Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
- Advanced Placement European
On April 29,1945, two American divisions freed more than 30,000 inmates at the notorious Dachau concentration camp. They also touched off one of the most controversial episodes of World War II. About 10 miles northwest of Munich, Dachau had been an ordinary, peaceful suburb until March 1933, when the Nazi converted a gunpowder factory there into a prison camp to house their political opponents.
The Konzentrationsslager, or KL
At Dachau, in addition to the internment camp, there was also a huge SS training complex, where guards were schooled in their brutal craft; the finance offices for the entire SS; living quarters for the guards and officers; a military hospital; a camp headquarters buildings; a variety of factories that relied on the camp's slave labor; and storeroom buildings with clothing, shoes, and eyeglasses confiscated for the inmates. An electrified fence separated the prisoners' compound form the SS camp, as did a deep dry moat with steep concrete sides and a swiftly flowing canal the Wurm River.
Seven watchtowers manned by armed guards were strategically placed around the enclosure, and armed with guards with dogs patrolled the fence line. A 10-foot-high masonry enclosed the entire complex, shielding the nefarious activities within from prying eyes. A sign on the Jourhaus - the camp's guardhouse, which enclosed the only entrance into the prisoners' compound - ingeniously proclaimed, "ardeit macht frei'" (Work makes one free). Behind the high walls, unspeakable cruelties were carried out by the SS guards on the helpless inmate population.
While Dachau was never one of the Nazi "death factories" more than 30,000 of the 200,000-plus prisoners incarcerated there died during its 12 years of existence. Many of the inmates died from being overworked and underfed. Many more died at the hands of the guards while being tortured, while others died from disease, in front of firing squads, or after they were used as human guinea gigs for the pseudoscientific experiments carried out by the camp's medical personnel.
- AP Modern European History in Depth -
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Modern European History Quotes
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Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000
Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Advanced Placement Modern European History | Rise of Nation State England | World History |
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