Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
International memorial in front of the Wirtschaftsgebaude (now the museum) that contained the kitchen, laundry, storage room for prisoners' belongings, and the notorious shower baths where the SS would torture prisoners by flogging and hanging them at the stake. The memorial was built in 1968 and is a copy of the memorial at Auschwitz - Birkenau extermination camp.
The concentration camp was first opened in March, 1933, less than two months after the Nazi Party under Hitler took over the German govenment. The site was a former munitions plant that had been closed at the end of World War I. Even though the original purpose of the camp was more limited in scope (i.e., the detention of Germans who opposed the new government), the 19 or 20 small buildings on the grounds were demolished in 1937 so that an expanded camp with far greater holding capacity could be built.
Although the new camp was set up to hold 5,000 people, it never had less than 12,000 after 1943. On the day ofliberation in April, 1945, the camp had over 30,400 prisoners (plus an additional 37,000 in satellite camps spread out over southern Bavaria).
It is important here to distinguish between Dachau and other camp names that are well known to the general public: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Flossenbiirg, Bergen-Belsen, and others.
Even though the Dachau facility was considered a "small" camp in southern Germany and not designed for the mass extermination of people, more than 31,000 deaths were recorded; at Auschwitz alone, between 30 and 60 times this number perished in slave-labor factories, in gas chambers, and before firing squads.
The Gas Chamber at Dachau was never used.
Many of the deaths at Dachau can be attributed to the harsh regimen and crowded conditions of the camp. Although punishment was severe for even the smallest infraction of the rules, some people were subjected to so-called "testing," a gruesome form of human experimentation.
Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000
Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
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