This short piece is divided into multiple posts, to include photos more easily. I'm doing this from memory, so if anything's incorrect, I apologise When I went to Munich last week for work, sorry, I mean a paid week of beer, I hadn't expected to go to Dachau. I, to my shame, was not even aware that the camp was near Munich. I also hadn't anticipated writing a sort of photo-essay about it, so did not take nearly enough photos of the right things to do this, but I'll do my best. Dachau was the only concentration camp to survive the whole of Hitler's regime. It was set up at the town of Dachau, about 20 minutes by train outside Munich, which was in many ways the centre of Naziism: it was here where Hitler staged the "beerhall putsch" that landed him in prison. When the nazis gained power more-or-less legitimately in 1933 (the elections were rather freer and fairer than a Bob Mugabe effort today), most people thought that the NS (National Socialist) regime would follow the example of its predecessors and would last a few months before falling. As part of the terror which swept the nation to maintain power, this first concentration camp was hastily built, initially for opponents of the regime such as Communists (political prisoners wore red triangles). Other initial intakes included career criminals (green triangles), antisocial elements (black triangles) and homosexuals (pink triangles). Not only were genuine criminals confined in the camp, but many others never convicted of a crime were held in so-called "protective custody" for the safety of the Reich (sound familiar?). Many of these were family and acquaintances of convicted Communists, others simply members of other opposition parties (the Soviets did a similar thing in GULAG, but at least usually tortured a phony confession out of their victims first). The western press was invited to view the "success" of the camp at maintaining order in the Reich after more than a decade of turmoil. What they saw, however, was a "potemkin village". During the time that the journalists were present, food was plentiful, flowers were planted, and discipline was seriously relaxed. The machine guns in the towers were explained away. The most stereotypically rough and evil looking men were paraded in front of the journos to prove that the Nazis were right. The press, being journos and therefore not terribly bright, bought it. But as soon as they had gone, things returned to normal. ---- The prisoners arrived from all around the Reich by train, and had to walk from the train station to the gates of the camp. The inhabitants of Dachau town at best turned a blind eye to this, at worst believed their new Overlords that the people were genuinely criminals bent on the destruction of Germany. Their entry to the camp was through an impressive gatehouse. This was used by the SS as a guardhouse, and there were also facilities for the Gestapo to interrogate its prisoners. The gate, as in many labour and death camps within the NS sphere, is cynically marked with "Arbeit Macht Frei" - "Work makes [you] free".