In the beginning of the war First Lieutenant Hoffman gets orders to find a location
for a new powder and munitions factory. The choice is Würmmüllerhölz by Dachau.
8000 people work at the Pulver- und Munitionsfabrik Dachau (“Pumf”).
As a result of the Treaty of Versailles the factory has to close its doors. All laborers
are fired. The city of Dachau has the highest percentage of unemployed in all of
March 20 - At a press conference Himmler announces the establishment concentration
March 21 - Announcement in the Münchener Neuesten Nachrichten: “A concentration camp
for political prisoners by Dachau. In this camp, with a capacity for 5,000 people,
all communist and - if necessary - socialist and Marxist functionaries will be brought
March 22 - In the former office building of the “Pumf”, provisionally surrounded
by barbed wire, the first prisoners are brought in. They are guarded by policemen
April 11 - SS guard troops take over guarding the camp. 138 men for 200 prisoners.
That same month the number of prisoners increases to one thousand.
April 11 - Haupstumführer Wackerle becomes the first camp commander. He enacts some
disciplinary actions: standing justice, the death sentence, a camp judgment etc.
April 12 - The first murders are committed in the camp: four jewish communists are
shot to death escaping!
To judges from Munich accuse Wackerle. It does not come to trial but it is necessary
for Himmler to fire Wackerle
June 26 - Theodor Eicke sits as new camp commander of Dachau. He hones the punishment
measures in the camp. Giving in is weakness is his motto. He set a punishment of
death on sabotage, mutiny and rioting. Dachau acquires its nickname Schule der Gewalt
- the school of violence.
October 17 - The Munich officer of Justice once again brings a charge of murder.
Although the Bavarian government promises to investigate the matter thoroughly, it
is not brought to trial. Consequently the Ministry of Justice is denied admittance
to the camp.
Dachau becomes the base for the SS-Totenkpf Standarte, as well as the home base for
all SS units.
At year's end there are more than 2,400 prisoners. 22 already died this year.
In December Eicke gives the command to Heinrich Deubel.
170 prisoners; 14 deaths.
Thieves, asocials and recidivists are brought to Dachau.
Towards the end of the year, the strength of the SS is more than 1,000 men.
2,300 prisoners; 13 deaths.
Hans Loritz becomes the next commander of Dachau. Under Nero - as the men call him
- violence increases even further. The number of deaths increases drastically.
During the year 2,300 more prisoners are added. The number of discharges is even
higher, which means that the number of prisoners decreases to 2,000.
2,000 prisoners; 10 deaths.
Building a new camp is started. It takes about a year and is done by the prisoners
themselves. Later they will also build and SS village, with homes for officers and
2,300 prisoners; 69 deaths.
There are now 19,000 prisoners in the camp which was meant for 6,000. After the annexation
of Austria and the Sudetenland there are also foreign prisoners, for the first time.
The ever increasing number of deaths makes building a crematorium a necessity.
According to directions from Himmler, Dachau becomes the central camp for priests,
where clerics from all camps are brought together. Two thirds of the priests in Dachau
are Poles. Only half of them are able to survive Dachau.
During the thirties there are large exploitative undertakings by the SS. From the
forced labor of prisoners large profits are made.
A delegation from the International Red Cross visits the camp. From a report to Himmler
it appears that “from all that was seen and heard” the commission received a favorable
After the so-called Kristallnacht 11,000 Jews are brought to Dachau. Most of them
are released after several weeks, after they were forced to part with their property
and they agreed to emigrate.
9,000 prisoners; 370 deaths.
he grounds of the concentration camp and the SS-training base, as well as the nearby
shooting range are added to the area of the city of Dachau. The Plantation, an area
east of the camp is cultivated by the SS.
In September the concentration camp is emptied out to be outfitted as the training
base for the newly established SS-Totenkopfdivisie (Skull division). The prisoners
are divided between the concentration camps Buchenwald, Mauthausen and Flossenbürg.
100 prisoners remain. In 1939 there were 300 deaths.
In February 1940 Dachau becomes a concentration camp again. Alex Piorkowski assumes
After the occupation of their country a number of Poles are deported to Dachau. In
1940 alone, almost 20,000. Gradually there are thousands of new prisoners from the
other occupied European countries. The progress of the German armies can be deduced
from the prisoner population in the camps.
In Berlin the determination is made that all camps will have to have crematoria.
The sick bays of the camps are full.
6,800 prisoner; 265 deaths.
At the initiative of mainly Austrian communists and soviet officers a resistance
group develops in the camp. They search for escape routes, in case Germany loses
and the SS wants to commit mass murder.
Around the end of the year massive executions of soviet prisoners of war take place.
The number is estimated at 6,000.
7,500 prisoners; 2,700 deaths.
The beginning of the so-called invalid transports to the “euthanasia institution”
Schloss Hartheim by Linz. In the year 1942 alone, 3,200 people are killed with poison
In February, medical experiments on prisoners are begun. The aim is to investigate
the chances of survival for the military in emergency situations. Eighty prisoners
do not survive these tests.
Martin Wiss takes over command of the concentration camp Dachau. In the fall of 1942
certain groups of prisoners are allowed to write home and to receive packets of food.
A typhus epidemic demands a thousand victims.
12,500 prisoners; 2,500 deaths.
In January 1943 the camp has no less than 12,000 prisoners. The sub-camps of Dachau
rise up like mushrooms.
In April the second crematorium is built, with four ovens and a gas chamber.
19,000 prisoners; 1,100 deaths.
The number of mass executions increases dramatically. Due to a lack of fuel the use
of the crematoria is limited. Most of the dead are buried in the nearby Etzenhausen
With the advance of the Russian and allied troops a number of concentration camps
are evacuated; most of the prisoners go to Dachau.
Sub-camp Augsburg-Hatstetten is bombed by the allies. Four hundred prisoners lose
their lives in the air attack,
With the nearing of the allies, concentration camp Natzweiler in the Elsace is evacuated
to Dachau in its entirety. The population of the already overpopulated camp increases
by 7,000 men.
The strength of the SS troops is now over 2,500 men.
28,650 prisoners; 4,800 deaths.
The overpopulation of the camp takes catastrophic forms. At the end of December 1944,
a Typhus epidemic breaks out. This exacts about two hundred victims a day.
In the beginning of the year 1945 an illegal camp committee is formed, predecessor
of the current international Dachau Committee. In secret, preparations are made to
take measures in case the SS wants to destroy the camp.
April 4 - The Danish and Norwegian prisoners are delivered to the Swedish Red Cross.
With the liberation in sight, prominent prisoners like Georg Elser, the man who committed
the attack on Hitler, and the French General Delestraint were killed by a shot in
the neck. Order from Himmler to the commanders of Flössenburg and Dachau:
“Surrender is not an option. The camp has to be evacuated immediately. No prisoner
may fall into the enemy's hands alive. The prisoners of Buchenwald behaved very badly
towards the civilian population.”
No one is allowed to leave the camp. Work is suspended. There are indications that
the prisoners will be liquidated by bombings or poisoned gas.
In the days prior to the liberation many thousands of prisoners arrive from other
concentration camps, either by foot or by train. The majority of these people are
in deplorable condition from exhaustion und malnourishment.
On April 26 the so-called Totesmarch (Deathmarch) starts. Seven thousand prisoners
leave the camp, in groups. On the way they meet with three thousand from the sub
camps. A lot of them are shot by the SS during the trek, or perish from hunger, exhaustion
April 26 - Camp commander deserts.
A communist prisoner has a chance to escape. He is able to find the American units
close to Pfaffenhofen. Then urges them to use the greatest possible speed in their
push to Dachau, to prevent the destruction of the camp.
April 28 - Ex prisoners start the so-called Panzeralarm (Tank division alarm). Because
of that about four thousand SS flee. One hundred stay behind to guard.
April 29 - In the late afternoon military men from the 7th American army reach concentration
camp Dachau. During their march there, the Americans come upon a freight train with
two thousand bodies inside. At the crematorium the soldiers find another three thousand
bodies. White flags are hung from the watch towers. In spite of that, the American
are fired upon. The resistance is broken fast and the camp is liberated. Most of
the SS-ers are shot.
In the camp the liberators find 23,000 prisoners of 27 nationalities. Another 35,000
are found in the sub camps.
In the period from 1933 to 1945 more than 206,000 people were prisoners in Dachau
and the sub camps. There is certainty about the death of 32,000 people, amongst which
several hundred Dutchmen.
There is indication that the death count is much higher. Many of the ill prisoners
died after the liberation.
Repatriation is started with difficulty, it takes until the middle of June before
everyone has left the camp.