Dachau Concentration Camp, located just outside of Munich Germany, was the first concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Opened it 1933 by Heinrich Himmler and originally intended for Adolf Hitler’s political opponents, it grew to become a labor camp and marked the place where over 30,000 are thought to have died during World War II.
Dachau Concentration Camp Photo Essay
Dachau was not Auschwitz. Yet death occurred at Dachau too, especially after 1939, and is a sobering reminder that the Nazi government did not exclusively target Jews, but anyone who got in its way. This camp opened just five weeks after Hitler took power and in the coming years included political prisoners captured from all over Europe. While nearly one million Jews were killed in Auschwitz, this camp later included Jews but initially housed many German and Austrian dissenters, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals, members of the clergy, and others simply being accused of being unloyal to the Fatherland.
As men and women died during the war, the Nazis needed fresh labor. Thousands of prisoners were brought in from around Europe and put to work building armaments, planes, tanks, and other vital needs to wage war. Later in the war, those unfit for work were executed, often at nearby camps rather than Dachau itself. As the Allies neared Dachau in 1945, Nazis tried to evacuate the camp. Thousands of prisoners died along the way. Conditions were horrible, with malnutrition and lack of hygiene a key culprit of death.
The gas chambers and ovens are horrible sights to see, as was the understanding that many men and women were used as laboratory rats, with experiments being performed on camp prisoners, sometimes while they were still alive.
I will offer further reflections upon my visit to Dachau in a subsequent post, but offer this photo essay which showcases the camp and its depravity. There is so much to say and I don’t know how I will be able to formulate my thoughts, so we’ll start by these pictures:
This is part of my summer in Germany trip report.