It is often thought that the killing of prisoners and for the majority Jews in concentration camps , only started after the start of World War II. But in fact it started in April of 1933, only ten weeks after Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany.
It is sad enough that young men were killed on April 12 1933, it is even sadder to think that one of them, and in fact the very first to get killed wasn’t even supposed to have been in Germany at the time.
Arthur Kahn, a 21-year-old Jewish German medical student had enrolled in Edinburgh University in Scotland, he had returned to , Germany to pick up his student records at the University of Wurzburg.
Arthur Kahn together with Ernst Goldmann, Rudolf Benario, and Erwin Kahn(not related), had been arrested around the 22th of March 1933, for being communist party members and were send to Dachau.Although Arthur Kahn had no Communist affiliation, he had at been at one point involved in an anti-Nazi organization
Upon arrival in Dachau, the men were identified as Jews and tortured. On April 12, a group of drunken SS officers handed the four young men shovels and made them march to the outskirts of the camp, where they were executed Arthur Kahn was the first one shot. Making him the first Holocaust victim according to historian Timothy Ryback. Goldman and Benario followed and died immediately, Erwin Kahn was also shot but died from his injuries four days later in a nearby Hospital. He did get a chance to make a statement disputing that the 4 men had tried to escape, for that was the reason given for the executions.
Postwar investigation established that Robert Erspenmüller,the camp’s deputy commander, and two other SS guards, Hans Burner and Max Schmidt, committed the murders.
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The National Interest
The New Republic