DACHAU

THE FIRST CONCENTRATION CAMP

Intro

On March 22, 1933, a couple weeks after Adolf Hitler had been made governor, he created the first concentration camp called "Dachau". Initially, Dachau was mostly used for political prisoners, but as time passed it held Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals, handicap people, and others whom the Germans found to be "unfit". The facility was buit to house six thousand prisoners, but was packed with over thirty thousand prisoners at one time. Conditions at the camp were harsh and inhumane. This camp became the model for all future concentration camps.

Jourhaus and Shunt Room

The Jourhaus served as the main exit and entrance to the prisoners’ camp and as the main office of the camp personnel. Passage into the building was made possible by a wrought iron gate, through which the prisoners entered the camp after their initial arrival, and later marched through each day with their labor units. The admission procedure to the Dachau concentration camp was completed in the shunt room. This procedure was brutal and signified the loss of the prsioners' personal rights, liberty, and human autonomy.

Prisoner Baths

The baths were the last station of the admission procedure. This is where newly arrived prisoners had their heads shaved, bodies disinfected and then showered before being sent to the barracks dressed in their prisoner clothing. Those already imprisoned came to bathe once a week at the beginning of their captivity, but frequency of baths declined the longer the prisoner stayed in Dachau. According to the recollection of survivors, baths often involved harassment.

Prison Life

Dachau was allowed to govern itself, so the administrators made rigid rules. Prisoners were beaten for breaking rules. Prisoners who were found to be planning to escape were immediately shot. No prisoner was allowed to defend himself or to argue about a punishment. Prisoners were made to work building weapons for the German military and some prisoners were used for medical experiments. Dachau had giant ovens to dispose of all the dead bodies. Before its liberation, it is estimated that two hundred thousand prisoners passed through Hitler's first prison camp, Dachau.
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work cited

"Historical Site." Areal Photography 1945. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

"Dachau." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.