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The Prisoners

 

"I want everyone to know that there were no nameless heroes, that they were people, who had their own names, faces, longings and hopes, and that therefore the pain also of the last of them was no smaller than that of the first, whose name has been preserved."

( Julius Fucik, born 1903, executed by the Nazis in 1943)

 

The first prisoners were political opponents of the regime, communists, social democrats, trade unionists, also occasionally members of conservative and liberal political parties. The first Jewish prisoners were also sent to the Dachau concentration camp because of their political opposition. In the following years new groups were deported to Dachau: these included Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, members of the Jehovah's Witness, and priests. In the wake of the November pogrom alone, the so-called Reichskristallnacht ("The Night of Broken Glass"), more than 10,000 Jews were sent to the Dachau concentration camp.

From 1938 onwards, the Nazi aggression that was now directed outwards against other European countries became mirrored in the prisoner society within the camp: after the Anschluß (annexation or connection) with Austria in the spring of 1938, Austrian prisoners were deported to Dachau, while in the same year prisoners from the Sudeten German areas followed, in March 1939 came Czech prisoners, and after the start of the war prisoners from Poland, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France etc.

The German prisoners eventually became a minority; the largest national group was formed by the Polish prisoners, followed by prisoners from the Soviet Union. Overall, more than 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were imprisoned in Dachau.

 

The first prisoners arrive in Dachau

 

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