among them 2579 catholic) held in Dachau, 1034 did not survive the camp. The majority were Polish (1780), of whom 868 died in Dachau.





  • Marcuse, Harold, Legacies of Dachau: The Uses and Abuses of a Concentration Camp, 1933-2001, 600 pages, Cambridge University Press, 2001. more information (http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/dachau.htm)
  • The Fighting Forty-Fifth: the Combat Report of an Infantry Division, compiled and edited by Lt. Col. Leo V. Bishop, Maj. Frank J. Glasgow, and Maj. George A. Fisher. Copyright 1946 by the 45th Infantry Division, printed by Army & Navy Publishing Co., Baton Rouge, LA. LC Control Number: 49051541.
  • Buechner, Howard A., Dachau - The Hour of the Avenger, Thunderbird Press, ©1986, paperback, 159 pages, ISBN 0913159042, first published in 1986. LC Control Number: 87181873.

See also

External links


he:דכאו nl:Dachau (concentratiekamp) pl:Dachau (KL)


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (https://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (https://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (https://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (https://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools