Dachau concentration camp was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany,intended to hold political prisoners. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory northeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany.Opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, ordinary German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded.
The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or “Arbeitskommandos,” and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. The camps were liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945.
These work camps used forced foreign labour to make parts for the Messerschmidt aircraft factories. To protect them from Allied bombing raids, they were built partially underground. Te working and living conditions were unbelievable and shocked US troops who came across them. In the last weeks of WW2 Typhus had run rampant through these camps and thousands of inmates were left to die as medical help was non-existent.
On of these subcamps was Kaufering IV Concentration camp.I could have picked any other subcamp to write about but Kaufering IV stuck with me because of 1 picture. The picture below shows Johann Baptist Eichelsdorfer, the last Commandant of the Kaufering IV sub-camp. After this camp was liberated on April 27, 1945 by the 12th Armored Division of the US Seventh Army, Col. Edward Seiller ordered the German civilians in the nearby town of Hurlach to bury the bodies found in the camp. On that day, Eichelsdorfer, who had been captured and brought back to the camp, was forced to pose in the middle of the corpses which had been laid out in the camp prior to burial.
Eichelsdorfer had taken charge of the camp on the 4th of January 1945. it had been designated as a ‘Sick Camp’ but in reality it was a camp of prisoners who had become sick because of the poor living conditions in Dachau and therefore had become to disabled to work.
The SS began death marching prisoners to Dachau pending the US arrival and at camp IV, the SS killed hundreds of the prisoners by setting fire to the barracks.Colonel Edward F. Seiller, commander of the 12th Armored Division’s Military Government, took control of the camp and had some 250 civilians from the nearby town of Landsberg brought to the camp and made them bury the dead prisoners.These 360 dead repose in a cemetery located where the roll-call area (Appell Platz) of the camp used to be, that is about a mile south of the village of Hurlach.
As for Johann Baptist Eichelsdorfer he was tried under case Case No. 000-50-2 (US vs. Martin Gottfried Weiss et al) Tried 13 Dec. 45 at the Dachau trials.
Eichelsdorfer had been defended by Captain Dalwin Niles who had argued that his client was shifted to the camp as commander after he had become to ill to serve in the Wehrmacht, and he had no influence on this whatsoever. His client was an old and sick man and was not capable to manage the camp properly, however some of the survivors testified that Eichelsdorfer had willingly particpated in physically abusing the prisoners, sometimes he would beat them up until they were unconscious.
His sentence was carried out on the 29th of May at 14.14 PM by John C. Woods
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