Research and Teaching

The Holocaust in Bavaria. Jewish prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp complex (1944–1945)

Researcher: Johannes Meerwald M.A.

Funding: Stiftung Ökohaus Doctoral Scholarship

In the last year of the war, the SS deported around 45,000 Jews from the eastern part of the German sphere of power to the Dachau concentration camp complex. Although the prisoners came from almost all the states of occupied Europe, they were mainly of Hungarian, Polish or Lithuanian origin. The exact numbers of victims remain unclear, but at least 10,500 of them died or were deliberately murdered by the SS and their collaborators. Thus, Jews constitute one of the largest group of both prisoners and victims of the Dachau camp system. This aspect has not been adequately documented in research, in the local culture of remembrance. The Dachau concentration camp and its subcamps have been largely ignored as crime scenes of the Holocaust.

 

The aim of the research project is to highlight the characteristics of the late phase of the Holocaust, based on the example of the Dachau camp complex. The work sheds light on the processes of political decision-making behind the deportations to the Reich, points out the multitude of state actors involved, and shows the transformation of the camp system in this phase of the Holocaust. The exploitation and extermination of Jews had relocated to the »Heimatfront« (home front) in the last year of the war. The work therefore also examines the relationships between the camps, the prisoners, and their environment and questions the Germans' (dis)interest in the mass crimes that often took place right before their eyes.