Crimes against humanity
Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Crimes against humanity have since been prosecuted by other international courts as well as in domestic prosecutions; the law of crimes against humanity has developed through the evolution of customary international law. Crimes against humanity are not codified in an international convention, although there is an international effort to establish such a treaty, led by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative. Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity can be committed during war, they are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. War crimes, massacres, genocide, ethnic cleansing, unethical human experimentation, extrajudicial punishments including summary executions, use of WMDs, state terrorism or state sponsoring of terrorism, death squads and forced disappearances, military use of children, unjust imprisonment, cannibalism, rape, political repression, racial discrimination, religious persecution and other human rights abuses may reach the threshold of crimes against humanity if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice.
The term "crimes against humanity" is ambiguous because of the ambiguity of the word "humanity", which can mean humankind or the value of humanness. The history of the term shows. There were several bilateral treaties in 1814 that foreshadowed the multilateral treaty of Final Act of the Congress of Vienna that used wording expressing condemnation of the slave trade using moral language. For example, the Treaty of Paris between Britain and France included the wording "principles of natural justice"; the multilateral Declaration of the Powers, on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, of 8 February 1815 included in its first sentence the concept of the "principles of humanity and universal morality" as justification for ending a trade, "odious in its continuance". The term "crimes against humanity" was used by George Washington Williams in a pamphlet published in 1890 to describe the practices of Leopold II of Belgium's administration of the Congo Free State. In treaty law, the term originated in the Second Hague Convention of 1899 preamble and was expanded in the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 preamble and their respective regulations, which were concerned with the codification of new rules of international humanitarian law.
The preamble of the two Conventions referenced the "laws of humanity" as an expression of underlying inarticulated humanistic values. The term is part of. On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers, Britain and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time another government of committing "a crime against humanity". An excerpt from this joint statement reads: In view of these new crimes of Ottoman Empire against humanity and civilization, the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres. At the conclusion of the war, an international war crimes commission recommended the creation of a tribunal to try "violations of the laws of humanity". However, the US representative objected to references to "law of humanity" as being imprecise and insufficiently developed at that time and the concept was not pursued.
After the Second World War, the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal set down the laws and procedures by which the Nuremberg trials were to be conducted. The drafters of this document were faced with the problem of how to respond to the Holocaust and the grave crimes committed by the Nazi regime. A traditional understanding of war crimes gave no provision for crimes committed by a power on its own citizens. Therefore, Article 6 of the Charter was drafted to include not only traditional war crimes and crimes against peace, but crimes against humanity, defined as Murder, enslavement and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated. Under this definition, crimes against humanity could only be punished insofar as they could be connected somehow to war crimes or crimes against peace.
The jurisdictional limitation was explained by the American chief representative to the London Conference, Robert H. Jackson, who pointed out that it "has been a general principle from time immemorial that the internal affairs of another government are not ordinarily our business". Thus, "it is justifiable that we interfere or attempt to bring retribution to individuals or to states only because the concentration camps and the deport
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Auschwitz concentration camp
The Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of more than 40 Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps built and operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. It consisted of the main camp and administrative headquarters in Oświęcim. Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, sparking World War II, they converted Auschwitz I from an army barracks to a prison camp for Polish political prisoners; the first prisoners were German criminals who were brought to the camp as functionaries in May 1940, the first gassing of prisoners took place in block 11 of Auschwitz I in September 1941. Auschwitz II–Birkenau became a major site of the Nazis' Final Solution to the Jewish Question. Transport trains delivered Jews from all over German-occupied Europe to the camp's gas chambers from early 1942 until late 1944. At least 1.1 million people died at Auschwitz of the estimated 1.3 million sent there, some 90 percent of them were Jews. One in six Jews killed in the Holocaust died at the camp.
Others deported to Auschwitz included 150,000 non-Jewish Poles, 23,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, 400 Jehovah's Witnesses, tens of thousands of diverse nationalities, an unknown number of homosexual men. Many of those not killed in the gas chambers died because of starvation, forced labor, infectious diseases, individual executions, medical experiments. In the course of the war, the camp was staffed by 7,000 members of the German Schutzstaffel 12 percent of whom were convicted of war crimes. Several were executed, including camp commandant Rudolf Höss; the Allies did not act on early reports of atrocities, their failure to bomb it or its railways remains controversial. At least 802 prisoners tried to escape, 144 and two Sonderkommando units launched a brief, unsuccessful uprising on 7 October 1944, consisting of prisoners assigned to staff the gas chambers. Soviet troops approached Auschwitz in January 1945, most of the prisoners were sent west on a death march; the remaining prisoners were liberated on 27 January 1945, a day commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In the following decades, survivors wrote memoirs of their experiences in Auschwitz, such as Primo Levi, Viktor Frankl, Elie Wiesel, the camp became a dominant symbol of the Holocaust. In 1947, Poland founded the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, it was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979; the ideology of Nazism brought together elements of antisemitism, racial hygiene and eugenics, combined them with pan-Germanism and territorial expansionism with the goal of obtaining more Lebensraum for the Germanic people. After the Nazi seizure of power in Germany, boycotts of German Jews and acts of violence against them became ubiquitous, legislation was passed excluding them from the civil service and certain professions, including the law. Harassment and economic pressure were used to encourage them to leave Germany. On 15 September 1935, the Reichstag passed the Nuremberg Laws, prohibiting marriages between Jews and people of Germanic extraction, extramarital relations between Jews and Germans, the employment of German women under the age of 45 as domestic servants in Jewish households.
The Reich Citizenship Law defined as citizens those of "German or kindred blood". Thus Jews and other minorities were stripped of their citizenship. By the start of World War II in 1939, around 250,000 of Germany's 437,000 Jews had emigrated to the United States, the United Kingdom, other countries; when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, triggering World War II, Adolf Hitler ordered that the Polish leadership and intelligentsia be destroyed. 65,000 civilians, viewed as inferior to the Aryan master race, had been killed by the end of 1939. In addition to leaders of Polish society, the Nazis killed Jews, the Roma, the mentally ill. SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich head of the Gestapo, ordered on 21 September 1939 that Polish Jews be rounded up and concentrated into cities with good rail links; the intention was to deport them to points further east, or to Madagascar. Two years in June 1941, in an attempt to obtain new territory, Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Auschwitz I, a former Polish army barracks, was the main camp and administrative headquarters of the camp complex.
Intending to use it to house political prisoners, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, head of the Schutzstaffel, approved the site in April 1940 on the recommendation of SS-Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Höss of the Concentration Camps Inspectorate. Höss oversaw the development of the camp and served as its first commandant, with SS-Obersturmführer Josef Kramer as his deputy. Around 1,000 m long and 400 m wide, Auschwitz I consisted of 20 brick buildings, six of them two-story; the camp housed the SS by 1943 held 30,000 inmates. The first 30 prisoners arrived on 20 May 1940 after being transported from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany. Convicted German criminals, the men were known as "greens" after the green triangles they were required to w
Hans Aumeier was an SS commander during the Nazi era, the deputy commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp. One of the most important criminals at Auschwitz, he was extradited to Poland where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Aumeier was executed in 1948. Aumeier was born on 20 August 1906 in the small town of Amberg, where he attended elementary school for four years and secondary school for just three years. In 1918 he left school without any qualifications to take up an apprenticeship as a turner and fitter in a local rifle factory, following his father’s career. In 1923 he began work for a bigger company in Munich. In 1925 he tried to join the Reichswehr but failed and returned to the rifle factory in Munich, but he couldn’t settle down and after taking up similar positions in other factories in Berlin and Cologne he became unemployed. Throughout the period 1926 to 1929, Aumeier moved from one job to another, was in and out of employment, taking part-time work and summer jobs in order to survive.
He was an early member of the Nazi Party, joining in December 1929, in 1931 he joined the SA and was soon employed as a driver at the SA headquarters in Berlin. In December 1931 he was transferred to the SS where he worked in the garage as a driver and was on the staff of head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler. On 1 February 1942 he was transferred to Auschwitz concentration camp and was appointed as head of Department III, named Schutzhaftlagerführer at Auschwitz I, where he remained until 16 August 1943, it was during this time at Auschwitz that Aumeier made a name for himself, responsible for many draconian methods, including torture and executions. On 19 March 1942, 144 women were shot at the execution wall in the courtyard of Blocks 10 and 11 on Aumeier’s orders. On 27 May 1942, he was present again at a mass execution of 168 prisoners who were shot in the same manner. On 18 August 1943, Aumeier was found guilty of corrupt practices and theft of gold from the victims of gassing, as a result, was transferred from Auschwitz on the personal orders of Commandant Rudolf Höß.
According to an interrogation report, Aumeier stated that in May–June 1943 while still attached to Auschwitz he was ordered to report to the Higher SS and Police Leader “Ostland”, SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln. He was attached to the SS-Construction Brigade of 5th SS Panzer Corps. Aumeier would command a Jewish construction unit of some 7,000 men with orders to construct, establish Vaivara concentration camp in Estonia for Jews. After he was discharged from Auschwitz, Aumeier returned to Vaivara as commandant and remained there until August 1944, when the camp was evacuated and all his prisoners were made the responsibility of the commandant of Stutthof concentration camp. On 20 August Aumeier reported back to Jeckeln and found himself attached to a Police Battalion part of “Kampfgruppe Jeckeln”, situated near Riga, Latvia. Here, Aumeier took part in his only frontline engagement with the enemy as his unit attempted to attack the Estonian island of Osel but was unsuccessful. What part he played in this attack is unclear.
In October 1944, shortly before the surrender of Riga, he was ordered to report to SS-Gruppenführer Richard Glücks at Oranienburg. He took this opportunity to ask Glücks if he could return to his old unit at Dachau concentration camp so he could visit his family, his request was granted. When he was discharged, he reported back to Oranienburg and was asked whether he wanted to go to occupied Norway to become commandant of a new concentration camp at Mysen, he asked for leave to see his family but this time it was refused and he was told to report to SS-Sturmbannführer Max Pauly who would brief him. On 22 January he arrived in Oslo, met Pauly and was told he had to supervise the building of a camp to house 3,000 prisoners to be used in slave labour, it seems that Aumeier managed to build this camp and his treatment of the prisoners was different from that of how he treated the prisoners at Auschwitz. He worked with the Norwegian Red Cross and let them into the camp. On 7 May 1945, Aumeier opened the camp and let the prisoners go free, by the next day the camp was empty.
On 11 June 1945 Aumeier was arrested at Terningmoen camp as a result of information gleaned by Gestapo files obtained by the MI6. He was still in full SS uniform and admitted immediately his name and rank, he was handed over to United States intelligence officers at Akershus Prison for interrogation in August 1945. In 1946, he was extradited to Poland to face trial as a war criminal along with thirty-nine other members of the SS staff of Auschwitz-Birkenau, before the Supreme National Tribunal in Kraków; the trial lasted from 25 November to 16 December 1947, Aumeier stated that if he was found guilty and sentenced to death, he would "die as a'Sündenbock' for Germany". He told the court that he had never killed anyone at Auschwitz and neither had any of his men and denied knowledge of the gas chambers. On 22 December Aumeier was sentenced to death, he was hanged on 28 January 1948 in Montelupich Prison, Kraków. Jeremy Dixon, Commanders of Auschwitz: The SS Officers who ran the Largest Nazi Concentration Camp 1940–1945, Schiffer Military History: Atglen, PA, 2005, ISBN 0-7643-2175-7
Hauptsturmführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank, used in several Nazi organizations such as the SS, NSKK and the NSFK. The rank of Hauptsturmführer was a mid-level commander and had equivalent seniority to a captain in the German Army and the equivalency of captain in foreign armies; the rank of Hauptsturmführer evolved from the older rank of Sturmhauptführer, created as a rank of the Sturmabteilung. The SS used the rank of Sturmhauptführer from 1930 to 1934 at which time, following the Night of the Long Knives, the name of the rank was changed to Hauptsturmführer although the insignia remained the same. Sturmhauptführer remained an SA rank until 1945; some of the most infamous SS members are known to have held the rank of Hauptsturmführer. Among them are Josef Mengele, the infamous doctor assigned to Auschwitz; the insignia of Hauptsturmführer was three silver pips and two silver stripes on a black collar patch, worn opposite a unit insignia patch. On the field grey duty uniform, the shoulder boards of an army Hauptmann were displayed.
The rank of Hauptsturmführer was senior to the rank of Obersturmführer and junior to Sturmbannführer. Table of ranks and insignia of the Waffen-SS
Stutthof concentration camp
Stutthof was a Nazi German concentration camp established in a secluded and wooded area near the small town of Sztutowo 34 km east of the city of Danzig in the former territory of the Free City of Danzig. The camp was set up around existing structures after the invasion of Poland in World War II, used for the imprisonment of Polish leaders and intelligentsia; the actual barracks were built the following year by hundreds of prisoners. Stutthof was the first Nazi concentration camp set up outside German borders in World War II, in operation from 2 September 1939, it was the last camp liberated by the Allies on 9 May 1945. It is estimated that between 63,000 and 65,000 prisoners of Stutthof concentration camp and its subcamps died as a result of murder, extreme labour conditions and lack of medical help; some 28,000 of them were Jews. In total, as many as 110,000 people were deported there in the course of the camp's existence. About 24,600 were transferred from Stutthof to other locations; the camp was established in connection with the ethnic cleansing project that included the liquidation of Polish elites in the Danzig area and Western Prussia.
Before the war began, the German Selbstschutz in Pomerania created lists of people to be arrested, the Nazi authorities were secretly reviewing suitable places to set up concentration camps in their area. Stutthof was a civilian internment camp under the Danzig police chief, before its subsequent massive expansion. In November 1941, it became a "labor education" camp, administered by the German Security Police. In January 1942, Stutthof became a regular concentration camp; the original camp was surrounded by the barbed-wire fence. It comprised eight barracks for the inmates and a "Kommandantur" for the SS guards, totaling 120,000 m². In 1943, the camp was enlarged and a new camp was constructed alongside the earlier one, it was surrounded by electrified barbed-wire fence and contained thirty new barracks, raising the total area to 1.2 km². A crematorium and gas chamber were added in 1943, just in time to start mass executions when Stutthof was included in the "Final Solution" in June 1944. Mobile gas wagons were used to complement the maximum capacity of the gas chamber when needed.
The camp staff consisted of German SS guards and after 1943, the Ukrainian auxiliaries brought in by SS-Gruppenführer Fritz Katzmann. In 1942 the first German female SS Aufseherinnen guards arrived at Stutthof along with female prisoners. A total of 295 women guards worked as staff in the Stutthof complex of camps. Among the notable female guard personnel were: Elisabeth Becker, Erna Beilhardt, Ella Bergmann, Ella Blank, Gerda Bork, Herta Bothe, Erna Boettcher, Hermine Boettcher-Brueckner, Steffi Brillowski, Charlotte Graf, Charlotte Gregor, Charlotte Klein, Gerda Steinhoff, Ewa Paradies, Jenny-Wanda Barkmann. Thirty-four female guards including Becker, Steinhoff and Barkmann were identified as having committed crimes against humanity; the SS in Stutthof began conscripting women from Danzig and the surrounding cities in June 1944, to train as camp guards because of their severe shortage after the women's subcamp of Stutthof called Bromberg-Ost was set up in the city of Bydgoszcz. Several Norwegian Waffen SS volunteers worked as guards or as instructors for prisoners from Nordic countries, according to senior researcher at the Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, Terje Emberland.
The first 150 inmates, imprisoned on 2 September 1939, were selected among Poles and Jews arrested in Danzig right after the outbreak of war. The inmate population rose to 6,000 in the following two weeks, on 15 September 1939; until 1942, nearly all of the prisoners were Polish. The number of inmates increased in 1944, with Jews being a prominent group among the newcomers; the first contingent of 2,500 Jewish prisoners arrived from Auschwitz in July 1944. In total, 23,566 Jews were transferred to Stutthof from Auschwitz, 25,053 from camps in the Baltic states; when the Soviet army began its advance through German-occupied Estonia in July and August 1944, the camp staff of Klooga concentration camp evacuated the majority of the inmates by sea and sent them to Stutthof. Stutthof's registered inmates included citizens of 28 countries, besides Jews and Poles - Germans, Dutch, French, Finns, Lithuanians, Belarusians and others. Among 110,000 prisoners were Jews from all of Europe, members of the Polish underground, Polish civilians deported from Warsaw during the Warsaw Uprising and Latvian intelligentsia, Latvian resistance fighters, psychiatric patients, Soviet prisoners of war, communists.
It is believed. Conditions in the camp were harsh; the first executions were carried out on 11 January and 22 March 1940 - 89 Polish activists and government officials were shot. Many prisoners died in typhus epidemics that swept the camp in the winter of 1942 and again in 1944; those whom the SS guards judged too weak or sick to work were gassed in the camp's small gas chamber. Gassing with Zyklon B began in June 1944. 4,000 prisoners, including Jewish women and children, were killed in a gas chamber before the evacuation of the camp. Another method of execution practiced in Stutthof was lethal injection of phenol into the heart. Between 63,000 and 65,000 people died in the camp. Germans
Dachau concentration camp
Dachau concentration camp was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in 1933, 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 northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany. Opened by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, the imprisonment of Jews and Austrian criminals, foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded; the Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were work camps or Arbeitskommandos, were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. The camps were liberated by U. S. forces on 29 April 1945. Prisoners lived in constant fear of brutal treatment and terror detention including standing cells, the so-called tree or pole hanging, standing at attention for long periods. There were 32,000 documented deaths at the camp, thousands that are undocumented. 10,000 of the 30,000 prisoners were sick at the time of liberation.
In the postwar years the Dachau facility served to hold SS soldiers awaiting trial. After 1948, it held ethnic Germans, expelled from eastern Europe and were awaiting resettlement, was used for a time as a United States military base during the occupation, it was closed in 1960. There are several religious memorials within the Memorial Site, open to the public. Dachau served as a model for the other German concentration camps that followed; every community in Germany had members taken away to these camps. Newspapers continually reported "the removal of the enemies of the Reich to concentration camps." As early as 1935, a jingle went around: "Lieber Herr Gott, mach mich stumm, Das ich nicht nach Dachau komm'". The camp's layout and building plans were developed by Commandant Theodor Eicke and were applied to all camps, he had a separate secure camp near the command center, which consisted of living quarters and army camps. Eicke became the chief inspector for all concentration camps, responsible for organizing others according to his model.
The Dachau complex included the prisoners' camp, which occupied 5 acres, the much larger area of SS training school including barracks, plus other facilities of around 20 acres. The entrance gate used by prisoners carries the phrase "Arbeit macht frei"; this phrase was used in Theresienstadt, near Prague, Auschwitz I. Dachau was the concentration camp, in operation the longest from March 1933 to April 1945, nearly all twelve years of the Nazi regime. Dachau's close proximity to Munich, where Hitler came to power and where the Nazi Party had its official headquarters, made Dachau a convenient location. From 1933 to 1938, the prisoners were German nationals detained for political reasons. After the Reichspogromnacht or Kristallnacht, 30,000 male Jewish citizens were deported to concentration camps. More than 10,000 of them were interned in Dachau alone; as the German military occupied other European states, citizens from across Europe were sent to concentration camps. Subsequently, the camp was used for prisoners of all sorts, from every nation occupied by the forces of the Third Reich.:137In the postwar years, the camp continued in use.
From 1945 through 1948, the camp was used by the Allies as a prison for SS officers awaiting trial. After 1948, when hundreds of thousands of ethnic Germans were expelled from eastern Europe, it held Germans from Czechoslovakia until they could be resettled, it served as a military base for the United States, which maintained forces in the country. It was closed in 1960. At the insistence of survivors, various memorials have been constructed and installed here.:138 Demographic statistics vary but they are in the same general range. History will never know how many people were interned or died there, due to periods of disruption. One source gives a general estimate of over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries for the Third Reich's years, of whom two-thirds were political prisoners, including many Catholic priests, nearly one-third were Jews. 25,613 prisoners are believed to have died in the camp and another 10,000 in its subcamps from disease and suicide. In late 1944, a typhus epidemic occurred in the camp caused by poor sanitation and overcrowding, which caused more than 15,000 deaths.
It was followed by an evacuation. Toward the end of the war, death marches to and from the camp caused the deaths of numerous unrecorded prisoners. After liberation, prisoners weakened beyond recovery by the starvation conditions continued to die. Two thousand cases of "the dread black typhus" had been identified by 3 May, the U. S. Seventh Army was "working day and night to alleviate the appalling conditions at the camp". Prisoners with typhus, a louse-borne disease with an incubation period from 12 to 18 days, were treated by the 116th Evacuation Hospital, while the 127th would be the general hospital for the other illnesses. There were 227 documented deaths among the 2,252 patients cared for by the 127th. Over the 12 years of use as a concentration camp, the Dachau administration recorded the intake of 206,206 prisoners and deaths of 31,951. Crematoria were constructed to dispose of the deceased. Visitors may now walk through the buildings and view the ovens used to cremate bodies, which hid the evidence of many deaths.
It is claimed that in 1