Shortly after I began blogging, back in February 2010, I learned from some of the comments on my posts, that many people believe that, in the last days of World War II, the Nazis increased the killing of prisoners in the concentration camps because they did not want to leave witnesses behind to testify about the atrocities in the camps. It is a fact that the number of deaths increased dramatically in the last six months of the war.
At the Nuremberg IMT, Ernst Kaltenbrunner was accused of giving an order to kill all the prisoners before American soldiers arrived to liberate the remaining camps. Kaltenbrunner was the Chief of RSHA (Reich Security Head Office) which was a very high position in the Nazi hierarchy. An order allegedly arrived at Dachau, just days before the camp was liberated, in which the killing of all the prisoners was commanded.
This morning I read the following quote about Dachau here:
Displays at the camp show those piles of bodies toward the end of the war as the Nazi world collapsed and it became more important to kill prisoners to eliminate witnesses.
A lot of new display signs have been put up at Dachau since my last visit. The signs apparently tell tourists that prisoners were killed in the last days of the war “to eliminate witnesses.”
What about the 2,226 prisoners who died in the month of May after Dachau was liberated? Did the Nazis sneak into the camp and kill them to eliminate witnesses?
What about the 30,000 prisoners who were still alive at Dachau when the American liberators arrived? Did the Nazis run out of time and were not able to kill all the prisoners?
There is also a common belief that the prisoners were marched out of the camps, or put on trains and sent to another camp, so that they could be killed. Even the VIP prisoners at Dachau were allegedly sent to the South Tyrol in order to be killed.
A recent comment on my blog by history professor Harold Marcuse included these quotes:
When some responsible German officials realized beyond doubt that the war was lost, they drew the “logical” conclusion and burned the marching prisoners alive, as happened at Ohrdruf, Gardelegen and numerous other places. For them apparently, dead evidence was better than alive evidence.
In any case the death marches in 1945 were a largely futile attempt to keep human evidence of and witnesses to atrocities from falling into Allied hands.
It seems that the belief that prisoners were killed to keep them from testifying about the “atrocities” is now a part of the official history of the Holocaust, at least at the Dachau Memorial Site, and in history classes in America.
I got into trouble with the Thought Police a couple of months ago when I wrote that prisoners were brought from the sub-camps to the main Dachau camp in order to consolidate the prisoners so that they could be liberated by the Americans. The Holocaust True Believers say that the prisoners were brought to the main camp to be killed in accordance with the alleged order to kill all the prisoners to keep them from being witnesses.
The plan to kill all the prisoners was obviously not carried out, so there were an additional 15,000 prisoners at the main camp when the liberators arrived. The tour guides at Dachau make a big point of telling visitors how crowded it was in the camp, but always neglect to mention that half of the prisoners who were in the camp on the day of liberation had only been there a few weeks and some had arrived on the day before. The mothers with babies didn’t arrive until the day after the camp was liberated, much too late to be killed under the alleged order to kill all the prisoners.