Do the 6 million Jews, who were killed in the Holocaust, have graves? Inquiring minds want to know.
Most of the 6 million dead Jews do not have individual graves, but they do have mass graves. I visited the graves at Dachau on one of my many trips to the Dachau memorial site.
Waldfriedhof is the new town cemetery of Dachau. It is located north of Old Town Dachau. The Waldfriedhof is huge, compared to the Altfriedhof, the old town cemetery. Preparations for this new burial site began during World War II, and some of the work was done by prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp.
In May 1945, the first month after the Dachau camp was liberated by the American Seventh Army, there were 2,226 deaths in the camp. There were 196 deaths in June, the second month after the Dachau camp was liberated.
The German citizens of the town of Dachau buried 1,268 of the victims of the typhus epidemic at Waldfriedhof. This cemetery is 6.5 kilometers from the concentration camp. Other Jewish prisoners were buried in the Leitenberg cemetery; 800 bodies were burned in the crematorium at the Dachau concentration camp.
In 1964, on May 1st, the Communist labor day, a memorial stone designed by Dieter Aldinger was dedicated at the site of the prisoners’ graves. It is shown in the photograph above.
The graves of the camp victims at Dachau are arranged in terraced rows on a gently sloping hillside near the entrance to the cemetery. A few miniature roses have been planted along some of the rows, but for the most part, these graves looked untended when I visited the cemetery in May 2001.
The rest of this vast cemetery is very well maintained with not a weed in sight. There were no other visitors in this part of the cemetery while I was there, and no fresh flowers or wreaths had been left at any of the graves.