Pistol Range for Execution

"Three hours later, (General) Delestraint was shot together with three other French prisoners and eleven Czechoslovakian officers. As Joos "Leben auf Widerruf," (page 156) says, he walked towards the wall, naked, his head held high. Before he reached it, two pistol shots had laid him low. He died as a soldier and as a pious Christian." Dr. Johannes Neuhäusler, What Was it Like in the Concentration Camp at Dachau?

Stone designates location of "pistol range for execution"

A traditional method of execution was a shot in the neck at close range (Genickschuss), which was the method used by the Nazis to kill traitors, spies, saboteurs and resistance fighters at a pistol range in front of a wall north of the new crematorium, called Baracke X. The photograph above shows the marker at the spot where the pistol range was located. It is in the same area as where the ashes were dumped after the bodies of the victims were cremated.

The photographs below shows the execution wall.

Wall where prisoners were executed by a shot in the neck

The photo below shows the blood ditch which was designed to catch the flow of blood when prisoners were executed with a shot in the neck at the execution wall.

Marker designates the blood ditch at the execution site

General Charles Delestraint was allegedly shot at this spot on April 19, 1945. Four women in the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) were also allegedly executed here on the morning of September 12, 1944. A plaque on the wall of the crematorium gives their names: Mrs. Yolande Beekman, Miss Madeleine Damerment, Miss Noorunisa Inayat Khan and Mrs. Elaine Plewman.

Another prisoner who was executed here was Enzo Sereni, who was shot on November 18, 1944. He was one of the Jews from Palestine who had parachuted into Germany behind enemy lines for the purpose of carrying out guerrilla warfare during World War II.

After October 1941, captured Soviet soldiers were brought to Dachau. They were interrogated and 90 Russian officers, who were believed to be Communist Commissars, were executed on the direct orders of Adolf Hitler. This order was a violation of the Geneva Convention which set rules for the treatment of enemy POWs. Germany had signed the Convention but the Russians had declined to be a party to it.

During the American Military Tribunal for the staff members of the Dachau concentration camp, which was held in the Dachau complex in November 1945, the American prosecutor charged that several of the accused were guilty of "a common plan to violate the Laws and Usages of War" because they were present when 90 alleged Communist Commissars were executed at Dachau and did not try to stop the execution.

According to the American prosecutors at the American Military Tribunals held at Dachau, thousands of Russian POWs were taken to the SS shooting range at Herbertshausen, which was located in the Dachau suburb of Etzenhausen, where they were executed by a firing squad. The American defense attorneys at the American Military Tribunal for 40 Dachau staff members claimed that there was no proof that 5,000 Russian POWs were shot for target practice at Herbertshausen, as alleged by the prosecution.

The photograph below shows the rifle range at Herbertshausen.

Rifle range where Russian POWs were shot

Photo taken by Donald E. Jackson, 40th Combat Engineer Regiment


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This page was last updated on May 28, 2007