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The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

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The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

The first fascist concentration camp opened in 1933 near Munich, in Dachau. Heinrich Himmler, then chief of police in Munich, and later one of the main politicians of the Third Reich, was the initiator of the creation of a system of legal oppression and the destruction of people unwanted by the government.

The Dachau Memorial Museum opened in 1965, 20 years after the liberation of prisoners by American troops. During this time, historians gathered, studied documents and eyewitness accounts of the work of the concentration camps, by the combined efforts of scientists from different countries recreated a terrible picture of the existence of the "death factory."

The main conclusion made by the world community on the basis of knowledge about this segment of history is that this should not be repeated. The memorial museum of the Dachau concentration camp exists so that humanity will not forget what the fanaticism of politicians and the impunity of governments can lead to. On one of the memorial walls in 5 languages, a short phrase is posted: "Never again."

History: it all started with objectionable communists and the fire in the Reichstag

The system of total destruction did not arise in one day. On an excursion in a former concentration camp they will talk about Germany in the period before the Second World War, about the struggle of the National Socialists led by Hitler for power. NSDAP, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, with general success, could not gain a majority, it was greatly hindered by the Communists and their allies.

The solution to the problem came after an emergency: in the Reichstag building, arson was committed on February 27, 1933. The government announced the introduction of the emergency regime, the Irish Communist was accused of arson - this made it possible to remove the Communists from the political arena, but the Nazis needed complete control. Then the idea of "reeducation by labor" of the first German Communists arose. The concentration camp in Dachau began its work on March 22, 1933: in the first year of its existence, the camp numbered more than 5,000 prisoners. After the Communists, nations began to interfere:

  • mentally unhealthy
  • homosexuals
  • representatives of nationalities whom the Nazis considered inferior
  • dissatisfied with the policies of the Nazi government.

With the entry of Germany into World War II, prisoners of war and residents of the occupied territories joined them.

The Nazis used free labor in industry and construction in the most difficult conditions. In 1936, a mocking forged inscription appeared on the gates of the Dachau camp: "Labor makes free." Any offense was punished right up to the death penalty, the life of the prisoners was completely in the hands of local bosses and guards.

Over the 12 years of Dachau's existence, 8 commandants have been replaced. The second commandant, Theodore Eike, became the ideological inspirer and developer of concentration camps, created and headed the security system - the Dead Head division. Eike was the first to set up cruel experiments on people in Dachau: they studied the effect of low temperatures on the human body, tested poisons and gases on people. Later, Theodor Eike traveled to other concentration camps to help organize and consult.

By the beginning of the 1940s, Dachau occupied a vast territory and had 123 branches. Until 1945, 235,000 prisoners passed through the camp. The history of the concentration camp in Dachau is not only a narrative of the inhuman activity of the Nazis, but also a story of fortitude: under the conditions of total oppression, underground organizations, centers of resistance acted, rebellions broke out.

The camp was liberated by the U.S. military on April 29, 1945. What they saw in the camp was a serious test of the psyche. Documents, photographs, eyewitness accounts of what happened in Dachau supported the war crimes charge during the Nuremberg trials.

Respectful silence in the territory of the former concentration camp

In Dachau, memorial museum employees talk about the dramatic events of 20th-century German history, about the heroes and antiheroes of a concentration camp, show photographs, drawings, and sculptures of former prisoners. International conferences are held here, celebrating the anniversary of the release of prisoners of a concentration camp.

In addition to the buildings and structures left from the concentration camp, the memorial houses art objects dedicated to the memory of those who went through the horrors of Nazism. The Monument to the Victims of Nazism depicts people hanging on a wire along which a current is started. There are always fresh flowers at the memorial wall, at the monument to the burned prisoners. The words on the memorial wall express the thoughts of everyone who came here: never again.

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