Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 29: Liberation of Dachau

On this date in History ..... 1945:

The U.S. Seventh Army liberated Dachau, the first concentration camp established just five weeks after Hitler became Chancellor. 

The pile of shoes found by American
soldiers when they entered Dachau.
Photo source: 
American soldiers encountered 30 railroad cars of dead bodies in various stages of decomposition as they neared the camp. Once inside the camp, they found more dead bodies and 30,000 survivors. The story goes that the Americans were so enraged at what they found, that 30 SS guards were machine-gunned down. 

The civilian townspeople of Dachau were forced to come to the camp and see what was going on right next to them. They then had to bury over 9000 of the dead.  (See this blog for more on the story of bringing neighboring civilians to see these camps: ).

Incomplete records indicated over 32,000 people died in the camps of Dachau.  (To put this in perspective, my hometown had a population of approx. 36,000 in 2012. Can you imagine going home one day and finding out the entire town had been killed?)   

While the liberation of this camp was going on, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were having a wedding ceremony. They committed suicide the next day.

And in case you missed the big headline:  Prince William and Kate Middleton decided to get married on Adolph and Eva's wedding date.  How did the royal wedding planners miss THAT piece of trivia?


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