News and Announcements
- Aug. 17-28, 2013: West German chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Dachau memorial site on Aug. 20, then went on to the town for a campaign stop at the annual Volksfest (mini-version of Oktoberfest). I tweeted (I tweet as @German_History) several articles and did a written interview that was quoted by The Telegraph.
- Feb. 1, 2013: I just came across the papers of US Lt. Col. Martin Joyce, the first post-liberation commander of the Dachau camp. They were discovered in an old suitcase at Wayland High School (just west of Boston), and digitalized and put online by a history project group. The website provides superb access--kudos to the history project group! This is an excellent website and a great service to the public. Some of the treasures in that collection:
- Nov. 26, 2012: A reader of this site sent a link to an online pdf version of the official US Army report made at the liberation of Dachau in April 1945:
- Oct. 7, 2012: A couple of recent news items about Dachau that I came across:
- Traci Slatton, "The Bleak Necessity of the Dachau Tour," Sept. 27, 2012 on the Huffington Post blog. Note also the reader comments, and you can click the tag "Dachau" to pull up a number of other Huffington Post texts containing the term.
- Someone made a jigsaw puzzle out of a picture of the Dachau crematorium ovens, which got a lot of public criticism until amazon pulled it from its website. I personally don't think that it necessarily trivializes anything, but could be seen as an educational tool that promotes reflection. In any case here are two articles I tweeted about it:
- Nov. 5, 2011: A rather random notice of a new book publication (in German only so far):
- Eva Gruberová and Helmut Zeller, Geboren im KZ: Sieben Mütter, sieben Kinder und das Wunder von Kaufering I (Munich: Beck, 2011)(13 Euros at amazon.de).
It's about 2 of 7 mothers with newborn babies who were liberated from Dachau. A 45-min. film about the story was broadcast by German channel 1 on April 28, 2010.
- July 11, 2011: I've been looking at timelines for Dachau: google timeline; Dipity.com
- June 5, 2010: I am still receiving inquiries about the incident during
the liberation of Dachau in which US soldiers shot captured German "guards"
(some may have been non-camp soldiers convalescing in the hospital) For the
best discussion available, see this article:
- Jürgen Zarusky, "'That is not the American Way of Fighting'
The Shooting of Captured SS-Men During the Liberation of Dachau," in: Dachau
pages 133-160. Since this may be hard to obtain from a library, I offer
of the introduction and conclusion (pp. 133-141 and 157-160).
- Jan. 13, 2010: Sorry I've been neglecting this page. I've fixed
and updated a few links, but not systematically. The murals slide from
the 2007 presentation is now available.
- May 17, 2009: haGalil.com writer Robert Schickewitz published this
of Dachau camp's postwar history (in German):
Chronik des ehemaligen KZ Dachau seit 1945."
- There is an interesting exchange in the comments section at the bottom,
in which Jürgen Zarusky notes that the author completely ignores
the existence of my book, in his invective against
Bavaria for not providing a history of the memorial site. Schickewitz responds
with an ad hominem attack that stoops to astonishing depths, even without
considering Zarusky's long advocacy for and engagement with the memorial
- Nov. 11, 2008: Mark Zanzig has a description
of his May 2007 trip to Dachau and 69 photos on his zanzig.com website.
- Oct. 25, 2008: I just discovered that the color
film footage right after Dachau's liberation (3:50 mins.) taken by
US Army photographer George Stevens is available on the web. This film
material was discovered by his son in the 1980s and made into the 50 min.
1994 film "From D-Day to Berlin" (imdb
page). This clip is about 35 mins into the film.
- At 2:14 on the clip the narration notes that "122 SS guards were
shot." According to recent research by Jürgen Zarusky (Dachauer
Hefte 1997, the number was probably 35-40: 16 in the coalyard, 17
in Tower B, and a few others. The Jewish memorial service is at 3:17-3:27,
then the May 8 end-of-war celebration.
- Oct. 22, 2008: The Baden-Württemberg Center for
political educationäs journal Politik
& Unterricht: Zeitschrift für die Praxis der politischen Bildung
(2008), issue 3, is devoted to the topic Gedenkstätten--available
as a free 60page pdf. Nice color photos of various memorials and memorial
sites in B-W; bibliography on p. 21.
- Oct. 22, 2008: Otto Kohlhofer's biography was published
in 2006: Deckname "Betti Gerber": Vom Widerstand in
Neuhausen zur KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau (Munich: Allitera, 2006),
172 pages, € 18
at allitera.de (with pdf excerpt).
- July 2008: I attended a conference in Munich in honor of the
retirement of the memorial site's longtime director, Dr. Barbara Distel.
(youtube clip of award
ceremony in Dachau city hall)[74 views on 1/13/10]
- May 7, 2008: An award-winning film team from high
school near San Diego, California is making a documentary about
making a documentary about Dachau and the Holocaust (yes, you
got that right: they film themselves setting up and conducting filmed interviews).
They interviewed me in March, and visited Dachau in April. They will be
in Auschwitz in July, with a release date this fall. You can view a six-minute
trailer for their film We Must Remember at their website, http://chstv.com/.
The film premiered in March 2009.
- April 14, 2008: My book Legacies
of Dachau is now out in a paperback edition. (amazon.com
page--price: $55 [$77 hardcover]; $55
at amazon) [prices Jan. 2010]
- Feb. 6, 2008: There is a new Jewish
Museum in Munich on St. Jakobsplatz.
- Jan. 8, 2008: Vol. 23 of the Dachauer Hefte
was published: "Nationalitäten im KZ."
6, 2008 article in the Münchner Merkur/Dachauer Nachrichten.
- Oct 29, 2007: On Oct. 2, 2007, General Felix Sparks,
who led one of the battalions that liberated Dachau on April 29, 1945,
died. See this Colorado
channel 9 news story.
- Oct. 16, 2007: Just uploaded: a 32-slide lecture "Exhibiting
Dachau, 1945-2005" that I presented last week. It includes the
images of the 1946 murals in the US army base that I first posted on this
site in August 2001. [mural slide fixed Jan. 2010]
- Sept 28, 2007: An album/scrapbook compiled by then
35-year-old former Polish Catholic inmate Michal Porulski (1910-1989) shortly
after liberation was discovered. It was discovered by the daughter of fellow
inmate Arnold Unger (1930-1972) who, as a 15-year-old Jewish Pole, became
a translator for the US army after liberation and emigrated to the US with
60 other Holocaust orphans in 1947. See the eight photographs
in the article "Album
mit Zeichnungen aus KZ Dachau entdeckt," Die Welt, Sept.
- May 8, 2007: The anniversary of the liberation of
Dachau has prompted another step in the development of the memorial site:
Starting construction of a 36x36m Visitor's Center to serve the 800,000
people who visit the Dachau memorial site each year. (May
4, 2007 Münchner Merkur article in German)
- Oct. 18, 2006: My English-language article about Dachau
has just been published in: Encyclopedia of Europe, 1914-2004: The
Age of War and Reconstruction, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter
(New York: Thomson, 2006)(publisher's
page: $595 for 5-vol. set). I may post an expanded version soon. (scan
of 2006 Dachau encyclopedia article)
- June 1, 2005: NPR broadcast a review
of The Ninth Day by Pat Dowell, for which I was interviewed.
- May 19, 2005: After seeing Volker Schlöndorff's
film The Ninth Day, about a Luxemburg priest imprisoned
in Dachau, in February, I got the memoir it is drawn from, translated key
passages, and made a web page
comparing the memoir and the film in March. In preparation for an interview
for a review on NPR I did some more research in May, and augmented the
- April 22, 2005: On
April 29 I will be presenting at a German-French colloquium in Munich:
"Memories and History: From the Experiential World of the Concentration
Camps." My presentation is titled: "How Dachau has Changed: Ideas
and Goals of Its Presentation, 1945-2005" (in German). The conference
website is: www.dachau2005.com/;
blurb about my
The main 60th anniversary
celebration will take place on May 1, 2005, at 10:45am,
preceded by religious services at the religious memorials. At 12:30 there
will be a ceremony in Hebertshausen. Official
program of events; live
broadcast on Bavarian Radio;
- Feb. 8, 2005: I was asked about the GPS coordinates
of the memorial site. They are:
Lat-Long: 48° 16' 5" , 11° 28' 4" 48.2682 , 11.468 Found
and viewable at maporama.com.
- Oct. 18, 2004: Legends
page, about why people claim the Dachau gas chamber was built after
the war, soap was made from human fat, and such like.
- Sept. 20, 2004: Sept.
18, 1945 letter from US Army Air Corps pilot Robert Monson added. I've
also created a Visits page, which
will enable me to make such reports more easily accessible.
- Nov. 10, 2003: link added to Henry Staruk's 50 page
master's thesis : "After the Liberation: The American Administration
of the Concentration Camp at Dachau" (May 2002) (link)
- Oct. 2003: Best Dachau
site in English. I receive many inquiries about the camp.
I usually refer people to the scrapbookpages.com
Dachau site, which contains a wealth of reliable information
and is richly illustrated. The site was begun in 1998 by a couple of young
American (probably from California) tourists interested in history (see
their about us page).
It has since grown to over 1000 pages about historical sites all over the
world, many of them former
concentration camps and sites
of Jewish interest, as well as some of general
- Oct. 2003: I have talked about Dachau in some of my
lecture classes, and have illustrated outlines on those course web sites:
of mythic resistance.
- Apr./June 2003: A text by former US army corporal Henry
Senger about the capture of Commandant Martin Weiss has been added
(category background info, below).
June 2003: article
published in local NJ newspaper (archive
- Aug. 2002: At the end of July 2002 I was in the Dachau memorial
site again, and examined the first part of the new exhibition in detail.
Unfortunately, it is, in my opinion, a disaster. The walls were stripped
down and not repainted (to be more authentic??), giving the first part
of the museum a confusing, dirty character. The murals below have been
destroyed. The entire exhibition has far too much text and detail, and
very complex design features that are likely to remain unrecognized by
most visitors. What a shame!
- Aug. 2001: In 1972 the US Army returned confiscated portions
of the former concentration camp to Bavaria. This included one wing of
the present museum building, which has been empty and off-limits since
then. In 1998 three murals painted after the war were discovered there.
They decorated the mess hall used by the US soldiers. They depict:
a view of Manhattan in the 1940s, a tropical sunset, and a snowy mountain
GERMAN AUTHORITIES HAVE DESTROYED THESE MURALS,
because they are supposedly "not original." (They mean that the murals
were not part of the Nazi concentration camp.) I think the murals would
make a powerful backdrop for the planned exhibit on the postwar uses of
the former camp. About 50% of the 600,000-800,000 visitors each year are
Americans. These murals document how Americans stationed in Dachau tried
to make the former camp livable for themselves. They would help US-American
(and other) visitors to think about and define what they (we) are doing
in the camp today, without detracting from the horrors documented elsewhere
in the museum and on the grounds.
This wanton and irreversible destruction
of an important historical artifact, is typical of the Bavarian government's
stance towards documenting the history of the concentration camp.