Dachau Concentration Camp Research Paper

Dachau was the first concentration camp in Nazi Germany. It was established in March 1933 on the outskirts of Dachau (17 km from Munich). During the entire period of the camp existence, there were imprisoned 250 thousand people from 24 countries, about 70 thousand were brutally tortured or killed, 140 thousand transferred to other concentration camps, 30 thousand survived until liberation. It is known that in Dachau the prisoners were subjected to illegal "medical experiments." During the 2nd World War 1939-45 camp had about 125 branches and so-called external commands for military enterprises in Southern Germany and Austria. It Dachau, there was an underground organization of prisoners led by international committee, which started an uprising 28 April 1945, the day before the arrival of the Americans, disrupting the Nazi plan to destroy the surviving prisoners. In 1960, a memorial to the victims of Dachau was erected.

Dachau concentration camp was the only one that existed during the twelve-year period of National Socialist dictatorship. During this time, the quantity and composition of the camp inmates varied as thoroughly as the conditions of their life and chances of their survival.

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In the period of time between the opening of the camp March 22, 1933 and the anschluss of Austria in February 1938 Dachau held only German citizens. Primarily they were political opponents of the National Socialists, but as well camp contained Jehovah's Witnesses who refused military service, Jews, "lazy" (who refuse to work), and offenders sentenced to punishment in penal or exemplary prison, Gypsies, like Jews who were considered racially inferior, homosexuals and others who for various reasons did not fit to the Social racist national Socialist concept of "national society."

In early 1938, along with the Austrian prisoners, the first no German prisoners came to Dachau. Among them, along with Jews, there were many prominent politicians of different political persuasions. After the pogrom of November 9, 1938, titled Crystal Night, more than 11,000 Jews from Germany and Austria were sent to Dachau. Most of them were released in a few weeks with the order to leave Germany and their property was looted. By 1938, the number of prisoners per year had ranged between 2000 and 2500. In 1938, after the Anschluss of Austria, their number was increased to 6000 and the arrival of the Jews after the Crystal Night December 1, 1938 - to 14,232. Before the Second World War in Dachau were killed about 500 prisoners.

From late September 1939 to February 1940 for training front-line SS Division "Totenkopf," the camp was cleared of prisoners who were moved to the camps Mauthausen, Buchenwald, and Flospsenburh. This ends prewar history of the camp as an instrument of state terror that was originaly used solely against the German political foes, and then against all "non-compliant."

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Frame Your Search


Dachau, concentration camp, Munich, Bavaria, factory, Nazi, communist, prisoners, Stephen Wise, Madison Square Garden

See Dates to Check

On March 22, 1933, Dachau opened as the first regular Nazi concentration camp. It was located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich in Bavaria (in southern Germany). Dachau was established initially to incarcerate political prisoners, primarily German Communists, Social Democrats, trade unionists, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime. During its first year, the camp held about 4,800 prisoners.

Though it was not one of the extermination camps later established by the Germans to kill European Jews during World War II, Dachau was a training center for SS concentration camp guards; the camp's organization and routine became a model for all Nazi concentration camps.

Only five days after Dachau opened, on March 27, 1933, anti-Nazi groups led by American rabbi Stephen S. Wise organized a massive rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City to protest Nazi persecution of political opponents, Jews, labor leaders, and others.


Berben, Paul. Dachau, 1933-1945: The Official History. London: Norfolk Press, 1975.

International Dachau Committee. The Dachau Concentration Camp, 1933 to 1945: Text and Photo Documents from the Exhibition. Dachau: Comite´ International de Dachau, 2005.

Marcuse, Harold. Legacies of Dachau: The Uses and Abuses of a Concentration Camp, 1933-2001. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Neurath, Paul. The Society of Terror: Inside the Dachau and Buchenwald Concentration Camps. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2005.

Dates to Check

Typically, daily newspapers reported news the morning after it occurred. However, some papers were printed in multiple editions, including evening news. If you are using an evening paper, begin your search on the same day as the event being researched.

March 20-27, 1933 News articles about opening of Dachau concentration camp.

March 1 - August 30, 1933 News, editorials, op-eds, letters to the editor, and cartoons reacting to early Nazi persecution and Dachau.

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