Dachau Concentration Camp Established

dachauIn March 1933, Heinrich Himmler, then Chief of Police in Munich, toured an unused munitions factory in the town of Dachau, around 16km (9.9 miles) northwest of Munich. His intention was to take over the factory and use it as a base for prisoners in protective custody. After an agreement with the former factory’s administration, Dachau Concentration Camp was opened on 22nd March 1933. Approximately 200 prisoners were transferred from Munich’s Stadelheim Prison and Landsberg Prison, where Hitler had served time for his failed putsch.
It was the first concentration camp established under the Nazi regime, and was established by the coalition government of the Nazis and the German National People’s Party (which was later dissolved). Himmler also described it as, “the first concentration camp for political prisoners” which could hold 5,000 prisoners.
Dachau eventually implemented forced labour for all prisoners and, after 1935, other groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, emigrants, homosexuals, Jews and Poles were sent to the camp. It is estimated around 32,000 people died at Dachau during its operation, with the possibility of thousands more undocumented deaths.
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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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Jewish Virtual Library
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Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
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About.com
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History.com
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Dachau Memorial
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