Chapter 16: Dachau
What, at Last, It Was All About. April 29, 1945
Page 379 - Heinrich Himmler
I would swear my hand on the Bible that if I had not gone through it I wouldn't believe it.
At last, after twenty-two months of the worst of war, the weary Thunderbirds staggered south through Germany. Now all that lay between them and Munich, where the Devil had hatched his worst, was the peacefully picturesque old Bavarian town of Dachau.
Ten miles north of Munich, and within sight, sound and stench, the world's prototype concentration camp had been placed in operation in the outskirts of Dachau on March 22, 1933, as a repository and death chamber for "undesirables" and political opponents and victims of the Nazi Party, most conspicuously Jews, and for purposes of human experimentation.
Adolf Hitler had been Chancellor of the Third Reich for seven weeks and Franklin D. Roosevelt President of the United States for eighteen days. The New Order and the New Deal.
Dachau's creator was Heinrich Himmler, a schoolmasterish-looking former chicken farmer of thirty-three who was running the SS (the Schutzstaffel elite guard) and about to take over the Gestapo (the secret police)-his Führer 's twin agencies of terror.
When after a couple of months the clumsy murder of several prisoners aroused one of the last public protests to ruffle the New Order, Reichsführer SS Himmler replaced the camp's first commandant with Theodor Eicke, who went on to develop for Dachau's SS Totenkopf (Death's Head) guards the code of blind obedience to orders, fanatical hatred of ...
Video of author and Dr. Jonathan Shay discussing the effects of PTSD on the creative process
Chapter 16: Dachau complete text and audio, with author and buddies' voices, now online
Chapter 6 complete text and audio, with author and buddies' voices
Chapter 5 complete text read by author, with buddies' voices