Scrapbookpages Blog

April 14, 2015

How many prisoners were “murdered” at Dachau?

My photo of the gate into the Dachau concentration camp

My 2001 photo of the gate into the Dachau concentration camp

The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, by American troops on April 29, 1945, will be coming up soon. There will be a big celebration and lots of news stories about the number of prisoners, who were murdered by the Nazis at Dachau.

This morning, I read a news article which had a photo of Newell West, with this caption:  “Newell West, WW2 veteran who served with the Army Air Corp, then with Army counterintelligence in the CIC investigating Nazi war criminals”

Newell West now lives in Tulsa, OK and he is speaking out about the number of prisoners “murdered” at Dachau. In the news article, there is no mention of how many Dachau prisoners died in the typhus epidemic in the camp. But forget that; nobody cares about the truth.

Printed below is the headline of the article:

World War II veterans remember: Newell West hunted Nazis with Counterintelligence Corps

You can read the article in full at

http://www.tulsaworld.com/newshomepage3/world-war-ii-veterans-remember-newell-west-hunted-nazis-with/article_c2c63a70-ce1d-5c2e-91c5-13f2b668daf4.html

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

“Over its 12 years in operation, more than 200,000 people from across Europe were imprisoned in Dachau and its subsidiary camps. Ultimately, some 40,500 of them would be murdered.”

How were these 40,500 Dachau prisoners “murdered”? The news article doesn’t tell us, but they might have been murdered in the Dachau gas chamber. Or they could have died in the typhus epidemic in  the camp.

Even before World War II ended on May 8, 1945, American General Dwight D. Eisenhower had ordered that as many American soldiers as possible should be brought to see the gas chamber in Baracke X at Dachau, where a sign outside read, “This area is being retained as a shrine to the 238,000 individuals who were cremated here. Please don’t destroy.”

This sign has since been taken down.

There were also 5,380 dead prisoners at Dachau, whose bodies had been buried on Leitenberg hill before the camp was liberated; this means that the death toll at Dachau was over 243,000.

Since the total number of registered inmates at the main Dachau camp was only 206,206, according to the camp records, this means that the US military claimed that there were 37,000 more deaths than the number of prisoners who were registered. Yet, there were almost 32,000 cheering survivors who greeted the American liberators.

Later, a new sign was placed at the crematorium by Phillip Auerbach, a Jewish concentration camp survivor, who had been appointed the Bavarian Commissioner for Racial, Religious and Political Persecutees and the Commissioner for Restitution.

This new sign read “In the years from 1933 to 1945, 238,756 people were cremated here.”

The Rev. Martin Niemöller, a former prisoner at Dachau, saw this sign in November 1945 and was very upset by the high number of alleged deaths in the Dachau camp.

According to a report made by the International Tracing Service at Arolson, Germany in 1977, there were 31,951 deaths at the main Dachau camp during the 12 years that the camp was in existence. The International Tracing Service is part of the International Red Cross.

The International Tracing  Service report was based on the death records meticulously kept by the Nazis. The camp records were confiscated by the American Army and are currently being kept in the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Hans Zauner, the mayor of Dachau, claimed after the war that only 20,600 prisoners had died in the entire 12-year history of the Dachau concentration camp. If his claim is correct, this means that the American military inflated the number of deaths by more than a factor of 10.

A bridge over Würm river canal leads to the Dachau gatehouse on the right

A bridge over Würm river canal leads to the Dachau gatehouse on the right

According to the Dachau camp records, there were 3,752 deaths at Dachau in the first seven years that the camp was in operation, but the death toll escalated to 13,158 deaths in the first four months of 1945.

Just in the month of February 1945, there were 3,977 deaths at Dachau, more than in all of the seven years before the war. Most of these deaths in 1945 were due to a typhus epidemic in the camp which began in the fall of 1944 when prisoners were evacuated from the camps in Poland and brought to Dachau.

Until recently, it was not generally known that the increase in the death rate at Dachau in the Spring of 1945 was due to a typhus epidemic. Without this knowledge, one might reasonably assume that the number of deaths at Dachau escalated dramatically near the end of the war because the Nazis were trying to kill as many Jews as they could before they were stopped by the Allied liberation of the camps.

Regarding the last days of the war and the number of Jewish deaths, Daniel Goldhagen wrote in his best-selling book entitled Hitler’s Willing Executioners:

“Finally, the fidelity of the Germans to their genocidal enterprise was so great as seeming to defy comprehension. Their world was disintegrating around them, yet they persisted in genocidal killing until the end.”

However, it must be remembered that two-thirds of all the Dachau prisoners, including the prisoners in the sub-camps, were non-Jewish political prisoners with Polish Catholics in the majority.

The Official Report of the US Seventh Army claimed that 29,138 Jews had been brought to Dachau and murdered in five gas chambers there between June 20, 1944 and November 23, 1944. Contrary to this claim, displays at the Dachau Memorial Site in May 2001 stated that four of these gas chambers were used only to disinfect clothing with Zyklon-B and that the fifth gas chamber at Dachau was never used nor put into operation.

In May 2003, a new display in the Dachau Museum claimed that one of the five gas chambers, the one that is disguised as a shower room, was used to kill a few prisoners.

Door into the Dachau gas chamber

Door into the Dachau gas chamber

The sign  over the Dachau gas chamber door reads “Brausebad.”    Brausebad is the German word for “shower bath,” but don’t  let this fool you. This is really a gas chamber, and don’t you deny it unless you want to go to prison, for 5 years, in 19 different countries.

Some of the prisoners, who died at Dachau, are buried on Leitenberg Hill.  My photo below shows a Christian cross at Leitenberg.

Cross in honor of the Christian prisoners who died at Dachau

Cross at Leitenberg  hill  in honor of the Christian prisoners who died at Dachau

In the middle of the Leitenberg cemetery is a Christian cross, made of wood, which was designed by Klaus Backmund from Munich. It is shown in my photo above.

On all four sides of the cross are panels which are engraved with likenesses of Christian martyrs. Leitenberg was consecrated as a Christian cemetery on December 16, 1949. Most of the prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp in the later years were Catholic.