Showing posts with label Dachau. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dachau. Show all posts


Konzentrationslager (KZ) Dachau holds a significant place in public memory because it was the first Nazi camp to be established and the second camp to be liberated by British and American forces. Therefore, it was one of the first places where the West was exposed to the reality of Nazi brutality through first-hand journalist accounts and through newsreels. The Nazis opened their first concentration camp here outside Munich in March 1933, only two months after Hitler came to power. This camp was the model for the many others to follow. It operated continuously until April 1945, when the allies liberated the inmates. 
It began as terror against political adversaries, and it ended with the death of millions. In the beginning, vengeance raged: the lust for revenge of a regime that had just gained power, bent on suppressing any who had stood in its way. But after its opponents had been eliminated, a new species of absolute power was unleashed that shattered all previous conceptions of despotism or dictatorial brutality: systematic destruction by means of violence, starvation, and labour—the businesslike annihilation of human beings. In the span of twelve years, the concentration camp metamorphosed from a locus of terror into a universe of horror.
Dachau then and nowOriginally intended for the temporary detention of political prisoners, the camps became permanent institutions manned by the ϟϟ Totenkopfverbände. In these camps, the more sadistic guards, of whom there was no shortage in the ϟϟ, were more or less free to inflict indescribable cruelties on the inmates without fear of any disciplinary action. The camp system gradually evolved from penal camps to the infamous death mills of Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Maidanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka.In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than thirty countries were housed in Dachau of whom two-thirds were political prisoners and nearly one-third were Jews. 25,613 prisoners are believed to have died in the camp and almost another 10,000 in its subcamps, primarily from disease, malnutrition and suicide. In early 1945, there was a typhus epidemic in the camp followed by an evacuation, in which large numbers of the weaker prisoners died.
 Dachau jourhaus  during liberation and todayDuring liberation and standing in front of the jourhaus today- the main gate to the camp. It was the first building prisoners had to build during the 1936 redevelopment of the camp. The tower shown here, a reconstruction, was one of seven watchtowers making up the guard installations. On the right shown below Brigadier-General Henning Linden of the 42nd Infantry Division of the American 7th Army stands on the bridge over the Würm in front of the jourhaus with ϟϟ-Untersturmführer Heinrich Wicker - the tallest man- on the left. It had been he who had surrendered the camp to the Americans and soon after this photograph will have suffered summary justice. He had been feared by prisoners for his brutality. In December 1944 he became camp commandant of the Natzweiler satellite camp Mannheim-Sandhofen in which one of his first official acts was the execution of the Warsaw prisoner Marian Krainski on January 3, 1945 for alleged sabotage in the school yard of the Friedrichschule, to which he had invited five representatives from Daimler-Benz. Brigadier-General Henning Linden at DachauTowards the end of the war Wicker was the leader of "evacuation marches," leading the evacuation of the Heppenheim and Bensheim-Auerbach subcamps from March 22 to 28, then the Neckarelz concentration camp until April 2 and the Hessental and Kochendorf concentration camps from April 5. His command of the Hessental death march which April 15 led at the Munich-Allach subcamp led to at least 170 concentration camp prisoners being brutally murdered or killed through sheer exhaustion. Wicker then took over the camp management at Dachau on April 28, after the commandant Eduard Weiter had withdrawn from the advancing Americans on April 26. In the presence of the Swiss Red Cross worker Victor Maurer, Wicker surrendered the camp on April 29, to Linden. Historian Harold Marcuse assumes that Wicker was shot immediately after the liberation.
main entrance Dachau liberation April 1945
Me in front of the main entrance from inside the camp, and as it appeared during liberation as seen in never before seen photographs showing the liberation of Dachau.
Of the gate itself, Richard Evans relates that at Auschwitz,
Over the entrance, (Kommandant Rudolf] Höss placed a wrought-iron archway with the words Arbeit macht frei, 'work liberates', a slogan he had learned in Dachau.
The motto at Dachau, “Arbeit macht frei” (Work Is Liberty), is well known; it was also used elsewhere, a hollow, cynical promise from the tradition of the work society. No prisoner was ever released because of hard work and good performance.
Sofsky (61)
Arbeit macht frei  gate Dachau
  Young prisoners behind the gate two days after liberation. The expression Arbeit macht frei comes from the title of an 1873 novel by German philologist Lorenz Diefenbach, Arbeit macht frei: Erzählung von Lorenz Diefenbach, in which gamblers and fraudsters find the path to virtue through labour. In 1922 the Deutsche Schulverein Wien printed contribution stamps with the inscription "Arbeit macht frei" together with the swastika. The phrase is also evocative of the mediæval German principle of Stadtluft macht frei ("urban air makes you free"), according to which serfs were liberated after being a city resident for one year and one day. In some Nazi concentration camps , the gate inscription was a cynical paraphrase for the alleged educational purpose of the camps, the actual purpose of which was often destruction through work. Harold Marcuse states that the slogan, placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps, was first implemented by Theodor Eicke, the first ϟϟ commander of Dachau concentration camp. Eicke's colleague Martin Broszat assumed that the commander responsible for the installation at the gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp was Rudolf Höss, stating his view that "[i]n his limited way of thinking and feeling, I think he meant it seriously to a certain extent.. One of the extermination strategies of genocide grew out of the modern myth of the working spirit, which was ultimately regarded as specifically German.” In fact, the slogan was first used over the gate of a "wild camp" in the city of Oranienburg, which was set up in an abandoned brewery in March 1933 (later rebuilt in 1936 as Sachsenhausen) and can also be seen at the Dachau, Gross-Rosen, and Theresienstadt camps, as well as at Fort Breendonk in Belgium. At the Monowitz camp (also known as Auschwitz III), the slogan was reportedly placed over the entrance gates although Primo Levi describes seeing the words illuminated over a doorway rather than from a gate. In 1938 Austrian political cabaret writer Jura Soyfer and composer Herbert Zipper, whilst prisoners at Dachau, wrote the Dachaulied, or "The Dachau Song". They had spent weeks marching in and out of the camp's gate to daily forced labour, and considered the motto Arbeit macht frei over the gate an insult, and so the song repeats the phrase cynically as a "lesson" taught by Dachau. 
Arbeit macht frei Photos I took of the gate and on November 19, 2014 showing the missing 200-pound gate reported missing on November 2, 2014. The gate itself was a reconstruction; the current whereabouts of the original is a mystery. When the American military administration used the site, it removed the gate and dismantled the watchtower. These were not reconstructed until 1972. Shown is German blacksmith Michael Poitner who painstakingly rebuilt the 1.87 metre-high, 108-kilogram gate in time for the 70th anniversary commemorations for the liberation of the camp. "A lot of thought went into how to make this cynical Nazi slogan close to the original - which is important as some 800,000 people visit the Dachau memorial each year," said Poitner, 36, who was born in town of Dachau. "You can feel all that cynicism with this gate."  He studied pictures and documents about the original gate, which was installed in 1936, and used techniques like high-temperature brazing, which was more common than soldering in the 1930s. The stolen gate was eventually found on November 28, 2016 under a tarpaulin at a parking lot in Ytre Arna, a settlement north of Bergen, Norway's second-largest city. The gate returned to Dachau on February 22, 2017 and is kept on display in the museum's permanent exhibition in an alarm-secured and air-conditioned display case.
Dachau Jourhaus with gate without the inscription
In fact, this photo from the late 1940s shows the Jourhaus with gate without the inscription (and me in 2007), leading the memorial site to conclude that based on such existing historical photos, a document from May 1972 from an inspection of the grounds by the CID, the local Building Authority, which refers how “[t]he inscription ‘Arbeit macht frei’ removed from the iron entrance gate needs to be reinserted” , the revised view of the architectural historian, and the general knowledge as to how the Americans dealt with the architectural legacy of the former concentration camp, the gate is most likely original, but the sign itself is a reconstruction added in 1972. The stolen gate was recovered after a two-year hunt in the southwestern Norwegian city of Bergen thanks to an anonymous tip-off. This is not the first time a sign reading ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ has been stolen- in 2009 the infamous iron sign bearing the same slogan above the entrance to Auschwitz was stolen.
Dachau watchtowers
The site soon after the war and today, showing how the camp was anything but hidden away. As Richard J. Evans writes in The Third Reich in Power, 
the regime made no secret at all of the basic fact of their existence. The opening of Dachau in 1933 was widely reported in the press, and further stories told how Communist, Reichsbanner and ‘Marxist’ functionaries who endangered state security were being sent there; how the numbers of inmates grew rapidly into the hundreds; how they were being set to work; and how lurid atrocity stories of what went on inside were incorrect. The fact that people were publicly warned in the press not to try and peer into the camp, and would be shot if they tried to climb the walls, only served to increase the general fear and apprehension that these stories must have spread.184 What happened in the camps was a nameless horror that was all the more potent because its reality could only be guessed at from the broken bodies and spirits of inmates when they were released. There could be few more frightening indications of what would happen to people who engaged in political opposition or expressed political dissent, or, by 1938-9, deviated from the norms of behaviour to which the citizen of the Third Reich was supposed to adhere.
Appelplatz Dachau 1937
The main building in front of the square (Appelplatz) in 1939 and today showing the former slogan on the roof reading: 
Es gibt einen Weg zur Freiheit. Seine Meilensteine heißen: Gehorsam, Ehrlichkeit, Sauberkeit, Nüchternheit, Fleiß, Ordnung, Opfersinn, Wahrhaftigkeit, Liebe zum Vaterland 
There is one path to freedom. Its milestones are obedience, honesty, cleanliness, sobriety, hard work, discipline, sacrifice, truthfulness, love for the Fatherland.
Dachau tourism
The memorial in front is now being used to promote other tourist attractions on buses
After the Second World War, a kind of 'dark tourism’ emerged in Germany, as the former sites of death and terror in the Third Reich became 'must see’ sights on the tourist trail. Today, Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and other 'fatal attractions’ linked to the Hitler dictatorship draw thousands of visitors each year. The most recent Lonely Planet guide to Germany, for example, lists the former concentration camp at Dachau as one of the key attractions around Munich, alongside the Chiem Lake, the Andechs brewery and the Alpamare water park. 
Taking aBvarian International School students around Dachau

Taking my students at the nearby Bavarian International School around the site.

The prisoners marched out by block onto the Appellplatz and waited there for the ϟϟ to appear. The block personnel counted the inmates and reported the results to those on duty in the prisoner orderly room. They in turn passed the total on to the ϟϟ rapport leader. The ϟϟ block leaders double-checked the results, running through another count so that the reporting officer could compare the two totals. In order to make sure the final tally was correct, the prisoners in the sick bay and those who had died during the night also had to be counted. This double bureaucratic procedure should hardly have required more than half an hour, given the experienced and well-rehearsed chain of reporting.
Taking my Bavarian International School students around Dachau
But the process was often delayed or interrupted by violence. Despite the fixed time for morning roll call, the ϟϟ was often late. Illuminated by searchlights, the columns had to wait in the first light of dawn in every conceivable type of weather until the camp lords took the stage. Their entrance was a carefully calculated show of power. To leave thousands waiting is always a demonstration of total power. And time was something the camp masters had plenty of. Inmates did not march off to their places of work until it was light. Consequently, morning roll call in the winter months could drag on for more than ninety minutes, until the command was given over the loudspeakers for the prisoners to form up into Kommandos. The accommodation of working hours to daylight was the only concession the camp regime made to natural time.

Sofsky (75)
Bavarian International School students at Dachau KZ
According to the regime's propaganda, work was primarily a means of political education so that prisoners capable of betterment could be accepted into National Socialist society. However, the ϟϟ made more and more profits from the prisoners' work. Cultivating the surrounding moors was the prisoner's initial task, but this was quickly changed. The establishment of manual workplaces - road construction, bricklayers, carpenters, locksmiths, tailors, shoemakers, saddlers, bakers, butchers - promised more profit and self-sufficiency. Just a few months after the camp opened in 1933, 300 prisoners were already working for the ϟϟ making furniture, clothes and shoes. In this way the camp developed into the economic base of the ϟϟ. The Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter on November 28, 1933 expressing its fear that the camp would represent unsustainable competition for other local craftsmen. The political police replied that production in the camp would definitely continue to increase. Officially, the values obtained were part of the state property, but in reality they were used by Himmler's ϟϟ by reducing their dependence on the SA and the Reich Ministry of the Interior. Until 1940 the ϟϟ could use the full profit of the prisoner labour. In numerous cases, the forced labour resulted in humiliation, abuse and death by harassing or inciting inmates to death. Later, with in the large sub-camps, this number increased dramatically. Sick and physically exhausted prisoners were transferred to the disability block, from where they were transported to the killing sites.
Prisoners carrying large buckets of food from Dachau camp kitchen to barracks June 28, 1938Prisoners carrying large buckets of food from the camp kitchen to the barracks in a June 28, 1938 propaganda photo; the distance from the kitchens requiring such effort demonstrated the camp hierarchy with Germans typically housed in the nearest barracks and those seen as particularly against the Nazi state at the furthest end. The residential barracks were given the designation "blocks" under Commandant Loritz. Over the course of its twelve years of existence, different divisions of the blocks were formed. The punishment blocks were surrounded by barbed wire; here were inmates who had been repeatedly detained or who had been imposed more stringent detention. Other blocks included a so-called Interbrigadistenblock, a Jewish block, an invalide block , a 'celebrity' block and a pastors' block. From the beginning of the war there was a division according to nationalities for Poles, Czechs et cet.. Each block had two washing facilities, two toilets and four “rooms”. Each room had a living room and a bedroom. 52 people were to be accommodated per room, which meant 208 prisoners per block of flats. In the last years of the war however, up to 1,600 prisoners had to share a block of flats. The roll call took place on the roll call square at the beginning and end of the day. If someone was missing, roll calls were ordered through the night or half a day. Seven watchtowers surrounded the area; they were usually manned by two ϟϟ guards each with two machine guns. The so-called infirmary initially consisted of two barracks, from 1939 it was expanded. In the last years of the war it was eighteen barracks in size. The "Lazarett" included a disinfection barrack and a death chamber. There was a work barrack, another barrack was the canteen , which also served propaganda purposes. Behind it was the bunker, where camp arrests, camp penalties (such as increased solitary confinement) and shootings were carried out. Standing bunkers were added from autumn 1944 as discussed below.
The first large section of the concentration camp was the prison camp, euphemistically also called protective custody camp. It was surrounded by an inner ditch, behind it an electrically charged barbed wire fence, a patrol path and finally a wall that also served as a privacy screen from the outside. As soon as someone approached the fence, the ϟϟ personnel fired from watchtowers without warning. The fence was illuminated at night. There were a total of 34 barracks in two rows, with the camp street in the middle. The Jourhaus formed the entrance to the prisoners' area. 
Prisoners cooking outside Dachau watchtower May 1, 1945Prisoners cooking outside a watchtower on May 1, 1945 right after liberation and me beside it today; the door is postwar. Despite the appearance, the weather at the time of liberation was unseasonably cool and temperatures tended to fall below average throughout the first two days of May; the day after the photograph was taken, the area received a snowstorm with four inches of snow at nearby Munich. Proper clothing was still scarce and film footage from the time as seen in classic The World at War television series and footage shown in the museum here show naked, gaunt people either wandering on snow or dead under it. The authorities had worked night and day to alleviate conditions at the camp immediately following the liberation as an epidemic of black typhus swept through the prisoner population with two thousand cases already having been reported by May 3. By October of the same year the camp was being used by the Americans as a place of confinement for war criminals, the ϟϟ and important witnesses. It was also the site of the Dachau Trials for German war criminals, a site chosen for its symbolism. In 1948, the Bavarian government established housing for refugees on the site, and this remained the case until the 1960s. Among those held in the Dachau internment camp set up under the American Army were Elsa Ehrich, Maria Mandl, and Elisabeth Ruppert. The Kaserne quarters and other buildings used by the guards and trainee guards were converted and served as the Eastman Barracks, an American military post. After the closure of the Eastman Barracks in 1974 due in large part to the incompetence shown by the German authorities during the massacre of Israeli athletes during the Olympic Games of 1972, these areas were given over to the Bavarian Bereitschaftspolizei (rapid response police unit).
Dachau memorial
Two memorials demonstrate a skewed perspective of the history of the camp. On the left is a relief whose statement in English, French and Russian statements is unequivocal:
May the example of those exterminated here between 1933-1945, because they resisted Nazism, help to unite the living in defence of peace and freedom and in respect of their fellow men.
The German version differs in making the victims passive participants who died rather than "exterminated." 
On the right is another relief consisting of coloured triangles attached to a chain, representing the badges worn by prisoners from 1937. Three colours are missing- the black triangle for “asocials”, the green for ordinary criminals, and the pink for homosexuals. The latter have a memorial displayed in a little room inside the museum as homosexuality is no longer deemed a crime in Germany, but after nearly half a century it has not been seen to Dachau triangles memorialappropriate to recognise them as victims on such a public display.
 What is surprising is that the stigmatisation connected to these categorisations continued even after the end of the war as the colours of the patchesdetermined whether survivors were entitled to compensation. Those stigmatised with the black, green, or pink patches were ruled to have no valid claims for compensation of either a moral or financial kind. This had an immediate effect on the setup of the International Memorial,where prejudices concerning certain victim groups were directly translated into the exclusion of their representation within the memorial. Neither thepatches that had to be worn by homosexuals, nor the ones identifying asocials or professional criminals, appear in the second installation with the black solidarity rings. This underscores once more that the commemoration of painful memories is also an expression of power and identity, which in the case of the memorial at Dachau turned into a struggle for dominance of some victim groups over others.
'the unknown prisoner at Dachau' by Fritz Koelle in 1950.
The monument on the left to 'the unknown prisoner at Dachau' by Fritz Koelle in 1950.
The memorials in Western Europe are far more likely to be abstract than figurative while in the socialist countries of the Eastern Bloc (with the limited exceptions Poland and Yugoslavia), most memorials are figurative in the style of socialist realism, and they often depict groups of people so as to express solidarity and symboli anti-fascist resistance as a movement. In the final Dachau design, the graphic skeletal nudity of the original figures is covered by a baggy overcoat and trousers; the accusatory right hand is concealed in a coat pocket. The forwardly thrust head is draw back and tilted at a slight angle, giving the figure a contemplative cast. The inscription on the pedestal still melds contemplation with accusation, however: "To honour the dead, to admonish the living."
Dachau Watchtower then and now
Watchtower then and now
Beginning in the summer of 1933, the camp island already resembled a bulwark. In front of the wire fence, charged with high-voltage current at night, there was a low, slatted fence that marked out the “neutral zone.” Whoever entered it was shot down without warning. Directly behind it ran a concrete wall three meters high that surrounded the entire area of the camp. Patrols moved in the area between the wall and the internal fence; these patrols maintained eye contact with the two sentries posted on each of the four watchtowers. Machine guns were pointed at the camp from all directions. Searchlights illuminated the grounds at night. Every corner could be lit up brightly and brought under fire at will. In the beginning, the patrols had to drive away strangers and the curious, but this was a problem that soon took care of itself. After modernisation, the entire area was surrounded by a high wall and encircled during the day by the Große Postenkette. Patrols with dogs scoured the areas in between. The prisoner camp was enclosed by a moat; then came the concrete wall with the wire fence and watch- towers, a path for the nightly patrols, and a double row of electrified barbed wire. Finally, there was the death strip, covered with white gravel to make any shadow readily visible at night. 
Wolfgang Sofsky (56) 
Bodies lined up outside Dachau barracks
Bodies lined up outside the barracks upon liberation; shortly after liberation and the same view today
Dachau reconstructed barracks        Anti-Semitic vandalism Dachau
Inside the reconstructed barracks. After the 9-11 attacks in 2001, the barracks were targeted with anti-Semitic vandalism from neo-Nazis.
During the new construction of the camp in 1937-38 the prisoners had to build 34 barracks. The first two barracks on the left of the camp road were used for a variety of purposes in the course of the years. Located here were, for example, the canteen, the camp clerk office, the library and the ϟϟ museum as well as training rooms for the prisoner personnel and workshops serving the armaments industry. Located behind these barracks were those housing the prisoners. Every barrack was divided into four so-called Stuben, comprising of a day room and dormitory. The barracks were fitted to each hold 200 prisoners; towards the end of the war however they were completely overfilled, holding up to two thousand prisoners. On the right-hand side of the camp road was the infirmary, which expanded continuously in the course of the war. Behind the infirmary were the penal blocks and the quarantine barracks for the prisoners newly arriving at the camp.
Dachau prisoner baths (Häftlingsbad) 
The prisoner baths (Häftlingsbad) in 1942, shortly after liberation, and today. The prisoner baths, located in the maintenance building, belonged to the central rooms in the new camp. Here the newly arrived prisoners had their heads and bodies shaved before being disinfected and showered. The ϟϟ carried out this procedure not only for hygienic reasons, but also to deprive the inmates of their privacy and to humiliate them. Those who had already been arrested were initially taken to the prisoners' bathroom to shower once a week, later less often. After the bath, the newly admitted prisoners, urged by the ϟϟ, hurriedly received a prisoner's uniform, which mostly did not correspond to their dress size. From 1938 the uniform consisted of a jacket, trousers and a cap made of blue and white streaked drill. The shoes were made of wood and partly of linen. shower room DachauThe prisoners had to sew their prisoner numbers and coloured triangles on their prisoner clothing. In the prisoners' baths, the ϟϟ punished the prisoners for "violating" the camp regulations. The prisoners were beaten with a stick while they were being beaten. In 1941 the ϟϟ introduced the so-called “pole hanging” torture.The layout of the former prisoner bath has been preserved unchanged today. When the exhibition was redesigned, the original tub was exposed, but the wooden lattice walkways have been reconstructed. The anchoring of the beams attached to the pillars, on which the "pole hanging" was carried out, came to light during a historical building study. The central object in the room is this replica of the whipping buck from 1945, der Prügelbock, which was used as an object of illustration during the Dachau trials. Dachau whipping blockHere prisoners were brought, strapped down and whipped by two ϟϟ officers whilst having to count the blows, as demonstrated to Patton and Eisenhower at Ohrdruf.
An undated list for internal ϟϟ use prepared during the war mentions no fewer than forty-seven crimes punishable by official flogging. A few examples: ten strokes of the cane were given for “negligence at work and undisciplined behaviour,” twenty for “absence from the work place” and stealing of food, fifteen for “insolence toward a member of the ϟϟ” or “cutting up a woollen blanket”; the “theft of a potato” was punishable by five strokes on the whipping block.
Sofsky (332)
During my accreditation course I was told that such an exhibit is rare given the desire not to sensationalise the experience of the prisoners but to soberly recognise their suffering.
Erhard Milch Dachau
 Shown here are the beams for the “pole hanging” used as torture (between the pillars) during the inspection of the Dachau concentration camp by Erhard Milch, General Inspector of the Luftwaffe (front middle) and me at the site at the end of 2021. On July 19, 1940, he was appointed field marshal and from 1941 he was the general master of the Luftwaffe, the actual director of technical development and armaments production of the Air Force. In this capacity, he was also responsible for the vacuum- human experiments of the Luftwaffe from 1942 here in the camp which involved excruciating or fatal air pressure and hypothermia experiments were carried out on prisoners under duress for the air force. The question of whether he had known of human experiments in Dachau could not be clarified during the Nuremberg trials in the so-called Milch trial, so that he was acquitted on this point but was nevertheless sentenced to life imprisonment as a war criminal; in 1954 he was released.
Gustav Hinz dead February 19, 1941 hanging from Dachau sink
Gustav Hinz died on February 19, 1941 by hanging from the sink. The top right shows Franz Rabanda, died on May 29, 1940, in the electrified fence and below Josef Stessel, “shot while trying to escape” on August 11, 1940. It occurred that prisoners crossed the guard chain, which meant certain death by shooting, out of despair. Often, however, they were violently forced over the guard line by the guards and then shot “while trying to escape." With the mass committal of foreign prisoners from 1940 onwards, the number of deaths in the Dachau concentration camp rose dramatically. Death became an everyday event. Dying took place without any sign of piety and sympathy, the dead were robbed of all dignity. In order to conceal the horrific reality from the public, the ϟϟ built a crematorium in the camp in 1940. In June 1941 an independent registry office, Dachau II, was set up to register the deaths in the Dachau concentration camp.
Dachau's original crematorium original Dachau crematorium 1945
The original crematorium used by the Nazis with, on the right, American soldiers finishing their inspection of the site on November 18, 1945
Jean Brichaux photo of Barrack X chimney Dachau
This secretly taken photo on the left by the Belgian prisoner Jean Brichaux from the summer of 1944 is the only surviving shot of the crematorium facility taken during the existence of the concentration camp not originating from the Nazis themselves.  The photo shows the smoking chimney of the crematorium ovens and is thus the obvious proof for an operating crematorium. The difference in size of the chimney then and now is due to the Bavarian state's alteration in light of safety concerns, forcing it to be shortened. 
Caption on the back of the image: "Clandestine shot of the Crematorium in action. Photo taken by Jean Brichaux (Belgian) from the roof of the DAW in 1944." The long quadrangular fireplace rises into the white sky on the top half of the image - like a protrusion amplified by the vertical frame. We can clearly see the smoke escaping from it, and its shadow, projected on one side of the duct, which it redoubles the darkness: the crematorium is in operation that day. Then, below, is the tiled roof, pierced by two ridge skylights, surmounting the south facade of the brick building. We see two windows, and two open doors. It is a solid, massive and long building - it extends beyond the frame on both sides. To take this view, Jean Brichaux was able to leave the enclosure of the prison camp thanks to the pass from the photographic identification service: this area was strictly separated from it by lines of barbed wire - only the deportees assigned to this "Kommando" could access it. This photograph is not taken from the roof of the "DAW" (the weapons factory), as the caption indicates. Barrack X Dachau 1945 and todayJean Brichaux placed himself in front of the old smaller crematorium of Dachau: its two ovens no longer sufficient to burn all the corpses of the main camp and all the other satellite camps, a larger crematorium was then built between 1942 and 1943, containing four ovens - this is the one the photographer frames the exterior of. And this building, called “Barracks X”, also includes another addition: a gas chamber... An inmate is standing in front of the entrance on the right of the picture, alone, shirtless. He does not notice the photographer: he looks to the right of the frame, out of view. With his hands clasped behind his back, one foot a little ahead of the other, he seems to be on hold, in a moment of pause. It probably seems normal to this prisoner standing in front of "barracks X" for Jean Brichaux to take this image: photographers from the identification service regularly came to this enclosure to photograph the dead. The care taken in the shooting - the rigour of the framing and the accuracy of the exposure - denotes the relatively long time that Jean Brichaux devoted to it, and therefore the relative tranquility he was able to take advantage of.
Bodies outside Dachau crematorium after liberationAlso the loneliness of the shirtless inmate and his serene attitude in front of this large building open under the sun, the grassy area in the foreground of the image and the composition of the courtyard, they form, with the smoke in the sky  a strange painting: everything seems so peaceful, so normal - as in the photograph of the Buchenwald crematorium taken by Georges Angéli, at this same time in the summer of 1944. 
Bodies found in and outside the crematorium after liberation and the site today from a photo taken by Gilbert R. Di Loreto, a member of the first medical team to enter the Dachau concentration camp after its liberation. One of the chutes for depositing the Zyklon B can be seen on the left.
And how inhumanely the corpses were treated! The last piece of clothing they wore was taken from them. In the barracks there was barely enough room for the living. The naked corpses were therefore carried out onto the road and stacked in piles. There they lay in the dirt in the road. Once or twice a day a wagon pulled by prisoners came along and picked up the dead. They were covered with tarpaulin, taken to the crematorium and unloaded there onto the heaps of corpses which had arrived from other camps. The corpses were stacked one above the other like logs.
Bavarian International School students at Dachau crematorium  
The same view with my 2014 seniors; note new ramp since constructed. The corpses to the left of the nude mound of prisoner corpses are of ϟϟ personnel summarily executed by American troops. Behind the bodies can be seen what appears to be a 16 feet by six feet wooden screen covering the area where Zyklon B would have been administered.
Dachau crematorium
In front of the crematorium. For me the most gruesome aspect of this room showing the utter barbarity of the regime are the wooden planks above with metal hooks from which victims would be hanged directly in front of the ovens in which their bodies would be disposed. In the account of the conditions prevailing in “barrack X” in January 1945, former prisoner Karl Adolf Gross described how 
[t]he crematorium can hardly cope with the heaps of corpses laden stark naked like logs on carts, which resemble dung carts, and driven through the gate to be thrown to the embers without a prayer and chiming bells. Even the barbarians were not guilty of displaying such disrespect to the dead.

Gross had been a journalist and theologian, but after becoming a victim of blackmail and engaged in illegal financial transactions, was persecuted by the Nazis and sent to Sachsenhausen on August 20, 1939 for this and for his homosexuality. On September 2, 1939 he was transferred to Dachau; even after liberation he remained convicted in the form of the tightened §175 criminalising homosexuality under federal German law until 1969, losing his job, freedom, health and ultimately his life in 1955 from the long-term effects of his imprisonment here.

On the right former prisoners of the camp demonstrating the cremation of the dead to the Americans immediately after liberation and me at the site today. From May 1942 to April 1943 the camp administration had this larger building, the so-called Barrack X, erected opposite the first crematorium. It was equipped with four ovens, which were used for cremation from April 1943 to February 1945. After that the mass burials began in the cemetery of Leitenberg. The building also contained four disinfecting chambers for prisoners' clothing, which had been in operation since the summer of 1944. In another room, the inscription "shower-bath" was placed above the entrance. The room was white tiled, had a peephole and fifteen simple shower head dummies. On the outer wall were two metal flaps, which would also enable Zyklon B to be filled. American troops identified this space on April 29, 1945 as a gas chamber. This is also reported by former prisoners: "When, after the completion of the [gas chamber], the fears that it would lead to mass killing failed [...]".  Whether individual persons or a small group were killed by Zyklon B or other gas - for example, gas - cannot be proven, because many documents had been destroyed before the end of the war.
The surviving letter from ϟϟ doctor Rascher to Himmler of August 9, 1942, provides an indication of experiments with combat gas: "As you know, the KL Dachau has built the same facility as in Linz. After the invalid transports are ended in certain chambers [gas chambers] anyway, I ask whether the effects of our different firing gases can not be tested in these chambers at any time. "Another indication is the statement of former prisoner Frantisek Blaha who recorded how she had been "called to Rascher to investigate the first victims. Of the eight to nine people who were in the chamber, three were still alive and the others seemed dead." Barbara Distel, who served as the Director of the Dachau concentration camp memorial from 1975-2008, writes that "[w]hether the trial of the gassing proposed by Rascher has been carried out has not yet been clarified. According to the statements of former prisoners, however, such a use can not be ruled out." When killing by gas, the ϟϟ preferred to deport Dachau prisoners to the gas chamber of Hartheim or to Auschwitz. She concludes by stating that “[t]he question of whether people were actually murdered by poison gas in the gas chamber installed in this crematorium has not yet been answered with certainty; the sources in this respect are poor, and this has not changed in the 25 years which have passed since the first scientific inventory on ‘Nazi Mass Murders.'" Whilst some have speculated that a working gas chamber was built in connection with the execution of Soviet PoWs, she goes on to "question as to why the gas chamber, presumably erected in the spring of 1943, was not used for executions according to what we know today must remain unresolved just like the question whether the gas chamber was possibly used for individual killing actions.”

The plaque seen in the GIF above beside the crematoria is dedicated to four women who died in the service of the British Empire against Nazi tyranny from left to right: Yolande E.M. Beekman, Madeleine Damerment, Noorunisa Inayat Khan, and Eliane S. Plewman. It reads: "Here in Dachau on the 12th of September 1944 four young woman officers of the British Forces attached to Special Operations Executive were brutally murdered and their bodies cremated. They died as gallantly as they had served the Resistance in France during the common struggle for fredom from tyranny. '"But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God and there shall no torment touch them.'"
Bodies being held in room next to Dachau ovens
Bodies being held in the room next to the ovens before being cremated in a photo taken May 1, 1945 shown left. As Jürgen Zarusky writes in "That is not the American Way of Fighting,"
 The final months of Dachau were the worst. The camp was extremely overcrowded due to the continuous arrivals of transports evacuating the camps near the front. These transports resulted in a large number of fatalities. Most of the survivors arrived near death from exhaustion, undernourished and physically completely broken down. The hygienie [sic] conditions and the food situation were catastrophic. A typhus epidemic broke out in December 1944. Over 15,000 prisoners died due to sickness, undernourishment and by assault of the ϟϟ from the end of 1944 to the liberation. This is nearly half of the total of the fatalities of the Dachau camp. Cremation of the corpses was no longer possible. The bodies were piled up in the mortuaries and around the crematorium. There were over 32,000 prisoners in the camp at the end of April 1945. Hope of imminent liberation and fear of extermination by the ϟϟ or an evacuation of the camp caused the most diverse rumours and resulted in an armosphere [sic] of the highest nervous tension. Actually, a mass murder of the prisoners was at least considered. The various evacuation transports, especially the death march put into action on April 26th, precipitated a high number of casualties.
Holocaust deniers such as Matt Giwer and other such sites claim that a photograph taken after liberation shows a fraudulent gas chamber at Dachau-
The words on this door are warnings of danger and the lethality of the gas. Even for the iliterate (sic!), the skull and crossbones a clear warning. No one could be tricked into believing this is a shower.
In fact, the sign above the door actually reveals that the room served as disinfection chambers. It is then shown next to a photo of a completely different site-  the actual shower entrance- to claim that the site has been tampered with. The Nizkor Project devotes a page to this anti-semite's deplorable statements which shows the purpose behind his lies as well a page concerning him at  
Now such Holocaust denial is being promoted through Facebook.
Standing beside both doors here and below showing how they are completely different sites- at the four Degesch circulation disinfestation chambers for clothes shown during liberation and today. Degesch was a German chemical corporation which stood for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung mbH (German Corporation for Pest control). It had produced pesticides used against weeds, rodents and insects and owned the patent of the pesticide Zyklon, of which variant "B" lacked any odour or irritant and was used to execute people in gas chambers of German extermination camps during the Holocaust. Through the firms Tesch & Stabenow GmbH (Testa) and Heerdt-Linger (Heli) Degesch sold the poisonous gas Zyklon B to the Wehrmacht and the ϟϟ. The chairman of the board of directors from 1939 to 1945, Hermann Schlosser, was arrested in February 1948 and acquitted in April 1948 after which he managed to take another job as chairman of the board. The owner of Testa, Bruno Tesch, and its director Karl Weinbacher were convicted as war criminals and hanged by the British in Hamelin prison on May 16, 1946.
Entrance to Dachau shower       Artur Żmijewski's Game of Tag
And the entrance to the shower. On the right American Congressmen visiting the showers planned to later be used to exterminate and the room today. Meanwhile Artur Żmijewski's Game of Tag, a film showing an explicit nude game of tag in a Nazi gas chamber, is currently part of an exhibition titled “Poland – Israel – Germany. The experience of Auschwitz,” which opened May 2015 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK) which was endorsed and sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Poland. 
Dachau shower Dachau bodies
As Harry W. Mazal OBE writes, given the evidence that confronted soldiers, journalists and American Congressional investigators who visited the site as seen here, it is only natural that they assumed that the bodies found in the mortuary, on the floor of the gas chamber, and next to the old crematorium had been victims of the gas chamber.
Dachau execution wall bunker
Behind the 'bunker'- the camp prison, showing an inspection of the penal company of the ϟϟ penal camp in the Bunker-yard by ϟϟ judges in either 1941 or 1942. I'm standing in front of the so-called "death wall" beside the bunker which had served as the feared camp prison.
The mass executions at the “death wall” in the main camp were generally achieved by bullets to the nape of the neck. Thousands of men, women, and children were shot at this site. In Dachau as well, mass executions were carried out in the yard of the bunker or the garden of the crematorium, generally by bullets to the nape of the neck. Groups of fifteen to thirty prisoners were forced first to disrobe completely and then to kneel down in a row. The associates went from person to person, pressing a pistol to the base of each skull and pulling the trigger. This procedure had no military tradition behind it: killing by Genickschuß was a method first used by the secret police. Although the act of killing here was done by an individual, the sequence of slaughter was just as anonymous as in the case of a firing squad. Inside Dachau bunkerThe perpetrator saw the victim only from behind. Direct eye contact was precluded. Soldiers condemned to death stand erect and await a hail of bullets to their faces. Honour demands that they stand directly facing the enemy. By contrast, the concentration camp inmates were forced to kneel down, bending their necks forward, and were then liquidated in rows, one after the other.
 Sofsky (233)
 Inside the bunker with the cells on either side. Behind me is a fenced section preventing access- according to Mette Therbild, a friend who has long given tours of the site (as well as for students of mine), this restriction is due to the fact that ϟϟ prisoners were held within after the war before their trials; the cell walls still bear the Nazi-themed etchings and symbols which are prohibited today in Germany. Originally this camp prison was built from 1937 to 1938 and contained several parts. The central wing held the security guards' offices containing an examination room, a recording room and an interrogation room; the inmates were often tortured during these interrogations which explains why the walls of the interrogation room were insulated. The east and west wings were single cells. Prisoners often had to stay in these individual cells for several weeks or even months, receiving very little food. From 1941 special, prominent prisoners were locked up here whom the ϟϟ held as hostages in order to serve negotiatiation tools. As a result, these special inmates had better living conditions than the other inmates such as Georg Elser. Dachau bunkerToday, these cells provide first-hand accounts from bunker prisoners through audio and visual terminals with biographical information on some of the prisoners that were detained here. 
The bunker shown on the right in May 1945 and as it appears today. By 1944 special cells were built in the camp prison in which individual cells were converted by being divided into four smaller cells, each of which measured only 80cm by 80cm giving them the name 'standing cells.' The prisoners often had to stay in the standing cells for many days receiving very little food and air. The camp prison had a courtyard shown above that had originally been bisected in the middle by a wall which no longer exists. The ϟϟ built a shooting range in the eastern part of this courtyard; from the end of August 1941, the ϟϟ shot a large number of Soviet prisoners of war. Given the impossibility of keeping this a secret, the ϟϟ used ϟϟ-Schießplatz Hebertshausen for the task, described below.
Standing in front of Bavarian Riot Police HQ (Bayerische Bereitschaftspolizei Abteilung VI. Dachau) and as main entrance to SS training area
Standing in front of the Bavarian Riot Police HQ (Bayerische Bereitschaftspolizei Abteilung VI. Dachau) and as it appeared as the main entrance to the ϟϟ training area during a personal tour of the entire compound. The area was occupied by the American army as the Eastman Barracks after after the war until 1973 when the Bavarian Riot Police (VI Department) moved in there. This was a result of the incompetence shown by the German authorities during the Olympic Games the year before in which eleven Israelis were massacred by terrorists, compelling the Americans to provide a site that would allow the Germans to train themselves to provide counter-terrorism, particularly today by training police officers and keeping hundreds of people ready for closed missions such as football games and demonstrations. The Bavarian Riot Police also provides the helicopter squadron of the Bavarian Police and the Bavarian Police Orchestra. I was advised not to take photos inside given the level of extremist terrorism from the extreme Left directed at those who work for the state in buildings built for and used by the ϟϟ.
First prisoner transport to Dachau March 22, 1933
Showing the first prisoner transport to the camp on March 22, 1933 at the former entrance to the
ϟϟ grounds, where today a small section of the railway line leading directly to the western entrance of the ϟϟ camp remains; the sidetrack was removed in 1948. Two days before the liberation of the camp a prisoner transport from the Buchenwald concentration camp arrived. Loaded with 4,480 prisoners, the train had been en route for three weeks. The ϟϟ had crammed the prisoners in goods wagons and given them practically nothing to eat or drink. During the journey, thousands died of hunger and exhaustion or were simply shot by the ϟϟ. A train full of dying and already dead persons arrived in Dachau with only 816 persons surviving the transport. The ϟϟ refused the train entry into the ϟϟ camp, so that it remained standing on the track in front of the gates. Upon reaching the concentration camp, American troops found the bodies in the wagons, a discovery that traumatised many of them leading to the controversial massacre of guards during the liberation of Dachau by American soldiers. Site of the Dachau massacreThe Pocket Guide issued to troops stationed in Germany, a thoroughly researched document containing in depth information about the culture, customs and attitudes to expect in Nazi Germany, did not even mention the existence of the camps, despite detailed military and political knowledge of them. In fact, Eisenhower deliberately downplayed “a lot of it [the conditions in the camps]” to avoid “men going nuts and reacting like assassins” up to that point, although as we have seen his policy drastically changed shortly after his own experiences. However, almost simultaneously, Eisenhower had first-hand experience of the concentration camp at Ohrduf; on April 12th, he toured the camp with General Patton and aides. Shortly thereafter, he ordered all the troops in the vicinity to show them “what they were fighting for”. He also organised an official delegation from the US to visit the camps, because “all written statements up to now do not paint the full horrors.” 
Upon liberation, a coal yard near the ϟϟ hospital was used to contain the ϟϟ PoWs from the hospital, NCO school and finance centre.
Standing at the site of Dachau massacre
Standing at the site and as it appeared in a photograph of the incident being interrupted by an irate Colonel Sparks, who ran from where he had been stationed “about 100 to 200 meters on the other side of the wall”  To stop the shooting, Sparks shot his “.45 in the air whilst shouting 'Cease Fire!'”, before kicking the shooter away from the gun. The pink building to the right is an hospital. Sparks later described the area as enclosed by an “L-shaped masonry wall, about eight feet high, which had been used as a coal bin. The ground was covered with coal dust, and a narrow gauge railroad track, laid on top of the ground, led into the area.”  The prisoners were placed under the command of Lt. William P. Walsh , the same man who had shot four ϟϟ guards on the so-called Death Train. The number of men present varies enormously between accounts, but according to the investigation carried out by the Assistant Inspector General of the 7th Army, Joseph M. Whitaker (known as the IG report), estimates were in the range of 50-125, with the majority in the range of 50-75. From this point, the accounts of what happened to these men diverge wildly. Walsh gave the order to the machine gunner identified in the report as “C” and the other soldiers present to shoot the PoWs if they moved. An eyewitness, Karl Mann, remembered the I-Company officers deciding to shoot the ϟϟ men when Sparks was no longer in sight, although this also conflicts with the IG report which states that the ϟϟ men thought they were going to be executed when the machine gunner loaded his weapon, and lurched forward, triggering the shooting. However, other eyewitness reports, including the gunman himself, indicate that the trigger had instead been after someone shouted “fire”.
Dachau massacre wall then now
On the right is the site looking the other direction. The walls are gone but the dying tree in the photograph taken today appears in the original photograph.
 Numerous first-hand accounts from liberation portray the anger and disbelief that the soldiers felt, coupled with the combat mindset they still held, was expressed with violence. Letters home from soldiers also provide evidence to this effect; in one of Lt. Cowling’s letters home (written three days earlier than his official report), he stated unequivocally that “I will never take another German prisoner armed or unarmed. How can they expect to do what they have done and simply say 'I quit and go scot free'? They are not fit to live.” This tendency had not gone unnoticed by the Army brass present. It had become apparent to Sparks early in the day that the emotions of the troops were running high, and so he contacted headquarters for replacements to avoid an “explosion.” Dachau massacreThe violent reactions of the troops began early on in their exploration of the camp, which shows how natural the urge was on encountering the camp. Upon inspecting the Death Train, the Thunderbirds came across four Germans, bearing medical insignia, although these could have been false markings. Although they apparently attempted to surrender, Lt. Walsh ordered the four into a boxcar and shot them. Private Albert C. Pruitt then “finished them off with his rifle”, after screaming at them about their medical negligence. Other accounts reference ϟϟ guards “shot in the legs so they couldn’t move”, allowing the prisoners to take their revenge against their captors. Shown here is a guard, named Weiss, who is being confronted by two Polish prisoners. Others handed over weapons to prisoners, or shoot guards pointed out to them by their victims, or simply refused to intervene on the behalf of the ϟϟ soldiers, who were under their protection since the surrender of the camp.
Dachau massacreAfter the hospital shooting was stopped, some of the Americans allegedly gave a number of handguns to the now-liberated inmates. It has been claimed by eyewitnesses that the freed inmates tortured and killed a number of captured German troops, in retaliation for their treatment in the camp. The same witnesses claim that many of the German soldiers killed by the inmates were beaten to death with shovels and other tools supported by photographs of the event, a selection presented here. A number of Kapo prisoner-guards were also killed, torn apart by the inmates.
 At first the prisoners indulged in an innocent game of making the guards dance to their tune. They shouted ‘Mützen ab!’ and the ϟϟ men had to doff their caps. Then the Americans aided and abetted the prisoners in their revenge. One soldier lent an inmate a bayonet to behead a guard. A kapo was found lying naked with cuts all over his body and a gunshot wound to his head. They had rubbed salt into his wounds. Another was beaten to death with spades. Other guards were shot in the legs to immobilise them. Later reports drew a veil over what happened then, although it is clear that some of the Germans were ripped limb from limb. It seems that around forty more guards and kapos died this way. 
MacDonogh (67) After the Reich
SS guards being fished out of Dachau canalϟϟ guards being fished out of the canal, and as it appears today. The soldier on the far right has been identified as 19-year-old Richard F. Dutro of 232 Infantry, E Company from Zanesville, Ohio.
After entry into the camp, personnel of the 42nd Division discovered the presence of guards, presumed to be ϟϟ men, in a tower to the left of the main gate of the inmate stockade. This tower was attacked by Tec 3 Henry J. Wells 39271327, Headquarters Military Intelligence Service, ETO, covered and aided by a party under Lt. Col. Walter J. Fellenz, 0-23055, 222 Infantry. No fire was delivered against them by the guards in the tower. A number of Germans were taken prisoner; after they were taken, and within a few feet of the tower, from which they were taken, they were shot and killed.
Dachau courthouse
At the site of the Dachau courthouse selected by the American mili­tary to hold its German war crimes proceedings, officially known as U.S. vs. Valentin Bersin, et al. into the so-called Malmedy Mas­sacre. This incident constituted a war crime committed by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st ϟϟ Panzer Division), a German combat unit led by Joachim Peiper, at Baugnez crossroads near Malmedy, Belgium, on December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge. According to numerous eyewitness accounts, 84 American prisoners of war were massacred by their German captors: the prisoners were assembled in a field and shot with machine guns. The term Malmedy massacre also applies generally to the series of massacres committed by the same unit on the same day and following days. The defendants were 73 former members of the Waffen-ϟϟ, mostly from the ϟϟ Division Leibstandarte. Highest in rank were ϟϟ-Oberst-Gruppenführer Sepp Dietrich, commander of the 6th Panzer Army, his chief of staff, ϟϟ-Brigadeführer Fritz Krämer, ϟϟ-Gruppenführer Hermann Priess, commander of the I ϟϟ Panzer Corps and ϟϟ-Standartenführer Joachim Peiper, commander of the 1st ϟϟ Panzer Regiment - the core element of Kampfgruppe Peiper, which conducted the massacre. The  pro­ceedings began on May 12, 1946, and the ver­dicts were handed down on July 16, 1946, lter becoming the focus of some controversy. Colonel Everett was convinced that a fair trial had not been granted to the defendants: in addition to alleged mock trials, he claimed that "to extort confessions, American prosecution teams 'had kept the German defendants in dark, solitary confinement at near starvation rations up to six months; had applied various forms of torture, including the driving of burning matches under the prisoners' fingernails; had administered beatings which resulted in broken jaws and arms and permanently injured testicles'.
Dachau ϟϟ training camp
The former
ϟϟ training camp on December 23, 1948 when the Americans were using the site to hold the war crimes trials. The process wouldn't continue as the Cold War tensions intensified.
The Cold War shaped an American foreign policy that increasingly relied on the U.S.–Western German anticommunist alliance. The concentration camp disappeared from American propaganda in Germany, and Nazi atrocities receded to the distant background. The American efforts in Dachau in 1951 are emblematic. In order to “bridge the sea of misunderstanding,” the U.S. Army built a community centre in Dachau, and American officers invited local notables to a New Year’s party at the officers’ club.American officers organized a community-wide Christmas fund, encouraging civic cooperation between Catholics and “Evangelicalists” [sic], and tried to integrate the American military into the community. An ice rink in the U.S. Service Centre, previously reserved for American children, was opened to Germans. The centre’s new kindergarten likewise accepted German children to foster “a spirit of comradeship between children of the two nations.” “Prejudice has no place on Dachau’s playgrounds, where US and German kiddies show democracy in action,” boasted an article in the HICOG Monthly Bulletin. American official rhetoric no longer equated Dachau with its concentration camp. 
Cora Sol Goldstein (38-39) Capturing the German Eye
Bavarian International School students at Dachau Wirtschaftsbetriebe
The ϟϟ Wirtschaftsbetriebe or 'business enterprises' that served as the main factory for prisoners. It had been built around the time of the Great War; the period photo dates from 1941 and as it appears today with my Grade 10 Bavarian International School students. The Deutsche Wirtschaftsbetriebe (German Economic Enterprises), abbreviated DWB, was a project launched by Germany during the war that was organised and managed by the Allgemeine ϟϟ, a major branch of the ϟϟ officially established in the autumn of 1934 which was managed by the ϟϟ-Hauptamt. Its aim was to profit from the use of slave labour extracted from concentration camp inmates. The DWB controlled a wide variety of enterprises, many having been seized or otherwise expropriated from their rightful owners, ranging from stone quarries, brick manufacturing plants, cement mills, pharmaceutical factories, real estate, housing, building materials, book printing and binding, porcelain and ceramics, mineral water and fruit juices, furniture, foodstuffs, and textiles and leather.
Dachau Deutsche Wirtschaftsbetriebe
Although scarcity was ubiquitous, the personnel used the workshops in Dachau, which already employed five hundred artisans in 1933, for its own private orders. This was the origin of the system of graft and corruption in which many members of the commandant office staffs were implicated later on. When the Dachau workshops were transferred from the supervision of the central Inspektion and placed under Pohl’s Administrative Office, that move met with fierce opposition from the clique of commandants. The shift to commercial principles curtailed their private power of control. This line of conflict between the economic administration echelon and the camp ϟϟ also resurfaced in differences over the later deployment of prisoners in arms manufacture.
Sofsky (174)

Christmas 1933 Dachau
Release of roughly 600 prisoners from concentration camp at Christmas 1933 showing roughly fifty or sixty prisoners about to be released at the camp gate.
eingang Dachau; Himmler driven through main guard post 1941
Himmler being driven through  the main guard post of the camp in 1941; all that remains are the foundations recovered only since 2008. This is what is left of the former ϟϟ main guardhouse directly across from the ϟϟ Wirtschaftsbetriebe. From 1935, this served as the entrance to the camp. Harassed and beaten prisoners would pass through it from the railway station as well as prisoner transport such as buses and lorries. The ϟϟ members used it too when entering, and most lived further down this road to the ϟϟ residences.
This was the entrance through which the
ϟϟ deployed in the camp reached the actual concentration camp area which was separated by a wall from the ϟϟ drill camp in 1936. The ϟϟ deployed in the camp was divided into two units:– members of the commandant’s staff were responsible for disciplining and controlling the prisoners directly in the prisoner camp through fear through terror. Reporting only to the commandant, they were the main culprits of the torture, horrific punishment, and murders that took place. The ϟϟ guard squads were responsible for watch on the towers and escorting work details outside the camp grounds. These duties did not stop them however from tormenting and murdering individual prisoners.
Dachau Strasse der SS ϟϟ
These buildings on what was the 'Strasse der ϟϟ' , now within the Bavarian Riot Police HQ compound, served as residences for members of the ϟϟ. These villas were built as early as the time of the First World War and belonged to the former Muntions factory. Today only these eight houses remain of the former ϟϟ settlement and are used by the Bavarian riot police.
The centre of power was located in the administrative area. The offices of the camp commandant, the Political Department, and the administrative department were in close proximity to the prisoner camp, but just outside the barbed-wire perimeter. Every office of the KZ-Inspektion had its branch in this administrative zone. It served as the local representative of the central bureaucracy. A leafy, wooded area was set aside for the living quarters of the ϟϟ officers. In Dachau, these were located on the Straße der ϟϟ outside the camp.
Sofsky (49)
Dachau Kommandantur
Located where the current Information centre and in front of the Jourhaus (the Kommandant's HQ in the background), these metal corners mark the exact position of the building of the political department. The Dachau Kommandantur (headquarters) just outside the memorial site can be seen behind me on the right and as it appeared during the war. The chief function of the Political Department was to screen and process all political and other types of criminals, the keeping of their records, the notification of the higher interning authorities of deaths, discharges, or other disposition of the internees. Death sentences of internees were received by this department (from Berlin), and these sentences were referred for execution to Abteilung III (Schutzhaftlager), and upon the execution of the above, this department was responsible for turning in a final report of the carrying out of these orders. Gestapo came from Munich to carry on interrogations at Dachau. It was the responsibility of this department to interrogate and abuse Russian prisoners of war who were brought here for that specific purpose. Orders for the inhumane interrogation of the Russian prisoners of war were carried out by this department. Another function of this department was to recruit internees by intimidation for sabotage and espionage work.
Dachau commandant's headquarters
Prisoners arriving at the commandant's headquarters early in the camp's history in 1933. The area of the commandant's headquarters in the ϟϟ concentration camp was located directly next to the prisoner camp. The commandant had almost unrestricted control over the camp. The headquarters staff and the guard units carried out his orders.
In the major Dachau war crimes case (United States of America v. Martin Gottfried Weiss, forty-two officials of Dachau were tried from November to December 1945. All were found guilty – thirty-six of the defendants were sentenced to death on December 13, 1945, of whom 23 were hanged on May 28–29, 1946, including the commandant, ϟϟ-Obersturmbannführer Martin Gottfried Weiss, ϟϟ-Obersturmführer Freidrich Wilhelm Ruppert and camp doctors Karl Schilling and Fritz Hintermeyer. Camp commandant Weiss admitted in affidavit testimony that most of the deaths at Dachau during his administration were due to “typhus, TB, dysentery, pneumonia, pleurisy, and body weakness brought about by lack of food.” His testimony also admitted to deaths by shootings, hangings and medical experiments.

 The Plantation (Kräutergarten)
Dachau Kräutergarten in 1938In 1938 concentration camp prisoners were forced to build an herb garden (plantation) on the other side of the Alte Römerstrasse, east of the camp. The cultivation of local herbs was the idea of the 'working group for medicinal plants studies' and Reichsführer ϟϟ Heinrich Himmler showed particular interest in the plan. Germany should have no need to import foreign medicines and herbs. The economic importance of the work done by the prisoners in the herb garden increased as the war progressed. The ϟϟ guards marched the prisoners to work on the large open-air site under abusive threats and blows, and prisoners were arbitrarily shot 'while attempting to escape'. Less brutal working conditions reigned only in the buildings and greenhouses. There a work detail of draughtsmen was supposed to produce a plant collection for Himmler. At the risk of losing their lives, some of the prisoners managed to depict the crimes committed by ϟϟ guards in secret notes.  The ϟϟ set up a shop as part of the herb garden to sell produce from the 'plantation' to residents from Dachau and neighbouring communities. Some prisoners succeeded in establishing secret contact to the civilian population, notably with locals like Resi Huber who had secretly slipped the emaciated prisoners food and smuggled letters for them. However, ϟϟ guards were constantly present and violators were severely punished.
Himmler Dachau plantation
Himmler visiting the site. The area served to supply the eastern front with vitamin C and active plant substances and was thus a building block for the planned war of aggression. Based on the poor supply situation during the First World War, the herb garden had an important military task: The gladioli grown in Dachau were pulverised and processed into vitamin C , and sent to the Eastern Front as parcels for the soldiers of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen ϟϟ. A mixture of ground basil , thyme , and savory served as a German pepper substitute. There was also the goal of developing "German drugs", possibly with the motive of strengthening the soldiers' willingness to fight.
After the start of the war, the Dachau herb garden was also part of the planning of the ϟϟ settlement policy of the Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA), set out in the General Plan East in Eastern Europe in which after a victory over the Soviet Union, the depopulated areas were to be settled by German farmers, whose cultivation methods were to be developed in the Dachau herb garden. When it was completed in 1942, it was 148 hectares, the open spaces of which the ϟϟ cynically divided into the field names " Freiland I" and " Freiland II".
Dachau Kräutergarten
No savings were made for the various farm buildings, watchtower, apartments, workshops, classrooms, library, laboratories, drying barn and tool shed, greenhouses, spice mill, apiary, composting plant, ornamental garden and necessary facilities and installations (heating, transformer and pump house) and at that time a state-of-the-art, industrial horticultural company. The core of the complex were two elongated gable roof buildings with a courtyard and a gate seen with me in front on the left. Four 6 metre wide and 30 metre long greenhouses were built, as well as two 3 metre wide and fifty metre long greenhouses. The Mehlhorn
company from Saxony was responsible for the construction, owning patents for the applied construction of the glass structures using resistant, moisture-resistant American redwood which enabled the metal base support structure to be thermally decoupled from the glass and wood outer skin in order to avoid structural damage that could occur as the outside temperature can differ significantly from the inside temperature of a greenhouse. There were separating locks in the glass houses to divide them into temperature zones. There was a living barracks and an air raid shelter. Dachau plantationDuring the war, the buildings were partially expanded, but parts were not completed either. Between 1939 and 1940 around 1 million Reichsmarks were spent. The driving forces behind all this were Ernst Günther Schenck, who later became the "food inspector of the Waffen-ϟϟ", and Rudolf Lucaß, the master horticulturalist. According to the aims of the Deutschen Versuchsanstalt für Ernährung und Verpflegung GmbH (DVA) headed by ϟϟ-Obersturmbannführer Heinrich Vogel, Germany was to gain self-sufficiency in medicines, drugs, spices and medicinal plants whilst developing ways beyond the natural sciences that were suspected of being Jewish, and to develop models of how to improve German public health. In line with the Nazi ideology, the folk and natural history ideas were to be bundled in a "German folk medicine." Inspired by the esoteric teachings of Rudolf Steiner, a Nazi derivation of organic farming was practiced. 
 Dachau ϟϟ housing ϟϟ housing
Beside the plantation buildings on the way to Hebertshausen shooting range one goes past housing used by members of the ϟϟ. After listening to Adrian Weale's audiobook on the ϟϟ, he suggests Adolf Eichmann lived here at one point. They are shown here beside the Plantation complex in the scale model of the camp in the memorial site. Today one of the inhabitants chooses to fly the Confederate flag outside. 
Meanwhile AMAZON nixes rebel flag, continues selling Nazi memorabilia...

Hebertshausen ϟϟ Range
Hebertshausen ϟϟ Range guardhouse
The ϟϟ guard house around 1942, with the ϟϟ flag in front, and as it appears today. The building was used to house the facility attendant, provide accommodation quarters, offices, munitions store, and an inn; at the moment it's used as an homeless shleter.  Here in Hebertshausen, a municipality adjoining Dachau, is a shooting range that had been built for the ϟϟ in 1937.  Just over a mile to the north of the Dachau main camp, this is where roughly 4,000 imprisoned Soviet soldiers were executed from November 25 1941 to the final year of the war. The prisoners brought to Dachau for execution were not recorded in the concentration camp files. The victims had previously been "segregated" by Gestapo commandos in the prison camps of the Wehrkreise Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden and Salzburg, according to ideological and racist criteria. In particular, Communist officials, intelligentsia and Jews fell victim to mass murder. The former ϟϟ guardhouse shown above is used today as an homeless shelter. On May 2, 2014, the Dachau concentration camp memorial opened the newly designed memorial site at the former "ϟϟ-Schießplatz Hebertshausen".

entrance to Hebertshausen shooting range with SS runes  

Standing at the entrance to the shooting range April 30, 1945 and today; the ϟϟ runes have been removed but their traces remain on the now superfluous posts.

Hebertshausen shooting range in 1938 and today  In front of the coffin depot and shooting range in 1938 and today. The victims were killed as they were handcuffed to posts on the left side of the range shown on the right. Five of the prisoners brought in by truck had to step in front of the range undressed. They were handcuffed to waist-high stakes. Each of the twenty ϟϟ henchmen fired a shot on command in what they dubbed the "rifle festival". About 0.5 metres below the turf, to the right of the mound behind me in front of the opening of the bullet trap, is the place where thousands of Soviet prisoners of war died from 1941-42. After analysing the witness reports and aerial photos, the Institute for Prehistory and Early History and Provincial Roman Archeology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich carried out archaeological excavations in both shooting lanes of the former pistol shooting range in spring and autumn 2001 which supplemented the understanding obtained from historical research into the mass shootings of four to six thousand Soviet prisoners of war there during the years 1941 and 1942 with previously unknown aspects that were not mentioned in the witness reports. Together with a detailed digital survey of the entire complex, excavation areas were opened at various points in order to find the former fence, the coffin storage and the remains of the posts mentioned in witness reports, to which the victims were handcuffed. The western shooting range was identified as the exclusive site of the executions of 1941-1942 and the place where the victims met their deaths were precisely localised archaeologically. A considerable number of skull fragments were found from the murdered. The results of the historical, archeological and anthropological investigations confirmed that the mass murder committed on the shooting range was particularly cruel, going far beyond the standard of "normal executions".
On its eastern edge a shed had been erected, which served to store the coffins. These were used for transporting the corpses into the crematorium of the camp and returned from there. The coffins were of the most basic construction but later lined with zinc plate to prevent leakage of blood. The photo on the left, which probably dates from the 1940s, shows a rough-hewn shed, the left part of which is covered with a tarpaulin. Based on the aerial photos and the Lengfelder sketch shown below, it's clear that it was the southwestern corner of the pistol range, shown today with my bike as a marker. The "shed" is just a primitive-looking building with apparently only a temporary roof, reminiscent of the ones mentioned in the Torah report and a high wooden fence visible on the aerial photos had been built. According to former ϟϟ member Max Lengfelder, the coffins were made and stored here. The crate probably also served to camouflage the coffin storage. The sign on the right door wing with the inscription "Strictly forbidden to enter" is remarkable in that it is probably related to the secrecy of the killing campaign, which didn't allow the coffins to be stored in an openly visible manner. Next to the open left shed door, a room is seen leaning against the outer wall. The photographic reproduction of the wooden fence is important, given that it towered over the shed. The question arises whether it was specially built for the planned executions. Because on the already fenced and cordoned off area of the shooting range, its existence otherwise would make little sense given that on the one hand, the high wooden wall offered protection against unwanted glances, since the shooting range was not only visible from the heights outside the ϟϟ area and from the nearby railway embankment, but was also generally visible. On the other hand it prevented any attempts to escape. The area was all surrounded by a high deck fence to prevent any observation from the surrounding fields. The shootings must have been real bloodbaths, for which the ϟϟ involved had special overalls, aprons and gloves at their disposal. As the outside exhibition points out, the majority of perpetrators from the firing range were not directly confronted with either the dead behind the front or with dying in combat at the front. As evidenced by the testimony of Josef Thora, after work they were able to return to Munich or to the surrounding communities, which were still largely peaceful at the time.
Karel Kasak's photo of Hebertshausen shooting range
Former Czech political prisoner Karel Kasak's photo of the site immediately after the war, and a sketch of the execution site by Lengfelder from April 29, 1954. Lengfelder would receive a sentence of life imprisonment after the Anton Stinglwagner trial August 12-14, 1947. Within the entire area, the former pistol shooting range is more than just a place of remembrance; here in front of the bullet trap, at the site of the executions, rest scattered over an area of several metres - still under the protective turf today the only surviving remains of the corpses of the Soviet prisoners of war who were burned in the Munich and Dachau crematoria. Given that thus far no more than a quarter to a third of the expected fragments of precious metal have been recovered, the majority must still lie in the ground. As a crime scene and as a cemetery/war grave, this site continues to suffer from illegal robbers and dogs running free.  –
 Maria Seidenberger took these photos from the second floor window of her family's home whilst her mother stood outside and gave potatoes to the prisoners. Karel Kasak is shown standing with his back to the camera in the first photo, wearing a white shirt. According to Kasak's diary the prisoners were coming from Nuremberg.  Maria Seidenberger is the second child of Georg and Katharina Seidenberger. In 1943 she made the acquaintance of Karel Kasak, a Czech prisoner who was assigned to take photographs of flowers in the gardens right outside the main entrance to Dachau. He took advantage of his position to also photograph other prisoners and needed a safe place to hide his photos. Having learned that Maria worked in a photo lab, he asked if she would hide his clandestine photos. She also secretly stored Dachau prisoner photos and letters in her family's beehive and mailed them to the prisoner's relatives back in Czechoslovakia. She even hid the personal papers and human remains (a heart and death mask) of Masryk's personal archivist, Jaroslav Simsov, who died of typhus in Dachau.
 Maria explained how she and her mother heard the constant noise of the gun firing in her house during the day and stood frozen over the kitchen sink sobbing, knowing that each bullet meant the death of a person. On a Sunday Maria and Kasak, searched for the site where the Soviet PoWs were buried and found the mass grave. Maria went to the mass grave site to establish that mass murder had indeed happened and photographed the site. She gave her negatives to the Czech prisoner, Karel Kasak. During the final weeks of the war, Maria photographed the death march from Buchenwald to Dachau from inside her home in Hebertshausen. One photograph shows her mother distributing potatoes to the prisoners. After the war, Maria accompanied Kasak back to Czechoslovakia before returning to Hebertshausen in 1959. 
Hebertshausen shooting range
The route to the execution site just after liberation and today. After the war, the firing range initially continued to function; the American Army was still doing target practice here in the 1950s before the site became overgrown. When I took students here, one who actually lived in Hebertshausen told me she hadn't even known of the site's existence. In 1964, on the initiative of the Dachau camp community, a first memorial was erected in memory of the Soviet prisoners of war murdered here. It was not until 1998 that the site was declared part of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial. An archaeological investigation was conducted and the remains of the complex are uncovered. Since 2014 there has been an outdoor exhibition as well as several memorial signs, also using the names of those murdered here although only about a thousand are known so far. Since then, a memorial service has been held here every year on June 22nd. Like many former Nazi sites remaining, the building on the site is used as an homeless shelter.
The site vandalised soon after the opening of its outdoor exhibit after the site's signposts, information boards and even the monument itself had been spray-painted with bright pink lettering. Whilst the Dachau police described it as resulting in "massive damage," even though the lettering was illegible they excluded a political motive. They eventually identified a 24 year old Dachau woman as the culprit who is said to have sprayed swastikas and graffiti with Nazi symbols on the bicycle parking garage at Dachau train station, on manhole covers and power distribution boxes in Dachau, Hebertshausen and Karlsfeld, resulting in material damage estimated at around 4,000 euros. Despite admitting everything and evidence found at her apartment including spray cans, the police won't identify her.
schloß Deutenhofen Hebertshausen
Also in Hebertshausen is schloß Deutenhofen which served as a  Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (NSV) Müttererholungsheim (maternity home), shown here in 1941 from a postcard. The NSV was a social welfare organisation in Nazi Germany. In such places mothers with their children were accommodated here, and prepared for their task as housewife and mother. The mothers were relieved of the care of their infants and toddlers by sisters. The "Aryan" women were accompanied throughout the pregnancy as well as after the birth of the child. The women, from 20-30 years of age, would prepare the food for the children in the in-house kitchen. These  centres would organise festivals, raffles for the Winterhilfswerk, and hold compulsory meetings. Training sessions on public health and propaganda were regularly on the agenda. In the sense of Nazi ideology, the birth rate was to be increased. In a philosophical sense, above all, were the advertising evenings, which had the purpose of "guiding" women to the leader. It was suggested to the women that they had to serve the people and that they should bear sons for the wars to come.