Holocaust History Archived Page
Creation of Dachau Concentration Camp
USHMM Photograph #61501 - Dachau inmates gathered outside and on the roof tops of
a camp building to hear a speech by Hitler
On March 10, 1933, Nazis opened Dachau concentration camp near Munich, just about 5 weeks after Hitler took power as Chancellor in Germany.
The main camp consisted of 32 huts in two rows, surrounded by an electric fence. This camp is considered by scholars to be the “prototype” for many of the other Nazi concentration camps. This particular camp had 150 branch camps, throughout southern Germany and Austria which were also called Dachau.
Many perished during the now infamous “scientific” experiments performed on prisoners. Sick and weak prisoners were often sent to extermination camps to be sent to gas chambers at other camps. Others perished in Dachau from starvation and illness. Dachau was run by Commandant Theodor Eicke, who encouraged his guards to shoot prisoners who approached the surrounding electric fences.
Approximately 40,000 perished in Dachau, best estimates suggest that 80-90% of those killed were Jewish.
After liberation, Dachau was used by the American Army as a holding facility for German war criminals and German prisoners of war.
Today, part of the camp is preserved as a memorial to those who perished.