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September 26, 2013

The town of Dachau today — the shame of the concentration camp can never be overcome

In 2001, I went to the town of Dachau and stayed there for a week in a hotel.  At that time, Dachau was still a small, historic town, and I enjoyed my stay immensely. I asked the owner of the hotel which bus I should take to get to the former Dachau camp; she said she didn’t know, so I had to figure it out for myself. The town’s people seemed to be ignoring the former camp, and just living their lives in peace.

Catholic church in the town of Dachau

Catholic church in the town of Dachau

Today, I read in an article in The Independent, which said that young people from Munich are now moving to Dachau and the town has grown to be a city of 45,000 residents.

According to the article in The Independent, which you can read in full here, the town can never overcome its shame, due to the horror of the Dachau concentration camp, which had 800,000 visitors last year.

This quote is from the article in The Independent:

The horror of Dachau takes a little time to sink in. It hits home half way through the former camp’s permanent exhibition on Third Reich terror when visitors are confronted with a piece of slatted wooden furniture that resembles an innocuous child’s toboggan.

Closer inspection reveals that a 4ft-long “bull whip” is lying across the wooden slats. The toboggan, it turns out, is one of the concentration camp system’s notorious “whipping stools” that were used to ruthlessly inflict blood soaked punishment on hundreds of thousands of camp inmates during 12 years of Nazi rule.

Alfred Hübsch, a prisoner in Dachau from 1937 onwards, witnessed the whipping stool in action. His account is on display in the camp museum: “The prisoner’s screams could be heard everywhere,” he writes, “The delinquent had to count the strokes out loud. The numbers were blurted out in terrible pain so the tortured person would slur his words or misspeak. If that happened they would begin beating all over again,” he added.

The “whipping stools” were used for 12 years?  Who knew?

The photo below shows Rudolf Wolf, a former prisoner of the Dachau camp, demonstrating the whipping block during the American Military Tribunal proceedings, where the former SS men in the camp were put on trial.

Former Dachau prisoner demonstrates the whipping table at Dachau trial

Rudolf Wolf demonstrates the whipping table at Dachau trial

The photo below shows the whipping table on display in the Dachau Museum.

Photo of whipping table in the Dachau Museum

Photo of whipping table in the Dachau Museum

Notice that the “whipping block” which is on display in the Museum is a real whipping block, but the table that is being demonstrated by Rudolf Wolf during the AMT proceedings is an ordinary table.  The trial started in Noveber 1945, so why wasn’t the actual whipping block shown during the trial?

That is easily explained: All punishments at Dachau and at all the other concentration camps had to be approved by the WVHA economic office in Oranienburg, where Rudolf Hoess was a member of the staff after he was removed as the Commandant of Auschwitz in December 1943.

At the Nuremberg IMT, on April 15, 1946, Hoess testified that punishment on the whipping block was seldom used and that this punishment was discontinued in 1942 or 1943 because Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler had given a new order that the SS men were forbidden to strike the prisoners. Dr. Johannes Neuhäusler mentioned in his book entitled What was it like in the Concentration Camp at Dachau? that this order was given by Himmler in 1942.

When the American liberators arrived in 1945, they found no whipping table because this seldom-used punishment had not been used for three years.  Are visitors to the Dachau Museum told this?  No, of course not.

This quote is from the article in The Independent:

The whipping stool is merely an introduction to Dachau’s  regime of inconceivable cruelty. Its victims were tortured by “Pole hanging” – a system whereby inmates in groups of 50 were strung up by their hands with their arms tied behind their backs for hours, causing them excruciating pain.

Groups of 50 were strung up?  Did the Nazis take a photo of the pole hanging?  Indeed, they did.  The photo below was shown in the Dachau Museum for years, until it was finally taken down because it was a fake.

Still photo from a Soviet film shows "pole-hanging" punishment

Still photo from a Soviet film shows “pole-hanging” punishment

The photograph above, which I took inside the old Dachau Museum in May 2001, shows a scene at Buchenwald that was created in 1958 for an East German DEFA film. (Source: H. Obenaus, “Das Foto vom Baumhängen: Ein Bild geht um die Welt,” in Stiftung Topographie des Terrors Berlin (ed.), Gedenkstätten-Rundbrief no. 68, Berlin, October 1995, pp. 3-8)

This fake photo was not included in the new Dachau Museum which opened in 2003, but all the tour guides at Dachau still dwell at length upon the hanging punishment.  I have not been to Dachau since 2008; perhaps the fake photo has been brought back.

But it gets worse.  This quote is from the article in The Independent:

[The prisoners] were locked in “standing cells” with no room to sit down or turn around for days on end. They were savaged by camp dogs, drowned, shot, worked to death or died from mass overcrowding and the successive outbreaks of disease which plagued the camp before it was finally liberated by American troops in April 1945. The soldiers found hundreds of “ sallow skeletons with large sad eyes”.

Ah, yes, the famous “standing cells.”  Where are they now?  The standing cells were torn down, and now there is only a photo of what they looked like. The photo is shown below.

A diagram of the standing cells in the Dachau bunker

A diagram of the standing cells in the Dachau bunker

Who tore down the standing cells at Dachau and why?  Did anyone take a photo of them before they were torn down?  Not that I know of.  The American liberators of Dachau found out about the standing cells from Eleanore Hodys, a prisoner who had been at Auschwitz, where she claimed that she had been confined to a “standing cell” for NINE WEEKS.  She also claimed that she had had an affair with Rudolf Hoess at Auschwitz.  Hoess had formerly been the Commandant at Dachau, so her story took up about a third of the book about Dachau, which was entitled Dachau Liberated, the Official Report.  Her story may have inspired the claim of standing cells at Dachau.

There was at least one American prisoner at Dachau when the camp was liberated.  What did he have to say about the standing cells, the whipping block and the pole hanging?  Did he write a book about the torture that he endured at Dachau?  Did he ever explain why he was not executed after he was caught, fighting with the French Resistance, in civilian clothes?

The American prisoner at Dachau, when the camp was liberated, was Rene Guiraud.

After being given intensive specialized training, Lt. Guiraud had been parachuted into Nazi-occupied France, along with a radio operator. His mission was to collect intelligence, harass German military units and occupation forces, sabotage critical war material facilities, and carry on other resistance activities. In other words, he was an illegal combatant, according to the Geneva Convention of 1929, and he could have been legally executed.

Guiraud had organized 1,500 guerrilla fighters and developed intelligence networks. During all this, Guiraud posed as a French citizen, wearing civilian clothing. He was captured and interrogated for two months by the Gestapo, but revealed nothing about his mission. After that, he was sent to Dachau where he participated in the camp resistance movement along with the captured British SOE men in the camp.

Two weeks after the liberation of the Dachau horror camp, Guirard “escaped” from the quarantined Dachau camp and went to Paris where he arrived in time to celebrate V-E day.  He never said a word about how he was treated badly at Dachau.

What about the five British SOE agents, who were prisoners in the Dachau camp when it was liberated?  What did they have to say about the horror at Dachau?

One of the prisoners at Dachau, when the camp was liberated, was Albert Guérisse, a British SOE agent from Belgium, who was hiding his identity by using the name Patrick O’Leary. He was one of five British SOE agents who had survived the Nazi concentration camps at Mauthausen in Austria and Natzweiler in Alsace before being transferred to Dachau.

When the American liberators arrived at the gate into the Dachau camp, Guérisse greeted Lt. William P. Walsh and 1st Lt. Jack Bushyhead of the 45th Infantry Division and took them on a tour of the camp, showing them the gas chamber and the ovens in the crematorium. In his book  entitled The Day of the Americans, Nerin E. Gun wrote that Patrick O’Leary (real name Albert Guérisse) was the leader of the International Committee of Dachau, which was in charge of the camp.

What did Guérisse tell the Americans about the horror of Dachau, other than the gas chamber?  Nothing.  He escaped to Paris, along with Rene Guiard.

The information about the Dachau camp, which is told to visitors today, came from the Jewish prisoners, most of whom had only been in the Dachau camp for a few weeks.  They had been evacuated from the sub-camps and brought to the main camp, so that the prisoners could be surrendered to the Americans.  It was the Jewish prisoners who testified at the American Military Tribunal, and wrote books about the horror of Dachau.

Visitors to Dachau today don’t want to hear about what it was really like at Dachau.  They want to see a “horror camp” and a gas chamber. The Dachau Memorial Site caters to the desire of the tourists; it does not tell the true story of what Dachau was really like.

Few tourists visit the historic town of Dachau, which was in existence before America was a country.

 The Gable on the town hall in the historic town of Dachau


The Gable on the town hall in the historic town of Dachau

The photograph above shows a close-up of the emblem on the top of the old town hall. In the round window in the center of the picture, you can see a silver spur. A spur has been used in the Dachau town seal since as far back as 1374.  But who cares about that?  Tourists today only want to see the gas chamber at Dachau, not the historic buildings in the town.

You can see photos of the historic places in the town of Dachau on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauTown/HistoricPlaces/index.html

14 Comments

  1. The Energy War Between U.S.A. and Russia and the Threat to Israel Survival
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    Comment by Iakovos Alhadeff — August 5, 2014 @ 8:07 am

  2. “The town of Dachau today — the shame of the concentration camp can never be overcome”

    Ironically most of the German citizens were proud of their “education camps” (that’s how the Germans often referred to the concentration camps before 1945) before the arrival and the show of the American Psychological Warfare ‘fighters’.

    For real information about the German concentration camps (and not the farcical horror show created by U.S. Syke Warriors before and during WW2) see here: http://www.wintersonnenwende.com/scriptorium/english/archives/articles/ccfacts.html (The Facts About the Origins of the Concentration Camps and Their Administration)

    Comment by hermie — September 26, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

  3. Those interested in Dachau might be interested in the history of Heinrich Himmler’s porcelain atelier in the nearby town of Allach. Allach Porcelain 1936-1945 by Dennis R. Porell is a deluxe two volume set of oversized hardbound books with many color photos of the porcelain masterpieces crafted at the Allach sub-camp as well pictures of the atelier, it’s master sculptors and some of the prisoners who were paid to work there. Carl Anton Gross, a Dachau prisoner employed by Allach, saved his secretly kept diaries which were published in 1946. More about the artistic history (as opposed to the overblown horror history) of Dachau and the SS Porzellan Manufaktur Allach can be found here: http://www.allachporcelain.com/for-sale/allach-porcelain-for-sale/

    Comment by who dares wings — September 26, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    • There was a sub-camp of Dachau at Allach. It was liberated the day after Dachau was liberated. The typhus epidemic had not yet reached Allach, so there were no dead bodies found. For that reason, Allach is rarely mentioned in the story of the horror camps.

      Comment by furtherglory — September 27, 2013 @ 7:29 am

  4. I, for one, would love to visit the lovely and historic town of Dachau.

    Comment by zeonchar — September 26, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  5. Apart from the Nazis laser-beaming inmates in the genitals, this article in ‘The Independent’ seems to cover every inhuman punishment known to man. Yet the people who ‘did’ all this still used the town for their R & R. I suppose a few even had girlfriends in the town.

    Does anyone seriously think the townspeople of Dachau would have allowed any personnel from the camp into their lovely little town, if all this was true?

    Comment by DB — September 26, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

    • A few of the released inmates settled in the town of Dachau, after the camp was liberated, including a former Communist prisoner, Richard Titze. Georg Scherer and Johann Sedlmair were Dachau residents who had been sent to the camp as political prisoners. Scherer had been released from his imprisonment after several years, but he continued to live in the town of Dachau and worked in the factories at the camp. After the war, he became the mayor of Dachau. Walter Neff was another Dachau resident who, after his release, had continued to work in the camp, as an assistant to Dr. Sigmund Rascher who did medical experiments on Dachau prisoners for the German Air Force.

      The SS guards in the camp would frequently visit the town, to go to the dance halls and restaurants.

      Comment by furtherglory — September 26, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

      • FG wrote: “A few of the released inmates settled in the town of Dachau, after the camp was liberated”

        What better proof that what is now told about the Dachau camp is total bullshit? 😉

        Comment by hermie — September 26, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

        • The residents of Dachau were thrown out of their homes by the American liberators, and former inmates of the camp were allowed to live in their homes. American military men also moved into the homes of the residents and stayed there while the trials of the American Military Tribunal were in progress. The residents had to find some other place to live, but eventually they got their homes back. There was also a Displaced Persons camp set up near the town of Dachau.

          Comment by furtherglory — September 27, 2013 @ 8:01 am

      • FG
        I am somewhat surprised that you almost turned by 360 degrees after writing of the flogging and pole -hanging in one of your blogs and mentioned Egon Zill even by name, who lived unmolested in Dachau as many other SS as well as inmates in Ober-Dachau [the concentration camp was at ‘Unter-Dachau’, quite a difference] https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/egon-zill-the-worst-commandant-of-dachau-wasnt-even-a-commandant/ No, he was not a commandant, but ‘Schutzhaftlagerführer’ and in that position wielded almost absolute power over inmates. It was he, (after the sentence of flogging was authorized by the Inspector of Concentration Camps) who introduced the two ‘Strokes’ as one on the block, followed with three days mandatory detention in the Bunker. Indeed in autumn 1944 small Standing Cells were constructed measuring about 75×80 cm (30×32) inches. with four built into one cell, but this practice of what I was told, was discontinued as the influx of ‘delinquents’ increased and could not cope.

        Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — September 26, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

        • Why were the standing cells torn down at Dachau? Why haven’t they been reconstructed?

          The standing cells at Auschwitz, where Eleanore Hodys was imprisoned in a standing cell for NINE WEEKS, have been reconstructed. You can see photos of the reconstructed standing cells at Auschwitz on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Auschwitz/Auschwitz06A.html

          With the influx of “delinquents” at Dachau, wouldn’t there have been a need for standing cells to punish the prisoners, especially since the whipping block had been forbidden since 1942?

          The “pole hanging” punishment had been discontinued at Buchenwald in 1943, after Dr. Konrad Morgen had put Martin Sommer on trial, and sent him to the Russian front as punishment. (Sommer was the inventor of the “pole hanging” punishment.)

          Some of the Buchenwald prisoners had been brought to Dachau in the last weeks of the war, so they were able to tell the Americans about this punishment. You can read about Buchenwald and Martin Sommer on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Buchenwald/Exhibits2.html

          Comment by furtherglory — September 27, 2013 @ 7:48 am

          • FG
            I do not know exactly why the standing cell has been removed, nor why they have not been reconstructed; that would have been a matter for the Administrators of the Museum to decide. However, the enforcement of sentences into the Bunker was preceded by the boring procedure of a criminal report, interrogation of the delinquent and medical examination, each step had to be approved through official channels by the appropriate Department. [It was not that simple to torment prisoners, sic] After the arrival of foreign prisoners from the occupied countries of Europe the bunker detention as a basic form of punishment did no longer come into consideration since not even the new standing cells in the bunker would have been sufficient and I can only assume the entire scheme was cumbersome, thus discontinued and the standing cells removed.

            PS.: You show the picture of the church in Dachau, just opposite of the road at the right, that was the Bus Stop to Dachau-Ost, the destination to the Concentration Camp, any child could have told you that. It seems strange to me, that the women in your hotel, (depending where this was), did not know about it.

            Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — September 27, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

            • The ticket lady at the rail station in Brannau-am-Inn gleefully directed me to Hitler’s birthplace, no problem at all

              Comment by DB — September 28, 2013 @ 1:43 am

              • When I arrived in Braunnau-am-Inn, I went directly to the closest book store, and asked to purchase a map of the town. When they told me that they had no map of the town, I asked if they could just tell me how to find the birthplace of Adolf Hitler. They refused to tell me, but I found it for myself. The house was not marked, but there was a huge granite stone in front of it. I stood there and took photos for a long time. The towns people smiled at me, looking at me with approval. They seemed to be pleased that someone would be brave enough to take photos of a forbidden building.

                Comment by furtherglory — September 28, 2013 @ 8:37 am


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