Dachau (/ˈdɑːxaʊ/) was the first concentration camp built by Nazi Germany, opening on 22 March 1933. The camp was initially intended to intern Hitler's political opponents which consisted of: communists, social democrats, and other dissidents. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory northeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany. After its opening by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and, eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, Romani, German and Austrian criminals, and, finally, foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded. The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or Arbeitskommandos, and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. The main camp was liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945.
After 1942, the number of prisoners being held at the camp continued to exceed 12,000. Dachau originally held communists, leading socialists and other "enemies of the state" in 1933 but, over time, the Nazis began to send German Jews to the camp. In the early years of imprisonment, Jews were offered permission to emigrate overseas if they "voluntarily" gave their property to enhance Hitler's public treasury. Once Austria was annexed and Czechoslovakia was dissolved, the citizens of both countries became the next prisoners at Dachau. In 1940, Dachau became filled with Polish prisoners, who continued to be the majority of the prisoner population until Dachau was officially liberated.
On 24 April 1945, just days before the U.S. troops arrived at the camp, the commandant and a strong guard forced between 6,000 and 7,000 surviving inmates on a death march from Dachau south to Eurasburg, then eastwards towards the Tegernsee; liberated two days after Hitler's death by a Nisei-ethnicity U.S. Army artillery battalion. Any prisoners who could not keep up on the six-day march were shot. Many others died of exhaustion, hunger and exposure. Months later a mass grave containing 1,071 prisoners was found along the route.
The first Dachau subcamp discovered by advancing Allied forces was Kaufering IV by the 12th Armored Division on 27 April 1945. Subcamps liberated by the 12th Armored Division included: Erpting, Schrobenhausen, Schwabing, Langerringen, Türkheim, Lauingen, Schwabach, Germering.
During the liberation of the sub-camps surrounding Dachau, advance scouts of the U.S. Army's 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, a segregated battalion consisting of Nisei, 2nd generation Japanese-Americans, liberated the 3,000 prisoners of the "Kaufering IV Hurlach" slave labor camp. Perisco describes an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) team (code name LUXE) leading Army Intelligence to a "Camp IV" on 29 April. "They found the camp afire and a stack of some four hundred bodies burning ... American soldiers then went into Landsberg and rounded up all the male civilians they could find and marched them out to the camp. The former commandant was forced to lie amidst a pile of corpses. The male population of Landsberg was then ordered to walk by, and ordered to spit on the commandant as they passed. The commandant was then turned over to a group of liberated camp survivors". The 522nd's personnel later discovered the survivors of a death march headed generally southwards from the Dachau main camp to Eurasburg, then eastwards towards the Austrian border on 2 May, just west of the town of Waakirchen.
The first major camp to be liberated was Majdanek near Lublin, Poland in July 1944. Surprised by the rapid Soviet advance from the east, the Germans attempted to hide the evidence of mass murder by demolishing much of the camp, but parts - including the gas chambers - were left standing.
In every camp, Allied soldiers encountered appalling scenes. Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British forces on 15 April 1945. It had become exceptionally overcrowded after the arrival of survivors of the death marches. Thousands of unburied bodies lay strewn around the camp, while in the barracks some 60,000 starving and mortally ill people were packed together without food or water. The mortality rate amongst those suffering from typhus was over 60 per cent.
Stutthof was the first German concentration camp set up outside German borders in World War II, in operation from 2 September 1939. It was also the last camp liberated by the Allies, on 9 May 1945. It is estimated that between 63,000 and 65,000 prisoners of Stutthof concentration camp and its subcamps died as a result of murder, starvation, epidemics, extreme labour conditions, brutal and forced evacuations, and a lack of medical attention. Some 28,000 of those who died were Jews. In total, as many as 110,000 people were deported to the camp in the course of its existence. About 24,600 were transferred from Stutthof to other locations.
As the Allies advanced across Europe, they encountered and then liberated Nazi concentration camps and the inmates they found there. Despite the efforts by the Germans to hide or destroy evidence of mass murder, many camps remained intact and still held significant prisoner populations. After Soviet troops liberated Majdanek in July 1944, they proceeded to liberate camps throughout Eastern Europe, including Auschwitz in January 1945. Coming from the west, United States forces liberated Buchenwald and Dachau in April 1945 and the British liberated Bergen-Belsen that same month.
A companion book to the documentary of the same name detailing the involvement of the 761st Tank Battalion in the Second World War, the first African-American armored unit to see combat. Asserts that the 761st liberated Dachau, Buchenwald, and Lambach, and provides first-person accounts by members of the battalion recalling their views of the camps. Also details the battalion's training and battle experiences interspersed with stories of the racial discrimination they faced. Opens with a history of African-Americans in the United States military from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars through World War II.
An hour-by-hour account of the liberation of concentration camp Dachau, based on numerous interviews with former prisoners and the American soldiers who liberated them. Includes over 20 photographs and a glossary.
Contains all the footage taken by Soviet photographers in January and February 1945, shortly after Auschwitz was liberated. Soviet cameraman Alexander Vorontsov shares his impressions of the liberation.
Focuses on the liberation of the camps by Allied Armies in 1945. Captures the emotional reunions of survivors and liberators at the First International Liberators Conference and explores the memories of those who survived the Holocaust and the men and women who liberated the camps. Includes captured Nazi footage and still photographs from personal archives.
In spring 1945, the advancing allied troops liberated one by one the last remaining forced labor and concentration camps in Germany. The concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, located between Hamburg and Hannover, was surrendered to British troops on April 15, 1945. They found around 38,000 prisoners in the main camp and an additional 15,000 in another camp nearby. Thousands of corpses lay across the entire camp grounds; by the end of June around 14,000 people had died. After the final survivors were relocated to the barracks of the military training area and an emergency hospital was set up, the old barracks were burned to prevent further spreading of the epidemic. The corpses were laid to rest in a mass grave. The final number of the victims murdered in the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen is estimated to be around 50,000.
It was Toda's constant and impassioned plea that humanity could be liberated from horrific cycles of war only by fostering new generations of people imbued with a profound respect for the sanctity of life. He therefore gave the highest possible priority to the work of education.
The Abbaye d'Ardenne was liberated by the Regina Rifles shortly before midnight on July 8. Their members discovered the body of Lt. Williams (who is buried in the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery), however no trace of LCpl. Pollard was ever found. The Bayeux Memorial (near the Bayeux War Cemetery) lists him as missing. 2b1af7f3a8