Dachau Facts

Dachau Facts
Dachau is a town of nearly 50,000 people in the southern German region of Bavaria. Settlement in the region goes back to the ancient Celts, which is where the modern name of the town is believed to have been derived. The name Dachau is today more closely associated with the World War II era Nazi concentration camp that was located outside the town. Dachau was opened at the beginning of the Nazi regime, in 1933, making it the first concentration and a template for many of the later camps. Dachau remained in operation until the end of the war in 1945 and although it was not a "death camp," it is believed that around 30,000 prisoners died in the camp due to anything ranging from starvation to torture.
Interesting Dachau Facts:
Dachau was originally intended to house communists, anarchists, and other political prisoners for forced labor, but as the war dragged on more and more Jews were sent to the camp.
Dachau grew to include thirty large sub-camps and several hundred smaller camps. Most of the prisoners of the sub-camps were forced to work in German military factories around Bavaria.
Like all other concentration camps, Dachau was operated by the SS.
Dachau had a number of commandants throughout its history, including Heinrich Wicker, who was only head of the camp for one day before it was liberated.
Almost half of the deaths at Dachau came during a typhus epidemic in 1944. Since many of the prisoners were malnourished, they had little immunity to the disease.
Polish prisoners comprised the majority of the prisoners in Dachau.
Not long after Dachau was opened, a common saying began to circulate in Germany among those on the Nazis' enemies list. It was: "Lieber Herr Gott, mach mich stumm, Das ich nicht nach Dachau komm'" ("Dear God, make me silent, That I may not come to Dachau.")
American forces liberated the camp on April 28, 1945. Before giving up the camp, though, SS members killed many of the inmates and burned evidence that could implicate them in war crimes.
It is believed that up to fifty SS camp guards were killed by American soldiers after they surrendered and up to another fifty were killed by former camp inmates.
American troops forced the local German population to view the camp and to bury the dead prisoners.
Dachau served as a prison for Nazi war criminals after the war.
The United States conducted war crimes trials at Dachau concentration camp from 1945 to 1948. Unlike the international Nuremberg trials, the Dachau trials were only conducted by American officials of suspected war criminals captured in the American controlled zone.
The American run Landsberg prison was where those convicted at the Dachau trials were held and were some who were sentenced to death, such as Dachau camp commandant Alexander Piorkowski, were executed by hanging.

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