In 1933 just a few weeks after Adolf Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor, a concentration camp for political prisoners was set up in Dachau. This camp became the prototype for all subsequent concentration camps. There were also 140 Subcamps around Dachau.
What I learned was this camp was not originally for Jews but for those that opposed the Reich. However towards the end of Dachau’s existence Jews were imprisoned here too along with social misfits, homeless, Johova Witnesses, and homosexuals. This camp was a working camp and the prisoners were used as slave laborers for industries such as BMW building aircraft engines. The 35 barracks which were built to house 200 prisoners eventually would be catastrophically overcrowded to house up to 2000 prisoners. The crematorium area was built because the number of dead had risen dramatically and was located outside the camp. It had four furnaces and a gas chamber for mass extermination.
The prisoners were forced to line up mornings and evenings to be counted and often had to stand motionless for several hours. If a prisoner had died their body was placed in a bag and present at roll call as well. One prisoner who was an artist left the painting below. Note the eye in the sky. This was to symbolize the artist thought the eye of God was not present. Also note the rows and rows of prisoners standing in roll call with the lights shining on the from the towers above.
Today there are several memorials built by different religious groups and a monestary just outside the camp where Nuns remain vigilant in remembering the horrific acts against people here in Dachau. May we never forget.