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Archive/File: camps/dachau/dachau.02
Last-modified: 1993/03/12 

Breitman references regarding Dachau:


Himmler apparently did not want to rely exclusively upon Eicke and his
men to carry out a reign of terror during the military campaign in
Poland. Who could be a better choice to organize a parallel force that
Eicke's bitter rival, and Himmler's own deputy, Reinhard Heydrich? Years
before, Eicke and Heydrich had fought for control over the concentration
camps, starting with Dachau, and their enmity had lasted. (Sydnor,
Soldiers of Destruction, 22)


Upper Silesia [...] had become a critical region for Himmler.  On March
1 he flew from Berlin to [...] Gleiwitz, where he was met by Bracht, von
dem Bach-Zelewski, and Inspector of Concentration CAmps Richard Glu"cks.
After lunch the group drove about thirty miles southeast across the old
border with Poland to the Upper Silesian town of Auschwitz, which was
now just inside the expanded Reich and just outside the Government
General.  There was a concentration camp at Auschwitz, founded in 1940
(From the History of KL Auschwitz, New York, 1982,I, 188, has Himmler,
Bracht, Glu"cks, and Ernst-Heinrich Schmausser going to Auschwitz on 1
March 1941.  This last name appears to be an error, since Schmausser was
not appointed higher SS and police leader for the region until May 1941,
and since Himmler attended a birthday party for Bach-Zelewski,
Schmausser's predecessor, in Breslau on the evening of 1 March.
Programm fu"r Sonnabend, 1 March 1941, NA RG 242, T-580/R37.  On the
earlier phase of Auschwitz, see Breitman, pp 93-94) but Himmler was more
interested in future activities there than in the present collection of
Poles and supposed criminals.

Auschwitz was already slated for expansion. Heydrich had approved a
scheme, formally decreed in early January 1941, by which particular
concentration camps would hold prisoners of a certain category.
Auschwitz I, along with Dachau and Sachsenhausen, for example, would
take in criminals capable of rehabilitation. "Auschwitz II" appeared on
a list of concentration camps where dangerous criminals were to be
"educated." Auschwitz II was a peculiar designation, because there was
then only one camp at Auschwitz. (Heydrich knew more than Auschwitz
Commandant Rudolf Ho"ss, who found out only later that his domain would
increase.) Himmler had approved a promotion for Ho"ss in January 1941
because of his work at Auschwitz, where, Inspector Glu"cks had written,
agriculture was the main activity. Glu"cks did reveal one interesting
fact - that Himmler had taken a particular interest in Auschwitz.
(Einstufung der Konzentrationslager, 2 Jan. 1941, NA RG 238, NO-743.
Glu"cks to Wander, SS Personalhauptamt, 14 Jan 1941, Ho"ss SS file,
Berlin Document Center.)


Later that month Himmler had the occasion to visit Dachau.  He noticed
that a Jewish prisoner was in the infirmary, which violated an order
dating back before the war that Jewish prisoners should receive medical
attention only if they were indispensable.  Himmler now issued an order
that all Jews who reported sick should be killed.  (Interrogation of
Isaak Egon Ochshorn, 14 Sept.  1945, NA RG 238, NO-1934.  Ochshorn
testified that the Jew was in the infirmary "by accident." Discussion of
a general prewar order not to treat Jews, affidavit of Gerhard Oskar
Schiedlausky, 4 Mar.  1947, NA RG 238, NO-2332.  Himmler's new order
also in interrogation of Ochshorn.) By the spring of 1941 he had few
inhibitions about putting Jews to death.


The most important postwar account came from Himmler's longtime
acquaintance, Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Ho"ss. In spite of his
relatively modest SS rank, Ho"ss had outstanding credentials: World War
I service in Turkey and Palestine, a conviction for participation in a
political murder during the Weimar Republic, a jail sentence, membership
in the Munich section of the Nazi Party since 1922, and years of
experience under Theodor Eicke at the Dachau concentration camp.
(Glu"cks to Wander, 14 Jan. 1941, Ho"ss SS file, Berlin Document Center.
Ho"ss [sic] affidavit, 14 March 1946, NA RG 238, NO-1210.)

                            Work Cited

Breitman, Richard. The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final
Solution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991

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