Dachau was the first and longest-running Nazi concentration camp, set up in a former munitions plant outside of Munich, Germany. Dachau was home to more than 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries, two thirds of whom were political prisoners and one third were Jews. Dachau also held at least 3,000 Christian religious prisoners, most of whom were priests, bishops, deacons and preachers. It is believed that 25,613 prisoners died in the camps and around 10,000 in its satellite camps. Most of those who died in Dachau died from disease, malnutrition and suicide.
Dachau was divided into sections, a camp which held prisoners, an area for medical experiments and another area housed the crematorium where prisoners' bodies were burned. The perimeter of the camp was spotted with seven guard towers and electric barbed-wire fencing running throughout. Because Dachau was the second concentration camp to be liberated by American and British forces it was one of the first camps to be documented by journalists and photographers, exposing its horrific conditions and the extent of the Nazi brutality.
I recently had a chance to visit Dachau and spent a couple of hours taking photographs. The images I took there remind me of a photo series I shot years ago at Cambodia's S-21 (Toul Sleng) prison, which I will post on this blog in the coming weeks. Both are a stark reminder of what human beings are capable of and I hope that these images are able to capture the eerie, almost haunting feeling that is inescapable when visiting such places.