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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It is a well known fact that the US government welcomed a great number of Nazi scientists to the US where they could continue their scientific research and experiments.
One of the greatest benefactors was NASA, without the knowledge of the Nazi scientists who worked on the V1 and V2 programs the NASA space program would never have been possible.
In fact the idea of the International Space Station was based on the Nazi plans for a ‘death ray’. The Nazis had secretly been working on an orbital space station based on the ideas of Herman Oberth. Their plan was to install some sort of reflective shield to harvest the sun rays and convert them in a ‘death ray’ or ‘Sun Gun’. The death ray was never developed of course, but part of the plans for the orbital space station were used.
The Dachau connection though I very disturbing and wasn’t something I was awar of until recently.NASA did use the research of the experiments done by Sigmund Rascher to develop their space suits and to prepare their astronauts.
Sigmund Rascher (12 February 1909 – 26 April 1945) was a German SS doctor. His deadly experiments on humans, which were carried out in the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, were judged inhumane and criminal during the Nuremberg Trials.
In 1939 Rascher , joined the SS, and was conscripted into the Luftwaffe. A relationship and eventually marriage to former singer Karoline “Nini” Diehl gained him direct access to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Rascher’s connection with Himmler gave him immense influence, even over his superiors. Diehl may have been a former lover of Himmler; she frequently corresponded with him and interceded with him on her husband’s behalf.
A week after first meeting Himmler, Rascher presented a paper, “Report on the Development and Solution to Some of the Reichsfuehrer’s Assigned Tasks During a Discussion Held on April 24, 1939”.Rascher became involved in testing a plant extract as a cancer treatment. Kurt Blome, deputy of the Reich Health Leader (Reichsgesundheitsführer) and Plenipotentiary for Cancer Research in the Reich Research Council, favoured testing the extract on rodents, but Rascher insisted on using human test subjects. Himmler took Rascher’s side and a Human Cancer Testing Station was established at Dachau. Blome worked on the project.
Rascher suggested in early 1941, while a captain in the Luftwaffe’s Medical Service, that high-altitude/low-pressure experiments be carried out on human beings.While taking a course in aviation medicine at Munich, he wrote Himmler a letter in which he said that his course included research into high-altitude flight and it was regretted that no tests with humans had been possible as such experiments were highly dangerous and nobody volunteered for them. Rascher asked Himmler to place human subjects at his disposal, stating quite frankly that the experiments might prove fatal, but that previous tests made with monkeys had been unsatisfactory. The letter was answered by Rudolf Brandt, Himmler’s adjutant, who informed Rascher that prisoners would be made available.
Rascher subsequently wrote back to Brandt, asking for permission to carry out his experiments at Dachau, and plans for the experiments were developed at a conference in early 1942 attended by Rascher and members of the Luftwaffe Medical Service. The experiments were carried out in the spring and summer of the same year, using a portable pressure chamber supplied by the Luftwaffe. The victims were locked in the chamber, the interior pressure of which was then lowered to a level corresponding to very high altitudes. The pressure could be very quickly altered, allowing Rascher to simulate the conditions which would be experienced by a pilot freefalling from altitude without oxygen.
After viewing a report of one of the fatal experiments, Himmler remarked that if a subject should survive such treatment, he should be “pardoned” to life imprisonment. Rascher replied to Himmler that the victims had to date been merely Poles and Russians, and that he believed they should be given no amnesty of any sort.
Rascher also conducted so-called “freezing experiments” on behalf of the Luftwaffe, in which 300 test subjects were used against their will. These were also conducted at Dachau after the high-altitude experiments had concluded. The purpose was to determine the best way of warming German pilots who had been forced down in the North Sea and suffered hypothermia.
Rascher’s victims were forced to remain outdoors naked in freezing weather for up to 14 hours, or kept in a tank of icewater for three hours, their pulse and internal temperature measured through a series of electrodes. Warming of the victims was then attempted by different methods, most usually and successfully by immersion in hot water.
General Dr. Erich Hippke, chief of the Luftwaffe medical service, was the actual source of the idea for the so-called “freezing experiments” which were undertaken on behalf of the Luftwaffe and conducted at Dachau concentration camp by Sigmund Rascher.
Himmler attended some of the experiments, and told Rascher he should go the North Sea and find out how the ordinary people there warmed victims of extreme cold. Himmler reportedly said he thought “that a fisher woman could well take her half-frozen husband into her bed and revive him in that manner” and added that everyone believed “animal warmth” had a different effect than artificial warmth. Four Romani women were sent from Ravensbrück concentration camp and warming was attempted by placing the hypothermic victim between two naked women.
A medical conference was held in Nuremberg in October 1942, at which the results of the experiments were presented under the headings “Prevention and Treatment of Freezing”, and “Warming Up After Freezing to the Danger Point”.
Rascher, who had by now been transferred to the Waffen-SS, was eager to obtain the academic credentials necessary for a high-level university position. A habilitation which was to be based on his research failed, however, at Munich, Marburg, and Frankfurt, due to the formal requirement that results be made available for public scrutiny. US investigators later concluded that Rascher had been merely a convenient front for Luftwaffe chief surgeon Erich Hippke, who had been the true source of the ideas for Rascher’s experiments.
Similar experiments were conducted from July to September 1944, as the Ahnenerbe (an institute in Nazi Germany purposed to research the archaeological and cultural history of the Aryan race)provided space and materials to doctors at Dachau to undertake “seawater experiments”, chiefly through Wolfram Sievers. Sievers is known to have visited Dachau on 20 July 1944, to speak with Kurt Plötner and the non-Ahnenerbe Wilhelm Beiglboeck, who ultimately carried out the experiments.
While at Dachau, Rascher developed the standard cyanide capsules, which could be easily bitten through, either deliberately or accidentally.
Rascher experimented with the effects of Polygal, a substance made from beet and apple pectin, which aided blood clotting. He predicted that the preventive use of Polygal tablets would reduce bleeding from gunshot wounds sustained during combat or during surgery. Subjects were given a Polygal tablet, and shot through the neck or chest, or their limbs amputated without anaesthesia. Rascher published an article on his experience of using Polygal, without detailing the nature of the human trials and also set up a company to manufacture the substance, staffed by prisoners.
Rascher did not go to the US after the war. He was executed on the 26th of April 1945 3 days before Dachau was liberated. He wasn’t executed by the allies or the prisoners but by the Nazi’s and not because of his evil experiments.
In an attempt to please Himmler by demonstrating that population growth could be accelerated by extending the childbearing age, Rascher publicized the fact that his wife had given birth to three children even after becoming 48 years of age, and Himmler used a photograph of Rascher’s family as propaganda material.
However, during her fourth “pregnancy”, Mrs. Rascher was arrested for trying to kidnap a baby and an investigation revealed that her other three children had been either bought or kidnapped. Himmler felt betrayed by this conduct, and Rascher was arrested in April 1944. As well as complicity in the kidnappings of the three infants, Rascher was also accused of financial irregularities, the murder of his former lab assistant, and scientific fraud. Both Rascher and his wife were hastily condemned without trial to the concentration camps.Rascher was imprisoned at Buchenwald following his arrest in 1944 until the camp’s evacuation in April 1945. He and other prisoners were then taken to Dachau where Rascher was executed by firing squad on 26 April 1945; just three days before the camp was liberated by American troops.
Although he had been executed before the American troops liberated Dachau, they did get hold of the notes and the research of experiments, which later became property of NASA.
Based on Rascher’s “Research” NASA developed their space suits.
Hans Eppinger Jr. (January 5, 1879 – September 25, 1946) was an Austrian physician who performed experiments upon concentration camp prisoners.
Below is a line from the Hippocratic oath , an oath taken by physicians.
“I will, according to my ability and judgment, prescribe a regimen for the health of the sick; but I will utterly reject harm and mischief”
Yet for the physicians working in the concentration camps this didn’t seem to matter. Dr Hans Eppinger Jr was no different then all the other evil men employed by the Nazi regime.
Hans Eppinger was born in Prague, the son of the physician Hans Eppinger Sr. He received an education in Graz and Strasbourg. In 1903 he became a medical doctor in Graz, working at a medical clinic. He moved to Vienna in 1908, and in 1909 he specialized in internal medicine, particularly conditions of the liver. He became a professor in 1918, then taught in Freiburg in 1926 and in Cologne in 1930.
In 1936 he is known to have travelled to Moscow to treat Joseph Stalin. A year later he was called to treat Queen Marie of Romania.
During World War II he gained an infamous reputation due to his experiments on prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp. Along with professor Wilhelm Beigelbock,
he performed tests on 90 Romani prisoners by providing them sea water as their only source of fluids. (In some cases the taste of the water was disguised to hide the saline content.) The prisoners suffered from severe dehydration, and witnesses reported that they had been seen licking the floors they had mopped in an attempt to get some water. The goal of the experiment was to determine if the prisoners would suffer severe physical symptoms or death within a period of 6–12 days.The men all suffered agonizing deaths.
Eppinger was also notorious for his inhuman treatment of patients. On one occasion he brought a patient to the lecture theatre and introduced him to the students with the following words: “Nephritis(inflammation of the kidneys) can be compared with a tragedy in five acts and” – pointing to the patient – “this is the final act of the tragedy.” The patient broke down in tears and was obviously distressed throughout the demonstration
Following the war he committed suicide, reportedly using poison. This occurred a month before he was to be called to testify at the Nuremberg Trials. Much later it was discovered that he had an unclaimed Swiss bank account.
In 1976 Eppinger’s name was attached to a crater on the Moon, but this was changed on October 28, 2002, by the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN), after Eppinger’s connection with the Nazi prison camps had been brought to their attention by the Lunar Republic Society and others
Although a lot of Catholic clergy men,and other Christian ministers, turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, there were still a great number of them who couldn’t remain silent and paid the ultimate price for this.
Titus Brandsma was one of those brave men who stood up for what they believed in and were killed for it.
Titus Brandsma, O.Carm., was a Dutch Carmelite friar, Catholic priest and professor of philosophy. Brandsma was vehemently opposed to Nazi ideology and spoke out against it many times before the Second World War. He was imprisoned in the infamous Dachau concentration camp, where he died. He has been beatified by the Catholic Church as a martyr of the faith.
The life of Titus Brandsma began in the quiet countryside of Friesland, Holland, where he was born on February 23, 1881, and ended some sixty years later on July 26, 1942, in the notorious hospital of the Dachau concentration camp.
He was born Anno Sjoerd Brandsma to Titus Brandsma (died 1920) and his wife Tjitsje Postma (died 1933) at Oegeklooster, near Hartwerd, in the Province of Friesland, in 1881.His parents, who ran a small dairy farm,
were devout and committed Catholics, a minority in a predominantly-Calvinist region.
With the exception of one daughter, all of their children entered religious orders.
As a young boy, Brandsma did his secondary studies in the town of Megen, at a Franciscan-run minor seminary for boys considering a priestly or religious vocation.
Brandsma entered the novitiate of the Carmelite friars in Boxmeer on 17 September 1898, where he took the religious name Titus (in honor of his father) by which he is now known, and professed his first vows in October 1899.
Ordained a priest in 1905, Brandsma was knowledgeable in Carmelite mysticism and was awarded a doctorate of philosophy at Rome in 1909. He then taught in various schools in the Netherlands. From 1916 on, he initiated and led a project to translate the works of St. Teresa of Ávila into Dutch.
In 1921 Brandsma worked to resolve a controversy concerning Belgian artist Albert Servaes’ depiction of the Stations of the Cross. From this came his series of meditations on each of the 14 stations.
One of the founders of the Catholic University of Nijmegen (now Radboud University), Brandsma became a professor of philosophy and the history of mysticism at the school in 1923. He later served as Rector Magnificus. He was noted for his constant availability to everyone, rather than for his scholarly work as a professor.
Brandsma also worked as a journalist and was the ecclesiastical adviser to Catholic journalists by 1935.
That same year he did a lecture tour of the United States, speaking at various institutions of his Order.
Just before this lecture tour, Archbishop De Jong of Utrecht appointed Fr. Titus as spiritual advisor to the staff members of the more than thirty Catholic newspapers in Holland; around the same time, the policies of Adolf Hitler, the new German Chancellor, began to become know in the Netherlands, and were openly criticized by Titus in his teaching and in the press
After the invasion of the Netherlands by the Third Reich in May 1940, it was Brandsma’s fight against the spread of Nazi ideology and for educational and press freedom that brought him to the attention of the Nazis. In January 1942 he undertook to deliver by hand a letter from the Conference of Dutch Bishops to the editors of Catholic newspapers in which the bishops ordered them not to print official Nazi documents, as was required under a new law by the German occupiers. He had visited 14 editors before being arrested on the 19th of that month at the Boxmeer monastery.
After his arrest in January 1942, Titus was first imprisoned in the Dutch penitentiary in Scheveningen .which had been taken over by the Nazis.
In cell #577 of Scheveningen penitentiary, Titus composed a poem on solitude and his experience of the presence of God that became famous in the Netherlands.. …“Never were you, 0 Lord, so near.. .“ This is Titus’ original copy written February 12-13, 1942.
On March 20, 1942, Titus and others were brought from prison at Scheveningen to the Dutch concentration camp at Amersfoort. While there, Titus was given this rosary by a fellow prisoner. There are different stories about it, and there seems to have been more than one such rosary. It seems that the maker of this gift to Titus was himself executed later on. His name was Piet (Peter) Holfsloot.
After being held prisoner in Scheveningen, Amersfoort, and Cleves, Brandsma was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp, arriving there on 19 June. His health quickly gave way, and he was transferred to the camp hospital. He died on 26 July 1942, from a lethal injection administered by a nurseof the Allgemeine SS, as part of their program of medical experimentation on the prisoners
A grave marker at Dachau in the background are the prisoner barracks whereTitus was executed by lethal injection July 26, 1942 and cremated three days later.
Below are the death certificates and notification issued after his death.
Brandsma is honored as a martyr within the Roman Catholic Church. He was beatified in November 1985 by Pope John Paul II. His feast day is observed within the Carmelite Order on 27 July.
In 2005 Brandsma was chosen by the inhabitants of Nijmegen as the greatest citizen to have lived there. A memorial church now stands in the city dedicated to him.
Brandsma’s studies on mysticism was the basis for the establishment in 1968 of the Titus Brandsma Institute in Nijmegen, dedicated to the study of spirituality. It is a collaboration between the Dutch Carmelite friars and Radboud University Nijmegen.
In his biography of Brandsma, The Man behind the Myth, Dutch journalist Ton Crijnen claims that Brandsma combined some vanity, a short tempered character, extreme energy, political simpleness, true charity, unpretentious piety, thorough decisiveness and great personal courage. His ideas were very much those of his own age and modern as well. He offset contemporary Catholicism’s negative theological opinion about Judaism with a strong disaffection for any kind of Antisemitism in Hitler’s Germany. Brandsma was honoured by the city of Dachau with a street adjoining the former camp, albeit one of the narrowest streets in the town.