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September 12, 2010

Russian Orthodox Chapel at Dachau

At the Dachau Memorial Site, there is a small Russian Orthodox Chapel, called “Resurrection of our Lord,” located just to the left of the tourist entrance into the crematoria area.  The chapel was built by members of the Russian armed forces after the fall of Communism and the Soviet Union. It was dedicated on April 29, 1995, the 50ieth anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp by American troops.

Russian Orthodox Chapel at Dachau Memorial Site

As shown in the photo above, the chapel is set upon a mound of earth that includes some dirt that was brought from Russia.

The photo below was taken inside the Russian Orthodox chapel. It shows a painting of the resurrected Jesus Christ, leading the Russian prisoners out of their barracks on liberation day, and through a gate that is being held open by angels on either side of Christ. Two guard towers and the barracks in the concentration camp at Dachau can be seen in the background.

The interior of the Russian Orthodox Chapel

There are two memorials inside the chapel which show Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and Pilate presenting him to the people with the words “Ecce homo.”

The chapel is too small to have seats for visitors, but in spite of this, the chapel is used both for private prayer and regularly scheduled religious services.

The Chapel was built in honor of an estimated 6,000 Russian Prisoners of War who allegedly died in the Dachau camp or were executed at the SS firing range at Herbertshausen.  The alleged execution of 6,000 Russian POWs was not proved at the proceedings of the American Military Tribunal, held at Dachau after the war.

Ninety Russian POWs, who were believed to be Communist Commissars, were hanged at Dachau, on an order from Adolf Hitler who issued this directive on the eve of the German invasion of Russia on July 22, 1941.  Staff members at the Dachau concentration camp were convicted by an American Military Tribunal of a war crime, under the rules of the 1929 Geneva convention, for the execution of the 90 Russian officers, even though the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention and were not following it with regard to German POWs.

In all the Nazi concentration camps, the Russian POWs were treated much worse than the other prisoners, in retaliation for the atrocities committed by the Russians against German soldiers.  After the liberation of Dachau, the remaining Russian POWs were turned over to the Soviet Union in accordance with the Allied agreement at Yalta in 1943. The Soviet Union treated these returning prisoners as traitors and immediately sent them to the gulags, as the Communist concentration camps were called.

There were 3,900 Russian prisoners at Dachau when the camp was liberated, the second largest ethnic group in the camp. The majority of the prisoners at Dachau were Polish Catholics.

A Catholic church was built at Dachau in 1960 even before the camp was turned into a memorial site.  There is also a Protestant Church and a Jewish Memorial at Dachau.

Jewish Memorial at Dachau Memorial Site with a Catholic Carmelite convent in the background

Protestant Church at Dachau Memorial Site

(Click on the photos to enlarge)

Catholic Church at Dachau Memorial Site

In deference to the Jews, who cannot pray within site of a Christian cross, there is a crown of thorns on top of the Catholic Church, instead of a cross.

9 Comments »

  1. You only would know that information if your a nazi white supremacist and have been gay all your life. I will tell you that the jews and gypsies went through so much horror in that camp and how dare you ever lecture me on what I saw there and went through at that age. You are covering for the nazi scum who committed those crimes, and the time for justice is ever present and will get all involved and allow them to be charged for their crimes against humanity. You are not much more than a communistic greasy white power ignorant uneducated small brained butt hole who has never been anything in life and will amount to lint or less. You have my sympathy for being so goat cheese like and have a good day you window licker.

    Comment by william — December 30, 2010 @ 8:54 am

  2. I am writing because when I was 12 I visited the camp and saw 6 nuns preying for the only six marked graves in the camp of german soldiers. I was shocked and asked the nuns why they did it for them and not the fallen who were mercilessly treated there. They replied that it was because their souls were in heaven and the soldiers needed to be preyed for because they were in hell. I do not agree with it, but it shows more mercy than I can stomach.

    Comment by william kotel — December 11, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

    • I think you mean praying, not preying. I didn’t know that there were any marked graves for German soldiers at Dachau. Where are these graves?

      Comment by furtherglory — December 11, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

    • Do you recall if the nuns said that the German soldiers were in “everlasting hell” or just “hell”? Maybe they meant that the soldiers were in purgatory, which is a place that Catholics can eventually get out of and get into heaven. Jews do not believe in heaven, so it is unlikely that any of “the fallen” who were Jews are in Catholic heaven. The prisoners at Dachau were primarily “illegal combatants” who were captured while fighting in the Resistance. The largest group of prisoners were Polish Catholics who were there because they had been blowing up German troop trains and killing kidnapped German officers while fighting with the Resistance. There were also criminals who were there because German criminals were sent to concentration camps and put to work instead of being kept in prison cells. Did all those people go to heaven, regardless of the crimes they had committed?

      The German soldiers who were killed by the American liberators had absolutely nothing to do with the camp. They had been sent there to surrender the camp after all the regular staff members escaped the day before. Other German soldiers were dragged out of a hospital in the SS camp next door to the concentration camp; they were shot while they had their hands in the air. So the nuns thought that wounded German soldiers in the regular Army who were murdered by the Americans were in hell while the criminals in the Dachau camp were in heaven?

      I think that a Catholic priest would tell you that it was a sin for these nuns to make judgments like this. This incident should be reported to the Pope, who is German. See if he thinks that German soldiers automatically go to hell while common criminals and terrorists go to heaven, along with Jews who don’t believe in heaven. Sorry, but your story is very upsetting to me.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 12, 2010 @ 5:34 am

      • First off it is preying, and second off who taught you about religion. The people in that camp were jews and gypsy’s who were burned and gased alive. There are 6 marked graves across from the chapel there and were the guards there. The germans killed by Americans were part of the camp. Yu sound like a german or a sympathetic who knows nothing of religion or what really took place there. I suggest you refrain from speaking further as you must be part of or related to them. The Pope was also in the hitler youth and I am Catholic so there is a conflict.

        Comment by william kotel — December 22, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

        • Go to the online dictionary at this website for the definition of preying

          http://www.thefreedictionary.com/preying

          There are marked graves of ashes near the chapel, but I don’t think there are any graves of the guards there. In the war crimes trials after World War II, there were no charges of burning Jews and Gypsies alive at Dachau. At the trial of the Dachau staff, there were no charges of gassing anyone at Dachau.

          The Pope was required to be in the Hitler Youth, but he didn’t attend the meetings. I am a Catholic too and I learned religion when I attended Catholic School for 8 years. I have been to the Dachau Memorial site many times.

          Comment by furtherglory — December 22, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

          • There are 6 graves with head stones there. You are full of shit and must be a nazi sympathizer. I have no sympathy for you. PS you know nothing of prayer so please get bent and have a good holiday

            Comment by william kotel — December 23, 2010 @ 10:19 am

            • I have searched and searched on the Internet and I have not found any photos or any mention of six grave stones of German soldiers at Dachau. Some of the bodies of the guards and other German soldiers who were killed by the American liberators were burned in the crematory ovens. Other bodies were buried on the grounds of the SS camp that was next to the concentration camp. According to one of the soldiers who survived, the dog tags were removed before the soldiers were buried. To this day, the German people are not allowed to dig on the grounds of the SS camp to find the bodies. If you can direct me to a photo of the graves, I would appreciate it.

              Comment by furtherglory — December 23, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

            • P.S. I don’t know what “get bent” means but I suspect that it is a gay expression since there was a movie about homosexual prisoners at Dachau, and the name of the movie is “Bent.” The killing of the German soldiers at Dachau was kept secret for 40 years; the families were not notified about the deaths of their loved ones. If there are 6 graves of German soldiers at Dachau, they could not have been put there until around 1985. The bodies had been burned or buried in secret locations forty years before. So where did they get the bodies? Were some of the bones accidentally dug up when the Russian Orthodox Church was built? Are there names on the grave stones?

              Comment by furtherglory — December 24, 2010 @ 5:42 am


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