The Dachau concentration camp opened on March 22, 1933. It was the first SS-run camp for "political prisoners" under Hitler's regime and became a model for the many SS prison camps that followed. Located in southern Germany, Dachau remained open until 1945 when it was liberated by U.S. troops. Approximately 200,000 people were detained during these years and an estimated 41,500 died.
This group portrait of former political prisoners in the newly-liberated Dachau concentration camp was taken by Colonel Alexander Zabin, an American soldier from Long Island, New York who visited Dachau in mid-May 1945.
Two dead prisoners are taken away in a cart after Dachau was liberated by U.S. troops, May 1945.
Soldiers arrived to find surviving prisoners, as well as a number of unburied bodies left by the fleeing SS.
View of the entrance to the Dachau concentration camp with the Prussian eagle perched on top, May 1945.
French prisoners sing the national anthem, "La Marseillaise," upon the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, near Munich, by Allied troops, April 18, 1945.
Prisoners' barracks in the Dachau concentration camp, May 3, 1945.
Dachau was primarily a facility for high-level political prisoners and the camp included compounds for special prisoners, including those that the Nazis had an interest in detaining but did not treat as usual prisoners.
View of a tree in the Dachau concentration camp, located near the crematorium, where prisoners were hanged. A sign in four languages identifying how it was used is posted on the tree, July 1, 1945.
Prisoners could be sentenced to execution for reasons including planning an escape, passing intelligence outside the camp or gathering weapons. The killings were often carried out in front of assembled prisoners.
Former prisoners assemble on the main street in the newly liberated Dachau concentration camp, May 1945.
A survivor in Dachau on the day of liberation.
After liberation, prisoners who had the strength to leave were released after passing medical exams and others were eventually relocated to displaced persons camps after receiving refugee status.
Two ovens inside the crematorium at the Dachau concentration camp.
The corpse of a prisoner of the Dachau concentration camp, April 18, 1945.
A young man checks numbers tattooed on the arms of Jewish Polish prisoners coming from Auschwitz at the Dachau concentration camp, April 1945.
Corpses lie in one of the open railcars of the Dachau death train.
The train consisted of nearly 40 rail cars containing the bodies of between 2,000 and 3,000 prisoners who were evacuated from Buchenwald on April 7, 1945. The train arrived in Dachau on the afternoon of April 28.
American soldiers examine piles of prisoners' clothing found near the crematorium at Dachau.
A section of the Dachau concentration camp.
Two survivors prepare food outside the barracks. The man on the right, presumably, is Jean (Johnny) Voste, born in Belgian Congo, who was the only black prisoner in Dachau.
Survivors congregate next to the barbed wire fence surrounding the Dachau concentration camp, April 1945.
Survivors in the shower barracks after liberation, April 29, 1945 - May 1945.
A clandestine photograph of prisoners marching to Dachau. Maria Seidenberger took the photo from the second floor window of her family's home while her mother stood outside and gave potatoes to the prisoners.
Himmler ordered the commanders of camps to evacuate prisoners alive as enemy troops approached. Many were marched to Dachau, which was located in the center of what was left of the Reich territory.
View of the gardens and greenhouse of the Dachau concentration camp.
It was not unusual for prisoners to be assigned as gardeners or groundskeepers for the benefit of the SS who lived on the grounds.
View of the moat in front of the barbed wire fence surrounding the Dachau concentration camp.
Moats and fencing were used to prevent prisoners from leaving and any unwanted outsiders from approaching the camp.
Former prisoners walking along the main street of the newly liberated Dachau concentration camp, May 1945.
Former prisoners walk between two rows of barracks in the newly liberated Dachau concentration camp, May 1945.
SS officer Eichelsdoerfer, the commandant of Kaufering IV, a sub-camp of Dachau, stands in civilian clothes amidst the corpses of prisoners killed in his camp. A burial party of Germans conscripted from the surrounding area works in the background, April 27, 1945 - April 30, 1945.
Eichelsdoerfer was later convicted during the The Dachau Trials, held on the grounds of the camp after liberation, and was executed May 29, 1946.
A large pile of victims' shoes piled up outside barracks in the Dachau concentration camp, May 1945.