Dachau residents provide food for the inmates

Unloading bread brought by citizens of Dachau after liberation

The day before the Dachau camp was liberated, acting Commandant Martin Gottfried Weiss had opened up the well-stocked warehouses in the SS Training Camp, and the food and other supplies were distributed to the starving inmates by the Americans. Dachau residents had to fend for themselves, and were forced to provide food for the released prisoners as well.

Dachau residents were forced to bring bread to the starving inmates

French resistance fighters were among the survivors

Not all of the Dachau survivors were starving, as the above photo of a group of French Resistance fighters shows. They had been in the Natzweiler camp in Alsace, but were brought to Dachau in September 1944.

A few of the released inmates settled in the town of Dachau, including a former Communist prisoner, Richard Titze. Georg Scherer and Johann Sedlmair were Dachau residents who had been sent to the camp as political prisoners. Scherer had been released from his imprisonment after several years, but he continued to live in the town of Dachau and worked in the factories at the camp. After the war, he became the mayor of Dachau. Walter Neff was another Dachau resident who, after his release, had continued to work in the camp, as an assistant to Dr. Sigmund Rascher who did medical experiments on Dachau prisoners for the German Air Force.

The American army appointed Dachau resident Hans Zauner as acting mayor, according to Harold Marcuse, who wrote that the outraged occupying soldiers required the townspeople to supply clothing and foodstuffs for the liberated inmates, and threatened the acting mayor with dire consequences if he did not fulfill the quotas. The mayor was forced to give coupons for free clothing to the ragged survivors, which soon exhausted the stocks of Dachau's two largest clothing suppliers, according to Marcuse, who also wrote the following about the aftermath of the liberation:

In his memoirs Zauner described how on 1 May two soldiers, without a word of warning or explanation, pulled him out of his office, pushed him down the stairs and set him on the hood of their jeep, whereupon they took the 59-year-old for a "joy ride" around the hilly town. Eventually the GIs brought Zauner back to city hall and let him dismount.

Typhus epidemic at Dachau

Old photos taken after the liberation

40th Combat Engineers at Dachau

Burial of Bodies at Dachau

Dachau citizens brought to Camp


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