Scrapbookpages Blog

March 30, 2011

The urns used for ashes at Dachau and other concentration camps

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:06 am

This morning, I was looking at the blog of a former German soldier which you can read here.  He mentioned the clay pots, which resembled flower pots, that the Germans used for the ashes of the prisoners who were cremated at Dachau.  Hundreds of these pots were found at Dachau by the American liberators, but for some reason, the pots are nowhere to be seen now.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought I would show you what the urns found at Buchenwald and Natzweiler looked like.

Clay pots for the ashes of prisoners who were cremated

According to stories that I have read, the clay pots at Dachau were red, just like the pots shown in the photo above; I took this photo at the Natzweiler Memorial site at Natzweiler in Alsace, which is now in France.

The photo below shows urns that are displayed at Buchenwald.  What happened to the urns found at Dachau?  Were they just thrown out?

Clay urns found at the Buchenwald concentration camp

Before October 1944, the bodies of prisoners who died in the Dachau concentration camp were either buried in the Old Cemetery in the town of Dachau or they were cremated in the double oven of the old crematorium or the four ovens inside Baracke X, the new crematorium. When the American Seventh Army liberated Dachau, the inmates told them clay pots were used to send the ashes to the relatives. Only the ashes of German prisoners were sent to the families, and only if the relatives paid a small fee.

After October 1944, when the supply of coal ran out, the Dachau victims of the typhus epidemic were buried on the hill called Leitenberg, which is a few miles from the camp.

As you enter the gate into the crematoria area at Dachau, you will see straight ahead of you, behind the crematorium building, the location where the ashes of thousands of unknown victims at the Dachau camp were buried. The photo below shows a small monument, which stands at the back of the mass grave. The monument has three tiers with a star of David in the middle and a Menorah on top. The marker in the foreground says “Grave of thousands of unknown.” A path to your right leads into the woods where there are other mass graves of the ashes of prisoners who died at Dachau.

Grave of ashes for Jewish victims at Dachau

The photo below shows the grave of ashes for non-Jewish prisoners at Dachau.

The photo above is deep into the woods that are north of the crematorium at Dachau. Just before you enter the woods, you will see the grave of ashes that is shown in the photo below.

Grave of ashes at Dachau Memorial site

The photo below show the fourth and last grave of ashes at Dachau.

Site of ashes buried at Dachau Memorial site

Curiously, there are no graves or ash pits where the bodies of German soldiers, who may have died in the War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 at Dachau, were buried.  The burial place for the bodies and/or ashes of more than 500 German soldiers who were killed in the Dachau Massacre is unknown.