Wednesday, April 29, 2009

U.S. 7th Army Liberates Dachau - April 29, 1945

Liberated Dachau camp prisoners cheer U.S. troops
Liberated Dachau camp prisoners cheer U.S. troops

Dachau was a Nazi German concentration camp, and the first one opened in Germany (March 1933), located near the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km of Munich, Germany.

In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were housed in Dachau of whom two-thirds were political and Christian religious prisoners and nearly one-third were Jews. 25,613 prisoners are believed to have died in the camp, among them at least 5000 Jews, and almost another 10,000 in its subcamps, primarily from disease, malnutrition and suicide. In early 1945, there was a typhus epidemic in the camp followed by an evacuation, in which large numbers of the weaker prisoners died.

Together with the much larger Auschwitz, Dachau has come to symbolize the Nazi concentration camps to many people. Konzentrationslager (KZ) Dachau holds a significant place in public memory because it was the second camp to be liberated by British or American forces. Therefore, it was one of the first places where the West was exposed to the reality of Nazi brutality through firsthand journalist accounts and through newsreels.

Late in the afternoon of 29 April 1945 KZ Dachau was surrendered to the American Army by SS-Sturmscharf├╝hrer Heinrich Wicker.

The American troops were so horrified by conditions at the camp that a few murdered some of the camp guards after they had surrendered in what is called the Dachau massacre.

The memorial site includes two of the prisoner barracks that have been rebuilt and one shows a cross-section of the entire history of the camp. The memorial includes also four chapels for the various religions represented among the prisoners.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

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