What was it like in the Concentration Camp at Dachau?: An Attempt to Come Closer to Truth
17th edition, Trustees for the Monument of Atonement in the Concentration Camp at Dachau, 1981
There is something fitting, even necessary, about the sheer revelation of evil—i.e. getting it out into the light of day, having it acknowledged as truth, airing it. Hence the Polish writer Jan Domagala said to friends: “If the miracle should happen that you live to tell the tale, write it down and tell the world what they did to us.” For part of the great evil of Dachau was the incredible secrecy that surrounded it. Released prisoners who told what it was like there would be re-imprisoned and tortured for their insolence. Of course no journalistic reports were ever given. There were only “reassurances” from the likes of Heinrich Himmler, who after a visit reported that the tales of torture and ill-treatment there had been greatly exaggerated–indeed were not true at all. Nobody from the outside who peaked over the fence would try it a second time. Indeed, when two curious Munich residents did so, they were held up as examples in a political story in the local paper: “anybody who is truly curious is welcome to come and stay.” The Nazis hanged people who collected information about them, even if it was all true. ”’Evil loves the darkness and hates the light.’ Fog, impenetrable fog, lay upon the camp at Dachau during twelve years.” Nobody today ever knows how many people died there: estimates vary from 20,000 to 238,000. And in the last moments of the camp, April 29, 1945, the brass destroyed as much information as they could.