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June 17, 2010

People in the town of Dachau didn’t know what was going on in the concentration camp

Filed under: Dachau, Germany — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 8:14 pm

Nothing makes me more angry than reading a blog post that criticizes the German civilians who lived in the town of Dachau during the time that the concentration camp was in operation.  It seems that every recent visitor to the Dachau Memorial site, who writes about his or her trip, mentions that the people in the town must have known what was going on, but they chose to ignore it.  How come no one ever thinks that maybe the reason that the townspeople didn’t know about the atrocities in the camp is because these things never happened.

Houses in the town of Dachau are located just outside the camp

The bridge in the photo above is over the Würm river which runs through the former concentration camp. The street is Pater-Roth Strasse which runs along the outside of the former camp.

House right behind the Dachau bunker inside the camp

The houses shown in the two photos above were built in the 1990s, but many visitors are appalled that German citizens today live so close to the former camp.

The people in the town of Dachau had frequent contact with the prisoners in the concentration camp because many of the prisoners worked in the town.  There was a meat packing plant in the town of Dachau where the workers were prisoners from the camp.  Other prisoners worked on building roads and a cemetery in the town.  The SS men, who were the administrators at the camp, came to the town and socialized with the inhabitants at bars and dance halls.

Besides that, there were civilians in the town who worked in the factories at Dachau and had contact with the prisoners five days a week.  There were at least two former prisoners who lived in the town and continued to work in the camp after they were released. People from the town frequently came into the camp to deliver something and prisoners went to the town to pick up bread from the bakeries.  With all of this frequent contact, if there were any atrocities in the camp, the townspeople would have heard about it.  But after the war, they all said that they didn’t know what was going on, according to the stories told by the survivors.

Maybe the people who lived in the town of Dachau didn’t know about the gas chamber because there was no gas chamber.  Maybe they didn’t know about the 6,000 Russian POWs that were shot for target practice because this never happened.  The people in the town sent food packages to the prisoners which were delivered by the Catholic church, so it is understandable that they didn’t know that the prisoners were starving.


  1. […] previously blogged about the people in the town of Dachau here and here.  I blogged about how the people in the town of Dachau were punished for not helping the […]

    Pingback by The story of Viktor Frankl, a famous Holocaust survivor « Scrapbookpages Blog — September 26, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  2. Very interesting….But yeah I guess he could have possibly stolen it, BUT, he had pictures from all throughout the war so maybe he kept it hidden. I really don’t know.

    Comment by Daniel Curcio — September 4, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  3. And there are plenty of gas chamber photos as well btw..They’ll make you literally regurgitate any doubt you may have.. The creepiest part of the gas chamber photos..was the way they were dead…a mountain of dead bodies on top of each other as if the first to fall (or weakest) were immediately used to climb on to…Everyone wanted to get towards the vents in the ceiling because it was their last hope…The people in his gas chamber photos were clearly not stacked by Germans…He had plenty of photos of stacked dead bodies…in every room….in carts….by the hundreds….But these specific people died climbing on top of each other…You could see the desperation in their dead faces…and you can in no way sit here and tell me my grandfathers photos are in any way invalid.

    Comment by Daniel Curcio — September 2, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

    • It seems that you have a very valuable collection of photos, taken by your grandfather at Dachau. You should donate these photos to the Dachau Museum so that they can be displayed. Or to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I have some photos of the dead prisoners at Dachau on this page of my website: Scroll down to see two old black and white photos on that page. Do your photos look anything like these photos which were taken by the Army Signal Corps?

      This quote is from that page on my website:

      “…I inspected the crematorium. It was located several hundred yards from the Enclosure Gate. It consisted of several large buildings, entirely hidden from outside view by a large well-trimmed hedge over twelve feet high. Passing through the arched gate, I was confronted by a formal garden; green grass neatly cut, beds of flowers along the cinder paths, a water fountain and several large birdhouses from which turtle doves came and went. ” Lt. Col. Fellenz, 42nd Rainbow Division, from his Official Report to the Commanding General, 6 May 1945 End Quote

      On this page of my website
      I have a photo which shows the body of an SS man. This might be the body of the SS man who surrendered the camp and was killed by the prisoners or by the Americans.

      Comment by furtherglory — September 3, 2012 @ 8:51 am

    • The way I heard it was that the Dachau gas chamber was empty and the waiting room and undressing rooms were empty when the American liberators arrived. Allegedly, the American soldiers saw soap and towels in the undressing room; the soap and towels were there so that the prisoners who were brought to the gas chamber could be deceived into thinking that they were going to take a shower. This is the first time that I have ever heard that the gas chamber was piled high with dead prisoners when the camp was liberated.

      I have personally talked with one of the liberators who was with the 45th Division. He described a huge pile of bodies that was the bodies of the German soldiers killed when the camp was liberated. He told me about seeing fingers cut off the bodies so that American soldiers could get an SS ring as a souvenir. He did not mention any huge piles of dead prisoners on liberation day. The bodies were being buried on Leitenberg, a hill near the camp, in the days before the camp was liberated.

      There were around 2,300 Dachau prisoners who died of typhus and other diseases AFTER the camp was liberated. If your grandfather took photos that show “a mountain of dead bodies” in the gas chamber on the day of liberation, you should allow these photos to be shown to the world. This would be the proof that prisoners were gassed at Dachau. No one has ever been put on trial for the crime of gassing prisoners at Dachau because, until now, there has been no proof. You can read about the lack of a charge of gassing prisoners at Dachau on this page of my website:

      I blogged about the film about the gas chamber that was shown at the Nuremberg IMT at

      There could be former German SS guards, who worked at Dachau, who are still alive. They could be brought into court on a stretcher and charged with committing a crime under the “common design” charge, which is now being used since Demjanjuk was convicted on this basis.

      Comment by furtherglory — September 3, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    • Your grandfather’s description of the gas chamber does not match what Lt. Col. Felix L. Sparks said about the liberation of the camp, which you can read on this website:

      This quote is from from what Sparks said about the gas chamber:

      “The scene near the entrance to the confinement area numbed my senses. Dante’s Inferno seemed pale compared to the real hell of Dachau. A row of small cement structures near the prison entrance contained a coal-fired crematorium, a gas chamber, and rooms piled high with naked and emaciated human corpses. As I turned to look over the prison yard with unbelieving eyes, I saw a large number of dead inmates lying where they had fallen in the last few hours or days before our arrival. Since all the many bodies were in various stages of decomposition, the stench of death was overpowering.”

      Note that he says that he saw “a gas chamber, and rooms piled high with naked and emaciated human corpses.” He did not say that the bodies were piled INSIDE THE GAS CHAMBER. He says that he “saw a large number of dead inmates lying where they had fallen in the last few house or days.” He did not mention PILES of dead bodies.

      This is all the more reason that you should publish your grandfather’s photos. Dachau was apparently much worse than what Lt. Col. Felix L. Sparks described.

      Comment by furtherglory — September 3, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

      • ”a gas chamber, AND rooms piled high……..” ..does not invalidate my pictures at all tho…Nor do any other statements you have quoted by Fellenz or Sparks..Your defense was that he didn’t MENTION it..He could have insinuated ”Gas chamber, and rooms piled high” as in, both piled high with bodies? It’s a big possibility…There were a lot of rooms stacked with bodies in the pictures I had…and I think he had a few pictures of carts or trains full of bodies..And one of a gas chamber with bodies piled on top of each other..Not exactly mountains..but..a large group of people..It was not my grandfather’s STORY…It was photos..One of the reasons it also stuck out was because he explained to me specifically why they were on top of each other like that..Dunno much about the camera…But as for the civilians coming to witness the camp, that was a story..which in all fairness I can’t prove that he was there for that…I know he served at Normandy/st lo/battle of the bulge with an armored division. He has so many great stories..He talked least about the concentration camps and combat tho.. I have a really cool document/map of all the battles his division fought and the places they served..The liberation of Dachau is in there…he also had an SS armband, luger and field binoculars..which he apparently took after having ”hand to hand combat” with an officer..Seeing these things at a young age definitely made me an enthusiast…So I’m not some numb headed random just claiming a semi-clouded rendition of information..I have been researching and studying WW2 since I was a kid..It just never gets old to me..I would love to upload the pictures but they were stolen from my dad when he hired some Mexicans to fix his garage..I’ll never get over it man..It burns my soul to even think about it haha. Although I think the map is still with my dad..I’ll find out..As I browse around Google on the topic of ”Dachau concentration camp”, pretty much all the pictures you see of the dead is what his pictures looked like..But there was one…of the gas chambers..that looked..exactly like this drawing…Its all I could find..

        As for your statement on there being no charges held on the Germans at Dachau for prisoners being gassed…Crimes against humanity were not included at the Military Tribunal at Dachau..there was mention of allies being gassed..but they didn’t have a strong enough defense at the time for the ”gassing of allied personnel”. However, at Nuremberg, there was plenty of testimony. Nuremberg Tribunal as document L-159 (USA-222) being one. But, I really can’t argue with you as there is a lot of debate as to whether Dachau used gas chambers for ”mass” killings or not..I was not there, and all we have is what we read and hear. But that photo is real, it showed what it showed, and is out there somewhere.

        Comment by Daniel Curcio — September 4, 2012 @ 3:12 am

        • You wrote that your grandfather “also had an SS armband, luger and field binoculars..” He might also have taken a camera from an SS soldier. The German soldiers were allowed, and even encouraged, to carry cameras during World War II, but American soldiers were not allowed to carry cameras.

          I have written a new post today about what was shown in the sketch by Brian Stonehouse. Brian Stonehouse was a prisoner at Natzweiler and when this camp was closed, he was sent to Dachau in the last days of the war. He was a British SOE agent who also did sketches of what he saw at Natzweiler. I have shown one of his sketches on this page of my website:

          Comment by furtherglory — September 4, 2012 @ 9:11 am

      • So I did some research today. Turns out (this is crazy to realize after doing all the Dachau liberation research last night) My grandfather was part of the 42nd Rainbow division. 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery Regiment. Apparently on or around April 29th 1945, they liberated around 30,000 inmates at Dachau! Thanks for inspiring me to look deeper. I always knew he was part of a field artillery regiment, but I never knew he was a part of the Rainbow Division!!

        Comment by Daniel Curcio — September 4, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

        • I have written on my website about the different divisions which participated in the liberation of Dachau. There were very few soldiers with the 42nd division there on April 29, 1945. The 42nd division soldiers arrived in jeeps, along with several reporters. You can read about the liberation of the Dachau camp, starting on this page of my website: Click on Continue at the end of each page.

          Comment by furtherglory — September 4, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  4. He met hundreds of Dachau citizens as they forced them to all come and see the death that was taking place at the camps after the liberation. Wether they knew or not, I don’t really know. All I know is that the smell of death is one of the worst smells you can imagine…One dead body can stink up an entire apartment complex. Multiply that times a 1000…at least somebody in town had to have known…and in a small town like Dachau..I’m sure word travels fast..Not to mention all of the staff guards and SS commanders controlling the camp living in Dachau…I’m sure there were at least rumors of the atrocities on going there. But that’s just my guess.

    Comment by Daniel Curcio — September 2, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

    • I wrote about the Dachau citizens “as they forced them to come and see the death that was taking place at the camps after the liberation” on this page of my website:

      The Dachau citizens were brought to see the camp on May 8, 1945. This was the 9th day after the camp was liberated. If your grandfather was still at the camp at that time, he must have been in some official capacity or an officer in charge of taking care of the liberated prisoners. Most of the soldiers who participated in the liberation of the camp had moved on by May 8th.

      The citizens of Dachau knew all about the Dachau camp because some of them worked at the camp. There were many prisoners who worked in the town. The people in the town may have stayed away from the camp in the last days because of the typhus epidemic.

      Comment by furtherglory — September 3, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  5. For your information, My grandfather was part of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in April of 1945 and brought back many many photos. I have numerous photos of the countless stacks of dead bodies if you’d like to see.

    Comment by Daniel Curcio — September 2, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

    • Was your grandfather with the Army Signal Corp? Was he there in an official capacity to take photos? You should put up your own blog so that you can show these photos to the world. It is very easy to put up a blog, using WordPress, which is the company that I use.

      If your grandfather was not with the Army Signal Corps, how did he happen to have a camera with him on the day that the camp was liberated? How did he have the film developed? Did he have a good camera, like a Rolleiflex, that he liberated from the Germans? Or was he carrying a box camera that he had brought with him to Germany?

      Comment by furtherglory — September 3, 2012 @ 8:59 am

  6. what kind of a person are you to try to invalidate the atrocities that occurred at Dachau Camp? Even if it was only 1 Jewish martyr who was murdered there, it was one human being too many. Let’s put it this way, imagine it was YOUR mother or father, sister or brother, wife or husband. Of course the people of Dachau knew what was going on, in a small village like that, are you kidding me??? I suppose they built the huge crematoriums to burn the trash and leftovers from the delicious food they were serving to their prisoners.

    Comment by mulcahy — May 14, 2011 @ 7:13 am

    • Dachau was not a camp where Jewish prisoners were deliberately murdered. It was primarily a camp for political prisoners who were mostly captured Reistance fighters. The prisoners worked in several locations in the town of Dachau and the citizens of Dachau were employed in the factories at the camp. Two prisoners who were released from the camp lived in the town after they were released but continued to work at the camp. So you are correct that the people in the town knew what was going on; they knew that Jewish martyrs were not being killed there. The crematoriums were not used much because by the time that the typhus epidemic started in December 1944, the camp had run out of coal to burn the bodies, and the bodies were buried in mass graves at Leitenberg. Half of the deaths in the camp were after December 1944.

      What kind of person am I to “invalidate the atrocities”? I am the kind of person who does research and communicates with former prisoners and with people living in the town to find out the facts.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 14, 2011 @ 8:17 am

  7. Towns people have already been interviewed stating they knew when prisoners with “more fat” were being burned vs the starving as the color of the smoke coming from the crematorium looked different. Nevermind the fact that the townspeople who can remember have admitted to knowing. Don’t let that distract you from whatever sick purpose denying this brings you.

    Comment by whats it to you — December 16, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    • You must be referring to a statement by a SURVIVOR of Dachau, who settled down to live in the town after the camp was liberated. He was NOT one of the townspeople while the camp was in operation. This statement is from the new documentary film called “Blue Smoke at Dawn.” He said that the smoke was yellow when the bodies of Russian POWs were burned because they had more fat. When the Jews were burned, the smoke was always blue because the Jews were “skin and bones.” After Dachau was liberated, some of the people in the town of Dachau were forced to move out of their homes so that former Jewish prisoners could move in.

      This man was not the only Holocaust survivor who said that the smoke from the crematoria in the concentration camps was various colors depending on the race or nationality of the body being burned. This is a common story told by the Jews who survived the camps.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 16, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

  8. For your interest I am completed transcribing Blaha’s testimony.

    You can read it here.

    Comment by littlegreyrabbit — June 19, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

  9. According to Franz Blaha’s testimony in May 1945. On 3 May 1945 there were around 650 in hospital recovering from typhus, 225 cases of typhus and 60 odd being held under observation for symptoms of typhus. Although he did suggest that there could be more cases not yet in the hospital.

    Nevertheless I do think claims of 400 dying a day must be an exaggeration.

    Comment by lgr — June 18, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

    • The claim of 400 dying per day referred to the days just before the Dachau camp was liberated. The bodies were being hauled out of the camp each day and buried at Leitenberg. The camp staff left the day before the Americans arrived. So there were the bodies of prisoners who had died in the last two days at Dachau when the Americans arrived. It was the American soldiers who exaggerated about the number of bodies. Franz Blaha was a prisoner who exaggerated his importance at the camp in his Nuremberg testimony.

      Comment by furtherglory — June 19, 2010 @ 5:56 am

  10. Jazz, you are obviously a nazi apologist. Sorry.

    Comment by tampalam — June 18, 2010 @ 6:05 am

  11. Revisionists and holocaust deniers always are predictable in their stupidity. I suppose all the troops who liberated Dachau lied or simply imagined what they saw. The stench of the camp and the activity were perceptible for miles and much beyond the town’s distance. The people who lived there could not have been so stupid as to not know what was happening. I think they should all have been imprisoned there for a few years to let them have a taste of their glorious reich.

    Comment by tampalam — June 18, 2010 @ 12:51 am

    • Sorry, but you’re obviously very stupid tampalam.

      Comment by Jazz — June 18, 2010 @ 2:48 am

      • Nice comeback, Herr Goebbels!

        Comment by Mr.Tbag — June 24, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

    • The people in the town of Dachau probably knew that prisoners were dying in the typhus epidemic which started in December 1944. The prisoners who died of typhus were being hauled out of the camp and buried on a hill several miles away. There were 400 people dying each day just before the Americans arrived; there were around 900 unburied bodies in the camp, and around 500 bodies on the train outside the camp, according to the Red Cross representative who was sent there to help with the surrender. What the townspeople didn’t know was the stories about the atrocities that the prisoners told the Americans, such as the stories about the gas chamber and the standing cells in the bunker and about prisoners being tortured.

      From 1948 to 1964, there were German civilians living in the Dachau camp because they had been expelled from Czechoslovakia after the war. From 1945 to 1948, there were SS men imprisoned in the former Dachau concentration camp and they were treated worse than the former prisoners. The people in the town of Dachau were kicked out of their homes and the former Jewish prisoners moved in. Some of the Jews stayed in the town permanently. There was a Displaced Persons camp in the town of Dachau where former prisoners lived, including some that were brought in from other locations. The people in the town got a taste of the glorious American victors who stayed at Dachau for the next 28 years.

      Comment by furtherglory — June 18, 2010 @ 7:16 am

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