I was doing some research on the Dachau concentration camp today, when I came across this blog: Sráid Marx, An Irish Marxist Blog, which has some information here about a tour that the blogger took at Dachau with an Irish tour guide.
This quote is from Sráid Marx, An Irish Marxist Blog:
[The Dachau tour guide] told the story of the three hundred Luxembourg policemen who refused to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler and who were sent to Dachau as punishment. When they arrived they were ordered to do so again in the main square. When they again refused seventeen were selected at random and executed. The same ritual was held every year.
Although I have read many books about Dachau, and I have visited the Memorial Site five times, this is the first and only time that I have ever heard about 300 Luxembourg policemen being killed at Dachau, or about the ritual that was held every year. One would think that this atrocity would be well known. I have never taken a tour at Dachau; I have always wandered around on my own. Maybe I should go back one more time and take a tour given by an Irish guide.
I tried searching the Internet for more information on the 300 Luxembourg policemen, but all I could find was this website which sells military items. This quote is from the website:
Accused: Kolb, August Heinrich 4 Years 3 Months. Crime Category:NS-Crimes in etainment Centres, War Crimes Court: LG Nürnberg-Fürth 541013 BGH 550624 Country where the crime was committed: Germany Crime Location: HS KL Sachsenhausen Crime Date: 42-45 Victims: Prisoners, Prisoners of War. Nationality: German, Luxembourg, Polish, Soviet, unknown.Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Sachsenhausen. Subject of the proceeding: Participation of a Schutzhaftlagerführer in the hanging of prisoners on the roll-call square as well as in individual executions of a total of at least 100 persons, who were killed in the factory court-yard by a shot in the back of the neck (‘Genickschuss’) or by hanging, on orders of the Reich Security Main Office. Shooting of at least 50 prisoners, who were unfit for work as well as of 19 Luxembourg policemen, who had refused to take the oath of loyalty on Hitler. Participation in the shooting of at least 20 prisoners, who fell behind because of exhaustion during an evacuation march in April 1945
Note that the above reference is to the shooting of 19 Luxembourg policemen at the Sachsenhausen camp, not at Dachau.
Just how reliable is the information given by the Irish tour guide at Dachau? Here is another quote about what the Irish tour guide said:
He told the story [of] Johann Georg Elser, a religious worker who was a keen defender of workers’ rights who had voted for the Communist Party until 1933. In 1939 he planted a bomb in a Munich beer hall where Hitler was due to speak. Hitler was due to fly back to Berlin that night but because of fog it was thought he should take the train so he left earlier than planned. The bomb missed Hitler by 13 minutes. Elser was caught, severely tortured by the Gestapo, and incarcerated in Dachau. Hitler planned that when the war was won he would be put in front of a show trial and executed.
Just a few short weeks before the end of the war Hitler ordered the killing of Elser and he was shot in the bunker at Dachau.
I am surprised that a tour guide at Dachau is now telling visitors that Georg Elser was shot in the camp bunker. The Dachau Memorial Site was previously telling visitors that Elser was killed by a bomb that hit the camp on April 9, 1945. This was the same day that a British prisoner, Sigismund Payne-Best, arrived at the camp; he had been transferred to Dachau from Buchenwald. All the prisoners in the bunker had been taken to a bomb shelter on the day that the bomb hit, so Elser could not have been killed by the bomb.
So now the truth comes out: it was Hitler who ordered the shooting of Georg Elser. Hitler thought that the British were involved in the plot to kill him. Did Hitler give an order to kill Elser because he didn’t want anyone to know that the British were involved in the assassination attempt? Or was it Sigismund Payne-Best who gave the order to kill Elser? I previously blogged about the death of Georg Elser here.
Here is one more quote about what the Irish tour guide told visitors to Dachau:
Our guide pointed out that the concentration camp was only a relatively small part of the whole and the much larger part was the SS training camp. Today it is a training camp for the German police. In 1972, for the Munich Olympic Games and because of the widespread media attention this would bring, the authorities knocked down parts of the site and built a mound between this training camp and the concentration camp. In this way it would not be possible to view the training camp and it would perhaps not arouse questions. This is now covered in grass and trees today.A campaign involving survivors succeeded in getting part of this removed so that today you can see, but not enter, this camp, and see one of the original but otherwise unremarkable buildings still in existence.
On my first three visits to Dachau in 1997, 2001 and 2003, the entrance into the camp was on the east side, through a hole in the fence around the camp, as shown in the 2003 photo below.
My photo below shows some of what is left of the SS training camp today. The mounds that you see on each side cover the old factory buildings that were torn down. The “authorities” did not build these mounds.
Compare the two photos below. The old black and white photo below shows factories that were formerly outside the entrance through the Dachau gatehouse. These factories were torn down and covered over with grass, which you see in recent photos.
There was previously a high wall, built by the American military, which separated the Dachau Memorial Site from the SS training camp, which the US Army took over and occupied for 28 years. This wall was torn down when the Memorial Site officials decided to allow tourists to enter the camp through the Arbeit Macht Frei gate, just as the prisoners did. The incoming prisoners had to walk from the train station in the town of Dachau to the camp. They did not arrive on the train tracks that you see at Dachau today. These were narrow gauge tracks for transporting goods into the camp.