"ARBEIT MACHT FREI" sign on main entrance to former Dachau Concentration Camp

Picture #1 of prisoners at work in Dachau Concentration Camp

Picture #2 of prisoners at work in Dachau Concentration Camp

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In the early days of the Dachau Concentration Camp, prisoners were released after completing their sentence. Upon discharge, they were given the following instructions regarding work after their release, according to a document on display at the camp Museum, quoted below:

Directives for discharge:

You should show that you are willing to work. In other words, we want to give you the opportunity to integrate completely into the National German community.

You should display your willingness to work for yourselves, your family and the whole German Nation. No one demands of you that you become National Socialists; leave that to us. We do however demand that you become 100% "Volksgenossen"! You should devote the whole of your energy and skills to your allotted work. All employment is to be accepted even if it is not commensurate with your previous occupation. Unemployment is unknown to us, on the contrary, we do not have enough workers.

Hunger and want do not exist outside. Everyone earns according to his work, and in time each person will be assigned a position for which he is especially suited.

He who finds himself in need through no fault of his own, will be supported by the National Socialist charity organizations (NSW, Wohlfahrt). These organizations are however under no circumstances to be taken advantage of! Relaxation, entertainment and diversion will be provided by the "KdF"-department (strength through joy). The law makes provision for and protects the right of workers to take a holiday. However, I wish to warn those who think they can work against the wishes of the German people, or flee abroad and from there work against the Germans! We bring everyone back whether it be from another part of the Reich or abroad, and no one escapes our punishment.

The individual is of no concern to us and therefore it is unimportant whether anyone of them stays alive or not. We will achieve the goals which the Fuehrer has set us, despite the endeavors of these parasites. You may speak with no one about the camp, neither positively or negatively. No one holds your term of confinement in the concentration camp against you. We forbid you, however, to talk about any camp installations. You are not to establish contact with any former prisoners or to deliver any messages, not even a harmless greeting.

Take these words to heart and act accordingly! If you fail to do so, you will be placed into protective custody again and this time for a period of years not months, and for some there will be no freedom ever again. Re-imprisonment means stricter confinement and you yourselves are best aware of what this means.

Go and work and labor diligently for the welfare of yourselves and your families and thereby for the benefit of the German people and its minorities.

Click on the first link below to go to a picture of prisoners at work, and then click on that picture to see the second picture, or click on the picture above to skip these photos and continue the Virtual Tour.