Authors: Mgr. Tomáš Gol, Miroslava Langhamerová
Lying approximately 15 kilometers north-west of Munich, the Dachau concentration camp was one of the oldest of the Nazi concentration camps. Its establishment was announced by Heinrich Himmler on March 20, 1933. Initially, political opponents of the regime – primarily communists, social democrats and trade unionists – were kept in the camp. Later on, other categories of prisoners – Jehovah´s witnesses, Romanies, homosexuals and also Jewish prisoners – were added. Inmates from the Nazi-occupied countries were also deported to Dachau during the war. The camp grew to be a place of mass murders. Thousands of inmates of the Dachau concentration camp, branded as ”handicapped“, perished in the gas chambers of the Upper Austrian Hartheim Castle near Linz. The Dachau camp also witnessed lethal pseudo-medical experiments on its inmates. A network of branch camps was set up in 1942, their inmates being used primarily for slave labor for the German armaments industry.
This concentration camp served as a ”model facility“ aimed at devising and testing a system of concentration camps management and treatment of their inmates, providing a pattern for other camps to emulate. Theodor Eicke was in charge of training future guards in Nazi concentration camps – the infamous SS-Totenkopfverbände units – in Dachau.
At the end of the war, truly appalling conditions prevailed in the main camp. Its captive population kept soaring as inmates evacuated from other camps before the advancing Allied troops arrived in Dachau, while a typhus epidemic spread in the camp. US Army units arrived in the camp on April 29, 1945 and found more than 30,000 inmates there.
The first inhabitants of the Czech lands were transported to Dachau already at the end of 1938, namely from the occupied Czech border regions. The first groups of Czech prisoners, sent by the Gestapo´s head service stations in Prague and Brno, came to Dachau after the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Many distinguished Czech personalities, such as painter and writer Josef Čapek, architect professor Jiří Kroha, industrialist and art patron Jindřich Waldes, future Czech cardinals Štěpán Trochta and Josef Beran, while writer Arnošt Lustig managed to escape from a death transport to Dachau. Other Czech prisoners in Dachau included František Fischer, a weight-lifter and Olympian, painter, graphic designer and anti-fascist resistance fighter Vojtěch Preissig; many Czech Catholic clergymen were also deported to the camp.
The sources for the database come not only from the Terezín Memorial´s archive but also from the National Archive, registers of the Jewish community in Prague and the archive of the KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau.
The database will be continuously updated and supplemented with newly acquired information.